Traveling at the Speed Of Time July 14, 2006Posted by Andy in andy roth, einstein, relativity, soapbox.
27 November 2001
“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.” – Albert Einstein
We’ve all noticed that the speed of time is not consistent. Not even a little. Some moments/days/weeks/months/years go by quickly while others crawl slowly past. What’s more, one’s preception of a given span can change depending on when one is examining it. While you are in the middle of long drive, it can seem like it is taking forever, but when you get there, the trip did not seem that long. Also, there is no law of conservation of time perception. For example, a week that consists of seven slow days in retrospect could seem to have flown by.
A question that this time flow discontinuity brings up is how do we measure the relative speed of time. For most things, rates are determined by dividing something by time. Can we thus divide time by time? Perhaps if we divide how long a span “feels” like, lets call that relative time, by how long it actually is, that would give us a speed. So the minute on the hot stove that feels like an hour would be 60/1, or 60. The hour with the pretty girl would be 1/60 or 0.0167.
I wonder how long it would seem to be sitting with a pretty girl while your hand was on a hot stove.