Philosophers debated the nature of time long before Einstein and modern physics entered the world of science. But in the 106 years since Einstein published his theories, the prevailing view among scientists has been that time serves as the fourth dimension of space.
Traditionally, this theory has been mathematically represented as 4D Minkowski Spacetime.
Now, some scientists are questioning this approach, arguing that time exists completely independent from space. Amrit Sorli and Davide Fiscaletti are among those who remain skeptical.
“With clocks, we measure the numerical order of motion in 3D space,” Sorli told reporters at Phys.org. “Time is ‘separated’ from space in a sense that time in not a fourth dimension of space.”
Instead, he argues, “time as a numerical order of change exists in a 3D space.”
“Our model on space and time is founded on measurement and corresponds better to physical reality,” he continued.
To illustrate the difference between the two views of time, Sorli and Fiscaletti introduced an experiment involving two light clocks. The clocks were arranged perpendicular to each other on a platform, with clock A oriented horizontally and clock B vertically. When the platform is moved horizontally at a high speed, 4D spacetime suggests clock A’s path to travel should shrink, causing tick faster than clock B.
Sorli and Fiscaletti argued that the “length contraction of clock A and subsequence difference in the ticking rates” of the two clocks do not agree with special relativity, which states that the speed of light is constant in all inertial reference frames.
“Time dilatation exists not in the sense that time as a fourth dimension of space dilates and as a result the clock rate is slower,” Sorli explained. “Time dilatation simply means that, in a faster inertial system, the velocity of change slows down and this is valid for all observers. GPS confirms that clocks in orbit stations have different rates from the clocks on the surface of the planet, and this difference is valid for observers that are on the orbit station and on the surface of the planet. So interpreted, ‘time dilatation’ does not require ‘length contraction,’ which as we show in our paper leads to a contradiction by the light clocks differently positioned in a moving inertial system.”
What do you think? Could this significantly change the way we think about time?