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earthduzt's avatar

Can spacetime slow down dramatically? My head is going to explode thinking about this...

Asked by earthduzt (3218points) April 5th, 2010

First of all I love documentaries about our Universe. I recently watched one about how the scientists predict how the Universe would and when it supposed to end. The how and when it ends doesn’t really concern me, they predict it supposed to end in about 100 trillion years. They did though go through the 5 different stages of the Universe..The Primordial Era, The Stelliferous Era (which is the one we are in now), The Degenerate Era, The Black Hole Era, and then finally the era that really boggles my mind…The Dark Era.

What boggles me about this era is they predicted in this era time will almost be non existent something like 0.0000000000000001 before time reaches 0. So they said if a human were to live in this stage of the Universe, the mere thought of doing something like tying your shoe for example would take you 1 trillion years just to come up with the thought of it. How could this be so? In this era matter no longer exists well at least what we consider matter and because matter does not exists and hardly does time, they say anything that exists in this era is very very slow. Also in this era it is possible that atoms which to us right now are microscopic could theoretically grow as large as the Universe itself. In this era does it seem like our laws of physics just change radically and nothing makes sense anymore? Any physics people out there that want to chime in on this head exploding subject?

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26 Answers

njnyjobs's avatar

if there’s a break system large enough to put a damper on the motion of the universe, then I don’t think so.

dpworkin's avatar

Spacetime is, to coin a phrase, relative. You wouldn’t experience these events as taking so long, but your observer would.

RareDenver's avatar

@earthduzt what was this documentary called? I would be interested to watch it myself.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The distinction between the perspective of the actor and the observer is critical here. All the complex mathematics that explains these phenomena are defined in terms of the observer.
I am trying to clarify @dpworkin‘s point.

earthduzt's avatar

The Documentary is called the Universe, its a full series of them…very interesting stuff…This one is called The Cosmic Apocalypse

davidbetterman's avatar

I used to live in The Degenerate Era. It is a fun timezone.

kittybee's avatar

Your mind feels like it’s going to explode because we as humans, with a human mind made to percieve the physics of this world, cannot comprehend it, it’s beyond our reasoning and beyond the capabilities of our brains. I’m pretty sure no-one can say they fully understand these things, but only work it out mathematically. It’s like trying to percieve a colour on the ultraviolet light scale.

earthduzt's avatar

@fiona I understand, I just try my hardest to think or to imagine myself during this time of the Universe and try to comprehend this uncomprehending theory. Sometimes it’s fun to make my head almost explode :)

I suppose its like us vs. plants…plants are on a completely different time scale to us. To us it looks like they are doing nothing for the most part, but if I were the plant then Im sure I could feel myself doing something everyday.

kittybee's avatar

Good point.

Parrappa's avatar

Only the Ancients can comprehend complex universe thoughts such as these.

sorry, sg-1 geek here

davidbetterman's avatar

@Parrappa Don’t sit in that chair of knowledge!

Parrappa's avatar

By the way, dpworkin had it right. Time is relative so to you it would seem as if your moving at normal speed, but to everyone outside of the time distortion field they would see you moving really slow. Quite awesome I think. The universe is absolutely amazing but I also find the concept of time to be almost as fascinating.

Not a physics expert or anything, just an interested soon-to-be physics/astronomy major.

CaptainHarley's avatar

All of that presupposes the heat-death of the entire universe, which is only a hypothetical possibility, given our current level of understanding. I would be willing to bet my seat on the daily shuttle to Mars that our view of the universe will radically change in only a few years.

earthduzt's avatar

@CaptainHarley Right, that is why they are all pretty much called theories. They are fun to imagine though and what their mathematical formulas can conjure up as predictions.

the100thmonkey's avatar

The documenatry didn’t assert that spacetime slowed down; it said that any processes and interactions take place over extremely large timescales because the universe is so cold.

The example used was the difference between watching the behaviour of plants from our perspective, and comparing it with time-lapse footage, which shows us that plants are a lot less boring than we think.

earthduzt's avatar

@the100thmonkey the one scientist said that just the mear thought of what you wanted for breakfast would take trillions of years…wouldn’t that mean time has slowed down to almost nothing?

dpworkin's avatar

It means that from an observer’s standpoint it would seem to take that long for you to form a thought. As far as you were concerned nothing would change.

earthduzt's avatar

@dpworkin ok I understand, still blows my head off…so if there were lets say a colony of us living back then inside we’d feel normal…but say to you standing next to me you would see me doing something that would pass in a trillion years…or are we talking about some “Godly” type observer? head is ready to bust

dpworkin's avatar

Anyone traveling at a slower pace than you would see you as acting correspondingly slower. This has been demonstrated by accelerating atomic clocks, and comparing them to non-accelerated atomic clocks.

DarkScribe's avatar

As long as the world doesn’t end before next Tuesday I am ok with it. I am going for a deep dive on a new wreck next Tuesday (the first one for a couple of years) and it might be a bit difficult too do if the world has ended.

earthduzt's avatar

@DarkScribe lol I hear ya! I’ll be heading for a dive this summer well hopefully more than one!

Fred931's avatar

I could eat a Hotpocket and my head wouldn’t hurt this badly…

the100thmonkey's avatar

We’re not talking about relativistic physics, inasmuch as we’re talking about the documentary.

The scientist bloke was using an analogy to elucidate the kind of life that might hypothetically exist in (I think) the degenerate era.

gorillapaws's avatar

@earthduzt “that is why they are all pretty much called theories.”

The word “theory” has a special meaning in science, it doesn’t mean a “guess” like it does in colloquial speech. This should help clarify it.

mattbrowne's avatar

The debate about Big Freeze, Big Rip, Big Crunch and Big Bounce is ongoing. What is settled is that time slows down as you approach the event horizon of a black hole (for the outside observer).

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