September 26, 2005

Connections Between Space, Time, and Energy

Here's a paper I just finished writing for my physics/philosophy class. Trying to write a concise and logical paper on your conception of space and time is a PAIN IN THE ASS. Enjoy.

Conceptually space and time appear disconnected from one another. Ask a city planner how much space a new park occupies, and the response will probably be in acres or city blocks. Ask a friend how much time it takes to drive from the local grocery store to the post office, and more than likely the answer will be given in minutes. In both cases just mentioned, space and time are quantified to help comprehend an idea. It is a somewhat Kantian approach to present space and time as organizational tools of the mind (24). If space and time are simply organizational tools, what exactly is being organized? Leibniz would argue that relationships between objects and events are organized by space and time respectively. From a more materialistic viewpoint, perhaps measurements of space and time provide a tangible concept of organization, and time and space are entities. Without space or time, whether conceptual or tangible, the world would be vastly different. Could space exist without time and vice versa? It is hard to say. Maybe space and time are mutually inclusive.

Einsteinís famous formula, energy is equal to mass multiplied by the square of the velocity of light, shows that a particle with a mass is equivalent to an energy. Therefore, an object with zero energy is equivalent to a particle with zero mass. Without mass or energy, an object becomes intangible; it does not physically exist. If physical existence depends on energy and mass, then space must be either energetic, massive, or energetic and massive. This complies with the expanding of the universe in a forward-time dimension as proposed by the Big Bang model. As cosmic radiation and matter travel outward from the central explosion, space is stretched which causes the universe to expand.

How is time affected by an expanding universe? Perhaps time is a result of the expanding universe and is measured by a change in energy. A change in energy could also result from a chemical reaction, a radioactive emission, or the movement of an electron. If time is measured by a change in energy, time conforms to Leibnizís relational world. The interdependence of energy and time can be seen in the physical sciences. For instance, an electric current requires charge to flow over time. In fact, every measurement of time is taken with respect to a change in energy. Digital clocks and atomic clocks are two examples of time being measured by a change in energy. Timeís relation to energy is important when determining if a relationship between time and space exists. If energy ceased changing, all forms of temporal measurement would lack a measurable quantity, and time would halt.

The constant change of energy in the world seems to bind space and time together. In order for space to exist, energy or mass must be present. Mass is equivalent to energy, so a change in mass is equivalent to a change in energy. The existence of time requires a change in energy. Without space there is no energy to change, and thus time cannot exist. If time and space are connected as just described, a relativistic notion of time suggests that space is also relative.

works cited:
Sklar, Lawrence. Philosophy of Physics. Boulder: Westview, 1992.

Posted by mrpibb at September 26, 2005 11:30 PM | TrackBack

I think you just blew my mind. It's been a while since I've thought or read about a subject like this, but I thought your paper was interesting and well written.

Posted by: Dan at September 28, 2005 8:48 AM

In an Aristotelian worldview, I believe that the nature of (life? matter? the universe? somethign like that) is flux, i.e. change. Forgive me, for its been a while since I cared about Aristotle.

Dang man you pulled together a helluva lot of good info in that paper. mad props.

Posted by: matt good at September 28, 2005 9:38 PM
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