A second of time is defined as x oscillations of a cesium atom's resonant frequency, and is commonly measured in
atomic clocks. If an atomic clock is propelled at near the speed of light (or at any speed), wouldn't that definition of a second be distorted? If so, shouldn't we add a longitude and latitude to the definition since
all places on earth travel at different speeds?
Asked by: Ryan Gallagher
A second of time can only be defined relative to the observer. Whether you determine the
passage of one second of time with a stopwatch or a Cesium 133 atom, you want the source of
that measurement to be in your own inertial frame. What you are measuring is the passage
of LOCAL time. There is no universal inertial frame of reference that can determine an
'absolute' second to correct for.
Answered by: Paul Walorski, B.A. Physics, Part-time Physics Instructor
'The strength and weakness of physicists is that we believe in what we can measure. And if we can't measure it, then we say it probably doesn't exist. And that closes us off to an enormous amount of phenomena that we may not be able to measure because they only happened once. For example, the Big Bang. ... That's one reason why they scoffed at higher dimensions for so many years. Now we realize that there's no alternative... '