Do you ever get the feeling that time is just dragging on? You might be working in the office, sitting at your desk at school during a long lecture or waiting for the doctor to see you, but when you look up at the clock, you could swear the 15 minutes it took for the long hand to move a quarter of an hour were really twice as long. No matter how much you squirm and fidget, time is taking its sweet time in getting to the future.
On the other hand, sometimes it can feel like time moves too quickly. Deep, engaging conversations with friends and loved ones can last for several hours but make you feel like time swept by in minutes. You can wake up right when the alarm goes off in the morning but somehow still end up running late for work. You're left throwing your hands up, wondering what happened to all of that lost time.
Time is a strangely contradictory concept. Many of us think of it as a concrete way of describing how long an event takes to unfold. And why wouldn't we, when we have fancy gadgets like watches? Modern technology has given us clocks, which help us measure time precisely. Atomic clocks, which measure the resonance frequencies of atoms, are even better at telling time. When someone standing still then walks 10 paces forward, we can easily measure with a stopwatch the number of seconds it took from the beginning of that short journey to its end.
But time doesn't always feel precise to us. When you bring two different people into the equation, especially if they don't have any watches, getting them to agree on their experience of time becomes increasingly difficult. So is time as simple as we think it is, or is it more fluid and relative? How is time connected to space?