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  1. #1
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Default Light barrier broken? Is this possible?

    DailyTech - German Scientists Declare Speed of Light Broken

    I've heard vaguely of quantum tunneling before, but this is the first I've heard of anyone claiming that they've seen it. So, what does this mean? Is it possible that those particles really traveled faster than light? How do we know if it was or wasn't a detector flaw? I don't understand the precise mechanics behind the theory of quantum tunneling, but I think it proves that reality and existence aren't quite as solid as they look, and if that's possible, then I guess even such high speeds are possible.

    Could this mean that the key to breaking the light barrier is finding a way to control/predict quantum tunneling?

    Does this mean anything?

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    Senior Member Kyrielle's Avatar
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    Isn't the speed the light the highest measurable speed humans have been able to detect? So, just because it's the highest measurable speed doesn't mean there isn't anything faster. Especially since light isn't the only energy travelling through the universe.

    I'm really skeptical of truly predicting anything on the quantum level, since the particles at that level are, by their very nature, utterly chaotic.

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    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    I believe this was posted in regards to the experiment;

    Light seems to defy its own speed limit

    I don't know if it is valid or not.

    In regards to c being the fastest - it is suppose to be the fastest speed possible... or rather, the fastest one can send "information".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrielle View Post
    Isn't the speed the light the highest measurable speed humans have been able to detect?
    Based on relativity, nothing can go faster than the speed of light unless it starts off going faster than light. (Relativity has shown itself to be quite accurate in a number of ways.)

    Quantum mechanics does do some odd things, some of which go against other physics laws, but over time it works out back to what other parts of physics predict. (So the quantum tunneling may allow some things to go faster than light for a bit, but it's unpredictable, and very unlikely to happen to things larger than particles.)

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    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Slashdot.org covered this a few days ago (link here)

    Here's a choice comment:
    German Physicists Claim Speed of Light Broken

    and this:
    German Physicists Claim Speed of Light Broken

  6. #6
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Hmm, interesting. There is no reason that the theory of relativity could not expand out of the other side into a world we are unable to interact with because it isn't based on rules we "need".

    Some of the comments suggest an element of establishment inertia "it must be wrong because everyone believes XXX" that reminds of me of the resistance to heliocentricity when it was first raised with the catholic church.

    Anyway, it's all very interesting.. but I'll be suggesting to Schrodinger that he keeps wearing Heisenberg's sunglasses ready for when he comes out of his box.. at least until we hear more

    -Geoff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Some of the comments suggest an element of establishment inertia "it must be wrong because everyone believes XXX" that reminds of me of the resistance to heliocentricity when it was first raised with the catholic church.
    It's not just because "everyone believes XXX", it is because "XXX" has been tested and incorporated into other theories, and has proven an extremely acurate descriptions of how things work. Making an adjustment along the lines of "Theory XXX is true except in these special cases", is not a good way to handle it, unless the results reall break the theory, or unless it is changed/a new one is developed, that explains why the exceptions occur.

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    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zergling View Post
    It's not just because "everyone believes XXX", it is because "XXX" has been tested and incorporated into other theories, and has proven an extremely acurate descriptions of how things work. Making an adjustment along the lines of "Theory XXX is true except in these special cases", is not a good way to handle it, unless the results reall break the theory, or unless it is changed/a new one is developed, that explains why the exceptions occur.
    So.... if results do break the theory, how else can we handle it? Good way or not, we shouldn't just ignore them?

    -Geoff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    So.... if results do break the theory, how else can we handle it? Good way or not, we shouldn't just ignore them?

    -Geoff
    The results have to be tested a few times first, to check if there are other things going on, or an odd exception to the theory, or some subtleties, etc. If they are for real, some has to either make a new theory, or make some adjustments to the old one.

  10. #10

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    I'll admit the paper was quite terse, only 2 pages, and the topic is outside my breadth...

    But , there was a similar story about 6 years ago.

    This paper is actually a reference for the Aug. 5th paper

    The references also mention something from 1992.

    I think the main new contribution of this paper is the analogy between the Schrodinger and Helmholtz equations and the link between evanescent modes and virtual particles was "confirmed".

    The "train" analogy applies better to what the "discovered" in the older paper.

    Tachyons have been theorized for many years. And I believe that is the Sommerfeld paper cited (didn't check though).

    Tachyon -- from Eric Weisstein's World of Physics

    I am not sure if they managed to get a group velocity faster than the speed of the component photons, or if its was some other phenomenon. I am not entirely sure what they observed violates special relativity or not.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

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