The height of time dilation

The office move at work means a change in height for many departments. Will the time dilation as defined by GR be noticeable? Time will tell!

In a few weeks our department at work is changing floor.

Instead of being at the heady heights of the 3rd floor, we’re going down to the 2nd. This is to allow the IT department to move into our old office cubicles.

But I think I’ve found the real reason. According to GR theory, time passes slower in higher gravitational fields. In other words, time will pass slower for us on the 2nd floor than for those on the 3rd floor.

If we work in an environment where time runs slower, presumably we are able to perform more tasks in the same duration. It’s not that we have more time, but that we become more efficient.

Conversely, for the IT crowd up on 3rd floor, they won’t have less time for their tasks, it’s just that time will be zooming on ahead and if they’re not careful it will run completely ahead of them.

Will it make a measurable difference? We’ll duly find out. It already seems to take an eternity for the phone call to IT services to be answered without time actually running slower for us than for them.

Time will tell!


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A relatively simple lunch

People say that we are all time travellers because we move through time at a rate of 1 second / second.

I pointed out in my definition on what is time travel that this is not the case…if time is like a river and we sit on a boat floating on that river, we have an analogous case – we flow down-stream but we’re not in control. We drift; we don’t travel (except relative to the river bed).

A friend pointed out that maybe describing time as a river isn’t strictly correct. According to the general theory of relativity (GR) time is relative and should be viewed on a local scale, whereas the picture of a flowing river is holistic (and therefore not covered by GR).

However, the counter argument is that the river of time can be viewed – or indeed changed – on a local scale. A sand bank, or a large fish can locally affect the flow of water.

And as a colleague pointed out – as in GR, a moving fish can eat a smaller fish and gain mass.

“It makes sense” he added. “When I’ve eaten a large lunch my perception of time definitely changes.”

I don’t think much more can be said on that subject!