The continuous nature of time and its infinite divisibility was addressed by Aristotle in his Physics, where he wrote on Zeno's paradoxes. The philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell was still seeking to define the exact nature of an instant thousands of years later.
In physics, a theoretical lower-bound unit of time called the Planck time has been proposed, that being the time required for light to travel a distance of 1 Planck length. The Planck time is theorized to be the smallest time measurement that will ever be possible, roughly 10−43 seconds. Within the framework of the laws of physics as they are understood today, for times less than one Planck time apart, one can neither measure nor detect any change. It is therefore physically impossible, with current technology, to determine if any action exists that causes a reaction in "an instant", rather than a reaction occurring after an interval of time too short to observe or measure.
- W. Newton-Smith (1984), "The Russellian construction of instants", The structure of time, Routledge, p. 129, ISBN 978-0-7102-0389-2<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Big Bang models back to Planck time". Georgia State University. 19 June 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Planck Time". COSMOS - The SAO Encyclopedia of Astronomy. Swinburne University.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "12 attoseconds is the world record for shortest controllable time".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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