By Adam Mann
The smallest conceivable length of time might be no larger than a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second. That’s according to a new theory describing the implications of the universe having a fundamental clock-like property whose ticks would interact with our best atomic timepieces.
Such an idea could help scientists get closer to doing experiments that would illuminate a theory of everything, an overarching framework that would reconcile the two pillars of 20th-century physics — quantum mechanics, which looks at the smallest objects in existence, and Albert Einstein’s relativity, which describes the most massive ones.
Most of us have some sense of time’s passage. But what exactly is time?
“We don’t know,” Martin Bojowald, a physicist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, told Live Science. “We know that things change, and we describe that change in terms of time.”
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