UF mathematics professor Kevin Knudson reflects on the notion that an instant means different things for a person, a redwood or a gnat, and that what’s infinitely small for one individual might be an entire lifetime for another, influencing his or her outlook on life.
How short is an “instant”? Is it a second? A tenth of a second? A microsecond? You might think all of these qualify. What about 100 years? That certainly doesn’t seem like an instant, and to a human being, it isn’t, since we’d be lucky to have a lifespan that long. But to a giant sequoia, say, 100 years is no big deal. And in geological terms it’s practically nothing.