world_linesSpecial relativity demonstrated that there is a relationship between spatial coordinates and temporal coordinates. That we can no longer reference where without some reference to when. Although time remains physically distinct from space, time and the three dimensional space coordinates are so intimately bound together in their properties that it only makes sense to describe them jointly as a four dimensional continuum.
Einstein introduced a new concept, that there is an inherent connection between geometry of the Universe and its temporal properties. The result is a four dimensional (three of space, one of time) continuum called spacetime which can best be demonstrated through the use of Minkowski diagrams and world lines.

light_conesSpacetime makes sense from special relativity since it was shown that spatial coordinates (Lorentz contraction) and temporal coordinates (time dilation) vary between frames of reference. Notice that under spacetime, time does not ‘happen’ as perceived by humans, but rather all time exists, stretched out like space in its entirety. Time is simply ‘there’.

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