Quantum physics took the mysteries of time to a whole other level. Is time continuous or discrete? Is there a minimum size of time duration, a sort of quantum of time? Is time fundamental or is it an emergent phenomenon, or is it an illusion?
Many scientists now think that time is not fundamental but that it emerges out of nothingness. Of course, nothingness itself is being redefined. Completely empty space is now thought to be a quantum foam, with virtual particles popping into and out of existence randomly and continuously. When these virtual particles happen to interact with each other, they become entangled, and the information is recorded as a sort of Akashic* record that is created and begins to manifest as what we call space.
Time, in this view of things, is the record of the sequence, the order in which events between particles occur. Keep in mind that the particles themselves are really just blips in the waves in the quantum field. And that’s about as far as I can go for now, because even a crystal professor doesn’t really understand quantum physics. 😀
But the precise measurement of time and frequency are at the cutting edge of how quantum physicists attempt to further our understanding of things at the smallest scales, and surprisingly also at the largest scales. Advances in precise time keeping help cosmologists to investigate the Big Bang and the history and structure of the entire universe.
On a more practical level, almost all our modern electronic technologies depend on precise timing. Because atomic clocks are expensive, large and power hungry, crystal oscillators are the workhorses in electronic devises, from your kitchen appliances, radios, TVs, computers, watches, cell phones, satellite and fiber optic high speed data communications.
* Akasha is a Sanskrit word, and means “Primary Substance,” that out of which all things are formed.