Clocks and Time

If you are reading this, know that you are time traveling. To be precise, you are traveling at about one second per second.

Time is a reliable constant in all our lives. There are clocks scattered around our homes. They give us indicators of when to wake up, eat, do activities, and go to sleep. However, time isn’t a constant of the universe, it’s relative.

According to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, time slows down as speed increases. When I first heard about this idea, it was hard to wrap my head around, and it still is.

Take for example, the Twin Paradox, a thought experiment in physics. There are a pair of identical twins. One stays on earth, and the other ventures into space in a high speed rocket. The one in space travels for years, and when he returns back to earth, he finds that his counterpart has aged more.

If you’ve ever taken a physics course, you know that the acceleration of gravity on earth is about 9.81 m/s². Gravity is weaker at high altitudes, which means the speed is lower, which means time goes faster. One experiment has shown that clocks at higher altitudes, those high up in mountains or flown in jets, run faster than those left on the ground. This means that time passes more quickly for people living in mountains than people living at sea level.

Before you get your hopes up about living a longer life by residing at low elevations, these studies have shown that for every twelve inches of elevation, only 90 billionths of a second are added to a lifetime. If you really want to age more slowly than everyone else, try traveling near the speed of light.



3 thoughts on “Clocks and Time

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s