Harvard Extension School
Registered: Feb 2004
Space only has meaning when related to time, and both space and time are ultimately defined by the speed of light. So it is the "speed" of light that has the more fundamental meaning. However, the idea of light traveling at a conventional speed is somewhat misleading; light "travels" at the absolute maximum speed that anything could possibly travel at. So once a beam of light goes, it can never be caught, and any information contained in the beam can never be removed from the universe.
If you were to travel with a beam of light from point A to point B, you would arrive at B without experiencing any passage of time. If you were to return back to A, with the light, you would again experience no passage of time. However, the local time at A would have increased during your journey, and you can consider that the increase in "time" at A represents the same amount of distance traveled in "space" from point A to B and back to A again: Therefore, any displacement in space also represents an equivalent displacement in time, and is regardless of how fast the displacement occurs (up to the speed of light, at which time would effectively stop to preserve causality).
So it is far more meaningful to think about the speed of light as the fundamental relationship between space and time, and then consider what this relationship actually represents. One way to think of the speed of light is as a "rate of causality". This is quite simply one "unit" of "space", divided by one "unit" of "time". If you take these units to be the Planck Units then all the mathematics of physics reduces to a very simple form indeed.
I presented a poster at the NKS 2004 conference in April related to this, which you can find here: http://www.wolframscience.com/confe...l/ahewitt-1.pdf , and here: http://www.wolframscience.com/confe...l/ahewitt-2.pdf
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