MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Does gravitational time dilation slow down time or only clocks?

Date: Wed Sep 27 10:27:04 2000
Posted By: Dan Mayer, Post-doc/Fellow, Mathematics and Theoretical and Particle Physics, I am currently out of work.
Area of science: Physics
ID: 969677383.Ph

Gravitational time dilation does not only slow down clocks, it slows down 
the passage through time of everything in the gravitational field - 
including you, so you would not see a clock to go slower if you were near 
it as your 'mental clock' would be going just as slowly. All this is 
described by Einstein's theory of General Relativity, an etremely 
difficult theory to grasp. If you would like to find out more about time 
dilation (and length changes, mass changes, and mass-energy equivalence, I 
suggest you research into Einstein's Special Relativity.
The idea of relativity is to throw out the concept of us travelling 
through time inescapably, and accept time as just another dimension, so 
that moving through it is like moving forwards, left, or up. The catch, 
however, is that nothing can move faster than the speed of light, and that 
the speed of light appears constant (c=300000000metres/second) to all 
observers. From this, Einstein showed that time is dilated by the 'gamma 
factor' for an object moving at speed v, where gamma=sqrt(1/(1-(v/c)^2)).

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