Time; a great concept to start 2017 with since we are now in a new ‘section’ of the thing that we made up to keep track of things. More importantly, the purpose of this article will be talking about time dilation and how it actually works. Let’s get into some mind-breaking physics. How exciting!
We currently live in a three dimensional world (space) and experience time as a fourth dimension. Now, before you get too confused with that, dimensions aren’t physical realms; they’re mathematical tools that are used to establish relationships between things. Further explanation; in a 3 dimensional space when we’re describing something in relation to something else, say stars, you need 3 measurements to establish its position in space. These are broken up into 3 planes which have been given the variables x, y and z (we use the words height, length and width). The 4th dimension, time, is when another measurement is used to establish relationships alongside the previously mentioned planes. We put these two dimensions together in a neat little package known as space-time and it is often described as the fabric of reality. The best way to visualize space-time is to think of a rubber sheet that can be stretched and deformed when it interacts with the force of gravity that is associated with things having mass. This is when time dilation gets in and it starts to get a bit complicated.
Time is not an absolute measurement but is relative depending on the frame of reference (how it is observed) and is linked to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. A study was conducted in 1971 to see if a clock traveling at speed within the same constant frame of reference would measure a different time to a stationary clock when it stopped moving. Basically, an atomic clock was put in a plane and sent around the world and another was stationary on Earth. They found that the time on the clock that was traveling had moved slower in relation to the clock that was stationary. This is key for understanding special relativity. The way this works is space-time are part of the same entity and relative to one another, it is impossible to move in space without moving in time also.
This all being said though, you’re not going to be able to slow down your aging process by taking a couple of round trips around the world. The reason that we don’t notice this is because we’re going so remarkable slow for it to affect us. The speed of light is approximately 300,000km/s or 186,300miles/s; it is only when objects start moving at larger fractions of the speed of light that change in time becomes obvious. The only one really able to do anything like that is the Flash. I hear he’s the fastest man alive.