Key takeaways

  • Scientists have measured time dilation, the warping of time, at the smallest scale ever using the world’s most precise clocks.
  • Time passes at different rates depending on the gravitational field. JILA scientists quantified this effect using highly accurate atomic clocks.
  • The experiment could lead to clocks 50 times more accurate than current ones, helping to explore fundamental scientific questions.
  • This achievement may help bridge the gap between general relativity and quantum mechanics, two major theories in physics.
  • Researchers kept atoms in a state of quantum coherence for 37 seconds, which may aid in understanding time dilation over large distances.

Scientists were recently able to “warp” time on the tiniest scale possible. Albert Einstein’s general relativity theorem states that time may be twisted in the presence of strong gravitational fields/high speeds. This phenomenon is known as time dilation.

Clocks also tick differently in different situations, based on gravity. JILA scientists have now been able to quantify time dilation at the lowest scale ever, thanks to the world’s most precise clocks.

Marrying time and space

JILA is a collaborative effort between the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado Boulder. According to Vice, this experiment has paved the path for the development of clocks that are around 50 times more accurate than those now available.

According to a paper published in Nature, the feat may help solve several scientific secrets of the world, including the “union of general relativity and quantum mechanics.”

These scientists’ objective is to conceptually marry time and space, meaning that they are inextricably linked and affected by one another. Over the last few years, JILA scientists have attempted to pioneer time precision using atomic clocks, which are considered the most precise means to measure time, with the capacity to lose only one second over 15 billion years.

As atomic clocks improve, scientists may observe atom waves at the boundary between classical and quantum worlds. JILA scientists have measured time dilation at a distance of only a millimeter. This small-scale success may help scientists better grasp the consequences of time dilation across vast distances.

Furthermore, scientists were able to hold the atoms in a condition of “quantum coherence” for 37 seconds, during which time their behaviour became predictable. What are your thoughts on this modest but significant step toward conquering timespace? Please let us know in the comments below.

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