Definitions

time !

time-and-motion study

Analysis of the time spent in going through the different motions of a job or series of jobs in the evaluation of industrial performance. Such studies were first instituted in offices and factories in the U.S. in the early 20th century. They were widely adopted as a means of improving work methods by subdividing the different operations of a job into measurable elements, and they were in turn used as aids in standardization of work and in checking the efficiency of workers and equipment.

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In the theory of special relativity, the “slowing down” of a clock as perceived by an observer in relative motion with respect to that clock. Time dilation becomes noticeable only at speeds approaching that of light and has been accurately confirmed by the apparent increased lifetime of unstable subatomic particles traveling at nearly the speed of light and by the precise timing of atomic clocks carried on airplanes. Seealso Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction.

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Measured or measurable period. More broadly, it is a continuum that lacks spatial dimensions. Philosophers have sought an understanding of time by focusing on the broad questions of the relation between time and the physical world and the relation between time and consciousness. Those who adopt an absolutist theory of time regard it as a kind of container within which the universe exists and change takes place, and believe that its existence and properties are independent of the physical universe. According to the rival relationist theory, time is nothing over and above change in the physical universe. Largely because of Albert Einstein, it is now held that time cannot be treated in isolation from space (see space-time). Some argue that Einstein's theories of relativity vindicate relationist theories, others that they vindicate the absolutist theory. The primary issue concerning the relation between time and consciousness is the extent, if any, to which time or aspects of time depend on the existence of conscious beings. Events in time are normally thought of in terms of notions of past, present, and future, which some philosophers treat as mind-dependent; others believe that time is independent of perception and hold that past, present, and future are objective features of the world. Seealso geologic time, Greenwich Mean Time, standard time, Universal Time.

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System for uniformly advancing clocks, especially in summer, so as to extend daylight hours during conventional waking time. In the Northern Hemisphere, clocks are usually set ahead one hour in late March or in April and are set back one hour in late September or in October. In the U.S., Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. In most of the countries of western Europe, it starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.

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Official local time of a region or country. Local mean solar time depends on longitude; it advances by four minutes per degree eastward. The Earth can thus be divided into 24 standard time zones, each approximately 15° in longitude. The actual boundaries of each time zone are determined by local authorities and in many places deviate considerably from 15°. The times in different zones usually differ by an integral number of hours; minutes and seconds are the same. Seealso Greenwich Mean Time.

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Single entity that relates space and time in a four-dimensional structure, postulated by Albert Einstein in his theories of relativity. In the Newtonian universe it was supposed that there was no connection between space and time. Space was thought to be a flat, three-dimensional arrangement of all possible point locations, which could be expressed by Cartesian coordinates; time was viewed as an independent one-dimensional concept. Einstein showed that a complete description of relative motion requires equations that include time as well as the three spatial dimensions. He also showed that space-time is curved, which allowed him to account for gravitation in his general theory of relativity.

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Interval of time occupied by the Earth's geologic history, extending from circa 3.9 billion years ago (corresponding to the age of the oldest known rocks) to the present day. It is, in effect, the part of the Earth's history that is recorded in rock strata. The geologic time scale is classified in nested intervals distinguished by characteristic geologic and biologic features. From longest to shortest duration, the intervals are eon, era, period, and epoch.

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