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Thread: What If You Increased The Speed Of Light?

  1. #1 What If You Increased The Speed Of Light? 
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    If in real life, we found a way to increase the speed of light, would that allow for quicker space travel.

    Or would it just kill us all?


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  3. #2  
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    Since we can't even begin to approach the real speed of light with physical space craft, I can't see how changing the speed of light would make the actual speed of space travel any faster. Not even addressing the idea of how a change in the speed of light could be accomplished by humans.


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  4. #3  
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    I've moved this out of the physics section. Your question doesn't make any sense. If the speed of light could be greater than the speed of light, then it would mean our understanding of physics is wrong. If our understanding of physics is wrong, then we cannot say what would happen, because we are using our understanding of physics to predict it. Therefore, it would be wrong.
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  5. #4  
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    The speed of light is intimately tied to the very character of the universe. It is one of the fundamentals. If one of the fundamentals changes then, as Harold has noted, all bets are off.

    Some scientists have explored what would occur if some of the other fundamentals were to change. However, to provide any meaningful answer would- I suspect - require more work than anyone here is willing to put in. (That's a challenge by the way. )
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorbo View Post
    Or would it just kill us all?
    Yup, but it would burn our eyeballs out first.
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  7. #6  
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    Please keep the lighter discussions out of the hard science subforums (those towards the top) such as the physic forum.

    Moved to general.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; February 20th, 2014 at 04:23 PM.
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  8. #7  
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    I assume you mean locally, not in the whole universe. Like a warp drive. A buble going faster then light?.Isn't this becomes a discution about tachyons? You going to get issues with time travel...


    For the whole universe. Hmmm non relativistic physics will be valid for a greater interval of speeds. Magnetism would weaken, our technology based on electromagnetism will get harder to use. Chemistry would change, biochemistry would also change, and that probably would kill us, proteins are very fragile. This will weaken the earths magnetic field, thats bad. Not sure what will happen with the sun... i think fusion will become easier... The plasma is at near light speed, so collisions will become more frequent and with less time dilation. In general relativity, the universe will be flatters. Keep in mind these are back of the envelops guesses.
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    Simply speaking, everything would be not as it is now. As Harold and John Galt post above, it would mean our understanding of physics is 'wrong.' But, I'm thinking the OP meant this question in terms of suppose the speed of light were faster, and the laws of physics not what we've come to understand, what might that mean for the universe? How might that look? But, we still come back to that same place of...everything would be different. We all might not be here. One step out of place in the laws of physics, and everything would be different. It's not an either / or proposition...would we all be dead, or would space travel be faster? EVERYTHING would be different. (as we know it)
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  10. #9  
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    It should make gravity weaker.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    It should make gravity weaker.
    Why?
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    It should make gravity weaker.
    Why?
    Space time should be flatter and relatively less distorted. Since gravity is a distortion of the spacetime continuum it should be less pronounced.
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  13. #12  
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    This question is not as bizarre as it sounds and does not require any new theories.
    Lorbo is only asking what would happen if you changed the value of one parameter, the speed of light.
    The results are easy to check just by plugging a higher value for C into the standard equations.

    For example doubling the speed of light in the E=MC^2 equation would mean you get 4 times as much energy out of a mass energy conversion. Atomic weapons would be more powerful as a result.
    The diameter of the event horizon around a black hole would shrink because the speed of light would be higher and it could escape the gravity well easier. In other words gravity would be weaker.

    I don't even know which changed results would be fatal to the universe or which ones would cancel out.

    Also even though the speed of light might be a fundamental property of the universe it is not a fundamental measurement. Speed is distance over time so it is a derived measurement.
    Changing the speed of light would mean changing the values of distance and time.

    I would not want to do the calculations to check it all out, but in principle it is possible to do.
    Last edited by dan hunter; February 21st, 2014 at 11:29 PM.
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  14. #13  
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    duplicate post
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    The diameter of the event horizon around a black hole would shrink because the speed of light would be higher and it could escape the gravity well easier. In other words gravity would be weaker.
    Relativity would be "weaker". The validity of classic physics would expand for greater speeds. Newton law will be a better approximation then now. If you want to weaken gravity you need to reduce G .


    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    I don't even know which changed results would be fatal to the universe or which ones would cancel out.
    Now that i think about it. I remember that the universe is very fine tuned to allow our existence. I don't remember specifically about the light speed, but such a radical change would probably be fatal to us.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantum immortal View Post
    Relativity would be "weaker". The validity of classic physics would expand for greater speeds. Newton law will be a better approximation then now. If you want to weaken gravity you need to reduce G .


    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    I don't even know which changed results would be fatal to the universe or which ones would cancel out.
    Now that i think about it. I remember that the universe is very fine tuned to allow our existence. I don't remember specifically about the light speed, but such a radical change would probably be fatal to us.
    In general relativity there is not an actual force for gravity and it is treated as a distortion of the geometry of spacetime. I think that makes it a derived measurement too.

    Maybe G balances out also. I am not at all sure of that one, especially for special relativity, but since it seems changing the speed of light should have a large effect on G too.

    I was thinking about the fine tuning argument when I mentioned my uncertainty about which effects might cancel. Most fine tuning argument focus on changing one specific thing and assume all the other values would remain unchanged. In the case of changing the value of C the other values, because C is so fundamental and appears in so many of the calculations, means most of the other values change too.
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  17. #16  
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    It's not possible uptill now..
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aashish Karia View Post
    It's not possible uptill now..
    Elucidate please.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Maybe G balances out also. I am not at all sure of that one, especially for special relativity, but since it seems changing the speed of light should have a large effect on G too.

    I was thinking about the fine tuning argument when I mentioned my uncertainty about which effects might cancel. Most fine tuning argument focus on changing one specific thing and assume all the other values would remain unchanged. In the case of changing the value of C the other values, because C is so fundamental and appears in so many of the calculations, means most of the other values change too.
    The extra c^4 is there to take in to account relativistic volume(4D, hence ^4). T is actually densities, and that c^4 cancels out the units. This example shows that the question of the op is not trivial.
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