On the existence of time

Vesselin Petkov, 06.12.2016

Minkowski Institute, Montreal, Canada

One often hears the question of whether physics has shown that time does not exist.

The 1908 famous lecture “Space and Time” ( PDF) by Hermann Minkowski (Einstein’s mathematics professor) made it possible to answer this question:

  1. Time is very much real since it does exist as the fourth dimension of a real four-dimensional world whose existence was discovered by Minkowski who successfully decoded the hidden message of all failed experiments to discover absolute motion in the absolute space: those experiments failed because there is no such thing as an absolute (single) space in the world; all observers in relative motion have their own spaceS and timeS, which is possible in a real for-dimensional world. Here are Minkowski’s own words:“Hereafter we would then have in the world no more the space, but an infinite number of spaces analogously as there is an infinite number of planes in three-dimensional space. Three-dimensional geometry becomes a chapter in four-dimensional physics.”
  2. What does not exist is the flow of time since there is no such thing in the four-dimensional world in which all moments of time have equal existence (forming the fourth dimension).

It should be stressed that it is the experimental evidence that forced Minkowski to conclude that the world is four-dimensional; now the experimental proof of the higher four-dimensional reality is truly irrefutable – the experiments that confirmed the relativistic effects would be impossible if reality were a three-dimensional world (evolving in time) – see “The world is four-dimensional – Hermann Minkowski’s irrefutable proof” (Minkowski Institute – Foundational Knowledge – Minkowski’s Proof).

For those who wonder how we could perceive that time flows, if all events of spacetime exist equally, here is Hermann Weyl’s explanation (which does raise the question of the nature of consciousness, but nevertheless it is the only meaningful explanation):

“The objective world merely exists, it does not happen; as a whole it has no history. Only before the eye of the consciousness climbing up in the world line of my body, a section of this world “comes to life” and moves past it as a spatial image engaged in temporal transformation.”


Seriously on relativistic mass

Vesselin Petkov, 05.12.2016

Minkowski Institute, Montreal, Canada

The issue of relativistic mass (recently being questioned by an increasing!? number of physicists) is one more example of the kind of questions that are being analyzed at the Minkowski Institute.

Here is my personal position on the issue with which I enter the discussions at the Minkowski Institute. Once the position of the Minkowski Institute has been determined (after a rigorous examination of the existing theoretical and experimental evidence), it will be announced.

The fact [1] of the relativistic increase of mass is one of the deepest open questions in spacetime physics. Research on it is physics at its best.

Trying to deny the fact that mass increases with velocity or to declare it a matter of taste or fashion is, I think, physics at its worst, because a potentially groundbreaking research direction is excluded from the very beginning.

It is true that physics at its best also includes the ability to identify and rule out research directions based on misconceptions, but for reasons summarized below (and explained in detail in a book near completion: Introduction to Spacetime Physics) I do not think the relativistic increase of mass is a misconception.

On the contrary, the recent fashion to claim that mass does not increase with velocity is, I think, an unfortunate and embarrassing misconception.

When two facts are taken explicitly into account:

  • the very definition of mass (that mass is defined as the measure of the resistance a particle offers to its acceleration)
  • that in relativity acceleration is different in different reference frames

it becomes immediately clear that the mass of a particle cannot be the same in all frames in relative motion.

Proper or rest mass (which is an invariant) and relativistic mass (which is frame-dependent) are exactly like proper time (which is an invariant) and relativistic / coordinate time (which is frame-dependent) [and, to some extent, like proper and relativistic length].


[1] The fact is that an increasing force should be applied to a particle to accelerate it to speeds close to the speed of light. As Newton first realized it, to accelerate a particle, a force is needed to overcome the particle’s resistance to its acceleration (i.e. its resistance to a change in its velocity). And as the mass of a particle is defined as the measure of the resistance the particle offers to its acceleration, it is indeed a fact that the mass of a particle increases with velocity – to accelerate a particle to speeds approaching the speed of light an increasing force is needed because the particle offers an increasing resistance (as its speed increases), which must be overcome by the applied force; that is, an increasing force is needed to accelerate a particle whose mass (the measure of the particle resistance to its acceleration) is increasing.