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Faster than the speed of light?
Posted: 12 January 2008 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 76 ]
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jhodge - 12 January 2008 11:20 AM

My interest is to search for the Theory of Everything (TOE).

Are you a physicist?

jhodge - 12 January 2008 11:20 AM

... GR is not a theory at all because it is only a calculating method and therefore, cannot be disproved.  Mapping or transforming physically observable data into other, simpler mathematical coordinates is a common engineering and scientific practice.  Therefore, ``predictive’’ capacity is really its capacity to be applied to many different physical models – not a model itself.

I not know what this means, or what you take the distinction to be between a “theory” and a “calculating method”. Any calculating method has predictive and explanatory capacities; or rather, the explanatory capacities usually adhere to the “calculating method” which is believed to be simplest.

jhodge - 12 January 2008 11:20 AM

The question of whether ``curved space’’ or ``time dilation’’ is real is a philosophical issue.

Time dilation is not a philosophical issue, it is an empirical issue. It has been tested and found accurate, both in airplanes and in particle accelerators. Curved spacetime is the model of gravity in GR, and as such is a theoretical issue when trying to unite general relativity with quantum mechanics.

jhodge - 12 January 2008 11:20 AM

So far, even the published and opposing physical models use GR to calculate.  So it seems the only model that has really stood the test of time is Newtonian or its experimental PPN. 

Newtonian mechanics are standardly used for calculations involving (mid-sized) objects not traveling terribly fast or in terribly large gravitational fields; e.g., if we need to get a man to the moon. General relativity is used in cases where those objects are traveling at high relative velocities, or under high acceleration, etc. Newtonian mechanics has not stood the test of time in those more extreme cases. Then it is demonstrably false.

jhodge - 12 January 2008 11:20 AM

Quantum and cosmological models do not fit together well on a great many more issues.  One other is the quantum entanglement.  Although proponents are careful to say the speed of light is not violated, in the end information about quantum states is transferred faster than light.

Many classical rules are violated at the level of the very small. There is even a question as to whether it makes sense to talk of a direction of time at all once we get down to distances around the Planck length.

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Posted: 13 January 2008 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 77 ]
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jhodge - 12 January 2008 11:20 AM

Quantum and cosmological models do not fit together well on a great many more issues.  One other is the quantum entanglement.  Although proponents are careful to say the speed of light is not violated, in the end information about quantum states is transferred faster than light.

I never read one single line of an expert in quantum entanglement, saying that information can travel faster than light. Entangled particles do correlate even at huge distances that cannot be explained by some physical mechanism, but all experts agree that it is not possible to transfer information with it. None of the examples of velocities faster than light contradict relativity.

GdB

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Posted: 13 January 2008 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 78 ]
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GdB - 13 January 2008 07:10 AM

I never read one single line of an expert in quantum entanglement, saying that information can travel faster than light. Entangled particles do correlate even at huge distances that cannot be explained by some physical mechanism, but all experts agree that it is not possible to transfer information with it. None of the examples of velocities faster than light contradict relativity.

GdB

You are absolutely right, GdB; sorry I missed that one. Quantum entanglement does not allow superluminal transfer of information.

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Posted: 14 January 2008 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 79 ]
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You may view my papers through links on my web page (from profiles of CFI).  I am proposing another cosmological model.  Each of the papers is on a topic with observations that all other current models fail to fully describe.  The introductions list references.  There are many such topics, so I will have lots of areas to examine.  The weakness of the other models is the problems they have in the solar system (Pioneer Anomaly), galaxy, and galaxy clusters.  As QM and cosmological models based on the Equivalence Principle (nearly all) differ, so too do cosmological and intermediate range (solar system to galaxy cluster) observations differ from current models.  A TOE must be consistent with this range, also.  I’m now into the 6th year of developing my model.  As far as I know, I’m the only one working along the lines of my model.  But the numbers work for the otherwise unexplained observations.  That is, my model is way out of the mainstream.  But, so was Newton and Einstein.  Ah, well.  That is part of the fun.

I think in our discussion we should separate the Special Theory of Relativity from the General Theory of Relativity. 

In brief, GR has been tested only in the weak field approximation (weak Equivalence Principle).  As a skeptic, I view this as Newtonian plus Special Theory of Relativity.  To date, there is no supporting empirical evidence regarding how GR fares for the strong field.  I think to be a theory; either the Strong Equivalence Principle or Mach’s Principle must have empirical evidence.  Lack of evidence does not disprove a model.  However, scientist has been searching for such evidence for a long time without result. 

An example of a model (theory) is the gravitation effect of each body in a galaxy combines by vector addition (Newton) to calculate the net gravitational effect of the galaxy.  A calculating method: 1+1=2, 1+2=3, etc.  That is, addition is used to calculate the physical gravitational effect of the galaxy.  Addition is not normally viewed as having predictive power.  However, the physical model states use the mathematical method of addition to calculate the net effect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformation_(geometry)
Likewise, many currently published models use the GR formalism with some different assumption (physical model) to calculate some effects.

GR starts with Newtonian mechanics, adds Special Relativity; the idea that physical laws are identical for all observers (called the general principle of relativity but is applicable to Newtonian mechanics as well – close to the Copernican Principle and the Cosmological Principle); the Strong Equivalence Principle, which is unconfirmed, to overcome inertial acceleration issues; and the spacetime concept to place time on the same footing as space to calculate the stress energy tensor.  In Newtonian mechanics, calculating the future position, velocity, etc. from initial conditions and rate of change parameters becomes very complex with only a few bodies.  GR then uses a Riemann transformation, which in general is not Euclidean; to change the coordinates to geometry based simplification.  Ideally, the calculation ends when the transformed side of the equation is inverse transformed back to position and velocity coordinates called the solution.  There are many forms of transformation such as Fourier (used by QM), Laplace, Lagrange (in mechanical problems), and many others.  Mathematically any could be used.  However, the problem is to simplify the calculation.  In physics, reality is claimed when the mathematical model uses fewer parameters to describe the processes.  This is true for the Riemann transform when applied to distance and time measurements.  Hence, transformed ``space” and ``time’’ are called real.  In QM, the Fourier transform is simpler math but involve more parameters.  Hence, the argument about the reality of the waves.  A claim that physical space exists independent of distance measurements between objects dates back to the Greeks (Aristotle vs. Democritus, at least).  To date, no hypothesis has been suggested which can test the space proposition.  The same applies to the ``time’’ of the Riemann transform.  However, terminology interferes because the word time is used in both senses.  Therefore, the claim of reality for space and time must remain a philosophical or speculative issue.

However, the term GR may also be used to include Principles that were added in the 19th and 20th centuries.  These Principles could also fit with Newtonian mechanics.  The sticking point is the Newtonian absolute space and time concept.  Mach’s Principle or something very like it is needed to truly separate GR from Newtonian Mechanics.  So far, including Mach’s Principle in a model remains elusive and the Strong Equivalence Principle remains undemonstrated. 

Let me address another point that you raised by starting with an example.  We could use the term distance and clock rate for the physical measurement side of the transformation equation and space and time for the transformed side of the equation.  The clock rate is the duration between physical events.  There is a lot of discussion on this.  Note that Einstein used ``clock’’ when a measurement was implied.  Pendulum clocks measure time between the events of one swing of the pendulum and the next.  Take two identical pendulum clocks.  Leave one at home.  Take the other with you in your car.  Travel around (obeying the speed limit, of course).  When you get home, the clocks will show ``time dilation’’.  Well, when you accelerate or slow, the added force changes the way the pendulum swings.  Hence, a different clock rate.  You might also go up in a plane, into a weaker gravitational field.  This also affects the pendulum rate.  But, you know the physical mechanism of measuring duration between events of a pendulum and you don’t assign the term ``time dilation’’ to this process.  So, experiments use an atomic clock.  But, the physical process of radioactive decay is as yet unknown.  Perhaps, the gravitational field or acceleration changes the rate of radioactive decay.  If this is true, then ``time dilation’’ is stating physical processes involve energy changes.  The Pound-Rebka experiment measured a wavelength shift over the 22 feet change in a gravitational field.  (By the way, this is sometimes mistakenly called the gravitational redshift.)  The muon and other subatomic experiments and GPS have the same issue.

I agree, all models are false.  That is, all models are inconsistent with some observation.  The scientific problem is developing a better model.  Unless we can create a universe, all our models are false.  However, some are better than others in some restricted range. 

Distances tested in quantum entanglement experiments are meters and longer, which are well within speed of light measurement distances.  As I said, proponents view the transfer of quantum entanglement as less than superluminal.  However, even proponents seem to accept the quantum change of state is instantaneous; the interpretation of it being information is not instantaneous.  That is, determining that a give change of state was information or a random event takes the time. 

I might also add, Special Relativity does not forbid faster than light travel provided the particle travels faster than light at all times.  SR forbids acceleration to superluminal speeds.  If you are a proponent of GR calculations, then you accept the (unproven) possibility of wormholes, which transport matter to distant locations faster than light would travel through normal space.  Also, there are more than a few published, scientific papers examining the possibility of superluminal transport.  The speed of light limitation is a proposition (assumption).  Lack of evidence is not proof. 

The progress of science is achieved by the examination of accepted assumptions and by the requirement that models fit observations not public opinion.  The current models are inconsistent with a plethora of observations.

People, this is all science today from a skeptics viewpoint.  Further, its all published skeptics.  I’m not the originator of these alternate views.  Tom Van Flandern is a published, scientific author.  Just because one experiment does not reject (the only outcomes of experiments is ``reject’’ or ``not reject’’) some proposition, doesn’t mean others do reject a given hypotheisis.  Just because some fact or observation doesn’t fit a model is no reason to ignore the fact and not try for a more inclusive model.  I like to keep aware of them to help point the way to future papers in my quest for the TOE. 

Do you have thoughts on what may make a better model?  What’s your TOE?

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Posted: 15 January 2008 12:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 80 ]
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Hi jhodge,

Do you think that you have the right platform here? If you are a physicist, then I suggest you discuss this with fellow-physicists. If you are not a physicist, then I suggest you become one, and find the right way to convince your then-fellow-phycisists. But discussing with people whose main interest seems to be discussing about naturalism, a- and theism, religion and science could be the wrong strategy?

I hope I hear again from you in the ‘Scientific American’, it is clear that physics still has some problems to solve, and I can’t wait till QM and GR are integrated completely.

GdB

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Posted: 15 January 2008 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 81 ]
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GdB I have come to a similar conclusion.  I do receive replies from scientist about my papers; I do attend APS meetings with poster presentations (standing around with a few people in a give-and-take discussion about the issue is much more valuable to me than oral lectures).  I’ve had many interesting discussions.  However, most of these discussions skirt around philosophical issues rather directly confronting the speculations that derived the hypothesis.

I’m somewhat surprised about the depth of misunderstanding of the near science postings.  Philosophy is at the heart of physics to form the speculations and hypothesis.  How can one have a philosophical discussion on naturalism, a- or theists, without some understanding of science (certainly a major player on today’s moral and naturalist stage), how science works, science methods, and especially that science has many different models being discussed?  Wrong conclusions are almost foreordained.  This is especially true today in cosmology where the period is similar to just before Newton and Einstein – so much unexplained data. 

The story from the viewpoint of a theologian (atheist or theist) is no less bleak.  The ``scientist’’ view seems to be science will soon provide all the answers for a society.  What we see in our society is both churches and sciences are necessary for our society.  Because they both exist, therefore, they must be able to exist.  I think the problem is how can they both be necessary?  Both must be bringing something to society.  Maybe this is a topic for inquiry.  Overcoming the misunderstanding of both sides seems an overwhelming task. 

I’ve posted my view on ``science applied to morality’’.  After this experience of the thought that there is only one science and it is correct without question (akin to the First Commandment), this posting is only one side’s view and, as such, is too narrow.

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Posted: 04 March 2008 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 82 ]
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Ok u guys debate the deeper physics… but I think the hammer blow that someone brought up is at the heart of the OP.  Speed of sound is irrevelent (does sound travel in a vacuum? I thought it needs a medium like air)  I don’t know how that related to the orig. question at all.

However; a hammer blow to a 93 million mile rod (lets say thats equal to moving the pencil for arguments sake) Energy from the blow would be = to say a charecter-letter (I’d use ! since i’m about to blow up) written to earth…SO energy of any kind, in this case we’ll use the billiard ball example can only travel at c (lightspeed) through the material.  The best message you can get there is maybe one charecter or maybe a period that gets written as a very small line due to earth’s 15000 mph rotation but the rotation speed is minute compared to c.

Even if u used no material to send the data..it can’t go faster than c. Nothing tested i know of has beat c.  They are working on tests with QMech that allow for simultaneous action at a distance, subatomically.

My 2 cents.  You could try for a string theory explanation of this question which allows for less travel due to QM and gravity.

[ Edited: 04 March 2008 07:06 AM by rodin46 ]
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Posted: 21 March 2008 09:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 83 ]
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Folks, I could be wrong—I am only a wet physicist (a.k.a. chemist, now
retired)—but I think it improper/imprecise to say that “nothing can ‘travel’
faster than c;” rather, it seems to me that the more precise statement is:
Nothing that does not already and always “travel” faster than c can ever
“travel” faster than c.  I say this because I do not think tachyons are for-
bidden by anything we presently know about physics, and so the existence
of tachyons has not been proven impossible.  Thus, we do not know whether
tachyons exist—at best all we can presently say is that tachyons MAY or may
NOT exist.  We CAN say that tardyon matter (which includes electrons, protons,
neutrons, ordinary matter we are familiar with and made from) can never be
accelerated to faster than c “travel” (nor even to c).  And we can say that IF
tachyons exist, it seems there is no way even in principle for us to make use
of them to communicate information/“messages” superluminally.

—Frank Lovell

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Posted: 09 May 2008 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 84 ]
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Just a thought.

If nothing can break the speed of light, how does quantum tunnelling come into play. I have been trying to wrap my head around it for a year now after reading an article like the one linked below. I am a layman to these things, so maybe some one here can help me understand this better.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/08/16/scispeed116.xml

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Posted: 09 May 2008 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 85 ]
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Amos - 09 May 2008 03:28 PM

Just a thought.

If nothing can break the speed of light, how does quantum tunnelling come into play. I have been trying to wrap my head around it for a year now after reading an article like the one linked below. I am a layman to these things, so maybe some one here can help me understand this better.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/08/16/scispeed116.xml

Hi, Amos (and All)!

Why would quantum-tunneling—which essentially is a tardyon particle’s passing through an energy barrier (aided by a fortuitous quantum fluctuation) while possessing less kinetic energy than it needs to possess to go over the barrier—be EITHER disabled/forbidden by c being an asymptotic upper limit to the speed of tardyon matter OR enabled/permitted only by c not being an asymptotic upper limit to the speed of tardyon matter?  Quantum tunneling (at least as we presently understand it) does not entail or require tardyon matter to travel faster than c to be able to occasionally “enjoy” quantum tunneling.

The article URL you cited was written by a journalist over nine months ago reporting a scientific “breakthrough” claim in a newspaper which (as far as I can tell) has yet to be reported (let alone confirmed by other researchers) in the peer-refereed scientific literature.  Pons and Fleischmann pulled that stunt (announcing the major “breakthrough” of “cold fusion” in the popular press rather than in the peer-refereed scientific literature) twenty years ago, and we’re still waiting for someone—ANYone—to confirm their reported results.  Bottom line, it is very rare that bona fide “scientific breakthroughs” are announced outside of the peer-refereed scientific literature (I’m not saying this means Nimtz and Stahlhofen cannot be right—but until we see it confirmed in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, it is premature to celebrate or place large bets on it).  And even if it turns out that what Nimtz and Stahlhofen observed is confirmed, it is still possible such observation might have an explanation that does not actually require superluminal “travel” of tardyon matter.

          —Frank

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Posted: 10 May 2008 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 86 ]
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FrankLovell - 09 May 2008 04:47 PM
Amos - 09 May 2008 03:28 PM

Why would…

Thank you for that Frank. I never really thought of why it would.. which is probably where my confusion on this stemmed from.
As well, I do know that there are some out there that are trying to/ and claim that they have proven Einstein wrong. These people are (most likely) crackpots.

However I know there are other theories out that that stat that the speed of light can be bent and and even surpassed (have they done it, probably not). I know Scientific American has published a few articles about some of these theories ... just to name a few… “Relativity Violations” by Alan Kostelecky “set. 2004, page# 93 and “The Dawn of Physics Beyond the Standard Model” by Gordon Kane issue June 2003 (I’d add the page # but can’t find the issue).

One of my favourite books on the subject was “Faster than the Speed of Light” by Joao Magueijo, but recently had an good friend, that is educated on the subject, tells me that the book was conceded quackery, and I should get those ideas out of my head.

Again, considering I am a laymen and am uneducated on this subject (or any for that matter), other than what I have pieced together from articles and documentaries…. is there any validity for the idea that Light Speed can be broken?

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Posted: 10 May 2008 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 87 ]
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Hi, Amos (and All)!

All scientific theories are forever fallible and should therefore always be held tentatively to one non-zero degree or another.  That said, special relativity is one of the most thoroughly empirically corroborated theories in all of science (exceeded in the quantity, diversity and quality of corroborating empirical evidence probably only by the kinetic theory of gases and the theory of thermodynamics, with quantum theory following very closely behind special relativity), so while we cannot be absolutely, positively and for all time certain that tardyon matter cannot ever “travel” as fast as (let alone faster than) photons in a vacuum, that is the way to bet <grin>.

    —Frank

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Posted: 10 May 2008 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 88 ]
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Doug’s answer at beginning covered everything…

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Posted: 10 June 2008 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 89 ]
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Narwhol was full of crap.  Gamma Photons (a photon is a photon, a gamma ray is a photon of a particular energy)?  Tacheons (it’s spelled Tachyon in every text book I’ve ever read)?  The “strong electromagnetic force” holding nuclei together via gluons (that’s the weak nuclear force you’re looking for with the gluons)?  Sorry friend, you’re parrotting words you don’t understand. 

Assuming a perfect stylus free of any compression effects (say, hydrogen nuclei stacked at the edge of Pauli Exclusion and ignoring any Heisenbergian uncertainty) you are correct that the force on the leading (sun side) nucleus would cause a photon (more likely many photons depending on the force exerted) to be released which then must travel a finite (though miniscule) distance to the next nucleus to be absorbed thereby transmitting the initial force.  This release and absorbtion dance must then be repeated down every nucleus in our “stylus”.  The time of each step would be near instantaneous but the end result of a corresponding movement of the far end of the rod would still take measurable time. 

As for the movement rate of gravity, until somebody produces a graviton we’ll never have a sure measurement.

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Posted: 10 June 2008 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 90 ]
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George - 15 October 2007 09:42 AM

Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Right? I imagine sitting on the sun and discovering that in about one minute the sun will explode and disappear. Now, it takes about eight minutes for light to travel to earth, and nothing, not even gravity, can move at a greater speed. This gives my fellow humans a little over eight minutes to act (eight minutes + the several seconds before the explosion). Can I warn them? No, I can’t. Any kind of communication would take more than eight minutes. But! What if I had a pencil long enough to reach the earth? (Already in place, ready to start writing.) The humans can read my message as I am writing it. Would this work? Could we say that in this case a thought would travel faster than the speed of light?

Getting back to the initial question, I’m not sure if any one has caught the “loop-hole” in the original post, but yes you could travel back to earth (At the speed of light) and warn everyone here on Earth. As it was asked, “and discovering that in about one minute the sun will explode” if you left one minute before the initial detonation as stated you could reach earth and have a wonderful minute to warn the entire population… Just tell a movie star in Hollywood to get into a drunken wreck, and say in court (along with I don’t deserve prison even though I killed that person) that the sun is exploding this very second. That news always seems to spread the fastest in todays messed up society. Leaving precious seconds for us to abandon ship before the Earth is burnt to a crisp.

Now actually trying to add to the discussion, it was stated that through gamma photons the pencil would transfer motion along the entire length of said writing utensil and render communication possible. I have but one question. Have you ever tried picking up a large stick? A piece of pipe? Perhaps seen trees picked up by heavy equipment? Note what happens when, lets call it end A is lifted what end B does in turn. Even the heaviest, sturdiest steel will bend in the middle after a distance. We’re talking about a pencil almost 100 million miles long. Not to mention the energy it would take to get the tip of the pencil moving even if it did move in relation to his hand.

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