Author Topic: A Clock that Will Last Forever  (Read 735 times)

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Offline Graybeard

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A Clock that Will Last Forever
« on: September 25, 2012, 03:23:42 PM »
This is beyond parody. This is so far into the realms of Sci-Fi that if you introduced it into a story, people would laugh. Yet it is happening now:
Quote
Berkeley Lab Researchers Propose a Way to Build the First Space-Time Crystal  (Full story at http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2012/09/24/a-clock-that-will-last-forever/ )

Imagine a clock that will keep perfect time forever, even after the heat-death of the universe. This is the “wow” factor behind a device known as a “space-time crystal,” a four-dimensional crystal that has periodic structure in time as well as space. However, there are also practical and important scientific reasons for constructing a space-time crystal. With such a 4D crystal, scientists would have a new and more effective means by which to study how complex physical properties and behaviors emerge from the collective interactions of large numbers of individual particles, the so-called many-body problem of physics. A space-time crystal could also be used to study phenomena in the quantum world, such as entanglement, in which an action on one particle impacts another particle even if the two particles are separated by vast distances.

A space-time crystal, however, has only existed as a concept in the minds of theoretical scientists with no serious idea as to how to actually build one – until now. An international team of scientists led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has proposed the experimental design of a space-time crystal based on an electric-field ion trap and the Coulomb repulsion of particles that carry the same electrical charge.


...
Because the space-time crystal is already at its lowest quantum energy state, its temporal order – or timekeeping – will theoretically persist even after the rest of our universe reaches entropy, thermodynamic equilibrium or “heat-death.”
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Online One Above All

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Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2012, 03:28:24 PM »
Very cool.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Nick

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Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2012, 05:51:00 PM »
Bet the Myans already did this. ;)
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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 01:54:39 AM »
This seems waaaay over my head.  How does relativity factor into this? (not expecting an answer but would love one)

Offline jdawg70

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Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2012, 12:10:32 PM »
Yeah, to Hades with atomic clocks.

I want a quantum watch.  I can't wait to attribute my tardiness to a meeting to quantum tunneling.
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
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Offline Backspace

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Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2012, 12:55:32 PM »
Quote
...will keep perfect time, even after the heat-death of the universe

There's always a catch  ;)
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Offline IAmFirst

Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 04:43:32 AM »
Sorry, but isn't time-- the time we know of-- an entirely human concept based on our planet's rotation? If I was born on Mars, I'd only be 19. :D
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Offline BaalServant

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Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2012, 07:55:26 PM »
Very cool.  The real trick is going to be observing such a thing without affecting it.

@ Bereft_of_Faith - Regarding relativity, the state of the crystal will vary depending on the observer's motion relative to the crystal.

@ IAmFirst - Sure, the definition of a unit of time is arbitrary, just as the definition for a unit of length or mass, but during those 19 revolutions of Mars, 35 years worth of seconds will have still passed, on Earth as well as on Mars.
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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2012, 03:22:23 AM »
Very cool.  The real trick is going to be observing such a thing without affecting it.

@ Bereft_of_Faith - Regarding relativity, the state of the crystal will vary depending on the observer's motion relative to the crystal.

Read the above three times.  I think I'll stick with my wrist mounted hourglass.  At least I understand falling sand (pretty much)

Offline Nam

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Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2012, 12:27:26 AM »
So, how much will a wrist watch cost?

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2012, 05:02:39 AM »
Probably a few million - I'd wait for the cheap oriental knock-offs
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Nam

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Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2012, 07:34:31 PM »
Can't wait.

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Offline Tykster

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Re: A Clock that Will Last Forever
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2012, 10:10:27 AM »
Sorry, but isn't time-- the time we know of-- an entirely human concept based on our planet's rotation? If I was born on Mars, I'd only be 19. :D

Here's my layman's answer based on relatively light reading/understanding of the subject:

Time exists as a real dimension. What you're referring to ( I think ) is how man has divided up time for our own purposes i.e. to measure and predict things. We exist in such small time scales compared to the how long time has been in existence ( since the Big Bang ) - and each person has their own "version" of time.

Time acts differently at different speeds ( Einstein ) but because we witness very, very small snippets we, in our everyday world, don't see it.

This has been proven :


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafele%E2%80%93Keating_experiment

At great distances and speeds this phenomena is significant, but here on earth, with our cosmologically small distances and short lengths of time, it's much less significant, but it still exists.
rhocam ~ I guess there are several trillion cells in a man, and one in an amoeba, so to be generous, lets say that there were a billion. That is one every fifteen years. So in my lifetime I should have seen two evolutionary changes.