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Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:28 AM

 

New device to measure time could help lead to a radically new way to define mass

-snip-

"We were interested in what the simplest clocks are to explore the question of what time is," said researcher Holger Muller, a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley. "If you say that, say, you can't measure time with less than two particles, does that mean that anything below two particles doesn't experience time at all?"

The researchers theorized it was possible to create a clock made up of just one particle. To understand, one starts with Einstein's famous equation E=mc2, which showed that matter can be converted to energy and vice versa. One consequence of this, called de Broglie's matter-wave hypothesis, suggests that matter can also behave like waves. As such, a particle of matter can in principle behave like a wave that oscillates in a regular manner, thus acting like a clock.

"We've shown that one single particle really can measure time," Muller told LiveScience.

The problem with making a clock from a particle of matter is that the frequency at which it oscillates "should be so high that one should never be able to measure it," Muller said. To get over this hurdle, the scientists relied on a phenomenon known as time dilation, another consequence of Einstein's theory of relativity. This suggests that as objects move away from and back to a location, they experience less elapsed time than objects that stayed at that location the entire time.

The researchers recreated this phenomenon using lasers on cesium atoms. "We essentially split an atom into two halves, and had one stay where it is and the other go forward and come back," Muller said. "A tiny, tiny bit less time elapsed for the half that moved, so it oscillated less."

The fact that one half of the atom oscillated less than the other meant that when these halves are reunited, they did not recombine perfectly, but interference occurred that the scientists could measure. By knowing the size of this discrepancy and the extent to which the researchers disturbed the atom, the researchers could deduce the original frequency at which the atom oscillated.

More: http://news.discovery.com/tech/nanotechnology/single-atom-tells-time-130111.htm

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Reply New device to measure time could help lead to a radically new way to define mass (Original post)
UnrepentantLiberal Jan 2013 OP
2on2u Jan 2013 #1
jerseyjack Jan 2013 #2
longship Jan 2013 #4
krispos42 Jan 2013 #5
Shivering Jemmy Jan 2013 #3
JimDandy Jan 2013 #6
Shivering Jemmy Jan 2013 #7
Kablooie Jan 2013 #8

Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:35 AM

1. Could we perhaps, out of this fascinating research, finally have a timeclock with which

 

no one is ever late? Great article there, thanks.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:49 AM

2. So, according to the article,

 

an object in motion experiences less time than a still object. Therefore, if I start running and keep running, like Forrest Gump, I might live forever?

I'm gonna buys me a new pair of running shoes.

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Response to jerseyjack (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:54 AM

4. Longer, not forever.

Plus, your leg muscles would be really kick ass.


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Response to jerseyjack (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:54 AM

5. living forever, but having to jog the entire time?

Sounds like Hell!

3Rd circle, where minor irritants are condemned.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:49 AM

3. They still haven't measured time with only a single particle

Because they have their isolated particle, and then their lab equipment and themselves, which are gazillions of particles. So the question as to whether an isolated particle would experience time is still open.

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Response to Shivering Jemmy (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:44 PM

6. If a particle splits

and then recombines naturally, on it's own, then it should according to this experiment. Now they need an experiment to find one that does.

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Response to JimDandy (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:27 PM

7. I'm asking a different question I think

Can space or time exist with only a single point particle? What would distance mean with nothing to measure? This is more of a classical physics question. I'm not sure what a "single particle" means in terms of field theory, when particles are simply excitations of an underlying field.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:59 PM

8. And after all this, a mechanical Rolex STILL costs tens of thousands of dollars.

When will the rich ever grow up?

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