A definition of time can be found within the second law of thermodynamics, in entropy. From entropy we can establish a direction for the flow of time within the classical physics world. Entropy at its core is about energy and heat transfer. Heat can be transferred from one body to another by electromagnetic radiation.
Electromagnetic radiation has several measurable components, wavelength, electron volt and frequency and its energy can be calculated using classical and quantum methods, seen as a wave or a particle. Waves and oscillations permeate the universe and are present in whatever form of tool we use to describe the world about us.
One component of a wave or an oscillation is its frequency. We can experience frequency in the form of an earth tremor, as the ground shakes and the earth’s mantle vibrates. The word frequency is defined as being, “The rate of repetition of a regular event. The number of cycles of a wave, or some other oscillation or vibration”, source: Oxford Dictionary of Science, John Daintith, Elizabeth Martin, et al., 2005, Oxford University Press.
Subatomic particles can be broken down into smaller and smaller components. LHC at CERN is attempting to confirm experimentally what theoretical physicists postulate for the structure of matter. I am proposing a thought experiment as to postulate further what time is.
Under General Relativity, time is experienced through the curvature of space; space is curved by mass (matter) essentially. Within quantum mechanics, matter is divisible down to quantum – a discrete packet or quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of radiation it represents. The energy packet that forms the quantum also has a frequency property. This can be seen in atoms which have their own corresponding characteristics, including a different frequency for every type of atom.
So is it frequency (or vibration) of a discrete quantum what shapes or rather creates the geometry (spatial configuration) of that discrete particle or atom?
For example take the humble electron, an elementary particle of matter. An electron has a specific vibration pattern, wave function or frequency (they shake at a specific rate); is it this specific wobbling what makes an electron an electron? Is it a distinctive frequency that shapes the geometry of this quantum, an internal pattern to its energy wave structure what makes us ‘see’ an electron? An electron has to rotate through 720 degrees to look the same as it did before, not 360 degrees as with a normal Lorentz symmetry transformation; as do neutrinos.
Lets take a carbon atom. The sub-atomic particles which form an atom like carbon-12 are 6 electrons, 6 neutrons and 6 protons. Protons and neutrons are themselves made up of smaller elementary particles called quarks. Beneath quarks? Well supposedly nothing, but maybe loopy bits of string. A proton can be seen as a box containing a set of 3 additional boxes (quarks) all giggling about. Is it the combined vibrations of all those sub-components, boxes within boxes including the space between boxes being shaken about, that shapes an atom’s geometry making the structure that we see as a carbon atom?
Think of a boxed system made with elastic walls, like balloons of water that vibrate, all held together with a field; the strong nuclear force, also known as strong interaction. As each balloon vibrates, they rub against the local space and in some circumstances one another. Their jiggling within a confined space creates their composition, which in turn shapes their configuration, their geometry and shapes the permeating waves of energy outside that balloon acting like a force.
Like throwing a stone into a still pond, those vibrations ripple out and transmit, through the balloon’s membrane. As the vibrations ripple out of each balloon’s shell, they interact like ripples on a pond with multiple stones being thrown in, where waves vibrations clash against one another, creating interference patterns. Collectively all of these vibrations form the energy signature we know as the atom carbon-12.
Each atom has its own unique frequency and consequently appears different. It is this unique set of different vibration patterns, their frequency, that shapes the geometry for each different elementary particle, sub-atomic particle, atom, collection of atoms… that ultimately shapes their geometry and in turn describes a distinctive structure for matter; this is what constitutes the different elements and helps to shape time.
New Scientist reported in issue 2772, pp28-31, 7th August 2010, (cover story) The end of Space-time: Rethinking Einstein, that a group of research physicists took graphene (a 1 atom layer of graphite) and placed it into a Bose-Einstine condensate state; a temperature near absolute zero. They noticed something strange happening. Further experiments were run in computer simulated models and to their surprise, they discovered that at a distance (macro), space-time behaves as prescribed in Lorentz symmetry. However looking at space-time with a quanta level (micro) perspective, they noticed that time plays a far greater role than space.
Consider the following: is time (interchangeable with a spatial dimension in General Relativity,) the very composite vibrations of those discrete building blocks of matter? Or to put it another way, when one looks at a quantum level, does time play a far greater role because we are looking more closely at the vibrations of matter representing ghostly echos of time itself?
If these composite vibrations is what shapes an atom and in turn an element, (a box within a box within another box, that creates the geometric structure of what we see,) then by looking in closely at the structure of matter, are we seeing a temporal component of matter? And is it those same quantum fluctuations that make space-time what it is?
Could this also help to explain phenomena such as electrons being able to be in two places at once, or Carbon-60 atoms being able to go through a two slit experiment? To get even weirder, if you supercooled (to near absolute zero) or superheated (to many thousands of degrees) matter, it becomes more active. Matter vibrates more, with greater frequency and vigour. Is this increased vibration the effect of additional oscillations jiggling the box or balloon of matter, feeding into its space additional vibrations and becoming part of the box-within-a-box system or even permeate the box’s shell?
Think of a small pond, with water filled balloons floating inside. However these water filled balloons also contain smaller subsets of water filled balloons within. Then think of throwing in a pebble or two into the pond. The oscillations will shape the internal geometry of the pond and affect the position of the balloons as well as their internal structure. Then start throwing in lots of pebbles into the pond, adding more energy into the system. Resonance may occur within some of the balloons within balloons. The frequency of not only how many pebbles are being thrown in but where they are being thrown into the pond will shape its geometry, like ripples in space-time.
Do these ghost like properties tell us more than just the amount of energy contained within a quantum of something; are these ghost echos revealing the clockwork mechanics of the Universe?