'We have broken speed of light'

Run into some old friends from another group or board? Want to do a little schmoozing, talk over old times? Or just some off topic stuff, then this is the place.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
John
Bartender/Retired
Posts: 9381
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2003 4:15 pm
Location: Minnesota

'We have broken speed of light'

Post by John » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:09 pm

Star Trek fans, it's time to get your uniforms ready. :)
'We have broken speed of light'
By Nic Fleming, Science Correspondent

A pair of German physicists claim to have broken the speed of light - an achievement that would undermine our entire understanding of space and time.

According to Einstein's special theory of relativity, it would require an infinite amount of energy to propel an object at more than 186,000 miles per second.

However, Dr Gunter Nimtz and Dr Alfons Stahlhofen, of the University of Koblenz, say they may have breached a key tenet of that theory.

The pair say they have conducted an experiment in which microwave photons - energetic packets of light - travelled "instantaneously" between a pair of prisms that had been moved up to 3ft apart.

Being able to travel faster than the speed of light would lead to a wide variety of bizarre consequences.

For instance, an astronaut moving faster than it would theoretically arrive at a destination before leaving.

The scientists were investigating a phenomenon called quantum tunnelling, which allows sub-atomic particles to break apparently unbreakable laws.

Dr Nimtz told New Scientist magazine: "For the time being, this is the only violation of special relativity that I know of."

LINK
Last edited by John on Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
PurpleMustReign
Starting Wide Receiver
Posts: 18398
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:48 pm
Location: Crystal, MN
Contact:

Post by PurpleMustReign » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:25 pm

Cool! I want to go back and see a Brontosaurus!
The Devil whispered in the Viking's ear, "There's a storm coming." The Viking replied, "I am the storm." ‪#‎SKOL2017 #BringitHome‬

User avatar
S197
Fenrir
Posts: 11288
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 1:28 pm
Location: Hawaii

Post by S197 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:02 pm

Wow so Spaceballs was right, we can travel at ludicrous speed??

Seriously though, thanks for the article that was a really interesting read.

Demi
Commissioner
Posts: 23761
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:24 pm

Post by Demi » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:22 pm

an achievement that would undermine our entire understanding of space and time.
Our understanding of space and time was undermined as soon as we tried putting them in terms we could understand. ;)

User avatar
Minniman
Hall of Famer
Posts: 7416
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2003 10:07 am
Location: Vikingland Minnesota

Post by Minniman » Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:14 pm

For instance, an astronaut moving faster than it would theoretically arrive at a destination before leaving.
What? Time still moves.

The astronaut would arrive before she appeared to leave. That's not the same as arriving before leaving.

By the way, speeding up a human would likely mean instant death, but a photon is already travelling at the speed of light, as it is a light particle.

On a side note, I wonder how close we would have to come to Jupiter before being crushed by gravity.
We come from the land of the ice and snow .... :smilevike:

DanAS1
Hall of Famer
Posts: 5304
Joined: Sat May 24, 2003 7:02 pm

Re: 'We have broken speed of light'

Post by DanAS1 » Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:17 pm

John wrote:Star Trek fans, it's time to get your uniforms ready. :)
Pretty cool. But you're right, John. Someone ought to get this Nimtz a TV. I grew up with warp speed every afternoon from four to five PM (yeah, I didn't start watching the show until it went into re-runs, which was still back in the 60s).

User avatar
Cliff
Site Admin
Posts: 8404
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:51 pm
Location: Kentucky

Post by Cliff » Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:34 pm

Minniman wrote: What? Time still moves.

The astronaut would arrive before she appeared to leave. That's not the same as arriving before leaving.

By the way, speeding up a human would likely mean instant death, but a photon is already travelling at the speed of light, as it is a light particle.

On a side note, I wonder how close we would have to come to Jupiter before being crushed by gravity.
Maybe we could transport a recorder of some kind attached to a really (really really really) powerful telescope and take pictures of the earth from the past, that'd be awesome.
"Everyone has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

User avatar
BGM
Hall of Famer
Posts: 5948
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 11:39 am

Post by BGM » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:04 pm

Minniman wrote:
On a side note, I wonder how close we would have to come to Jupiter before being crushed by gravity.
I have a couple of ideas of who we could send to test it! ;)

Seriously, though, the misconception that exceeding the speed of light would allow time travel is rooted in folks erroneously leaving out the words, "appear to someone standing in a fixed spot", as Minniman said. So, you're not really time traveling but it would seem to someone standing still as if you were. Kind of a paradox.

One of the most interesting meditations on time travel is the movie, Primer. Here is the Wikipedia entry for this very confusing and thought provoking movie. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primer_(film)

The long standing question, "If you were traveling faster then the speed of light, and you turned on your headlights, would anything happen?", can be answered, "Yes. But to someone standing in a fixed spot, it would appear that they came on before you turned them on." No one is sure of the effect relativity has on the body traveling faster than the speed of light. I imagine some of the theories are as odd as the theories that hypothesized what would happen to a person when they broke the sound barrier.

Time travel would involve breaking just about every law of physics.

However, fast travel through space is the one thing that is tantalizing.

BGM
"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer." - Frank Zappa

User avatar
Minniman
Hall of Famer
Posts: 7416
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2003 10:07 am
Location: Vikingland Minnesota

Post by Minniman » Sat Aug 18, 2007 9:09 pm

According to Einstein's special theory of relativity, it would require an infinite amount of energy to propel an object at more than 186,000 miles per second.
That is because mass increases as a particle approaches the speed of light.
The pair say they have conducted an experiment in which microwave photons - energetic packets of light - travelled "instantaneously" between a pair of prisms that had been moved up to 3ft apart.


A photon has no mass, so even if it was sent faster than the speed of light, it would gain no mass as an multiplier of zero is still zero. Humans, on the other hand, are made of of atoms, and atoms have mass, so this would likely not work with humans or even with a speck of dust.

By the way, I still find that many people are bewildered when I say that we see stars that have been born, lived billions of years, and have exploded and died. They just cannot see how light, time, and the vastness of space make this possible.
We come from the land of the ice and snow .... :smilevike:

spdolphs
Transition Player
Posts: 307
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:26 am
Location: Out in the van
Contact:

Post by spdolphs » Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:38 pm

S197 wrote:Wow so Spaceballs was right, we can travel at ludicrous speed??
Yes, but did they go to plaid?

Image
Image

User avatar
PurpleMustReign
Starting Wide Receiver
Posts: 18398
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:48 pm
Location: Crystal, MN
Contact:

Post by PurpleMustReign » Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:54 pm

I;m glad there are some smart people on this board. Or at least people capable of "dumbing down" the scientific jargon.
The Devil whispered in the Viking's ear, "There's a storm coming." The Viking replied, "I am the storm." ‪#‎SKOL2017 #BringitHome‬

Post Reply