Re: [Virtropy] Scientists break speed of light
- 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
> In research carried out in the United States, particle physicists have
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> This weekend Wang said he could not give details but confirmed: "Our
> 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
> Dr Raymond Chiao, professor of physics at the University of California
> Berkeley, who is familiar with Wang's work, said he was impressed by
> 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
> Research Council described how they propagated microwaves at 25% above
> light speed. The group speculates that it could be possible to
> 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
> 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
> In the new world that modern science is beginning to perceive,
> particles can apparently exist in two places at the same time - making
> 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 -
> 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
> question whether his work can be interpreted as proving that light can
> 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
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