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Math Science

Mathematicians Extend Einstein's Special Relativity Beyond Speed of Light 381

Posted by samzenpus
from the carry-the-universal-constant dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that despite an apparent prohibition on faster-than-light travel by Einstein's theory of special relativity, applied mathematician James Hill and his colleague Barry Cox say the theory actually lends itself easily to a description of velocities that exceed the speed of light. 'The actual business of going through the speed of light is not defined,' says Hill whose research has been published in the prestigious Proceedings of the Royal Society A. 'The theory we've come up with is simply for velocities greater than the speed of light.' In effect, the singularity at the speed of light divides the universe into two: a world where everything moves slower than the speed of light, and a world where everything moves faster. The laws of physics in these two realms could turn out to be quite different. In some ways, the hidden world beyond the speed of light looks to be a strange one. Hill and Cox's equations suggest, for example, that as a spaceship traveling at super-light speeds accelerated faster and faster, it would lose more and more mass, until at infinite velocity, its mass became zero. 'We are mathematicians, not physicists, so we've approached this problem from a theoretical mathematical perspective,' says Dr Cox. 'Should it, however, be proven that motion faster than light is possible, then that would be game changing. Our paper doesn't try and explain how this could be achieved, just how equations of motion might operate in such regimes.'"
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Mathematicians Extend Einstein's Special Relativity Beyond Speed of Light

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  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:23PM (#41614407) Journal

    As I understand it from reading a few other articles, there still exists the challenge of getting past the barrier of infinite energy required to even match the speed of light. Perhaps there will be found a way to tunnel past it, but I expect that while all the math may work neatly, actually breaking through is going to be nearly impossible. Then there's the problem of slowing down which means tunneling back through the other way.

    Much as I've been warned off by the articles that claim the paper to be fairly impenetrable to non-mathematicians, I'm tempted to pay the $30 to get the article anyway.

    • by JustOK (667959) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:29PM (#41614445) Journal

      In the alternate universe, they would pay you.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:37PM (#41614505)
      But the mathematics do not work out neatly. They just skipped a whole bunch of math where E = infinity and broke their equations and went strait to "Now we're losing mas as we accelerate! Neat! Forget that whole "We just consumed all the energy in the universe and collapsed into a blackhole business back there!"
      • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:55PM (#41614639)

        so the speed of light barrier is where the universe throws a divide by zero error, and things like tachyons are where the universe says fuck it lets do it anyway. maybe this math is for explaining how tachyons can get a way with saying fuck you to the math.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:09PM (#41614735)

          Tachyons probably don't exist. No one even has a way to find them yet if they do. People seem to hear about them and assume they do exist, but they are just a prediction dependent upon string theory being correct. It isn't even testable in theory (yet) . Since it isn't provable yet, it isn't really science, just a neat thought experiment.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Dynedain (141758)

            At one time Einsteins theories weren't testable either and were just neat thought experiments.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              False. They were always testable, the ability to perform the test might be lacking, but that is two different things. As far s I know, string theory isn't even testable in theory.

              • by ldobehardcore (1738858) <steven,dubois&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @10:56PM (#41615359)

                String theory has a few testable predictions, but they would require particle accelerators the size of the solar system eating a whole Jupiter's worth of mass-energy every second they're running. And even then it would be testing only the string theories that have been found out mathematically to be wrong for our universe.

                • by oreaq (817314)

                  That is not true. Maldacena duality (AdS/CFT correspondence) for examples can be tested in low energy experiments and has also not "been found out mathematically to be wrong for our universe."

              • by oreaq (817314)

                Einstein published his theory of general relativity in 1915 and proposed his now famous classical tests for it (perihelion precession of Mercury's orbit, gravitational redshift, and deflection of light by stars) in 1916. There was a (short) period where gr lacked a solid empirical foundation.

                There are lots of testable predictions comming out of string theory (supersymmetry, string harmonics, cosmic strings, etc.). They just can't be tested with energy levels that are accessible today. There was some hope th

            • by dudpixel (1429789) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @10:36PM (#41615245)

              What you said doesn't disagree with the post you replied to. Perhaps you are aware of that, but I thought I should point it out anyway.

              In other words, at the point where Einstein's theories weren't testable, then they too were just neat thought experiments. In his case, they reached the point where they were testable and thus became real science, but in this case there is no guarantee.

              • by Artifakt (700173) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @02:13AM (#41616293)

                Special Relativity was immediately testable. In fact, one of the tests for its predictions turns out to be the Michelson–Morley experiment, which was first performed in 1887 before Special Relativity was even a gleam in Einstein's eye. The M-M experiment was refined repeatedly during the period that Special Relativity was first discussed (1905-06) to focus on testing one of SR's basic predictions, so a test of at least one of special relativity's predictions existed by publication date.

                          General relativity was immediately testable by measuring the Perhelion precession of Mercury. It was also possible to test it by observing solar bending of starlight any time there was a total solar eclipse. Yeah, you couldn't do that on the day of first publication because there wasn't a solar eclipse that day, but the researchers knew there would be total solar eclipses in the future and could set up to test the theory as soon as one happened. But, suppose they had had to wait until the next eclipse after that, or something? Do you really want to advance the claim that a theory isn't scientifically testable if a human event such as a war keeps the observers from getting to the location where it could be tested? Or if cloudy weather blocked observing? That nearly happened.

                        Normally, the rule that it isn't science if it doesn't make testable predictions doesn't mean that something becomes unscientific if there are budget cuts or other such events that aren't themselves part of the scientific method.

            • by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @09:03AM (#41618257) Homepage

              At one time Einsteins theories weren't testable either and were just neat thought experiments.

              There's a difference between "aren't testable using current technology" and "can never be testable with any possible future technology".

        • by jythie (914043) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:13PM (#41614761)
          Well, tachyons aside, basically yeah.

          I have not read the piece, but I am confused how this is 'new'. The behavior of the equations for values larger then C were things we went over in undergrad physics. You can not go the speed of light, but higher or lower works.
        • by dudpixel (1429789) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @10:42PM (#41615279)

          As I understood it, things can travel FASTER than light, and things can travel SLOWER than light, but something that is currently travelling slower than light cannot accelerate so that it is travelling faster than light and likewise things travelling faster than light cannot slow down past the speed of light.

          In other words, whichever side of the speed of light you are on now, is the side you must stay on forever.

          The extension of that is that I don't know whether it makes sense to even discuss things that travel faster than light unless we can come up with some way of those things having an effect in our world. It may well be that those things are not "visible" to our reality in any way and have no effect on us at all. Therefore, whether they exist or not, we'll never know.

          • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:14PM (#41615475)

            We're not talking about cars here, where you have to smoothly accelerate from a slow speed to a fast speed. Maybe there's a way to "jump" into this "hyperspace" realm and instantly be traveling FTL. Notice the way they did it in the recent Battlestar Galactica series; there was no "warp speed" there, only jumps of a limited distance. No one's walking around the ship during that time, they just disappear one place and reappear another, possibly by traveling at an absurdly-high FTL speed through a realm where physics are quite different.

            Now obviously, figuring out how to shift into hyperspace is going to be a major challenge, but maybe before long we'll learn enough about exotic matter to be able to do such a thing.

            • by Sentrion (964745) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @01:41AM (#41616153)

              Presumably, any attempt to surpass the speed of light would required taking actions that will likely kill you. But if you succeeded you would be in a completely separate alternate universe. Since religion has taught us for millenia that you pass on to an alternate universe when you die, maybe the ancients were on to something. Since spirit beings would have zero mass they could theoretically, if they existed, shift into hyperspace. Test pilots just better hope there's a physical being on the other side to serve as a host body. I'm still waiting for the Heaven's Gate explorers to send back their message to let us know if they succeeded or not.

      • 'The theory we've come up with is simply for velocities greater than the speed of light.' In effect, the singularity at the speed of light divides the universe into two: a world where everything moves slower than the speed of light, and a world where everything moves faster.

        Actually, the exact opposite is the truth: nothing can move faster or slower than c. It is an illusion that objects move slower than c. Motion is discrete and consists of discrete jumps at c interspersed with huge numbers of discrete wai

        • Relativity does not state that something cannot move faster than c says you cannot accelerate to c.

          And I cannot sort out why anyone interested in SR, GR, QM or physics in general would read Popper.

        • by Dunbal (464142) * on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:54PM (#41615017)
          At first I wondered why someone called you a retard. Then I read your blog. I think the whole universe is just a little bit dumber since you wrote it. I guess no one can force you to understand the universe. The un-nerving part is that you try to induce others into error. I wonder what happened to you that you have such a desire to be believed. Why don't you put the ground-work in and educate yourself and try to make real discoveries about the myriad things that are still left to be discovered, instead of making up hokum about very basic, verifiable observations that flawlessly predict quite a number of things and upon which a great deal of other observations rely.
          • by Atzanteol (99067) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:03PM (#41615387) Homepage

            Holy hell I wish I'd read your comment before his blog. Newton was wrong, Einstein was a tool, nobody knows how the universe works but me...

            Here's a thought - if you have to tell people you're not a crank, well, you probably are.

          • Zitterbewegung (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Roger W Moore (538166) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @01:10AM (#41616043) Journal
            Interestingly enough, while the OP is clearly not playing with a full deck, there is a phenomenon know as Zitterbewegung [wikipedia.org] which is very similar to what the OP was suggesting. However this behaviour is suggested by free-particle solutions to the Dirac equation which is firmly grounded in both special relativity and quantum mechanics.

            Essentially the solutions suggest that e.g. an electron may propagate by jittering back and forth at the speed of light such that the velocity averages out to the expected value. The frequency of this jittering is of the order of 10^21 Hz and so it has never been experimentally observed but it is, nevertheless, an interesting possibility. Sometimes reality is stranger than even crazy people think!
          • At first I wondered why someone called you a retard. Then I read your blog. I think the whole universe is just a little bit dumber since you wrote it.

            No you don't understand! Now I've read that, I've been deeply enlightned. Don't you see it? The world is a 4-D lattice. That meshes so prefectly with the idea of a time cube [timecube.com], which could only work if the universe was a cubic lattice.

            Once the ivory tower pyhsicists are ejected when the revolution comes, we will finally be able to get FTL travel and unlimited

        • by aquabat (724032) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @10:15PM (#41615133) Journal
          I dunno, Einstein's theory seems to be pretty useful for explaining and predicting a lot of things we experience. It explains everything Newton does, plus some things tat Newton can not. What things does Popper predict accurately that Einstein does not? In what ways is his theory simpler and more elegant than Special and General Relativity?
      • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:59PM (#41615047)

        You'd think they were quantum theorists!

        Seriously, theoretical physics has a LOT of "well, what if we didn't have that little problem...." Quantum mechanics has lots of awkward infinities that end up getting explained away (and lots more we hope will get explained away someday).

      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @10:16PM (#41615137)

        Forget that whole "We just consumed all the energy in the universe and collapsed into a blackhole business back there!"

        There are two different quotes by the authors in the summary that pointed out they weren't trying to suggest ways that could be accomplished, only what would happen if it were. What more do you want, THREE different quotes from the authors saying "WE'RE NOT SAYING SUCH A THING IS ACTUALLY POSSIBLE!!!"

      • Now we're losing mas as we accelerate!

        Actually I think they say this because they are mathematicians, not physicists. Mass is a Lorentz invariant and is constant in all inertial frames and it is a common misconception deriving from the fact that it is easier to think of mass increasing with speed that it is to grasp the concept that our Newtonian notion of velocity does not actually work in relativity because space and time are relative and not independent of one another. My guess is that this is also true in their paper and that, rather than

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:38PM (#41614519)

      Don't waste your money. It employes nothing harder than algebra and simply restates what physicist's have said about tachyons for years. Can't see how they slipped it passed the reviewers.

      • Indeed. The fact that they didn't put it on arXiv is another indication it's probably not much more than hype.

        Now that I think of it, how awesome is this? Being published in a journal but not on arXiv is more suspicious than the other way around.

      • by tverbeek (457094)

        I seriously thought this was commonly understood among Physics majors who occasionally smoked pot. At least that's who I learned it from about 20 years ago. Seemed pretty obvious-once-you-think-about-it to me (and that's coming from a guy who flunked Infinite Series the first time he took it).

        • by Zordak (123132)
          Yeah, it's not that special. I went through these same thought experiments and worked the math as an electrical engineering undergrad. And I've never even smoked weed. Really, the interesting question is what are the implications of comlpex energy? Do you phase shift? Makes for some fun science fiction, but not much practical use.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fustakrakich (1673220)

      The problem is seeing past c

      Our senses and tools are very limited and primitive. Perception is everything. It is very difficult to work with something that exists outside of 'sensor range'. So we assume much when we create our theories of how things are.

      "If you really don't believe that faster-than-light is possible, then humans will be limited forever," [theregister.co.uk]

    • I suspect it will be (if it ever will be, that is) something along the lines of twisting space-time in such a way that will allow you to move the universe around you (as opposed to you moving through space-time).

    • It sounds like they have mathematically described Tachyon space.Can a Hyperdrive or Warp drive be far behind.Where is Zefrim Cochrine when ou need him?

    • This is not new. When I was little some 35 years ago, my mom told me there was nothing stopping you from going faster than light, you just had to start off going faster than light.

      Yes I grew up weird. Or maybe everyone else did.

  • No one yet answered this question, what is the speed of information? What is the speed of the universal laws? What is the speed of the gravitational force??????
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:37PM (#41614507)

      Speed of information = speed of light (this is well known).
      Speed of gravitation = speed of light (this is also well known).
      "Speed of universal laws" is not a question that makes sense. "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong." -- Pauli (And the quote is well known).

      • if speed of gravitation is equal to c then why can it pull in light and bend time? it would seem to me to be faster then c to bend time. please explain?

        • by tibit (1762298) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:26PM (#41614869)

          Because you made up a problem where there's none, that's why. Speed of gravitation is simply how fast change propagates. You wiggle something here, it makes wiggles on something somewhere else, but later. This doesn't preclude steady state. A gravitational potential well doesn't need a round trip to begin to affect something. If an object comes into being in a potential well, it is immediately under the action of gravitation of the central mass in said potential well. It will, alas, take light time for the effect of the object's being to affect the central mass, and whatever effects that had to propagate back. Same goes for a potential well in electric field, etc. Yes, there will be photons or gravitons that carry out the interaction, but if my outsider understanding is any good here, don't forget that those carriers are created on a whim, and their creation or destruction is all that you need for an interaction to occur.

    • by goombah99 (560566)

      No one yet answered this question, what is the speed of information? What is the speed of the universal laws? What is the speed of the gravitational force??????

      It works in reverse. All information is known at all points in space but as you go faster, you start to forget things.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:47PM (#41614589)
      Yes they have. It's the speed of light.
      The speed of information and the speed of gravitational force were both predicted by Einstein.
      The speed of information was proven rather quickly there-after in experiment. You'll have to wikipedia it for details because they escape me.
      The speed of gravitational force was proven recently. Maybe in the 90s? I believe by measuring some gravitational lensing effect the sun had on stars just past its horizon or some-such. I don't remember the specifics. But if the sun vanished right now, it would take 8 minutes for the earth to stop orbiting and shoot off into space.

      The speed of universal laws? I'd think that would fall under information... irrelevant however, as everything obeys the speed of light.
      • by stanlyb (1839382)
        Nope, it is not the same, and no one yet proved it. And the Einstein theory does not say anything about it. In fact, all the laws that we have, are making the presumption that the speed of the information is infinite. Period. But is it really so?
        • Ah, I see. You're one of those TimeCube guys. Listen, if you believe in magic over science, I can't help you. Relativity is, at this point, fact. It is probably the most researched, proven, time tested theories in modern science. We are more sure of relativity than we are of Newtons laws. If you were to ask a physicist what were more likely to happen tomorrow, The sun to explode? or Relativity to be found incorrect... they'd choose the sun. If you google it, there are experiments you can do in your living r
        • by nebular (76369)

          Actually the maximum speed information can propagate is the speed of light in a vacuum according to relativity. Anything faster than that and you have problems of the results of events happening before the event from some points of view, according to relativity. Every experiment we have done to try and send information faster than light has come up short.

      • by Jack9 (11421) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:42PM (#41614955)

        > Yes they have. It's the speed of light.

        > But if the sun vanished right now, it would take 8 minutes for the earth to stop orbiting and shoot off into space.

        http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/GR/grav_radiation.html [ucr.edu]

        There's a number of competing models which fit existing data.

        http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2010/08/25/what-is-the-speed-of-gravity/ [scienceblogs.com]

        See the closing paragraph referencing LISA ~ 2030 A.D.

        The real way to measure the speed of gravity is to detect and study gravitational waves. By comparing the arrival of a gravitational-wave signal with that of an electromagnetic signal from an astrophysical source, one could compare the speed of gravity to that of light to parts in 10^(17).

        As I understand it, we're still waiting to find out if gravitational waves/radiation propagates at the speed of light.

  • by EvolutionInAction (2623513) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:30PM (#41614451)
    What. The. Hell. This is not profound. This is trivial.
    Anybody that took any science classes knows that the equations work fine as long as v != c. Just like I can get negative frequencies out of a fourier transform. The math works, but that doesn't mean I have actual, physical negative frequencies.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:35PM (#41614493) Homepage

      What? You've never felt a negative vibe before?

    • Depends... What's your definition of a negative frequency? A frequency out of phase with a positive one might qualify. I'm pretty sure you can make one of those... and Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] had an article on negative frequency photons a while back too.

      • by EvolutionInAction (2623513) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:51PM (#41614611)
        When you use a fourier transform to put a signal into frequency domain you end up with positive/negative components. If you then bandshift, the negative component becomes positive and will actually exist when broadcast. But only the positive part is actually a physical thing. It's... weird.
        But you know what I mean. All the equations of motion work if we negative mass, but that alone isn't any reason to think that negative mass exists. Was that a better example?
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @12:21AM (#41615819)

          When you use a fourier transform to put a signal into frequency domain you end up with positive/negative components. If you then bandshift, the negative component becomes positive and will actually exist when broadcast. But only the positive part is actually a physical thing. It's... weird.

          This is one interpretation, and taught by some professors who think students can handle weirdness better than complex arithmetic, but it's much more elegant to deal in complex signals, where the negative- and positive-frequency elements are conjugates and sum to exactly the real signal.

          Once you understand this, Fourier transforms will stop being magic crap and start making sense.

        • by hankwang (413283)

          When you use a fourier transform to put a signal into frequency domain you end up with positive/negative components.

          That's more a mathematical artifact of using a complex-valued Fourier transform for real-valued signals; the amplitudes of the positive and negative components are each other's complex conjugate, so there is not really any information in the negative half of the spectrum. For real-valued signals, you can write the Fourier transform in terms of sines and cosines, with only positive frequencies.

    • by Longjmp (632577) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:56PM (#41614645)

      The math works, but that doesn't mean I have actual, physical negative frequencies.

      Exactly. Two more simple examples:
      1st: Pythagoras
      a^2 + b^2 = c^2. Let a = 3 and b = 4.
      Which leads to c^2 = 25, result is +5... Not quite: (and congrats to those who could follow without a calculator ;-)
      There are two results, +5 and -5 mathematically, however, only one, +5, makes sense in a physical world, since there is no negative length.

      2nd: Give me a few (hundred?) years and I'll come up with a mathematical model where the sun, planets and the rest of the universe is circling around the earth.
      It wouldn't make sense whatsoever, but mathematically it still would be true.

      • by stanlyb (1839382)
        Exactly, having a model proves nothing. And who says that the current model is actually the true one???
      • by buswolley (591500)
        Can there be a consistent 'mirror existence' where all such examples do have applicable meaning?
    • by Jamu (852752)
      Exactly what I thought, along with why the f' is this news? It's been known about since the publication of Special Relativity over 100 years ago, and certainly before we started calling them tachyons, around 50 years ago.
    • Isn't a negative frequency just the wave flipped about an axis (or perhaps unchanged)?

      cos (-w t) = cos (w t)
      sin (-w t) = -sin(w t)

      Did you maybe mean imaginary frequencies?

  • by Antony T Curtis (89990) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:30PM (#41614457) Homepage Journal

    Some parts make sense: At infinite velocity, a particle would necessarily pass through every point in the universe. The particle must have zero mass otherwise the entire universe would collapse into a singularity exceedingly quickly as the mass of the universe becomes effectively infinite.

    Just a random thought.

    • ...the whole universe could be just 1 particle moving at infinite velocity, and the visible universe (e.g. us), is just that single infinite velocity particle interfering with itself :-/

    • by buswolley (591500)
      I really don't know the math but two probably dumb questions.. 1: Would the relative velocity between an object going slower than c and an object going faster than c be restricted by c somehow? 2: Given the suggestion that objects lose mass the faster they go on the other side of c, is it possible for two objects to have identical mass, but be going wildly different speeds? ..one going faster than c, and the other slower than c?
    • by GrahamCox (741991)
      At infinite velocity, a particle would necessarily pass through every point in the universe.

      Nah, you're thinking of the Infinite Improbability Drive. It beats all that tedious mucking about with faster-than-light equations.
    • Re:Infinite velocity (Score:5, Informative)

      by CapOblivious2010 (1731402) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:11PM (#41614745)

      Some parts make sense: At infinite velocity, a particle would necessarily pass through every point in the universe.

      Actually that happens at the speed of light: to a photon moving at the speed of light, time has stopped completely and the universe is forsehortened from a 3D volume to a 2D plane - so effectively the photon is at every point along it's path "at once", at least from it's point of view.

  • by cathector (972646) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:31PM (#41614461)

    have not RTFA,
    but if you just let the mass become imaginary, the relativistic velocity equations work just fine.
    the only singularity comes in when you're going at c.

    • Re:imaginary mass (Score:5, Informative)

      by cb123 (1530513) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:36PM (#41614503)

      If you just read the abstract to TFA you can see that the claim here is less novelty than the press release makes it sound like (the press overplays things - SHOCKER! ;-). They are really only presenting an alternate derivation without using mass of long-known results related to tachyonic physics and virtual particles and so forth.

      Now, I am personally a bit dubious this is the first time the alternate derivation has been done, but I havne't read their particular approach. One would hope any reviewers assigned to the paper would have done reasonable due diligence/homework about the particulars (though sometimes that hope is in vain).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cb123 (1530513)
        Whoops - that should have been "without using *imaginary* mass".
  • by hemo_jr (1122113)

    My question is what happens with time in an FTL regime? Speeds up? Slows down? Goes backwards?

    • ...also, is time chunky? does it interfere with itself kinda like light? Does space interfere with itself? How would such things manifest themselves in our observable universe?

  • Tachyons (Score:5, Informative)

    by slew (2918) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:38PM (#41614525)

    I don't think there is much new here, several tachyon papers have trodden down this road before (e.g., http://arxiv.org/pdf/1112.4187v2.pdf [arxiv.org]).
    If they somehow have figure out how to extend the lorentz transform for v > c in 4 dimensional space (vs 6 dimensional space as asserted in the above reference paper to void imaginary distances), that would be something.

    Unfortunatly, I haven't found a way around their paywall (yet) to see what they are up to...

  • I, for one, am sick of science "breakthrough" reporting like this. Oooh, we understand physics past the speed of light now!

    Stop for a second. Do you even understand the current state of settled science on General Relativity? Do you appreciate the problems that existed in pre-GR, and how Einstein's equations were such a beautiful, innovative solution to them? Have you connected it to your general understanding of science and astronomical observation? How much would you have needed to be told to connect

  • Didn't Tesla believe that as something moved faster it would lose mass and that things could move faster than the speed of light?

    If this story turned out to be true, that would be a huge victory for Tesla.

  • by arielCo (995647) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:21PM (#41614835)

    So that's his secret! Not our yellow sun, not the cape ... it's SPEEDO FLIGHT !!

  • Dear Hugh Pickens, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by heptapod (243146) <heptapod@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @09:26PM (#41614867) Journal

    One link is necessary for Slashdot. Slashdot isn't Wikipedia.

    After reading the first sentences of your submissions and seeing five different links, I give up and go to reddit for the actual story. You're doing Slashdot a disservice.

    Go create your own blog with a feed.

    Thank you.

  • by rossdee (243626) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:00PM (#41615375)

    I thought when you put values greater than c into Einstein's equations you get values involving the square root of negative 1
    which does not exist.

    Mathematicians used to refer to that number as lower case i

    But I think Apple have patented, trademarked and copyrighted that these days.

    They should expect a lawsuit.

  • by erichill (583191) <eric@stochastic.com> on Thursday October 11, 2012 @12:24AM (#41615829) Homepage
    A friend of my in the 70's who was a math grad student at the time was playing with taking the absolute value of gamma = 1 / sqrt(1-v^2/c^2) to avoid the imaginary aspect of the term. Only at light speed was a massive particle forbidden. The square of the momentum remains real. Other results were the same: Things become less energetic the farther you get from light speed in either direction. At sqrt(2) times c, your relativistic mass and time are the same as at rest and your subjective trip time matches that of distant observers. Finally, at infinite speed you have zero mass and your subjective trip time is the same as the distance traveled (times c, of course). I seriously doubt my friend was the first person to come up with this. What's different with the new publication, AFAICT, is that these guys have an eager university press office. I love it when the press release folks feel obliged to mention that the work appears in a "prestigious" journal.

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