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Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Does the Universe has a universal time?

Time is a human concept. It was invented by the Sumerian civilisation (c.5000 BC – c.1500 BC), or an unknown older civilisation. Time is also a mathematical concept, representing galactic orbits and distances. The Sumerian Base-60 system explains our use of 60 minutes and 60 seconds.

Hence, each galaxy is likely to have its own – and mathematically matching – version of time. Consequently, there should be many time scales within the entire universe if and when there would be conscious life, like us.

A universal time is – theoretically – possible if and when the Universe would have fixed – rather than variable – distances. An ever expanding universe will have variable distances and no universal time.

In this day and age, we (still) assume that the Universe is unlimited in size. Albert Einstein had some doubt about that assumption (source). Probably because nothing is unlimited in our lives. Everything is limited. Unlimitedness only exists within our imagination (ie, unknown unknowns).

A balloon that is being inflated would resemble an expanding universe within a fixed Universe. Even a baby’s head, which still grows after its birth, fits that analogy. Theoretically, an expanding universe within a fixed Universe is thus feasible. A head stops growing; perhaps the Universe does too.

Do I expect a future revelation about the (un)limitedness of the Universe? I don’t know. Probably not within centuries. Perhaps, after thousands of years. I would not be surprised if and when some mysteries are not meant to be solved.

“Not all mysteries are meant to be solved. Not all secrets are meant to be told.”

A quote by author Liane Moriarty (b.1966) from her book The Last Anniversary (2006) title: What is time?
Space subtitle: Time is all around us, but how exactly does it work?
By: Jonathan O’Callaghan 
Date: 26 August 2022

“From the beginning of the universe to the present day, time is one of the few things we regard as regular and unchanging. Time works by measuring periods between the past, present and future. 

But that’s a simple, albeit vague answer to an incredibly complex topic. 

Time is all around us and is the basis of how we record life on Earth. Civilizations rise and fall, stars are born and extinguished, and our method of tracking how those moments relate to the present remains unchanged. But time is not as constant nor as simple as it may seem.

In the 17th century, physicist Isaac Newton saw time as an arrow fired from a bow, traveling in a direct, straight line and never deviating from its path. To Newton, one second on Earth was the same length of time as that same second on MarsJupiter or in deep space. He believed that absolute motion could not be detected, which meant that nothing in the universe had a constant speed, even light. By applying this theory, he was able to assume that if the speed of light could vary, then time must be constant. Time must tick from one second to the next, with no difference between the length of any two seconds. This is something that it’s easy to think is true. Every day has roughly 24 hours; you don’t have one day with 26 and one with 23. 

However, in 1905, Albert Einstein asserted that the speed of light doesn’t vary, but is a constant, traveling at 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second). He postulated that time was more like a river, ebbing and flowing depending on the effects of gravityand space-time. Time would speed up and slow down around cosmological bodies with different masses and velocities, and therefore one second on Earth was not the same length of time everywhere in the universe. 

Decades later, Einstein’s theory was proven to be true. In October 1971, physicists J.C. Hafele and Richard Keating tested Einstein’s theory by flying four cesium atomic clocks on planes around the world, going eastwards and then westwards. 

In their paper published in 1972 in the journal Science, Hafele and Keating reported that the airborne clocks were about 59 nanoseconds slower than a ground-based atomic clock when traveling east, and 273 nanoseconds faster than the ground-based version when traveling west. Their results supported Einstein’s theory that time fluctuates throughout the universe. “

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