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Time, Additional Subthemes

Subthemes: Space-Time Continuum, Shrinks with Increasing Velocity

Previous posts have spent time on four works of art that suggests characteristics of time: a poem of concern about wasting time on wooing, a painting of a family with a prominent, symbolic clock, a ‘60’s song about choices of moments and milestones, and a movie based on variations from the same starting point. Each post draws out subthemes of time, but a few subthemes pertain to more than one piece of art or none of them.

Space-Time Continuum: Physicists have studied time for, well, a long time. Ever since the breakthroughs of Albert Einstein, we understand the melding of space and time, as physical constructs, into a mathematical/physical entity called ‘space-time’. Because space consists of three dimensions, and time is one-dimensional, space-time must, therefore, have four dimensions. It is deemed a ‘continuum’ because as far as we know, there are no missing points in space or instants in time, and both can be subdivided without any apparent limit in size or duration.Here is the Stanford University explanation the preceding was drawn from.

Shrinks with Increasing Velocity: Einstein’s theory of special relativity says that time slows down or speeds up depending on how fast you move relative to something else. Approaching the speed of light, a person inside a spaceship would age much slower than her twin at home. The passage of time for a speedy traveler will slow down relative to the elapsed time on Earth. Even astronauts who orbit the earth at speeds a tiny fraction of the 670 million miles per hour light zips along return to earth fractions of a second younger than the mission controllers in Houston.

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