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!!!Speed of Light Broken!!!

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  • tedwards@tcia.net
    ... Star Trek. ************************************************************************* Eureka! Scientists break speed of light Jonathan Leake, Science Editor
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2000
      >From the Sunday Times, and I might add it sounds like it was taken from
      Star Trek.

        Eureka! Scientists break speed
                     of light

              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

       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

       Before the pulse had fully entered the chamber it had gone
       right through it and travelled a further 60ft across the
       laboratory. In effect it existed in two places at once, a
       phenomenon that Wang explains by saying it travelled 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 impressedby 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 tunnelling, 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 emphasises 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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