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Thread: Scientists Break the Speed of Light

  1. #1 Scientists Break the Speed of Light 
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    Scientists have finally exceeded the speed of light, causing a light pulse to travel hundreds of times faster than normal.

    It raced so fast the pulse exited a specially-prepared chamber before it even finished entering it.

    The experiment is the first-ever evidence of faster-than-light motion.

    The result appears to be at odds with one of the basic principles of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, that nothing can go faster than the speed of light in a vacuum, about 186,000 miles per second.

    However, Lijun Wang, one of the scientists from the NEC Research Institute in Princeton, N.J., says their findings are not at odds with Einstein.

    She says their experiment only disproves the general misconception that nothing can move faster than the speed of light.

    The scientific statement "nothing with mass can travel faster than the speed of light" is an entirely different belief, one that has yet to be proven wrong. The NEC experiment caused a pulse of light, a group of waves with no mass, to go faster than light.

    For the experiment, the researchers manipulated a vapour of laser-irradiated atoms that boost the speed of light waves causing a pulse that shoots through the vapour about 300 times faster than it would take the pulse to go the same distance in a vacuum.

    Light travels slower in any medium more dense than a vacuum, which has no density at all. For example, light travelling through glass slows to two-thirds its speed in a vacuum. If the glass is altered, the light can be slowed even further.

    The NEC team produced the opposite effect. Inside a chamber, they changed the state of a vapour in a way that light travelling through it would travel faster than normal.

    When the pulse of light travelled through the vapour, the pulse reconfigured as some component waves stretched and others compressed. As the waves approached the end of the chamber, they recombined, forming the original pulse.

    The key to the experiment was that the pulse reformed before it could have gotten there by simply travelling through empty space. This means that, when the waves of the light distorted, the pulse traveled forward in time.

    The NEC researchers published their results in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

    http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2000/...ght000720.html


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  3. #2  
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    im confused about the no mass thing. i thought everything had mass. what is a "pusle of light" and "group of waves?" i thought atoms or at least some type of particles made these things up. is that right?


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  4. #3  
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    I really hope this is true. It would make the argument I got in with my Astronomy teacher a few years back about breaking the limit worth it.
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    manipulation of energy to faster velocity is not new. the article referenced itself is 7 years old. there are other experiments in tubes and laser travel that are said to travel faster.

    i am in the group that feels something or many things naturally travel faster and for some reason what we perceive as energy waves with current technology the limits are mis-guiding.

    anything said to have light speed C, is said to have no known mass. anything with mass, anything solid (an atom) cannot be forced to move faster than C. all energy on the electromagnetic scale radio waves to gamma and micro, have no mass. velocity is created by the source of this energy.
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    Woulthe energy of such a wave be greater than normal, ie would it be greater than E=hf?
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    If this is true then I think the question needs to be asked: Why does light NOT have an infinate speed ? What is holding it back ?

    Anyway..........fantastic news if they can get this light pulse to move that quickly through a vacuum and build smaller scale versions. Would be great on unmanned space probes, for quicker comms !!
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SealOtter
    im confused about the no mass thing. i thought everything had mass. what is a "pusle of light" and "group of waves?" i thought atoms or at least some type of particles made these things up. is that right?
    Perhaps the 'pulse' is simply energy.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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  9. #8  
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    Light is a type of electromagnetic radiation which moves not in one endless beam but in small packets of waves caled photons which move in a stream together. They have no mass as they are pure energy and need no mass to be transmitted shown by how you can shine a light through a vacuum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red
    Light is a type of electromagnetic radiation which moves not in one endless beam but in small packets of waves caled photons which move in a stream together. They have no mass as they are pure energy and need no mass to be transmitted shown by how you can shine a light through a vacuum.
    Considering the particle properties of light, I would say that light does have mass. The photons, which are packets of energy must have mass. Energy has mass according to E=MC^2. If light didn't have mass, then how come it travels in a curved path when it enters a gravitational field?
    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, however, there is.
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  11. #10  
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    light or any other e.m.w doesn not have a mass. E=mc^2 is a formula to find the equivilant energy of an amount of mass and vica versa. All the energy of a photon exists as energy itself not as mass. It does have an equivilant mass but as does a lump of rock have an equivilant energy but it is not in that pure state of energy but all "locked up" as mass. The reason massless energy curves due to gravity is because gravity is the result of large mass's effect on space-time. It curves space time so curving the light. gravity has no greater or less of an effect dependant on mass. If you put a penny and a feather in a vaccum tube and turn them upside down they will both reach the other side at the same time. It is the bending in space-time not a force exerted on mass like magnetism.
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  12. #11  
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    OK, thanks, I've been wondering about this for quite a while..
    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, however, there is.
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  13. #12  
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    So great, waiting for new theory then. :P
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