'We have broken speed of light'

  1. 'We have broken speed of light'

    'We have broken speed of light'

    By Nic Fleming, Science Correspondent
    Last Updated: 12:01am BST 16/08/2007

    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."

  2. I read that article too. Its interesting, but I dont think this is a violation of relativity. A photon has no mass, and relativity states that no obect with mass can travel faster than the speed of light.

    It will be interesting to read more information about this in the next few days, as long as everyone stops writing about Paris Hilton and covers something important for once.

  3. I wonder what would come of this theory if it was proven to be false. I mean what kind of new plausible situations could we start working on that previously was considered impossible.

  4. Relativity doesn't say something can't travel faster than light. It says nothing can ACCELERATE past the speed of light. If no acceleration occurs; i.e. a state change causes a spontaneous shift in velocity to something greater than the speed of light, then nothing is violated. Time dilation and all that crap is from acceleration, not the actual speed at which you travel.

    They did not ACCELERATE the photons. Relativity was not violated.

    EDIT: It's actually even simpler than that. I love slashdot...

    They didn't break the speed of light at all

  5. I don't know a whole lot about the theory of relativity, just what I've seen on some shows on PBS and stuff. But my take on it is that it is just a THEORY. Its not a law. Hell it might not apply at all, or only in certain situations.



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