Why time slows down for an object as it approaches the speed of light

22 Aug

I often find myself thinking about Quantum Mechanics and Relativity. In fact, mostly about the puzzles that they present rather than the complete subjects. I have an engineering degree so I am able to understand a good deal of the math that is involved in Physics but not enough to manipulate the important equations like Schroedinger’s Wave Equation or Einstein’s equations. What I am able to do though is imagine four dimensional space-time quite easily in my head and with this mental construct ask questions like why does time slow down in a strong gravitational field or as one approaches the speed of light. In this blog post I would like to present my original idea (at least I have never heard it before) why time slows down for an object when it approaches the speed of light. Understanding why time slows down in a gravitational field seems quite obvious so I won’t go into that unless requested. ; Let’s start with a few assumptions: 1) The Speed of Light (C) is the maximum velocity an object can go. 2) Space-time consists of four dimensions ( x, y and z spacial dimensions and t the time dimension)

  1. Now I propose that t, the time dimension, is governed by assumption 1 just as the x, y, and Z spacial dimensions are.
  2. I further propose that, just as light must always travel at the speed of light, all objects must always travel at the speed of light, however non-photonic objects typically have the majority of their velocity in the time direction.

What this means is that as an object is accelerated in the three spacial dimensions, it must lose velocity in the time direction so that the vector sum of x, y, z, and t is always equal to the speed of light. Since ordinary objects travel at such a small fraction of the speed of light, in the three spacial dimensions, we don’t notice the small differences in temporal velocity between them.

 

Future topics that I plan to write about:

  1. How to generate artificial gravity
  2. An explanation why we see an interference pattern, when only a single electron is fired at a time in the double-slit experiment

John Torres

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