Not signed in (Sign In)
  1.  (9348.1)
    What if Time has dimensions like Space?
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2010
    Well, given that time and space are considered to be two aspects of an intertwined time/space - i suppose it actually might, eh?
  2.  (9348.3)
    It depends on where you're viewing time from.
    • CommentAuthorJeff P.
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2010
    To properly tackle this question I need to be twenty-five years younger and really high.
  3.  (9348.5)
    Like... with tachyons? I can't even imagine.
  4.  (9348.6)
    Would that make parallels equivalent to width?
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2010
    Makes sense. Travelling to parallels is sometimes referred to as "sideways time travel" or something similar.
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2010 edited
    It doesn't really become an interesting question until there's some evidence that is unexplained unless you invoke an additional time dimension.

    Unfortunately, time is one of those particular subjects that attracts crackpots like flies to fat. In any open discussion, sooner or later, someone will stroll in and proclaim that time doesn't exist or that it is a perceptual artifact, without any obvious evidence to ignite this sentiment.

    The thing is, time isn't a perceptual artifact. It is not, as I've often heard people say "because we can't perceive everything at once" (I don't know what it is that makes people say this - perhaps it is somewhat true of our subjective experience of the sequence of events. But that's not the same thing - that's like saying that length doesn't exist because you can't remember where along the street you parked). In physics, time (or: displacement along the time axis) is what distinguishes the state of the universe with less entropy from the one with more entropy (note that this has to be applied to the universe as a whole, not just locally).

    [Entropy, loosely, is the mixing up of energy, or evening out high and low potential; if you throw a bucket of ice into a hot bath, entropy is exhibited as the temperatures average out to lukewarm.]

    Since entropy flows only in one direction, and cannot be reduced, the linear nature of time is demonstrated. In the past there was less entropy, in the future there will be more.

    Not that time is wholly immutable. Mass, which distorts space to create gravity, also distorts time and makes it "run" slower - a clock on a mountain top will tick ever so slightly faster than one at sea level. I know that around extremely massive objects, like neutron stars, time is supposed to slow down significantly. I don't know what it would do at the edge of a black hole, but I bet it's fucked up.

    Physics is fun, kids. Stay in school

    [Disclaimer: I have a physics degree, but I also have Bermudan Tiger flu and an open beer in front of me. Do not plan any space/time exploration or career changes based on the preceding statements.]
      CommentAuthorJohn Skylar
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2010 edited
    Any existence of multiple time dimensions would be a mathematical construct to describe a phenomenon that is proposed or observed. All dimensionality is a mathematical construct to approximate phenomena that we observe in the world around us. All math used in physics is the same in this regard.

    Is there a phenomenon that is explained by the existence of more than one time dimension?

    I do not believe so. I would be delighted to hear if there were.
  5.  (9348.10)
    In reality, asJohn Barrow says in "The Universe constants" more than a time dimension would make the Universe unpredictable and ultimately unfit for complex life. But yes, going to parallel universes is akin to going sideways in time. IMHO
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2010 edited
    Not science, science fiction, but Kim Stanley Robinson used a really intriguing idea of time having 3 dimensions of its own in Galileo's Dream.


    ...what we call time, is a compound with a vector made up of three temporalities.

    ...The first temporality moves very fast - at the speed of light, in fact. This explains the speed of light, which is simply the rate of movement in this dimension if you consider it as a space. We call that time therefore speed of light time, or c time, from the old notation for the speed of light.

    ...But the second temporal dimension is very slow, by comparison. It's so slow that most phenomena seem suspended within it, almost as if it were that absolute grid of Newtonian - I mean Galilean - space. We call this one lateral or eternal time, thus e time, and we have found it vibrates slowly back and forth, as if the universe itself were a single string or bubble, vibrating or breathing. There is a systolic/diastolic change as it vibrates, but the vibration is weakly interacting with us, and its amplitude appears to be small.

    ...the third temporal dimension we call antichronos, because it moves in the reverse direction of c time, while it also interacts with e time.

    The three temporalities flow through and resonate with each other, and they all pulse with vibrations of their own. We then experience the three as one, as a kind of fluctuating vector, with resonance effects when pulses from the three overlap in various ways. All those actions together create the percieved time of human consciousness. The present is a three-way interference pattern.

    ...The vector nature of the manifold also accounts for many of the temporal effects we experience, like entropy, action at a distance...

    ...In terms of what we sense, fluctuations in this manifold also account for most of our dreams, as well as less common sensations like involuntary memory, foresight, deja vu, presque vu, jamais vu, nostalgia, precognition, Ruckgriffe, Schwanung, paralipomena, mystical union with the eternal or the One, and so on.

    -Kim Stanley Robinson - Galileo's Dream pg: 213-214

    It goes on a bit from there. It's really an interesting formulation, though absolutely and by the author admittedly science fiction.

    @John Skylar - it places several consciousness phenomena in the context of varying perceptions of the distinct time dimensions:

    "...The compound nature of the manifold creates our perception of both transience and permanence, of being and becoming. They account for that paradoxical feeling I often notice, that any moment in my past happened just a short time ago and yet is separated from me by an immense gulf of time. Both are true; these are subconscious perceptions of a delaminated e and c time."

    "And the sense of eternity that occasionally strikes? When you ring like a bell?"

    "That would be a powerful isolated sense of e time, which does in fact vibrate in a bell-like way.

    Then in a different way, the sense of inexorable dissolution or breakdown we call entropy, also the feeling called nostalgia, these are the perceptions of antichronos passing backward through c and e time. Indeed Bao's work leads to a mathematical description of entropy as a kind of friction between antichronos and c time running against the grain of each other, so to speak. By their interaction."

    -Kim Stanley Robinson - Galileo's Dream pg: 214-215

    It's really quite a good device. It feels very convincing in the novel.
  6.  (9348.12)
    Could you really perceive height without the perspective of distance--which would require you remembering the moon isn't a quarter right in front of your face--which would require some level of experience I think(even if it's an immeasurable split whatever). (i'm saying space isn't just a measurement--but ah...head space--time exists existentially)

    I'm sorry. That's dangerously close to "time isn't real, maaaan".

    Perception is context though. And maybe the entropy of the universe is a force through which these experiences and perceptions are shaped--but they do seem to be two separate things. The force and the produced sensation. But my degree was in history and English, so things make more sense to me narratively than they do labspeak.
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2010
    The line about the unreality of time looks a bit like folklore trying to absorb einstein's concept of the unity of timespace?

    "Folk physics". Now there is a line of inquiry I could have some fun with.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2010
    > "Folk physics". Now there is a line of inquiry I could have some fun with.

    There were some examples of that in the novel _Orphans in the Sky_, where the people on a STL interstellar spaceship had forgotten what previous generations knew; one example I can remember was their believing that the inverse square law of gravitation was meant as a parable for human love/attraction, with its lesson being similar to "out of sight, out of mind".
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2010
    Ha, should have known this would end up being a discussion thread.

    Consider this - for astronauts ( and satellites, for that matter ) orbiting the earth, time does indeed move at a measurably different rate. It's been proven that speed and mass both have an effect on time's rate of passage - well, relatively speaking anyway.

    So, in the sense that proximity to a large mass affects time, yes, you COULD say the time 'has a height'. But for all practical purposes, I would say that this is a rather inaccurate description of what's really happening.

    And of course, this does nothing to explain how the Freakangels pulled off their little 'time moat' trick.
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2010
    Perhaps I'm being oversimplistic, but I thought Time *was* the 4th dimension. So asking "Does Time have heights?" should be sort of equivalent to asking, "Does width have heights?"

    Or am I totally off there?
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2010
    Heinlein covered this one in Number of the Beast, didn't he?
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2010
    @Finagle - that would be my understanding of it too, but I never took Physics beyond A-Level so they probably teach something different at uni... :)
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2010
    @Finagle - I guess it depends on you perspective, eh? Kind of like the rest of relativity...
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2010
    > What if Time has dimensions like Space?

    I suppose you're thinking of the 'wall', and whether that wall has a 'height'.

    Time does slow in a gravitational field, so time is faster when/at it's further away from a mass.