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Re: [Virtropy] Scientists break speed of light

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  • steve wishnevsky
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 10, 2000
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      J. R. Molloy wrote:

      > Scientists break speed of light
      >
      > by Jonathan Leake, Science Editor
      >
      > Scientists claim they have broken the ultimate speed barrier: the
      > speed of
      > light.
      > In research carried out in the United States, particle physicists have
      > shown
      > that light pulses can be accelerated to up to 300 times their normal
      > velocity of
      > 186,000 miles per second.
      >
      > The implications, like the speed, are mind-boggling. On one
      > interpretation it
      > means that light will arrive at its destination almost before it has
      > started its
      > journey. In effect, it is leaping forward in time.
      >
      > Exact details of the findings remain confidential because they have
      > been
      > submitted to Nature, the international scientific journal, for review
      > prior to
      > possible publication.
      >
      > The work was carried out by Dr Lijun Wang, of the NEC research
      > institute in
      > Princeton, who transmitted a pulse of light towards a chamber filled
      > with
      > specially treated caesium gas.
      >
      > Before the pulse had fully entered the chamber it had gone right
      > through it and
      > traveled a further 60ft across the laboratory. In effect it existed in
      > two
      > places at once, a phenomenon that Wang explains by saying it traveled
      > 300 times
      > faster than light.
      >
      > The research is already causing controversy among physicists. What
      > bothers them
      > is that if light could travel forward in time it could carry
      > information. This
      > would breach one of the basic principles in physics - causality, which
      > says that
      > a cause must come before an effect. It would also shatter Einstein's
      > theory of
      > relativity since it depends in part on the speed of light being
      > unbreachable.
      >
      > This weekend Wang said he could not give details but confirmed: "Our
      > light
      > pulses did indeed travel faster than the accepted speed of light. I
      > hope it will
      > give us a much better understanding of the nature of light and how it
      > behaves."
      >
      > Dr Raymond Chiao, professor of physics at the University of California
      > at
      > Berkeley, who is familiar with Wang's work, said he was impressed by
      > the
      > findings. "This is a fascinating experiment," he said.
      >
      > In Italy, another group of physicists has also succeeded in breaking
      > the light
      > speed barrier. In a newly published paper, physicists at the Italian
      > National
      > Research Council described how they propagated microwaves at 25% above
      > normal
      > light speed. The group speculates that it could be possible to
      > transmit
      > information faster than light.
      >
      > Dr Guenter Nimtz, of Cologne University, an expert in the field,
      > agrees. He
      > believes that information can be sent faster than light and last week
      > gave a
      > paper describing how it could be done to a conference in Edinburgh. He
      > believes,
      > however, that this will not breach the principle of causality because
      > the time
      > taken to interpret the signal would fritter away all the savings.
      >
      > "The most likely application for this is not in time travel but in
      > speeding up
      > the way signals move through computer circuits," he said.
      >
      > Wang's experiment is the latest and possibly the most important
      > evidence that
      > the physical world may not operate according to any of the accepted
      > conventions.
      >
      > In the new world that modern science is beginning to perceive,
      > sub-atomic
      > particles can apparently exist in two places at the same time - making
      > no
      > distinction between space and time.
      >
      > Separate experiments carried out by Chiao illustrate this. He showed
      > that in
      > certain circumstances photons - the particles of which light is made -
      > could
      > apparently jump between two points separated by a barrier in what
      > appears to be
      > zero time. The process, known as tunneling, has been used to make some
      > of the
      > most sensitive electron microscopes.
      >
      > The implications of Wang's experiments will arouse fierce debate. Many
      > will
      > question whether his work can be interpreted as proving that light can
      > exceed
      > its normal speed - suggesting that another mechanism may be at work.
      >
      > Neil Turok, professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University,
      > said he
      > awaited the details with interest, but added: "I doubt this will
      > change our view
      > of the fundamental laws of physics."
      >
      > Wang emphasizes that his experiments are relevant only to light and
      > may not
      > apply to other physical entities. But scientists are beginning to
      > accept that
      > man may eventually exploit some of these characteristics for
      > inter-stellar space
      > travel.
      >
      >
      >
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