# Thread: Mechanical reasons for TR clock slowing.

1. ## Mechanical reasons for TR clock slowing.

As I further self study relativity, I repeatedly wonder: "by what mechanism do clocks described in relativity slow". Not looking for another explanation of relativity, but an explanation of the physical characteristics that are caused by relativistic traits,i.e. the internal workings that describe in a mechanical sense why clocks slow. Furthermore, a physiological description of how a biological entity would age more slowely.
I do not accept that time has any inherrent attributes.Rather, tiome is simply a "report" of distance and motion. Therefore, to simply conclude that "clocks run slow because time slows" makes no sense to me. Anyone?

I suspect it does not matter, but TR is taught using examples of comparing clocks that slow as compared to others, so I am looking for the connection or disconnect as to whether it matters exactly how.

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For a clock to be measured running at half the rate of yours, then distances for that clock's world are also halved.

We love to think that a meter is a meter, but the truth is that the nearest star is only 4 light years away at slow travel speeds. Find a ship that can really zip and the odometer will read less for the same trip.

It's not time by itself that is changing, it's all measured quantities that are changing.

The question I always ask myself is "How does the universe make it so that the speed of light is always measured to be the same?" It makes me want to say "Who is coaxing light to trick me?".

3. Originally Posted by ShinAce
For a clock to be measured running at half the rate of yours, then distances for that clock's world are also halved.

We love to think that a meter is a meter, but the truth is that the nearest star is only 4 light years away at slow travel speeds. Find a ship that can really zip and the odometer will read less for the same trip.

It's not time by itself that is changing, it's all measured quantities that are changing.

The question I always ask myself is "How does the universe make it so that the speed of light is always measured to be the same?" It makes me want to say "Who is coaxing light to trick me?".
Yes. But a clock is a 3 dimentional device, yet distance contraction occcures along only one of those 3 axis????

4. Originally Posted by uncommonsense
[SIZE=2]As I further self study relativity, I repeatedly wonder: "by what mechanism do clocks described in relativity slow". Not looking for another explanation of relativity, but an explanation of the physical characteristics that are caused by relativistic traits,i.e. the internal workings that describe in a mechanical sense why clocks slow. Furthermore, a physiological description of how a biological entity would age more slowely.
Lets start by saying that Relativity has no bearing on the internal workings of clocks and organisms.

I do not accept that time has any inherrent attributes.Rather, tiome is simply a "report" of distance and motion.
That 'report' on the status of the motion must be coveyed by light. Light has a finite speed, and hereīs where relativity begins. Because light has a finite speed it takes some time to reach the observers. Depending on the position and motion of the observers they may not agree on the timing of the events. It is necessary to employ mathematical [geometric] transformations. It is in these mathematical transformations that time gets dilated.

Now lets wait for the other members to contribute, and let the fun begin.
Last edited by Argos; 2010-Mar-19 at 07:41 PM. Reason: Grammar, style.

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Indeed, relativity theory is about what it means to say things about the times of things that are separated by distances.

6. So the twin thing - returning younger - is not accepted?

7. Originally Posted by uncommonsense
So the twin thing - returning younger - is not accepted?
It is a real phenomenon. Maybe I havenīt made myself clear, but the geometric transformations I mentioned enable us to understand this real phenomenon. It is counter-intuitive, but it is real. The Universe is relativistic.

8. I am trying to understand the mechanics, if that's the right word. If a clock or twin returned age retarded, then, the rate of change of distance of the clock works or atoms of the twin s body were affected by the high speed motion. Otherewise the conclusion would be that the slowed age result was simply a result of the observations. That sounds more like quantum theory.

Am I way off base? To me, theory should have logical manifestations in the real world. If a clock returns from a near light speed trip with a slower time, then there was a physical, mechanical occurance that caused this. Thats what I am looking for.

9. Originally Posted by uncommonsense
I am trying to understand the mechanics, if that's the right word. If a clock or twin returned age retarded, then, the rate of change of distance of the clock works or atoms of the twin s body were affected by the high speed motion.
In fact, if Bob sets out to travel near the speed of light, leaving Alice at home, upon return Bob will be younger, because the speed he traveled affected his path in relation to Aliceīs position [and Alice is able to calculate Bobīs status using the suitable geometric transformations of coordinates]. In their own positions [or 'frames'] they do not perceive any change.

10. Originally Posted by Argos
In fact, if Bob sets out to travel near the speed of light, leaving Alice at home, upon return Bob will be younger, because the speed he traveled affected his path in relation to Aliceīs position [and Alice is able to calculate Bobīs status using the suitable geometric transformations of coordinates]. In their own positions [or 'frames'] they do not perceive any change.
Thank you, but that is an aspect of TR results, not an answer to how or why. Sure, whatever mechanical process is happening to Bob is happening to his entire frame, so of course he would not notice it.

But once he returns to Alice's frame, some mechanical explanations are begged. What are they. How did his path in relation to alice result in time dialation, mechanically? Because that is what we are left with. TR gives us accurate results, but what are the mechanical hows and whys.

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Originally Posted by uncommonsense
I am trying to understand the mechanics, if that's the right word. If a clock or twin returned age retarded, then, the rate of change of distance of the clock works or atoms of the twin s body were affected by the high speed motion. Otherewise the conclusion would be that the slowed age result was simply a result of the observations. That sounds more like quantum theory.

Am I way off base? To me, theory should have logical manifestations in the real world. If a clock returns from a near light speed trip with a slower time, then there was a physical, mechanical occurance that caused this. Thats what I am looking for.
Are you confused about why the shipbound person is younger even though relativity says they both have the right to claim they are at rest?

The resolution is simple. On the way out, they do in fact each think the other is going to be younger. But then when Bob turns around, this leaves a permanent effect on his measurements. If it weren't for the turnaround, BOTH Bob and Alice could claim the other's clock is running slow, and each would be right. For me, that's the real paradox. There is no universe where Alice is younger than her twin Bob AND Bob is younger than Alice. That is a coordinate(reference frame) issue.

edit: I'm slow today...but what is TR?

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uncommonsense,

As I further self study relativity, I repeatedly wonder: "by what mechanism do clocks described in relativity slow". Not looking for another explanation of relativity, but "physical characteristc" explanations that are caused by relativistic traits, i.e. the internal workings that describe in a mechanical sense why clocks slow. Furthermore, a physiological description of why a biological entity would age more slowly. I do not accept that time has any inherent attributes. Rather, time is simply a "report" of distance and motion. Therefore, to simply conclude that "clocks run slow because time slows" makes no sense to me. Anyone?

I suspect it does not matter, but TR is taught using examples of comparing clocks that slow as compared to others, so I am looking for the connection or disconnect as to whether it matters exactly how.
My recollection of reading such explanations involves the mechanics of an atom. Whatever the interpretation/ hypothesis concerning the actual mechanics of an atom as proposed today, the physical motion accordingly would slow in accord with the physics which describes it (SR/GR/LT)?. Describing the mechanics: Since relative motion would accordingly increase internal atomic velocities in the direction of the relative motion, limiting the fastest speeds within the atoms to the speed of light or to the same speeds that existed in its rest frame, would accordingly result in the atom's slowed rate of change and therefore the related passing of time from the perspective within that time frame. Such examples would be the physical rotation of the nucleus of atoms or the physical orbital rotation of electrons or whatever the process actually is; controlling the fastest speeds to a constant (regardless of the the frames relative motion) would influence the rate of all the other internal related motions because of the interactions between atomic factions.

Simply put, from the perspective of an outside observer, time progression of the processes within the effected atoms would accordingly move at a slower rate than those atoms/ molecules outside strong gravitational influences and without relative motion to the controlling gravitational source(s). This of course would accordingly explain why clocks and biology would progress more slowly time wise. Whether this is presently the preferred explanation I do not know.

If one is fond of preferred reference frames just for the sake that all time dilation would extend time and not be negative numbers, then your chosen reference frame would be the one with the fastest progression of time relative to all others within the same primary gravitational field such as the orbital distance of about 100 to maybe 30,000 miles above the Earth, for instance, with little if any orbital or escape velocity.

http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Time-dilation
Last edited by forrest noble; 2010-Mar-22 at 11:55 PM. Reason: clarity of content

13. Originally Posted by uncommonsense
But once he returns to Alice's frame, some mechanical explanations are begged. What are they. How did his path in relation to alice result in time dialation, mechanically? Because that is what we are left with. TR gives us accurate results, but what are the mechanical hows and whys.
I think the word that defines relativity is Dynamics and not Mechanics. Thereīs no mechanical transformation involved. The transformations derive from the dynamics.

Check out this wiki about SR, and take a look at the graphs. They may clear out some aspects. We can continue later.

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well that's how I see it.....matter as a bunch of information traveling at c, back and forth.

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Originally Posted by uncommonsense
As I further self study relativity, I repeatedly wonder: "by what mechanism do clocks described in relativity slow". Not looking for another explanation of relativity, but an explanation of the physical characteristics that are caused by relativistic traits,i.e. the internal workings that describe in a mechanical sense why clocks slow. Furthermore, a physiological description of how a biological entity would age more slowely.
I do not accept that time has any inherrent attributes.Rather, tiome is simply a "report" of distance and motion. Therefore, to simply conclude that "clocks run slow because time slows" makes no sense to me. Anyone?

I suspect it does not matter, but TR is taught using examples of comparing clocks that slow as compared to others, so I am looking for the connection or disconnect as to whether it matters exactly how.
Not sure if that is not ATM(everything is supposed to be same as mainstream), but mechanical reason will be, that clock parts get additional mass.

Assume that you have spring and ball that system oscillates, if ball becomes heavier, your clock become slower.

Once you accelerate something that object gains mass proportional to its kinetic energy, so it appears that mass is also relative.
But to avoid that GR chooses to mangle space-time instead of readjusting mass-energy of every object and recalculating every clock.

I would like to remap all GR into mass-energy instead of space-time since this it more intuitive if we keep space time absolute and change everything else instead.

16. Originally Posted by Digix
Not sure if that is not ATM(everything is supposed to be same as mainstream), but mechanical reason will be, that clock parts get additional mass.
I donīt think it is useful to introduce these concepts [namely Relativistic Mass] at this point. It can only distract uncommonsense, and weīd be doing him a disservice. As I said, thereīs no mechanical alteration or transformation when bodies travel close to c.

17. I am digesting. It's all so beuatiful and elegant. Yes, I am a dork.

18. I don't think you can think of it in mechanical terms because it is real effect on time, not the clock. The same time dialtion effect is seen in things like the decay rates of fundamental particles which have no "mechanics" involved.

19. Originally Posted by ShinAce
edit: I'm slow today...but what is TR?
I believe the OP is using TR to stand for the Theory of Relativity.

20. Originally Posted by Digix
Not sure if that is not ATM(everything is supposed to be same as mainstream), but mechanical reason will be, that clock parts get additional mass.

Assume that you have spring and ball that system oscillates, if ball becomes heavier, your clock become slower.

Once you accelerate something that object gains mass proportional to its kinetic energy, so it appears that mass is also relative.
But to avoid that GR chooses to mangle space-time instead of readjusting mass-energy of every object and recalculating every clock.

I would like to remap all GR into mass-energy instead of space-time since this it more intuitive if we keep space time absolute and change everything else instead.
Not really. In the object's rest frame, it will gain no mass, despite the high relativistic velocity relative to some other frame. Therefore, as viewed from the object, the period will be the same. In addition, completely mass-independent processes slow down at exactly the same rate as mass-dependent processes, which makes this explanation misleading at best.

21. Originally Posted by Strange
I don't think you can think of it in mechanical terms because it is real effect on time, not the clock. The same time dialtion effect is seen in things like the decay rates of fundamental particles which have no "mechanics" involved.
But time is a man made unit to measure a rate of distance and motion and therefore those parameters are the ones that are relative.

22. Originally Posted by geonuc
I believe the OP is using TR to stand for the Theory of Relativity.
Correct

23. Originally Posted by Argos
Lets start by saying that Relativity has no bearing on the internal workings of clocks and organisms.
I think I know what you mean, but I disagree with this characterization.

Relativity does indeed govern the behavior of clocks, organisms n(rate of cell division for instance) and even the decay of elementary particles. The dynamics involved follow relativistic dynamics.

What is true is that the difference in time intervals measured by two clocks (atomic, battery-powered, or wind-up) is not due to some change in the internal configuration or design principles of the devices, but due to the fact that time itself is an observer-dependent quantity.

Relativity is at the most fundamental level a revolutionary theory of the very nature of space and time. Indeed, it tells us that there the issue is not space and time at all. There is really no such thing as time and no such thing as space but only spacetime. Space and time are observer-dependent artifacts of coordinate systems.

We get confused by our language which was developed to describe a Newtonian perception of the world.

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Originally Posted by Argos
I donīt think it is useful to introduce these concepts [namely Relativistic Mass] at this point. It can only distract uncommonsense, and weīd be doing him a disservice. As I said, thereīs no mechanical alteration or transformation when bodies travel close to c.
Problem with usual explanation is that it is purely mathematical representation without any material reasoning. it is impossible to understand why space or time is contracting if we have no material and imaginable representation of space and time you cannot imagine space or time. so if we replace world "time" with "clock" and space with some reference cube it becomes much simpler.

Originally Posted by cjl
Not really. In the object's rest frame, it will gain no mass, despite the high relativistic velocity relative to some other frame. Therefore, as viewed from the object, the period will be the same. In addition, completely mass-independent processes slow down at exactly the same rate as mass-dependent processes, which makes this explanation misleading at best.
That is why i said that mass itself can be viewed as relative value.
just instead of time dilation we can recalculate everything to mass increase.

And it does not matter if clock is pendulum based or particle decay. since we can assume that particles have also some oscillations too.
I think that is only way to imagine all reactivity process mechanically.

25. Just think of some of those nice circular clock gears becoming ellipsoids with speed.

Small wonder the clock runs slow!

(No. As a matter of fact I am not serious.)

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I'd say that time dilation and length contraction are physical, but not
mechanical. Instead, they are geometric. It isn't possible to have time
dilation without length contraction, and it isn't possible to have length
contraction without time dilation. They are two different aspects of the
same phenomenon: Geometric distortion of spacetime.

One clock undergoes time dilation and length contraction relative to
another clock when it is accelerated so that it has a different speed for
a while. In order to compare the two clocks it is necessary to accelerate
the first clock a second time, to bring it back to the unaccelerated clock.

I look up and see the tip of the antenna on the Empire State Building.
It is at an angle of 50 degrees up from the horizontal. My friend, talking
with me on his cell phone, says that he, too, is looking up at the tip of the
Empire State Building's antenna, but that it is at an angle of 70 degrees up
from the horizontal. The difference between what I see and what he sees
is not a change in the Empire State Building, nor is it a difference between
he and I, but it is a difference between my geometric relationship with the
ESB and his geometric relationship with the ESB. Different measurements
of time due to time dilation works very similarly.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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Time is a dimension, or quantity, rather than a unit. Just as length is a
dimension or quantity. Or mass, or electric charge, or temperature. Time
is no more manmade than are length, mass, electric charge, or temperature.
They all equally exist whether anyone is around to know it or not.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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Originally Posted by uncommonsense
[SIZE=2]As I further self study relativity, I repeatedly wonder: "by what mechanism do clocks described in relativity slow".
A good example of how that works is called a "light clock", which is two mirrors with a rigid rod fixing the (local) distance between them, and a beam of light bouncing back and forth ("ticking") between them. This device can tell you everything that relativity does with time, as long as you avow that it is indeed a good clock, and use the postulates of relativity about the speed of light being (locally) the same in all frames. Such a device can be used to derive time dilation, and you can use it to answer the OP-- it's a mechanism by which a moving clock appears to tick slowly, given the symmetry principle that says if such clocks in arbitrary motion look and function the same for an observer moving with said clock.

29. Argos said: Lets start by saying that Relativity has no bearing on the internal workings of clocks and organisms.

DrRocket replied: I think I know what you mean, but I disagree with this characterization. Relativity does indeed govern the behavior of clocks, organisms n(rate of cell division for instance) and even the decay of elementary particles. The dynamics involved follow relativistic dynamics.

I was trying to keep the explanation simple. Of course Relativity governs the most basic aspects of reality, l but was trying to deal with more basic misconceptions.

30. Thank you for the replies but I am still confused because:

- math does not act upon matter and so it can not slow a clock or cause a person to age more slowly.

-By way of analogy, if you expose one twin to massive radiation, then later compare changes in that twin's body to the other twin, the results are not a "dynamic", they are physical, the cause was physical or "mechanical".

- I cannot use the workings of a light clock to understand the slowing of other types of clocks nor the slowing of biological process.

Bottom line is at the end of classic twins example, the body of one is younger, and his/her wrist watch (not a light clock) has a different time. Math did not cause this - unless it was a result of quantum math in that all states of existance are probabilities and traveling at near light speed increases probability of returning home in an age retarded condition - but that's not TR and it's certainly not what a am suggesting. I want to know how TR explains it.

Whatever the cause, it effects every thing, not just light clocks - but all particles, or atoms, or elements. Don't all elements have to maintain certain characteristics in order to remain that element? What adjustments are required to maintain it's physical state when the element is accellerated? Do the various forms of energy of the element require redistribution? Am I an idiot?

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