1. Refers to an object which is unimaginably small.
Relativists are fond of using the word infinitesimal to indicate that a particle is so small that we can
disregard its existence, dimensions, shape, and other parameters. In relativity, an infinitesimal particle is a
synonym of a vanishingly small particle or interval of some kind.
Not so in Science! In order to preserve scientific consistency, the word infinitesimal means that the object
still has shape, that it is still divisible, and that the observers merely need to adjust the magnification on
their microscopes. Perhaps in Mathematics infinitesimal means that a quantity yields zero (0), but in
Physics infinitesimal means – to use mathematical terminology – greater than zero.
For the purposes of Science, the word infinitesimal is exclusively an adjective. It can only be used to
modify objects. In the context of time intervals, the infinitesimal is an adverb and thus cannot be used
consistently. There is no such notion as an 'infinitesimal interval' or 'duration' or 'distance' in Science.
The prosecutor is incongruously treating the interval itself as a physical object and telling you that this
'reified object' is very small! If infinite numbers really means incessant counting, the opposite, infinitesimal
interval alludes to a small period of time: very few frames in the movie. A tiny particle is not the same thing
as the amount of time the particle traveled!
synonyms: small, divisible, hard to see,
Copyright © by Nila Gaede 2008