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What is time?

What is time?

I think it was Feynman who said that a great way to understand something is to look at how it's measured.

I have a system which can exist in just 2 states and it transitions between them constantly. I'll call this system a "clock" and one transition a "tick".

Now I have another system that I'm trying to study. It makes just one big transition.

So while the system makes one big transition how many ticks does my clock make?

The answer is called time.

All I'm doing is comparing two systems, the one I'm studying and the one I've designated as a reference system.

If we take this as our definition of time then such things as "time travel" are difficult to explain. To say the least.

But even this simple definition has interesting properties. Suppose you measured your system and find it took 10 ticks. But then when you measure it again you get 20 ticks. What do you conclude? Do you say your system has slowed? Or do you say your system is the same but your clock has speeded up?

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott
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