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Q & A: Does time exist?

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Most recent answer: 01/30/2012
Q:
For a long time I have felt that time does not exist because this is the only way we can conceive eternity.It is only an illusion,invented by man to do measurements. The rocket experiment to prove time dilation in my opinion,is flawed for this reason; The atomic clock on the rocket travelling with the earth's rotation was found to lose time in relation to the one that traveled against the earth's rotation,proving that time had slowed for the faster rocket. How can you prove to me that the clock that was slower was not slower because the oscillation frequency of the atoms in the clock had dropped because of their increased mass at the higher speed.
- Trevor Dauncey (age 71)
Durban South Africa
A:
You start "For a long time I have felt that time does not exist...". For a long what? This illustrates how hard it is to even think about such questions.

Your description of what sounds like the Gravity Probe B experiment doesn't sound right, but I can answer the last part anyway. These atoms are quantum systems, not classical masses on classical springs. The frequencies of the atomic transitions scale as me4/h3 where m is the reduced mass (close to the electron mass), e is the electron charge, and h is Planck's constant. So if one were just to increase m leaving everything else fixed the frequencies would go up, not down.

Mike W.

(published on 01/30/2012)

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