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Faster-than-light electric currents could explain pulsars

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Device to generate superluminal polarization currentsClaiming that something can move faster than light is a good conversation-stopper in physics. People edge away from you in cocktail parties; friends never return phone calls. You just don’t mess with Albert Einstein. So when I saw a press conference at the American Astronomical Society meeting this past January on faster-than-light phenomena in the cosmos, my first reaction was to say, "Terribly sorry, but I really have to go now." Astrophysicists have been speaking of FTL motion for years, but it was always just a trick of the light that lent the impression of warp speed, a technicality of wave motion, or an exotic consequence of the expansion of the universe. These researchers were claiming a very different sort of trick. Dubious though I was, I put their press release in my "needs more thought" folder and today finally got around to taking a closer look. And what I’ve found is utterly fascinating.

The researchers, John Singleton and Andrea Schmidt of Los Alamos and their colleagues, have built a sort of wire in which an electric pulse can outpace light. They get away with it because the pulse is not a causal process. It does not ripple down the line because charged particles are bumping into each other, a process that is subject to Einstein’s speed limit. Instead, an external controller drives the particles and can synchronize them to make a pulse pass through the wire at whatever speed you want. The particles are like dominos in a row. A causal process is the usual domino effect in which each domino knocks down the next; the dominos move at their own speed, determined by their size and spacing. An acausal process is if you knocked down all the dominos with your hand; the dominos move however fast you can make them. The photo above shows an early version of the contraption; the wire is the white arc on the right, and the controllers are the circuit boards on the left.

This method of breaching the speed barrier might seem like cheating–after all, no material object is breaching the barrier. But electromagnetically it doesn’t matter. Whatever the origin of the pulse in a wire, it involves the motion of electric charge and emits electromagnetic radiation. The radiation propagates outward at the speed of light, but is forever shaped by the speed of whatever generated it. When Singleton, Schmidt, and the rest of their team generate slower-than-light pulses using their technique, the resulting radiation looks just like the radiation created by ordinary causal pulses. For faster-than-light pulses, the radiation looks just like the radiation that would be created if charged particles really could exceed the speed of light.

Which is to say, it looks pretty weird. Not only is the radiation tightly focused in space, it is tightly focused in time–a pulse that originally takes, say, 10 seconds to generate might be squeezed into 1 millisecond as all the electromagnetic wavefronts get jammed together. The temporal focusing causes the radiation to spread out over a wide swath of the electromagnetic spectrum. In addition, the focusing provides a degree of amplification, causing the intensity of the radiation to diminish not with the inverse square of the distance but with the inverse distance.

This focusing could be very useful for transmitting radio waves with a minimum of power, but Singleton and Schmidt’s main interest is applying the idea to astrophysics–in particular, to pulsars. Astrophysicists think these objects are hyperdense neutron stars that generate radio pulses as they spin, much like a lighthouse. But they have struggled to explain why the radio pulses are so sharp and why they appear over such a broad range of the spectrum. Singleton and Schmidt, building on work in the 1980s by Houshang Ardavan of Cambridge University, argue that these properties are natural consequences of FTL electric currents driven by the neutron star’s magnetic field. For simple geometric reasons, beyond a certain distance from the star, the magnetic field sweeps through the atmosphere at faster than light.

The researchers are now applying their model to another mystery of astrophysics, gamma-ray bursts. Astrophysicists typically estimate the intrinsic power generation of these bursts by assuming the inverse-square law, and the values they get are off the charts. But if FTL effects are involved, the inverse-square law might be overestimating the power and astronomers should really be using a simple inverse law.

Singleton says the basic principle of FTL currents goes back to work by English physicist Oliver Heaviside and German physicist Arnold Sommerfeldt in the 1890s, but was forgotten because Einstein’s theories dissuaded physicists from thinking about FTL phenomena, even those that evaded the theories’ strictures. I’ve only just touched on this engrossing physics and I recommend you read the team’s papers, beginning with this one. "People just don’t think about things moving faster than the speed of light," Singleton says. "This is a completely wide open and unexplored field."

Photo courtesy of Andrea Schmidt, John Singleton, and colleagues





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  1. 1. gmusser 2:05 pm 06/21/2010

    Well, the application of the idea to pulsars is still somewhat controversial. The model claims to provide an explanation for the pulse shape and broadband spectrum, but it’s still clear whether it really does. But if anything it would confirm the basic picture of a pulsar as a spinning neutron star whose pulses are generated magnetically. This model does NOT "turn conventional astrophysics upside down". It’s very very interesting but not paradigm-shifting. To me, it’s a fine example of how some amazing phenomena lurk within present theories.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Impulsive Andy 3:21 pm 06/21/2010

    I just have to post this before I go:

    ‘This model does NOT "turn conventional astrophysics upside down". It’s very very interesting but not paradigm-shifting. To me, it’s a fine example of how some amazing phenomena lurk within present theories." ‘

    Indeed, as I said it should do so but it won’t because it will only be viewed within the context of existing theories, the ad-hoc "tweaking" I referred to before.

    Although by itself it may not represent a paradigm shift when combined with all of the other new evidence coming out over the past 2-3 decades that contradicts so much of conventional astrophysics it most certainly does represent a paradigm shift.

    It seems the idea of falsification and scientific integrity has been lost on the last few generations of conventional scientists.

    If evidence comes to light that contradicts an existing theory then a new theory must be developed incorporating all of the evidence including the newly discovered specimens, simply "tweaking" the existing theory in ad-hoc fashion to fit the new evidence or in way too many cases these days "tweaking" the evidence to fit the theory is not scientifically honest.

    Completely ignoring the contradictory evidence and writing it off as an ‘anomaly’ is even worse but ‘tweaking’ is no different than adding Ptolemaic epicycles itself.

    If the evidence is not 100% correctly predicted by the existing theory then the theory is falsified by that evidence.

    It’s too bad these concepts have been mostly lost since the dawn of the 20th century when mathematics took over science and kicked empiricism to the curb.

    It’s amusing that considering the ‘P’ in PHD stands for philosophy very few PHD holders today have any philosophical understanding of science or the world/universe at all.

    Believing that what you’ve been taught is true and everything else is not true is not philosophy and it’s not science either. Welcome to religious indoctrination, bow down to the Big Bang and do not accept any false idols or you will be ostracized and attacked viciously for the rest of eternity.

    As Saturn2 mentioned Electrical force is the most powerful force known to man and it does exist in space, obfuscating it’s existence by calling it ‘space weather’ and using hydrodynamic terminology doesn’t really fool anyone except for those who want to be fooled because admitting the truth would shatter their well established perceptions of reality.

    On a side note – do you have a theory as too how gravity can be both limited by c and instantaneous?

    Regards,
    Impulsive Andy

    Link to this
  3. 3. jtdwyer 3:32 pm 06/21/2010

    Impulsive Andy – Sorry for being uninformed, but in what way is gravity considered limited by c and instantaneous?

    Link to this
  4. 4. jtdwyer 3:55 pm 06/21/2010

    gmusser – Do you agree with the interpretation of some posters that the claimed superluminality does not apply to any physical matter but only to virtual flows of electron charge state distribution patterns?

    Isn’t a claim of superluminality valid for ‘information’ (particle states, for example) or matter?

    Isn’t this, an account (without direct evidence) of superluminality that is more physically specific than quantum entanglement?
    Thanks in advance.

    Link to this
  5. 5. Impulsive Andy 4:59 pm 06/21/2010

    Well it seems my car won’t be ready till tomorrow so I may as well kill some more time here.

    I’d like to apologize if I have come across hostilely towards anyone here as to my knowledge nobody here has given me reason to be hostile to them. Unfortunately that is unusual and typically I am faced with great hostility for espousing the views I do and I have naturally adapted to reciprocating that attitude and it has become ingrained in me.

    In regards to relativity theory – Although I myself tentatively support Lorentzian Relativity over Einsteinian theories I do not deny that GR and SR have their merits in some regards, as would be expected from a man of the intellectual caliber of Einstein.

    However ignoring some issue with GR and SR themselves I can’t reconcile how that intellectual giant managed to botch some basic conclusions in regards to relativity – mainly the conclusion based on the train and lightning experiment in that an individual’s perception of reality is reality itself.

    If that were true then if you have a room with 500 people in it that room will contain 500 different realities, but all are true realities. When all those people clear out and the room is empty the reality within it will cease to exist as nobody is around to observe or interpret it.

    A better analogy would be that what is in your field of vision/sense is real, what is not in your field of vision/sense is not real as you aren’t interpreting it in any way.

    But reality exists and will continue to exist regardless if anyone is around to observe it.

    From my point of view Einstein understood this was a fallacious concept, after all he was never shy about admitting that abstract mathematics has no basis in reality.

    That is after all the underlying concept of relativity – we can’t actually study the universe we can only study a specific observer’s conditioned interpretation of the universe based on his or her frame of reference. If you change the frame of reference then you change "reality".

    Supposedly the only thing in the universe not affected by this is c itself, which has been proven false numerous times(always an excuse).

    Thus even from Einstein’s own view his theories were essentially pointless as by viewing the universe from a different frame of reference than he did it would change the "reality" of the universe itself.

    I may live in a different "reality" but it’s still real and just as sound as Einsteins "reality" that is explored today by conventional science. I support his relativity by opposing it.

    Regards,
    Impulsive Andy

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  6. 6. Impulsive Andy 6:04 pm 06/21/2010

    Well this likely a pointless endeavor as I’ve heard all the excuses already, but why not…

    Gravity is interpreted under GR as being a pure geometric effect of curved space-time, not a force that propagates. However on top of many other issues GR fails to address why gravity acts differently than every other natural force in existence which does propagate. Gravitational radiation does propagate at light speed but is too small/weak to explain this difference between gravity and all other natural forces of the universe.

    These causality issues can be corrected without any change to the formula’s of GR itself but simply by changing the interpretation of gravity to being a force that does propagate like all other forces.

    But if you do that you are met by SR and c, and everyone knows that if gravity is a propagating force it can not exceed c, it can not be instantaneous. [Unless you follow Lorentzian Relativity in which case it's perfectly acceptable to violate c.]

    But it has to be instantaneous because if there is a delay in gravitational forces then we get total chaos as one celestial body would be attracted to the empty space another previously occupied and not that body itself. This would produce highly elliptical and chaotic orbits which would produce massive torque which would relatively quickly destroy stellar systems and galactic and inter-galactic formations.

    Now I know messing with GR in any way is taboo but even my (conventional) science professor recognized the problems of causality in this issue and thus believed gravity must be a propagating force. This issue has existed since 1916, it’s certainly not new(nor are the oft heard excuses for it).

    However he still upheld GR but simply changed the interpretation of it in that manner as described above, then did his best to ignore any question regarding how gravity can be a propagating force acting instantaneously but still defined under SR theory that refutes the concept of instantaneous action at a distance.

    So, in theory if the causality issues with GR are corrected by interpreting gravity as a propagating force then under SR theory it must be limited to c. But in practice everyone to my knowledge who uses this interpretation is clear that it must be instantaneous to work the way we believe it is supposed to based on observations and experimentation.

    Thus in theory it is limited to c, in practice it is instantaneous.

    Again, although controversial this has been an issue since 1916 for many conventional physicists, not just me.

    Regards,
    Impulsive Andy

    Link to this
  7. 7. jtdwyer 10:04 pm 06/21/2010

    Impulsive Andy – Thanks, I think I get it. This is horribly off topic and inconsiderate of other readers, but I’ll indulge your and my interests. With no education and no apologies, I’ll offer my own working conception of gravitation which may or may not be to any extent original.

    I agree that GR gravitation was developed because AE didn’t like IN’s description relying on an imaginary attractive force, so GR describes only the effects of gravitation imparted to abstract spacetime coordinates, without any physical force. I agree that GR seems to work best when properly used and does not need adjustment. I only offer a physical mechanism to produce it.

    If space is produced by the initial release of universal energy that had not been condensed (cooled and slowed) into matter, and mass is its initial emission energy, configured by the density of the initial universe, then the potential energy of mass appears to locally contract the disperse energy permeating space, producing a localized external field of mass directed energy that imparts velocity to matter.

    IMO, with the potential energy of masses locally directing the kinetic energy of space, the interaction of two massive objects is mediated by their opposingly directed fields of velocity producing energy. IN’s attractive force is the intersection of two opposingly directed force vectors. AE’s curved coordinates of spacetime are produced by the dimensional intersection of two independently directed force fields. Established equations are supported by this physical model producing observed gravitational effects.

    IMHO, this physical model does not rely on the immediate point radiation of an energy emission event but the interactions of the initial universal spacetime expansion and material mass energy emissions. Gravitation’s effects are immediate because the force interactions are preexisting and continuously configured: Earth’s mass continuously contracts the energy of external spacetime.

    By the way, for those who consider gravitation so weak, I suggest that instead of comparing energy emissions at their source with gravitation at Earth’s surface they at least go to the point of gravitational direction at the Earth’s center. It’s a little different there.

    At least, that’s the way it is right now in my universe…

    Link to this
  8. 8. Impulsive Andy 11:35 pm 06/21/2010

    Interesting ideas put forward there, I wish I was awake enough to be able to give it a thorough consideration and response now. I’ll have to give it some thought over the next couple days and I’ll provide a response when I get back from my trip.

    One thing I would like to address though is:

    "By the way, for those who consider gravitation so weak, I suggest that instead of comparing energy emissions at their source with gravitation at Earth’s surface they at least go to the point of gravitational direction at the Earth’s center. It’s a little different there."

    The "strength" of gravitational force isn’t just based on measurements at Earth’s surface, which FYI have been inconsistent, contradictory and quite "variable" for a force said to be a constant, but also on observations of distances and orbits of celestial bodies here in the Solar system and in other stellar systems.

    Note that there are some issues with actually measuring the force of gravity but it has been the latest and supposedly most accurate measurements made with the best technology that are the figures that are contradictory.

    But the "strength" of the force of gravity is quite well defined and there aren’t many people who question the formula’s.

    The fact is that militaries, space agencies and private corporations around the world have been sending rockets, shuttles and satellites into very specific orbital patterns around the earth for decades quite successfully and NASA has been quite successful using "fly bye’s" of planets and other large celestial bodies to shed some angular velocity of probes and shuttles. Their success is based on those formula’s of the "strength" of gravity.

    Based on all these things combined with the measurements here on Earth it is possible to quite accurately determine degradation of gravitational force and thus it’s "strength".

    By knowing those formula’s we can quite accurately postulate the force of gravity at any point within or without the parent body.

    Newton described the force of gravity quite well but as he himself stated could "frame no hypotheses" as to what gravity actually is.

    Newton provided a mathematical description of the effect of gravity, Einstein added to this with his own abstract mathematical equation and provided his theories based on it to explain the cause.

    But in the process of trying to provide the cause he failed to relate cause and effect in his own theories in more than one instance.

    Anyways, I think it’s bed time for me now before I ramble on too much more.

    Regards,
    Impulsive Andy

    Link to this
  9. 9. AtlantaTerry 11:49 pm 06/21/2010

    Stop running those stupid ads for clothing!!

    No one who sees your ads are going to buy anything!!

    Link to this
  10. 10. jtdwyer 11:57 pm 06/21/2010

    I admit I was flippant about the weakness of gravity, often illustrated by a small magnet picking up a metal object off a table, thus ‘defeating’ gravity, for example.

    Gravitation is the interaction of two ancient energy emissions. It would be more correct to compare the force of quantum mass to the force quantum charge. Frankly, what difference does it make? I suggest none, except to those attempting to forge the ‘fundamental force’ of gravitation in the image of EM. They are not the same. I have no interest in this ‘non-issue’.

    Link to this
  11. 11. Impulsive Andy 12:31 am 06/22/2010

    I couldn’t sleep without first adding that I don’t believe it’s off topic given the fact that the topic is regarding faster than light actions and the prevailing theories regarding the limitations on the speed of light are Einsteinian Relativity theory.

    I prefer this over discussing the electrical aspect of it as it seems to generate far less harassment and abuse towards myself, or maybe the community here is just more respectful than most others I’ve experienced.

    I swear some people actually consider Einstein to be a god and are downright vicious in their harassment and threats. I’ve barely scratched the surface of this type of reaction though, I purposefully avoid discussing such matters in detail and just stick to stuff that pops up almost everywhere once and a while these days.

    To move more on topic in regards to the electrical nature of this experiment and specifically the pulsed energy involved I’d just like to ask people to keep an open mind.

    I’m still a student and am not trying to be a teacher, I just want to help possibly steer some people toward the actual teachers so they can expand their knowledge base and thus their intellect.

    I have yet to meet anyone who has denied that there are at least a few aspects of this field of scientific exploration that hold some physical "truths", and specifically in the work of the likes of Tesla and Dollard there are solid scientific principles to work off of.

    To completely dismiss their work is to also dismiss men like Benjamin Franklin, Heaviside, Maxwell, Faraday and others who provided much of the preliminary basis for which Tesla, Dollard and a few others have built their thesis of work in alternative electric energies(pulsed power and electrostatic force). Their work is based on empirical observation and experimentation.

    Looking into their work and keeping an open mind could reveal very real scientific advancements, and it’s honestly not going to hurt you to have that extra bit of knowledge and perspective to add to your wisdom unless you are extremely easily brainwashed by written words.

    Trying to broaden people’s intellectual horizon’s a little bit gets taken very poorly in many conventional circles and communities and I honestly don’t understand it. I promise I’m not trying to murder you or hurt you in any way – what reason would I have to do so?

    There are things I could kill for but disagreeing with someone on theoretical sciences is not included anywhere in that group.

    Anyways I’m rambling again, so I’m off.

    Regards,
    Impulsive and tired Andy

    Link to this
  12. 12. Impulsive Andy 12:46 am 06/22/2010

    Note that in my view: Being intelligent is amassing a large amount of knowledge on a certain subject matter. Being wise is amassing a large amount of knowledge on all subject matters – or as many as one can possibly handle.

    This includes scientific, philosophical, historical, spiritual and theological subject matters among others.

    Ironically as if to mock those who ignore this wisdom these subjects all fit together extremely well, and they all can be used to interpret each other in various fashions.

    Thus acquiring knowledge on all these different interpretations of different realities is acquiring wisdom.

    I just felt I should clarify my view of what wisdom is since I mentioned it. I’m seriously going to bed now as I need to be up in a few hours again.

    I’ll address more of your points at a later time.

    Regards,
    Impulsive Andy

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  13. 13. jtdwyer 3:34 am 06/22/2010

    Impulsive Andy – Just to make this perfectly clear, In my description of the physical mechanism producing the effect of gravitation there is no gravitational radiation imparting a specific gravitational force.

    The energy producing spacetime is (for spherically symmetrical distributions of mass) radially contracted by the potential energy of mass, much like the kinetic energy of objects in motion linearly contracts spacetime.

    IMHO this mechanism explains why there is no propagation delay in imparting gravitational velocity to matter as you requested: the energy of space is continuously contracted by mass. I have offered an explanation of gravitation that can explain the immediacy of its effects. I have no intention of proving this concept or convincing anyone of its correctness, thanks.

    In fact, anyone who can successfully prove this conception of the physical mechanism producing the effect of gravitation has my permission to freely use the information I’ve provided.

    While not perfect, especially when improperly applied as in the presumption that even at the close proximity of Mercury’s orbit the Sun can be treated as a perfectly spherically symmetrical distribution of mass described by Shell theorem, I have no major issues with current gravitational theories or Newton’s gravitational constant. By the way, as I understand, the spherical symmetry requirement is often also ignored by NASA in calculating planetary ‘flybys’, as a result subsequent course corrections are often required. All is not as it seems…

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  14. 14. Griffiths_v_Jackson 12:04 pm 06/22/2010

    I don’t think Einstein or mainstream physicists would be shocked by this faster-than-light experiment. The light-speed limit only applies to movement that transmits information, or is "causal" as the author states.

    And it’s easy to think of faster-than-light situations: a bug moving across a flashlight projects a shadow onto a screen. Move the screen far enough way from the flashlight, and the bug’s shadow will move across the screen faster than light. Nothing controverisal about this idea, as no information is can be transmitted from one side of the screen to the other without communication with the bug.

    The interesting part of this experiment, to me, is the authors’ observation that these kinds of faster-than-light phenomena can produce some fascinating radiation patterns. And that these patterns can be used to identify places where we might observe virtual faster-than-light travel.

    Link to this
  15. 15. bucketofsquid 4:41 pm 06/22/2010

    I’m not a physicist by any means but I do have a question that this article made me think of. If a photon is moving at the speed of light and another photon goes by it at the speed of light in the opposite direction, are they moving relative to each other at twice the speed of light? Or is it more like 2 cars that smack into each other? Do they cancel each other’s energy out and stop moving or bounce maybe?

    Also if a star is moving at 1% of the speed of light and light aproaches at light speed from the opposite direction, is the relative speed 101% of light speed?

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  16. 16. jtdwyer 5:16 pm 06/22/2010

    bucketofsquid – Perhaps some knowlegable professional physicist working in this are will clarify, but I can only guess that the local linear contraction of spaacetime may somehow affect the relativity of their positions, accommodating these conundrums.

    We tend to think in terms of ‘absolute speeds’ (relative to our position on Earth, for example). As I understand the relative velocity of any objects will not exceed the speed of light, even if both appear to an outside observer to be traveling towards each other at the speed of light.

    Well, I’ve helped so much that I hope someone more knowledgeable can bail me out!

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  17. 17. tichead 10:45 pm 06/22/2010

    Saturn2: the nuclear strong force is the strongest force in the universe. But it only manifests in the nucleus of the atom in time intervals to observers of 10(-23) seconds. The electromagnetic force is the next strongest but since the photon has no mass the range is infinite because at the speed of light it has all the time in the universe. The other two indentified forces are the weak force (which we dont know a whole lot about, and according to the Weinberg-Salam theory is just another manifestation of the electromagnetic force), and the weakest is gravity.

    jtdwyer: you are absolutely correct that the relative speed of particles will never exceed c, at least according to Einstein and so often experimentally verified. At relativistic speed space contracts in the direction of travel such that they will always be near (for particles with rest mass) or at (for photons in a vacuum not greatly influenced by gravity) the speed of light relative to each other. That is why the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) pushes protons to speeds extraordinarily close to c relative to the detectors, but the protons moving toward each other still are only a few orders of magnitude closer to c relative to each other than they are to the detectors.

    Regarding the FTL phenomena described in this article it would appear that the location of constructive wave interference is what is moving at superluminal speed. A more mundane analogy is that if you take two sheets of paper, overlap the edges at one corner at a very acute angle, and move them towards each other, then the location of edge intersection will move significantly faster than either of the two sheets is actually moving. The location of edge intersection is equivalent to the location of constructive wave interference. In the article and cited source the space and timing of the rotation of the pulsar converges three waves into a location of contructive interference that moves faster than the waves themselves. Only the location of constructive interference is moving faster than light, not the waves that are intersecting.

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  18. 18. Darkhorror 10:49 pm 06/22/2010

    bucketofsquid- when you say 1% the speed of light you have to ask with compared to what? to some other star? It’s all relative, so lets say I am moving 99% the speed of light when compared to the earth. Someone else could be moving 99% the speed of light away from me in that same direction when compared to me. But from earth they wouldn’t be moving at 198% the speed of light but some percentage .9999something the speed of light away from earth.

    If you are sitting here on your computer the light from your computer screen is moving at the speed of light in all frames of reference. lets take what I said before it would be moving at the speed of light for people on earth for the person moving away from earth at 99% the speed the speed of light and the person moving even faster away from earth.

    There is no absolute reference.

    Another interesting thing is that lets say you get on a space ship that mimic’s earths gravity by accelerating at 1g. That space ship could accelerate at 1g for as long as it wanted to and it would never reach the speed of light. it could accelerate like that for a thousand years and yet would always see light moving at the speed of light with respect to them.

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  19. 19. jtdwyer 11:42 pm 06/22/2010

    tichead, Darkhorror – Thanks for the help.

    tichead – To confirm, to LHC collision detectors the two groups of protons would ‘appear’ to be approaching each other at very near the speed of light, but they actually collide at slightly less than the speed of light, correct (at least in some frame of reference)?

    Link to this
  20. 20. Robert Karl Stonjek 11:42 pm 06/22/2010

    Interesting mix of latest technology with out-of-date technology in the above photograph ~ the contraption on the left represents the future, the old vidicon monitor on the right represents the distant past (even my 81 year old mother has gone LCD :)

    Link to this
  21. 21. Robert Karl Stonjek 11:43 pm 06/22/2010

    Interesting mix of latest technology with out-of-date technology in the above photograph ~ the contraption on the left represents the future, the old vidicon monitor on the right represents the distant past (even my 81 year old mother has gone LCD :)

    Link to this
  22. 22. jtdwyer 11:45 pm 06/22/2010

    Sorry, I think I should have said:

    tichead – To confirm, to LHC collision detectors the two groups of protons would ‘appear’ to be approaching each other, each traveling at very near the speed of light, but they actually collide at slightly less than the speed of light, correct (at least in some frame of reference)?

    Link to this
  23. 23. jstahle 4:06 am 06/23/2010

    While we should never dismiss FTL offhand – after all science is about improving our knowledge no matter the "cost" in dismissing any existing theories however well they may seem tested and proved correct – FTL takes some VERY strong evidence to accept, among other things verification of the experiments by others and ruling out overlooked systematic errors plus a stern review of the interpretation.

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  24. 24. KennethEpstein 9:00 am 06/23/2010

    Claims of FTL phenomena are never clear. They always sound like murky double-talk intended to get around the Einstein speed limit by argument rather than physics. Efforts in this context should be directed toward simplification and clarification, to make the claims more convincing.

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  25. 25. tichead 12:16 pm 06/23/2010

    jtdwyer: Yeah, fatal attraction to basic physics has reared it’s ugly head again, thought I was over it thirty years ago. Then I got a subscription to Sciam. I should have run far and fast away from the black ‘rabbit’ hole. Darkhorror indeed, I’m ruined again.

    You are correct on the relative speed of the LHC proton bundles. If, for the sake of demostration (not actual velocities at LHC), the protons are moving at say 9X10(-12)c relative to the detectors, then they are still only moving at maybe 9X10(-16)c relative to each other. While four orders of magnitude closer to c relative to each other than relative to the detectors, they still will never reach c relative to each other. The three main effects of relativistic velocities are that space contracts in the direction of travel, time slows down relative to other objects, and mass increases with velocity. Were a particle with a rest mass to reach c, it would become infinitely massive, time relative to everything else would stop, and it would contract to zero dimension in the direction of travel. This would require an infinite amount of energy.

    One real world application of relativity is the GPS satellite system. While the satellite’s velocities are no where near c, the time differential and space/time contraction imposed by the velocity of the satellite and the earth’s gravity are sufficient to include them as variables in the programming required to accurately locate a reciever.

    As mentioned before, "I ain’t no fizikist." So, if I got any of this wrong I expect somebody will let us all know.

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  26. 26. gmusser 12:33 pm 06/23/2010

    One can simplify and clarify only so much; if this subject seems complicated, that’s because it _is_ complicated. What special relativity says is subtle and any simplification is going to gloss something over. But for our purposes, we can think of it as prohibiting faster-than-light causal influences, such as signals and energy transmission. It does not prohibit faster-than-light acausal influences, such as the generation of a pattern that moves faster than light, as in the experiment I talk about.

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  27. 27. jtdwyer 3:27 pm 06/23/2010

    The primary objective of this research seems to have been to produce a model of the mechanism that produced pulsars’ broadband beamed EM emissions. It’s still unclear to me how the proposed FTL emission source generates the characteristic pulsar emissions. After all, the resulting EM emission characteristics are the only evidence of this mechanism in pulsars. Is an FTL emission source somehow crucial to the mechanism producing pulsars’ characteristic EM emissions?

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  28. 28. Darkhorror 4:55 pm 06/23/2010

    Impulsive Andy- Before you come in and talk about what is wrong with GR/SR you should try to learn about them. Many of the things you posted about relativity were incorrect.

    "But it has to be instantaneous because if there is a delay in gravitational forces then we get total chaos as one celestial body would be attracted to the empty space another previously occupied and not that body itself. This would produce highly elliptical and chaotic orbits which would produce massive torque which would relatively quickly destroy stellar systems and galactic and inter-galactic formations. "

    It does not have to be instantaneous, it does in fact propagate at the speed of light. I don’t know why you think we couldn’t have orbits the way we do if it didn’t move instantaneously.

    "mainly the conclusion based on the train and lightning experiment in that an individual’s perception of reality is reality itself.

    If that were true then if you have a room with 500 people in it that room will contain 500 different realities, but all are true realities. When all those people clear out and the room is empty the reality within it will cease to exist as nobody is around to observe or interpret it. "

    That has nothing to do with that experiment, and isn’t what it says. It doesn’t matter if there are people there or not, having someone there to observe what is happening in this case doesn’t change what is actually happening. They are talking about frames of reference, and what actually happens. Not what happens just because someone is sitting there to look at it.

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  29. 29. Jokunen 9:42 pm 06/23/2010

    The way I think about this device they have pictured here is that it is like a phased array of antennas. When the phase relationships are correct, one can aim the resultant wave to a point in space without having the normal weakening of wavefront that is inverse of area. They have used phased arrays in radio frequencies and it’s no news, but here I think they are used at shorter wavelengths which probably has not been done earlier. In this context one can easily see that there is nothing super luminal.

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  30. 30. tichead 10:33 pm 06/23/2010

    gmusser: Thanks for reminding all of us. For all of the phenomena that science studies, no verbal description will equal the subtleties of the mathematical lanquage common to scientists. Those of us not versed in the math are at a serious disadvantage with our musings.

    With that understanding, a question. Is what is being described in this article the location of a constructive wave interference pattern, from three sources, moving FTL? I know that the electromagnetic impulses from the sources are not moving FTL.

    Most of us who relish in such phenomena are familiar with the light and dark bands of a two source interference pattern with the light bands indicating contructive interference of the EM waves and dark bands indicating destructive interference and the brightest and darkest bands being clustered near an axis that bisects the direction of travel from the two sources. I would then assume, hesitantly, that three sources would produce a single bright (constructive interference) region in space, surrounded by decreasingly dark and light sphere shaped regions. The singular bright region then, due to the rotation of the pulsar proceeding the three source locations, is that which moves FTL. How far off am I with this description?

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  31. 31. Hannes 1:57 pm 06/24/2010

    "People just don’t think about things moving faster than the speed of light," Singleton says.

    What are those "things"?

    If you make a wave faster than light there is no causal relationship between the first photon and the last, but there is a dependance to the way our senses work and our instruments measure.

    Which are all depending are on lightspeed.

    It’s a wave!! (…) cries out the physician.

    No, it is just an interpretation of a wave. Depending on our instruments for measuring.

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  32. 32. Wayne Williamson 6:09 pm 06/24/2010

    interesting article and very interesting comments. that being said, i don’t see anything that indicates ftl. in fact the directed "beam" that is discussed reminds me more of a laser/maser.
    also, doesn’t a phased array radar do something similar.
    another also, it should be quite easy to measure the speed to see if the result is ftl.

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  33. 33. tichead 9:58 pm 06/24/2010

    @Jokunen & Wayne Williamson: if you have not read the paper cited in the article then I think you will find that the effect discussed is very much like a phased array antenna. The difference being that intead of a relatively slow moving antenna array and a similar velocity target, emissions from three different locations around the circumference of a very rapidly rotating pulsar arrive in phase at a location that moves FTL due to the geometry and timing of the source of the emissions. The location of phase intersection is moving FTL even though the source and emitted waves are well within the bounds of general relativity. This assumes that I assume that my assumptions of a scientific paper that is way over my math education level are correct.

    The space and time focusing, broad spectrum, and inverse of distance (as opposed to inverse square of distance) diminishment of power are all effects that I’ll just have to accept peer review will continue to validate.

    Additionally, I am confused about what is causal and what is acausal. An electron in the pulsar jumps back to a lower energy state and in so doing emits a photon. A bit further around the rotation of the pulsar this happens again, and, a bit further around, it happens again. So, all three of these photons arrive at another location simultaneously such that their waves are in phase and constructively interfere. Does the location of constructive intererence moving FTL preclude causality? If photons cause the effect, then why is it described as acausal?

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  34. 34. jtdwyer 10:48 pm 06/24/2010

    tichead – Very insightful and, considering that I’m a slug at math, somewhat helpful. However I can’t really get the time retarded constructive interference producing an incoherent superposition of coherent subbbeams – it’s a little more than I can envision, even with the illustrations. I think I’d require a slow motion animation of the effects involved to comprehend the physical process being proposed. If that level of detailed information if contained in the descriptive mathematics, I’d be impressed!

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  35. 35. lfmorgan 4:34 pm 06/25/2010

    electric current traveling at the speed of light is light and yes electrons can also travel at gamma ray frequency and speed

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  36. 36. jack.123 5:13 pm 06/25/2010

    This is just a theory but If one were to draw a diagram and view the object along an arch they would see that the end distance of the photons has the same length from three different start points,and because they came from the same element and energy level then they would have the same wavelength,and all this without anything going FTL.If you want to see FTL,take a closer look at entanglement,and finaly define what space-time is made of.

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  37. 37. kantinomus 5:49 pm 06/25/2010

    Remember that the speed of light (as an upper limit of the speed of any object in nature, and as a constant to any observer) was introduced by Einstein as a hypothesis (axiomatic) to explain the results of Michelson-Moreley experiment, lack of other better explanations. Practically Einstein improperly removed a physical system parameter (velocity of "ether"), under the pretext of measurement errors. Science, along history has shown us that everything is introduced by hypothesis (axiomatic) will someday be changed. When we change our views on the phenomena or occur new experimental data. So it would not surprise me at all to find one day that were found exceeding the speed of light phenomena. Speed of light could be constant in relation to observers, but only in a certain physical range, just as Newtonian mechanics gives us a very accurate description of phenomena in low speed field. Einstein’s hypothesis that light goes the same speed in any direction whatever the state of motion of the transmitter may be true only within certain limits of movement of transmitter and only that Light emission is not a mechanical phenomenon. (Marcel Chelba)

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  38. 38. kantinomus 5:50 pm 06/25/2010

    Remember that the speed of light (as an upper limit of the speed of any object in nature, and as a constant to any observer) was introduced by Einstein as a hypothesis (axiomatic) to explain the results of Michelson-Moreley experiment, lack of other better explanations. Practically Einstein improperly removed a physical system parameter (velocity of "ether"), under the pretext of measurement errors. Science, along history has shown us that everything is introduced by hypothesis (axiomatic) will someday be changed. When we change our views on the phenomena or occur new experimental data. So it would not surprise me at all to find one day that were found exceeding the speed of light phenomena. Speed of light could be constant in relation to observers, but only in a certain physical range, just as Newtonian mechanics gives us a very accurate description of phenomena in low speed field. Einstein’s hypothesis that light goes the same speed in any direction whatever the state of motion of the transmitter may be true only within certain limits of movement of transmitter and only that Light emission is not a mechanical phenomenon. (Marcel Chelba, Romania)

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  39. 39. jtdwyer 5:51 pm 06/25/2010

    jack.123 – Re. entanglement, you might about FTL state change signals, but I suspect that particles in motion are waves dispersed across spacetime; splitting a wave produces a single wave with multiply directed individual paths, each of which which can be separately detected, each detection producing a particle, each with identical state characteristics determined by the common wave properties. In this scenario there is no communication between particles. But, that’s just my guess…

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  40. 40. jackw2011 8:54 pm 06/25/2010

    The "Wave" is a bad example because it is a causal process – people stand up when they see people next to them standing up. Its more like if the people in the wave were robots, programmed to stand up at a certain time (or signaled from a location such that each receives the data small time intervals apart), generating the appearance of a "Wave" that travels faster than light

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  41. 41. jtdwyer 3:24 am 06/26/2010

    David Cota – Only if you have no substance whatsoever…

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  42. 42. morp 5:27 am 06/26/2010

    I see twice the name Einstein in this article.
    It is easy to understand why something can move faster than light in the empty space of Einstein . Light is slowed down by ether that does not exist in Einstein space

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  43. 43. ennui 6:07 am 06/26/2010

    If it is faster than light, it should go through metal.
    So it would be measureable outside a shielded wire or metal box.

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  44. 44. Dan Visser 8:17 am 06/26/2010

    This is an interesting experiment. My interpretationis are as follows:

    1. The experiment is based on focussing collisions of charged particles in time.
    2. In relativistic dynamic space and time are one unit: spacetime.
    3. Space and time are interchangeable.
    4. Thus focussing collisions of charged particles in time means breaching space.
    5. More space means more light emission emerging from the collisions.

    Now I make my point: Focussing in time means expansion in space. So, here we are confronted with dark energy properties. It could be really well possible that dark energy is related to compression of matter and thus also is appliable for pulsars. Compression experiments were held at Sandy laboratories (USA), werein more energy was produced than according to the conventional physics laws. Such was also the case in black light experiments of Randal Mills, repeated by Kroessen Eindhoven, the Netherlands, werein extreme ultra violet light was produced in a catalic state of the hydorgen atom. My point of view is that the space-compression generates dark energy (expansion of space) and is equivalent to the focussing in time of charged particle-collisions. And the production of extreme ultra violet light is also equivalent to more space generated by the release of dark energy by the catalic state of the hydrogen.
    Ergo, we need a theory of dark energy. Such a theory is available. We, Christopher Forbes and colleage and myself, have published three "pre-papers in the viXra archive" and a higher order of the theory is almost ready o publish. For the appropriate links and information go to http://www.darkfieldnavigator.com.
    –Thanks for your attention, Dan Visser, Almere, the Netherlands, email:dan.visser@planet.nl–

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  45. 45. dwayne1943 2:24 pm 06/26/2010

    AndrewJayPollack….Comparing my statements to an uneducated buffoon doesn’t diminish my argument. (I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like). Theories get disapproved ever now & then. It may be common knowledge that nothing moves FTL, but humanity also thought the world to be flat, and 30 MPH was too fast for humans to survive.

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  46. 46. estermazda 12:01 pm 07/1/2010

    did anybody really understand the explanation in the article?
    I couldn’t.

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  47. 47. a2103159 9:20 pm 07/4/2010

    faster than light space travel by 2050. you heard is here first, folks.

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  48. 48. taerog 3:00 pm 07/6/2010

    "It’s sad that my relatively uneducated self has a better grasp of the physics involved in faster than light action at a distance than most of the highly educated members of the conventional scientific community." – Impulsive Andy
    If you think so, they you are missing quite allot. There are ALLOT of arm-chair physicists out there . .that is not a bad thing at all. But when they start thinking that they understand more then others is when things start going wrong. (all the time stating that they are not a "expert" – that dreaded label. ) . . . You smugly say I know what is going on and start to spout (mostly gibberish with a side order of layman understanding) An "evil" expert hears what you are saying and goes. Well no you got it wrong and here is why . . Que the OMG I am being repressed! the hell with you "experts" I know more . .la la la la la.
    What is going on is common to a host of fields . . The over confident layman, telling the expert(s)/world that they have it wrong.From the other point of view the "over confident layman" is making a fool of himself since he is missing some facts that layman do not get into (if they did they would be the experts). Often then it is impossible to tell the person or educate them on the flaw(s) because they will not listen and it may be beyond there limited scope to understand.
    This happens to me all of the time with people who think they are computer experts. These people do not know why they are completely wrong on there simplistic (but often creative) idea on how and why things work because they do not know enough to (time to learn more). . that is not the problem. It is when they insist that I am wrong! Then it normally goes south since from my POV they are just one more crazy that will not listen or learn . . and thus requires NO sympathy at all when I smack them down. . . . . this is not "ivery" tower or elitist thinking . . it is people that do know the subject getting frustrated with people that think they do.
    The scientific community craves new incite and will drop theories that no longer work with ease . .. BUT what people do not understand is that a replacement or refinement NEEDS to be more credible and fit better then the last (too often they fix one problem and make more – or breaks things we have a very very good handle on) . . . layman or just do not have the scope needed.
    Also a note, IF Eric P. Dollard was at all correct on his ideas. Then simply the devices I work on dayly could not function they way they do, reality is a B!ch and pseudo science sucks.

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  49. 49. T.Roccetta 11:23 pm 08/12/2010

    Does anyone know if/where these articles (by the authors mentioned in the article) have been published?

    It seems that the ‘revolution’ has spilled into all 3 arenas.
    :)

    This article is linked at Sapo’s Joint, in the "Superluminal Pulsars" thread.
    http://saposjoint.net/Forum/viewtopic.php?p=28253#p28253

    There is a lot to discuss.

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  50. 50. Amadeus2k8 2:35 pm 09/4/2010

    Could it be possible to harness what you say in paragraph 4 and use it for something else. You say the Radiation is focused in a temporal sense and basically decays at a faster than average rate, what if you were to swap the wire for frozen solid, nuclear waste, could you exploit the same temporal focus to accelerate the decay of the radiation within the waste?

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