V.6 No 1


The problem of physical time in today physics


The problem of physical time in today physics

S.B. Karavashkin and O.N. Karavashkina

Special Laboratory for Fundamental Elaboration SELF

187 apt., 38 bldg., Prospect Gagarina, Kharkov, 61140, Ukraine

phone +38 (057) 7370624

e-mail: selftrans@yandex.ru , selflab@mail.ru


In our previous papers devoted to different aspects of the theory of relativity and quantum theory we showed gross mistakes of these theories that make them groundless. So we have revealed: as today theoretical physics rejected the robust classical approaches, it has no reliable basis with which the scientists would be able to study correctly. This work builds a bridge of understanding for colleagues educated on the clearly idealistic relativistic and quantum conceptions, returning to the correct basic concepts of absolute and relative in the philosophy of physics – time, space, place, motion, acceleration, forces, correlation of moving reference frames. And though the aim of this work was to study the idea of physical time, the close interrelation of these concepts making the basis of classical physics required to involve to the consideration all definitions of Newtonian mechanics and to correlate them with the conventional theoretical and experimental basis. We tried to proceed not from the mathematical formalism as such but, doing not neglecting it, to base, following Newton, on the definitive properties of time as the philosophical category, combining them with the observed revelations and deriving from these properties the obvious, though sometimes unexpected corollaries.

We would like to mark especially: this work would take much more efforts, if not a considerable information support of a colleague widely known among the colleagues as Ivan, creator and supporter of the e-library of inaccessible original works on physics and philosophy of science , so we would like to greatly acknowledge him. We also would like to express our great thanks to the colleagues from the Russian-language forums Vallav, george_telezhko and especially EVV for their comments, notes and criticism that helped to improve this paper and to make it more readable.


1. Introduction

As today physics understands the matter, space and time are general forms to coordinate the material objects and their states. Space is the amount of relationships expressing the coordination of co-existing objects – their mutual location and relative size (distance and orientation); time is the amount of relationships expressing the coordination of states (phenomena), their sequence and duration that supersede each other” [1, p. 227].

It is done to distinguish the junction of basic forms of material objects coordination and those separated, existed before the theory of relativity. “In classical physics, another definition of space and time formulated by Newton was commonly accepted. According to the Newtonian conception of space and time, space is a void ‘receptacle’ of bodies; it is absolutely at rest, has definite size, is homogeneous and isotropic, and time is the ‘receptacle’ of events that uniformly flows from the past to future” [1, p. 227].

A reader not deeply aware in the nuances of contradictions between the classical and modern physics will not see an essential difference that makes the distinction between the old and today definitions. If material objects were in space, space certainly is a receptacle of these objects, at least because the large distance between the bodies incorporating the weighty matter exists and allows them moving in relation to each other, and the metric of this space determines their mutual location. The same with the concept of time. If we consider time from the view of some resting inertial reference frame, it will homogeneously and isotropically flow from the past to future and will identify, of course, the sequence and duration, as it is the receptacle of events to which, in that number, relate the periodical processes giving us the temp of time.

If we try to see the difference in the mentioning of some void receptacle of bodies, Newton meant under it not some immaterial essence, as the physicists used to read in the above citation, but some geometric versatility being the receptacle of weighty matter. “THUS air of double density, in a double space, is quadruple in quantity; in a triple space, sextuple in quantity. The same thing is to be understood of snow, and fine dust or powders, that are condensed by compression or liquefaction; and of all bodies that are by any caused whatever differently condensed. I have no regard in this place to a medium, if any such there is, that freely pervades the interstices between the parts of bodies” [2, p. 23]. And Newton clearly expressed his attitude to aether: “And now we might add something concerning a certain most subtle Spirit which pervades and lies hid in all gross bodies; by the force and action of which Spirit the particles of bodies mutually attract one another at near distances, and cohere, if contiguous; and electric bodies operate to greater distances, as well repelling as attracting the neighbouring corpuscles; and light is emitted, reflected, refracted, inflected, and heats bodies; and all sensation is excited, and the members of animal bodies move at the command of the will, namely, by the vibrations of this Spirit, mutually propagated along the solid filaments of the nerves, from the outward organs of sense to the brain, and from the brain into the muscles. But these are things that cannot be explained in few words, nor are we furnished with that sufficiency of experiments which is required to an accurate determination and demonstration of the laws by which this electric and elastic Spirit operates” [2, p. 662]. These citations show that Newton did not think space void and immaterial but made a clear distinction of geometrical and physical essence of space. In this meaning Newton’s definition does not differ from that modern.

None the less, the history of philosophy and physics is full of strong controversies around the concepts of space and time. “Idealistic philosophers state that time and space are independent of matter and consider them as the form of individual consciousness (Berkley, Yum, Mach), or as a priori forms of sensitive contemplation (Kant), or as the categories of absolute spirit (Hegel). Materialism emphasises an objective pattern of time and space. The fact that time and space are inseparable from matter reveals that they are universal and holistic. Space defines the arrangement of simultaneously co-existing objects, and time defines the sequence of existence of phenomena that follow each other. Time is irreversible, i.e. each material process develops in one direction – from the past to future” [3, p, 75]. We can add, both idealists and materialists are clearly inconsistent in their positions.

In particular, materialists reproach idealists that they think space and time independent of matter, but at the same time materialists are sure that the theory of relativity is fully consistent with the materialistic view on the subject: “the main conclusion of Einstein’s theory of relativity is just, it has established that time and space exist not independently, separately from matter, but are in a such universal interrelation in which they lose their independence and become the sides of the uniform and diversiform whole” [3, p. 76]. And they say it, well knowing that in the very first paper Einstein fully denied the materiality of space: “With it, it will become excessive to introduce the luminiferous ether, as in the suggested theory we do not introduce the ‘absolutely resting space’ provided with special properties, as well as we do not attribute any vector of speed to any point of void space in which the electromagnetic processes occur” [4, p. 8]. They say it, well knowing that Einstein has substituted the idea of material substance by the idea of field, ignoring a simple fact: this concept determines exceptionally the force interaction of bodies and we may not extend it to the mere geometrical forms inherent just in space: “The force field is the region of space at each point of which the material particle that has been put there is under affection of a force determined in its value and direction and dependent only on coordinates x, y and z of this point. Such force field is called resting; if the force of field depends also on time, the force field is called non-resting” [5, p. 524]. In this definition the field strongly belongs to the space whose metric gives the value of field at each point before we start studying the interaction, although here is a clear incorrectness that the value of vector of interaction depends exceptionally on coordinates. The laws of field show that the interaction depends also on the intensity of the field source, and this is the matter of principle. But even in so cut-down understanding of field, how had they to disregard the essence of things to accept ‘materialistic’ the statements like this: “If we imagine the field to be lifted, there will not remain any ‘space’, as the space has not an independent existence” [6, p. 788]. The more that, according to relativistic idea, The force field is, thus, the divergence between the natural geometry of the coordinate system and abstract geometry being arbitrarily attributed to it. The force field, thus, is produced due to a definite predisposition of our mind. If we do not misinterpret the admitted coordinate system comparing with what it really is, the force field would not exist. If we do not consider our rotating axes as if they are not rotating, the centrifugal force would never arise” [7, p. 71]. “In this connection, the following idea encouraged me. We are aware of ‘imaginary’ fields existing in the coordinate systems, moving arbitrarily as to the inertial system. With these fields we would be able to study the law to which, generally, gravity fields obey” [8, p. 103]. As the result, they think so: “Some part of this force field we would be able to cancel, should the observer initially introduced some other coordinate system (not rotating with the Earth). As the force field arises due to the rotation of coordinate system, it usually is thought to be a mathematical fiction called the centrifugal force” [7, p. 73]. It follows from the said, however relativists admit the materiality of space, this materiality, as well as the force field itself, is fictitious for them. They admit it as some mathematical fetish diluted by the sophistry like the following. “The ether of general theory of relativity basically differs from the Lorentz ether, as its state at any place is dynamically determined with differential equations by the matter” [9, p. 688], by which they cover the immateriality of space postulated in the special relativity and retained in passing from SR to GR together with the 4-D metric of space-time.

At the same time, if speaking of Maxwell’s approaches, when modelling the EM field, he really said of possibility to give the force otherwise in case of liquid model of electrostatic fields taken as an analogy: “Still it was done to begin the study of laws of electric and magnetic fields with an assumption that the cause of these phenomena are the attractive and repulsive forces between the given points. We would like to consider the same issue from another point of view, more suitable to our study – namely, determining the value and direction of discussed forces with the speed and direction of motion of incompressible liquid” [10, p. 17]. In Maxwell’s study there also were present some initials of geometrisation of physical processes: “Reducing everything to a mere geometrical idea of motion of some imaginary liquid, I hope to achieve the generality and accuracy and to eliminate the danger that arises in attempts to explain the causes of phenomena through a premature theory” [10, p. 17]. But as opposite to relativists, Maxwell distinctively separated the methods of analogy applied to study the regularities of physical phenomena and the phenomena themselves, and he clearly contoured the limits in which the models chosen as an analogy are true: “As the physical analogy I think the particular likeness (! – Authors) between the laws of two whatever fields of science, due to which one is an illustration (! – Authors) for another. In this sense, all applications of mathematics in the science are based on the relations between the laws to which the physical values obey and the laws of mathematics; thus, the aim of natural sciences is to reduce the problems of natural sciences to the finding of values through the operation on numbers. Passing from the most general analogy to that special, we find the likeness (! – Authors) in the mathematical form of two different areas of nature that served, e.g., as the basis of physical theory of light. The change of direction of the light beams when they pass from one medium to another is identical to the deviation of material particle from the direct path, when it passes through a thin layer in which the forces act. On this analogy that is true only for direction, not for speed of motion, one explanation of the light refraction which long time was thought correct and which yet now, when we already do not dare to apply it out of an area of its applicability (! – Authors), is useful in solving different problems as an artificial mathematical tool. The second analogy between the light and oscillations of an elastic medium goes much farther, and though we cannot overestimate its importance and fruitfulness, we have to remember, it is based only on a formal likeness between the laws of light phenomena and laws of elastic oscillations. If we devoid it of physical appearance and reduced to the theory of ‘transverse oscillations’, there would remain only a system of truths which, though it will not bring something hypothetical into the observed facts, but perhaps will be groundless both in the visualisation and in fruitfulness of methods[10, p. 13, italics is our – Authors]. When relativists formed their conception, they from the very beginning substituted the physics by geometry, used the models being the analogies of physical reality, and they multiply violated the mathematical logic, as we many times showed it in our previous papers [11], [12], [13], [14] and [15].

The same concerning the time. If we take as idealistic the understanding of time as of “a priori forms of sensitive contemplation”, it would be actually strange to take as materialistic, for example, such Einstein’s statement: “What can we say about the psychological nature of the concept of time? This concept, undoubtedly, relates to the fact of ‘memory’, as well as to the differentiation of sensations and reminiscence of them. It is doubtful, whether the differentiation of sensitive experience and reminiscence (or simply imagination) gives us something. Each knows by his own experience that he often doubted, whether he really experienced something or simply imagined it. Possibly, the ability to differ these possibilities first comes as a result of activity of mind putting things in order” [16, p. 747]. In other words, the properties of time which we account in classical physics in the way that we do not identify space and time which are independent with their own features and properties, – relativists reduce them to some activity of mind that put things in order. From this, the absence of thinking in nature will disorder the time sequence. While, e.g., a tree first grows, then blooms, then gives ovary, and only after it the fruits will ripen. All these processes occur in a strong time sequence independently of, whether we watch them or not. Our senses in this case (if we study how the fruits ripen) are contemplative, and our brain detects the time dependence for itself in order to use this knowledge later, but in no way it is able to affect this sequence of events. And if under the activity putting things in order we mean the supreme intellect, it is the more strange when materialists agree with such Einsteinian interpretation.

As opposite to it, according to Newtonian structure of definitions of space and time, “I do not define time, space, place and motion, as being well known to all. Only I must observe, that the vulgar conceive those quantities under no other notions but from the relation they bear to sensible objects. And thence arise certain prejudices, for the removing of which, it will be convenient to distinguish them into absolute and relative, true and apparent, mathematical and common” [2, p. 30].

So, when reading such relativistic ‘doubts’ concerning the concepts of space and time, like “May we really think that due to a curious chance we see the laws of nature in a such unusual way that no one of them allows to study the fast motion of our planet through the ether? Would it be more trustworthy to assume that some erroneous reason brought us to a deadlock?” [17, p. 143], – it stands to reason to recall the Eudoxe’s question from Descarte’s work “Finding the truth with help of natural life”: “Your comparison is fascinating, and I also had an intention to lead you only to this border. But now the time came when you have to apply your attention to the conclusions that I would like to make from this. Thus, you noted, you have the grounds to be doubting, whether the knowledge of all things actually comes to you with feeling; but can you doubt in your doubt and remain unsure, are you doubting or not?” [18, p. 165]. Well, “the meaning of idealism is, the psychical is taken as the primordial. From it the nature is derived and then from the nature – usual human consciousness. So this primordial ‘psychical’ always is a dead abstraction concealing the diluted theology” [19, p. 220]. “We ourselves, not the nature is guilty when we mistake” [20, p. 67].

Adherents of relativistic conception are factually idealists. They have substituted the materialistic views on the space, time and matter. And they also ‘pay debts’ to materialists, applying a quite simple trick that overplays the views of materialists and makes their theory primitive. “Still our idea of space was related to a box. However it appears that all possible ways to place that determine the space-box do not depend on, how thick are the box walls. … If now the idea of space is formed in the above way and follows from the experience 'to fill' the box, this space is first of all – a limited space. But this limitation is insignificant, as, obviously, we always can involve into consideration a larger box covering that smaller. In this way the space seems to be something unlimited” [16, p. 745–746]. Or so: “Space and time are so the absolute reference system” [1, p. 227]. The most interesting is that people calling themselves materialists echo this: “Natural scientists up to 20th century identified space with void, thought it absolute, always and everywhere same and resting, and time – flowing uniformly. The modern physics has rejected all old ideas of space as a void receptacle of bodies and of time as a uniform for all infinite universe” [3, p. 75].

Rejected – well, rejected. But when we draw, e.g., the time axis in the Minkowski space, by some reason it appears common for all values of spatial coordinates and in the plot of objects’ motion in space and time in relation to the given frame we always can indicate the time for any object, however far it would be located from the origin of coordinate system. And we always can show the location of several bodies, where are they at the chosen moment of time. Does not it speak that in this frame the time is common for the whole space? The more that relativists express their thought quite inaccurate when saying that the theory of relativity has put an end to the simultaneity of events. Actually, as Einstein admitted, “In classical mechanics, as well as in the special theory of relativity, the spatial and time coordinates have their immediate physical meaning. When we say that the pointed event has a coordinate x1, this means the following: we get the projection of the pointed event onto the axis X1 plotted in Euclidean geometry with help of solid rods, laying off a definite ruler – the unit scale – x1 times from the coordinate origin along the (positive) axis X1 . When we say that the point has the coordinate x4 = t , this means the following: after the clock (time etalon) resting in relation to the coordinate system spatially (practically) coinciding with the pointed event and regulated after definite rules, it passed x4 = t  periods, when the pointed event occurred” [21, p. 457]. With it, Einstein’s excuse that the event spatially coincides with the clock location only in approximation, which is as if necessary to detect the event exactly, is clearly excessive. In one frame, if we introduce in it the physical time which Einstein defined so: “To know the time at each point of space, we can imagine the space filled with a huge number of clocks, and all clocks have to be same… The amount of readings of all these clocks going in phase with each other will compile what we call the physical time” [17, p. 147–149], – the Lorentz transforms give strongly synchronous time for any point of the chosen inertial frame. We can easily make it sure if we map the inertial frame into itself, using the Lorentz transforms. To show it, let us make a transformation from a resting frame K into another frame K'  resting in reference to this first, given at some point O of the resting frame K we have a resting controlling clock. Then, to determine the time at some arbitrary point A of the frame K' , which is also at rest in its frame, where we also have a resting clock, same as that first, – we can apply the Lorentz transform for the time and yield


The same for a moving reference frame, supposing that the controlling clock resting with respect to this frame is located at some point O' , yield for an arbitrary point A'   resting with respect to this frame


So we have proven that at each frame, irrespectively of, is it moving or not, the relativistic time is strongly synchronised and it is excessive to point them approximate. With it, Einstein’s statement that when we introduce the simultaneity of two elementary events, we do it arbitrarily, appears incorrect: “Thus, we may not a priori premise that we can check the clocks of two groups so that both time coordinates of the elementary event were equal, in other words, t to be equal to t' . To premise it would mean to introduce an arbitrary hypothesis. Up to now this hypothesis was introduced in kinematics” [17, p. 150]. The inconsistency of times arises in Relativity in passing from one frame to another. As we showed in [11], this means not simultaneity but an illegally inclined plane of events making the pattern of processes an arbitrarily indefinite. But this inclination does not mean that relativists fully rejected the idea of the same time in each frame. Without this idea they would be unable to track the path of a body in space. And all these citations corroborate: those who state the materialistic world-outlook are factually idealists that falsely call themselves materialists.

Such situation arose in physics on the edge of 19–20 centuries. Undoubtedly, it has much impeded the development of our understanding of nature. Out of solving this problem, it is senseless to develop any idea, because “if in some things being the subject of study we meet a thing which our mind is unable to consider quite well, we have to stop here, doing not studying other things following this first but abstaining from an unnecessary work” [22, p. 100]. We will make use of this Descartes’ exhortation in our present work whose aim is to form the correct understanding of time in inertial reference frames moving with speeds comparable with the speed of light, in supposition that except an immediate advantage which such explanation can give, this can serve as the basis of analysis, how much correct are conceptions alternative to Relativity, and to put them in order. And when we make clear the issues related to physical time, this will allow us to disprove the distortions which relativists propagandise up to now concerning the classical understanding of the issues.

Contents: / 53 / 54 / 55 / 56 / 57 / 58 / 59 / 60 / 61 / 62 / 63 / 64 / 65 / 66 / 67 / 68 / 69 / 70 / 71 / 72 / 73 / 74 / 75 / 76 / 77 / 78 / 79 / 80 / 81 / 82 / 83 /

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