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Q & A: time and purpose

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Most recent answer: 12/02/2009
Q:
Hi there, just looking through you q & a's. WOW! Now, I'm far from being "literate" in physics, but I do try to think about it. Here we go with a two questions, hope you'll have time to answer at least one of them: 1. is time constant throughout the Universe? How accurate is our measurement of the time (keeping in mind that it isn't flowing, but merely "released" in small steps - as far as I know) 2. Does the Universe have an actual purpose, or it just functions because it exists? Thanks very much, Georgiana
- Georgiana Choak (age 29)
London, UK
A:
1. We have some choice about what time coordinates we assign to events, without having to change the physical laws used to describe things. I can, however, ask a physical question which probably is close to the point you were wondering about. If we make two identical clocks, and put them in different places, let them run for a very long time, then bring them back together, will they read the same? The answer is no. Being more or less 'uphill' in a gravitational field affects the clock rate, as was predicted by General Relativity in about 1915. This was first shown directly in about 1960 in an experiment with two identical clocks, one in a basement and one up in a tower. It's been confirmed many times since.

2. Your guess is as good as mine. My guess is no purpose.

Mike W.

(published on 12/02/2009)

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