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Faster than the speed of light?
Posted: 28 March 2009 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 196 ]
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Hi George,

I a second for us is a second for the giant, and a meter for us is a meter for the giant, there is no difference. I assume you think that while a giant supposedly has a much lower ‘life rhythm’ it is subjective faster for him. That can be, but if he uses the same time and distance unities as we do, it is eight minutes.

GdB

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Posted: 28 March 2009 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 197 ]
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dougsmith - 28 March 2009 03:11 AM

This is from the year 2000; very odd stuff—I wonder if the experiments have been verified and how they are best interpreted. (Often the early press reports are in error).

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v425/n6959/full/nature02016.html

Apparently Nature approved it for publishing but I cant access the article only the abstract.

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Posted: 28 March 2009 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 198 ]
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GdB - 28 March 2009 06:51 AM

Hi George,

I a second for us is a second for the giant, and a meter for us is a meter for the giant, there is no difference. I assume you think that while a giant supposedly has a much lower ‘life rhythm’ it is subjective faster for him. That can be, but if he uses the same time and distance unities as we do, it is eight minutes.

GdB

GdB,

But if the giant was so big that it would take him one second (our second) to move his finger from the Sun to Earth? Obviously once we measure the giant’s second from our perspective, it would last much longer.

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Posted: 29 March 2009 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 199 ]
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George - 28 March 2009 04:38 PM

GdB,

But if the giant was so big that it would take him one second (our second) to move his finger from the Sun to Earth? Obviously once we measure the giant’s second from our perspective, it would last much longer.

But, George, he can’t! Light’s velocity is the limit! It will take at least 8 minutes to move his (burned) finger from the sun to the earth. Even if Einstein’s articles are too small for him to read, relativity is also valid for him… (OK, maybe he has a giant microscope.)

GdB

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Posted: 29 March 2009 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 200 ]
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João Magueijo, professor in Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London, proposed a varying speed of light (VSL) theory of cosmology in 1998:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/João_Magueijo

In 1998, Magueijo teamed with Andreas Albrecht to work on the varying speed of light (VSL) theory of cosmology, which proposes that the speed of light was much higher in the early universe, of 60 orders of magnitude faster than its present value.

John Moffat is a Professor Emeritus in physics at the University of Toronto. He is also an adjunct Professor in physics at the University of Waterloo and a resident affiliate member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He proposed a similar theory in the early 90’s :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Moffat_(physicist)

In the early 1990s Moffat proposed a radical alternative theory: that the speed of light was as much as 30 orders of magnitude faster than its present value just following the big bang. He published a paper on the variable speed of light theory in the early 1990s but his work was essentially ignored. A few years later, João Magueijo, based at Imperial College in London, and his collaborator, Andrew Albrecht of the University of California at Davis, published a paper with a similar idea. Their paper made it into the more prestigious journal, Physical Review D, which had rejected Moffat’s paper years earlier. When Moffat saw this, he was upset and contacted Magueijo. But after Magueijo realized what had happened, he was quick to give Moffat due credit for having first proposed the idea. In fact, Moffat and Magueijo became friends, and Magueijo even devoted a whole chapter to Moffat in his 2002 book titled “Faster Than the Speed of Light”.

You can watch João Magueijo talking about his theory at the Perimeter Institute

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Posted: 21 March 2010 03:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 201 ]
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Hello all,

And i must say i feel humbled to be in the company of some very smart folks. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread and have only one thing to add:

I now understand that the pencil will not warn the people of earth in time, however, i have thought of a way to give my good friends on the blue planet just a fraction of a seconds warning of their impending doom. The speed of light in a vacuum is the fastest any particle can travel, but space around the sun is far from a vacuum.

If we are already allowing a 93 Million mile long pencil, i think i should be allowed a 93 Million mile long optical fiber. In the center i will place a carbon nanotube that extends it’s entire length. If i fire a laser pulse, down the center of this “pipe”, it should get to earth at slightly better than the speed through the photosphere and hydrogen gas (however rarefied).

I know it’s not much but technically it should get the message to earth faster than the explosion.

P.S. If i am wrong about nanotubes and the speed of light therein, It could be replaced with a perfect vacuum in the fiber. smile

EDIT: It appears i was so engrossed in the topic, i neglected to read the posting dates. How foolish of me, and i was really hoping to hear peoples thoughts on this too. haha

[ Edited: 21 March 2010 03:50 AM by MichaelT ]
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Posted: 21 March 2010 04:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 202 ]
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kkwan - 29 March 2009 08:01 AM

João Magueijo, professor in Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London, proposed a varying speed of light (VSL) theory of cosmology in 1998:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/João_Magueijo

In 1998, Magueijo teamed with Andreas Albrecht to work on the varying speed of light (VSL) theory of cosmology, which proposes that the speed of light was much higher in the early universe, of 60 orders of magnitude faster than its present value.

Thanks for interesting info…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varying_speed_of_light  gives a little more detail.

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Posted: 21 March 2010 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 203 ]
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MichaelT - 21 March 2010 03:08 AM

EDIT: It appears i was so engrossed in the topic, i neglected to read the posting dates. How foolish of me, and i was really hoping to hear peoples thoughts on this too. haha

No worries, it’s an interesting topic nonetheless. Agreed about your solution with the optical fiber, assuming the space in the middle is a vacuum, right? Why would just having a nanotube make a difference? But the difference in timing will be pretty small!

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Posted: 21 March 2010 06:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 204 ]
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Jackson - 21 March 2010 04:18 AM
kkwan - 29 March 2009 08:01 AM

João Magueijo, professor in Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London, proposed a varying speed of light (VSL) theory of cosmology in 1998:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/João_Magueijo

In 1998, Magueijo teamed with Andreas Albrecht to work on the varying speed of light (VSL) theory of cosmology, which proposes that the speed of light was much higher in the early universe, of 60 orders of magnitude faster than its present value.

Thanks for interesting info…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varying_speed_of_light  gives a little more detail.

I heard a talk by João several years ago at the Hayden Planetarium in NY. Suffice to say he’s an interesting speaker, but his views are a prime example of fringe physics.

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Posted: 21 March 2010 04:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 205 ]
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Thank you Doug, i will have to do some more reading. Carbon Nanotubes seem to have some very interesting properties, but yes, now you mention it, it’s more to do with electrons than photons i think.

Mike

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Posted: 22 March 2010 08:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 206 ]
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Let me pose the question in a more realistic manner.
Take the contraption of the six steel balls (just making contact with each other) suspended from thin threads in a frame.
When we lift the outer ball and let it fall against the row of balls, the outer ball at the other end pops away, and when it falls back, the original pops away again, etc.  Is this transferrence instantaneous or is it restricted by the SOL.

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Posted: 22 March 2010 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 207 ]
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I cannot prove it, but I have an intuitive sense that the ultimate restrictive properties lie in the time it takes for a quantum event to complete itself. The creation of a new reality must take some time due the movement from one spacetime coordinate to another. This event is the creator of time. If there are real physical time limitations to a quantum event, there must be a terminal speed limit which cannot be exceeded. I believe this terminal speed IS the speed of light. Reality just cannot manifest itself faster than at SOL.
The only time where a quantum event exceeded SOL was the BB, where all universal energy was released in a SINGLE quantum event. In the absence of spacetime outside the expanding universe, it allowed for the expansion at a rate greater than SOL. However once this sudden expansion reached a certain size, SOL limitations began to govern spacetime thereafter and the expansion slowed to SOL.
Dang, I wish I was a physicist…. downer

[ Edited: 22 March 2010 11:24 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 23 March 2010 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 208 ]
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Write4U - 22 March 2010 08:27 PM

Let me pose the question in a more realistic manner.
Take the contraption of the six steel balls (just making contact with each other) suspended from thin threads in a frame.
When we lift the outer ball and let it fall against the row of balls, the outer ball at the other end pops away, and when it falls back, the original pops away again, etc.  Is this transferrence instantaneous or is it restricted by the SOL.

Here we are at some remove from quantum effects.  The speed of the action is determined by the speed of sound through steel, slower than than c by a factor on the order of a million.

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Posted: 23 March 2010 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 209 ]
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enkidu - 23 March 2010 06:14 AM
Write4U - 22 March 2010 08:27 PM

Let me pose the question in a more realistic manner.
Take the contraption of the six steel balls (just making contact with each other) suspended from thin threads in a frame.
When we lift the outer ball and let it fall against the row of balls, the outer ball at the other end pops away, and when it falls back, the original pops away again, etc.  Is this transferrence instantaneous or is it restricted by the SOL.

Here we are at some remove from quantum effects.  The speed of the action is determined by the speed of sound through steel, slower than than c by a factor on the order of a million.

Thanks Enkidu. I posed that question in continuation of George’s original question, perhaps a day late. rolleyes

I would love to hear if there is an answer to my second question in regards to quantum. Is there a terminal speed at which point it becomes impossible for reality to manifest itself? (Assuming that quantum is the smallest fundamental action required for reality to become manifest).
Example: In the old tv series Lucy and Desi, Lucy is tasked with placing candies in a box from a band which feeds the candies at an ever increasing speed. Eventually Lucy is unable to keep up with the speed of the band and mayhem follows.
Can this limiting principle be applied to quantum?

[ Edited: 23 March 2010 10:26 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 10 April 2010 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 210 ]
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Thanks Enkidu. I posed that question in continuation of George’s original question, perhaps a day late. rolleyes

I would love to hear if there is an answer to my second question in regards to quantum. Is there a terminal speed at which point it becomes impossible for reality to manifest itself? (Assuming that quantum is the smallest fundamental action required for reality to become manifest).
Example: In the old tv series Lucy and Desi, Lucy is tasked with placing candies in a box from a band which feeds the candies at an ever increasing speed. Eventually Lucy is unable to keep up with the speed of the band and mayhem follows.
Can this limiting principle be applied to quantum?

This is a very difficult question to answer with any degree of certainty. There is much debate over the conceptual understanding over what it is the speed of light actually means, but I can tell you the my understanding based on my education in Nuclear Engineering. I’ll give you he short answer and the long answer.

The short answer:
yes, there is a fundamental speed limit, so long as space itself remains constant.

The long answer:
The problem lies in our view of what speed actually means. You’ll have to drop a few misconceptions you were probably taught. First we usually view movement as traveling through space. This is in fact not an accurate view of the situation. A more accurate view is something along the lines of “warping” space. Any force (gravitational, magnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces) causes a warping of space. (the bowling ball on a sheet concept proposed by Einstein). You need to drop another misconception about forces here, because while each type of force warps space in a different way they are not fundementally different, they all cause a warping of space. The motion of an object through space (an object being something with gravitational force) or an electromagnetic force through space (light, etc) or indeed a quantum particle (strong and weak forces) is essentially the propagation of that warping through the medium of space. Obviously this is very difficult to intuitively understand, so we go to the analogy of a sound wave. Essentially “space” can be thought of as being a given material of a given density, which is, as far as we know, constant everywhere. The warping of space caused by the fundamental forces can be thought off as similar to a pressure difference (a sound wave)  Now from basic classical mechanics; for a given material there is a certain maximum speed at which a sound wave can travel. Sound waves can travel slower, but there is no way to cause a sound wave to travel faster without altering the material in some way. In the same way there is no way that a “warping” of space can travel faster than a certain speed limit (the speed of light in this case). It can travel slower, we do all the time, but it cannot under any circumstances travel faster.

This raises some interesting questions. For example who says we can’t alter space? The hyper drive is the theoretical application of this exact theory. Basically that we could travel faster than the speed of light by either altering space itself, or better yet simply moving outside of space itself. (hyperspace actually means outside of space after all) The other question is whether space is actually constant everywhere, which we do not in fact know to be true (since we haven’t been everywhere. Think how the earth appears, from a single person’s perspective, to be flat, and as long as you don’t travel very far you would have a tough time telling that it wasn’t. We have looked at so very little of space it is very difficult if not impossible to tell if it is constant, or varying). This is how we get around the existence of a singularity (black hole, big bang, etc), which according the the rules of space shouldn’t exist. They exist outside of space, or in space at a different density, or of a different type, where the rules that we think of as fundamentally constant no longer hold because those rules are only constant so long as space itself is constant.

Naturally this is just one theory (generally considered the best) to explain the behavior we see, so opposing theories are quite welcome, and of course this whole explanation barely scratches the surface. I can go into more detail on most of it, I’ve had a few classes that deal with precisely this question (relativity, quantum mechanics, and the combination of the two), but of course even what I know barely scratches the surface of the theories on the subject.

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