the things i ponder when incredibly sleep deprived:
i had a conversation with shawn (later continuing it with kirtan for a while) this morning that was quite odd.
you know, as you approach the speed of light, time slows down. if you had an analog and a digital clock would the displayed time be effected? and would they be effected in the same way? would one slow down more than the other?
and if you were there, would you percieve the time slowing down, or would it not seem to change?
(edit: read comments if you want to watch boys throwing their geek cocks around)
I used to think about that all the time, without the clock part. Like if you're going the speed of light time would slow down for you but everyone else would still be going the same speed so if you were traveling that fast for what seemed like a few minutes a few days or years or something would have actually passed. What I don't get is why they say time slows down when you get to the speed of light? Wouldnt you just be going really fast so you'd get places faster blah, like if youre driving on an interstate as opposed to a school zone. I think I used to understand it better a long time ago! Oh, if the clocks are both with you going the same speed then I bet they would show the same time, like how if you drop a bowling ball and a feather in a vacuum they would both hit bottom at the same time. hmm.
The way I think of it, the effect wouldn't be noticible..it would be like Time Travel..say you put the clocks in a ship and it comes back showing they were gone for 5 mins but you were waiting on it for a week. Why would it efffect them differently if they're moving at the same speed? Wouldn't it equally effect the parts and materials?
this is actually a very interesting question. the speed of light is about 3x10^8 m/s or 300,000,000 m/s or 180mi/s, whichever is easiest for you to picture. the only thing that can reach this speed would be light in a vacuum (there have recently been studies done where they have been able to surpass speed of light though) and with this speed, a beam of light would be able to circle the earth about seven times in one second.
now whether or not this would have any effect on something mechanical we dont really *know*... but i would guess that it wouldnt. the reason i would say that it wouldnt is because, well i guess i dont know. the only thing i can equate it to is going around the world in the space shuttle, you definitely are traveling at very considerable speeds that may be a fraction of the speed of light and i dont see how the speed of the object would effect a toaster... you know? either way... the toaster wont pop until the bread is done... the fact that the toaster is in the space shuttle (assuming that would even be possible of course) doesnt mean that time is going to increase to the point where the toaster would brown in less time.
that is my everyday person thought, but from a physics standpoint i realize that there is such a thing as time dilation... and though the effects of time dilation are somewhat minimal for speeds up to a half of the speed of light (c), after the 1/2c the time for the clock to complete one tick (1s) begins to increase slightly and then the time for the clock to tick once shoots up once you near the speed of light, at around 0.8c.
so i guess all that being said... its up to you on how to look at it... i'm more inclined to take the time dilation and let my imagination run with it... but again, the only thing we can get to go the true speed of light in a vacuum *at this point* is light... and until we can figure out a way to find out for sure, its all up for speculation i guess.
even the speed of light itself is kind of a touchy thing because its such a large number that many people, including some of the great minds like romer, fizeau, maxwell, etc... have come very close to determining the speed but its just such an enormous thing and from an earthly standpoint... its just really hard to imagine... you know what i mean?
i dont know if that made sense... i do ramble... i know this... i am going to post this on my journal as well, its an interesting question...
I've got a degree in physics, so I SHOULD be able to answer intelligently on this. Here goes.
You REALLY have to be careful when talking about this stuff. It's all "relative" (hence, the theory of relativity)
The only way you can talk about time slowing down is if you have some "reference" to compare it to (someone standing still). We'll take Shawn to be standing still, and Alicia to be moving at close to the speed of light.
"The Clock Display"
Yes, the clock display would be affected.
That is, if Alicia "started" her journey (going at 99 % of the speed of light) with the clocks when they read 12:00, when 10 minutes passes for Shawn (on the clock that's on his boombox), only 1 minute will have passed for Alicia, and thus her clocks will read 12:01.
This assumes that the clocks are PERFECT. If only the digiclock is perfect, but let's say the analog clock gets off by 20 seconds for every minute that passes (it's a sucky clock), the digiclock would read 12:01, and the analog clock would read 12:01:20.
That is to say, it's actually TIME that slows down, not the perception of time (this is why both "perfect" clocks read 12:01 when shawn's boombox reads 12:10).
"Do I Notice"?
This is a toughie. I'm going to guess "no".
The reason this is a toughie is becaue we have no idea how the mind works. I can certainly tell you that subatomic particles don't notice the slowdown, but people? Not so sure on that one.
If the human perception of things is not bounded by such formalities as space and time, then yes, we would notice.
On the other hand, if we simply take in all that we observe, when we observe it, I would have to say no, we don't notice the time shift.
i see what you mean... that like, a digital clock works on electrical impulses rather than the spring-measured ticking of mechanical gears in an analog clock. but it's my understanding that, if you were in a spaceship travelling close to the speed of light, then *everything* that was also travelling at that velocity relative to some single point (say, earth, for example) would behave exactly the same as if it were standing still.
i say "standing still", but since this is relativity... everything is, of course, relative. it could just as easily be observed that the spaceship was staying in the same place and that earth was moving away from it at tremendous velocity.
anyways, both clocks should be effected in exactly the same way... :op it's kinda like, a little bubble forms around whatever's travelling at that speed, and, to anything that exists within that bubble, time seems to pass perfectly normally (even for a person). it wouldn't be until they slowed down and checked how long they'd been travelling in earth time that they'd know how long it had really been.
er, does that make sense?