'The higher you are, the faster you age'

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Colorado, have demonstrated that one of Dr Albert Einstein's theories of relativity that the further away from the Earth you are, the faster time passes works even on a human scale.

That means -- even though the differences are tiny -- people will really age faster if they live on the top floor of a skyscraper than in a bungalow, the Telegraph reported.

The discovery confirms a theory first proposed by Einstein that clocks run faster the further away from the ground they are -- a phenomenon that works in space rockets and aircraft as the forward movement offsets the height.

Using a pair of the world's most precise clocks, physicists at the NIST, discovered that simply going upstairs will make you age faster.

If one of the clocks was moved just a foot higher, then it ran a little bit faster -- albeit by a tiny fraction of a second, they found.

So, taking just a couple of steps upwards will remove 90 billionths of a second to a 79-year lifetime, they said.

By moving about 10 feet to the top of the stairs, one would age quicker by 900 billionths of a second. And if you were to spend your life at the top of the 102-storey Empire State Building (1250 feet) you would lose 104 millionths of a second, said James Chin-Wen Chou, co-author of the study.

For their experiment, the researchers used "quantum logic" atomic clocks which can keep time to within one second over 3.7 billion years.

They proved the theory that clocks at higher elevations run faster because they are subject to less gravitational force.

A NIST spokesman, however, said the phenomenon, called "gravitational time dilation", would not impact on people's lives.

"The difference is much too small for humans to perceive but it may provide practical applications in geophysics and other fields," he said.

The team's calculations will be used to improve technology used to measure the Earth and the gravitational field.

The new findings are published in the current issue of journal Science.

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