Author Topic: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?  (Read 562 times)

Offline Cavebear

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2017, 07:36:32 AM »
Misreading.  Explosion takes energy, but energy is mass.  We don't disagree.  You prophetic abilities fail.  I am not randomly typing.

Energy is not mass.  It can be converted to mass, but that is not the same.  It takes dividing by the speed of light squared and I defy anyone to explain the logic of that. 
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead

Offline Baruch (OP)

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2017, 12:38:07 PM »
Energy is not mass.  It can be converted to mass, but that is not the same.  It takes dividing by the speed of light squared and I defy anyone to explain the logic of that.

Defiance accepted ;-).  Energy comes in several forms, mass being one of them.  The C^2 part is because of human chosen units.  If mass and energy are in the same units, then C=1 or C^@=1 aka E=M.  So in a way, all forms of energy are equal, because in principle they can be converted to each other (minus entrooy) ... but they are all dissimilar ... because they are.
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Offline Cavebear

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2017, 09:16:35 AM »
Defiance accepted ;-).  Energy comes in several forms, mass being one of them.  The C^2 part is because of human chosen units.  If mass and energy are in the same units, then C=1 or C^@=1 aka E=M.  So in a way, all forms of energy are equal, because in principle they can be converted to each other (minus entrooy) ... but they are all dissimilar ... because they are.

I love the "because they are" ending.   I am reminded of a cartoon with a blackboard full of equations and there is a small statement "and then a miracle happens" , and another professor suggests they might need to work on that part.

All that I am suggesting, without proof, is that a new way of looking at the universe will emerge in the future that makes more logical sense and still satisfy physics.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead

Offline Baruch (OP)

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2017, 01:06:28 PM »
My school was so hard ... how hard was it? ... that the exercises at the end of the chapter did the same thing ... "then a miracle happens" and we are expected to fill in the gap ;-))
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Online trdsf

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2017, 02:03:00 PM »
It takes dividing by the speed of light squared and I defy anyone to explain the logic of that.
Simple, mass is in kilograms, velocities are in meters per second, and units of energy are in joules, which are in units of kg*m2/s2, so multiplying the square of the speed of light by mass directly gives an energy measurement.

Using this, you can even backtrack and calculate how much mass was converted to energy in, for example, the Hiroshima bomb.  It released about 63 teraJoules of energy, which is 6.3x1013 kg*m2/s2.  The speed of light is approximately 3x108 m/s (which is close enough to 2.99792458x108 and much easier to multiply).  Squaring that gives 9x1016 m2/s2, by which we can divide the energy figure above so the m2/s2 will cancel and leave only kg.

And it leaves 0.0007 kg, or 0.7 grams of mass completely converted into energy.  That's all it takes to flatten a city.

"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning." -- Calvin and Hobbes
"Confused? At a loss for what to do? Wow, sounds like you're human. Good luck." -- Welcome to Night Vale

Offline Baruch (OP)

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2017, 06:43:47 PM »
trdsf ... a 100 likes for one post, if I only could!  I wait and wait for people here to show more intelligence than people on Facebook ...
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Offline Cavebear

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2017, 04:43:43 AM »
Simple, mass is in kilograms, velocities are in meters per second, and units of energy are in joules, which are in units of kg*m2/s2, so multiplying the square of the speed of light by mass directly gives an energy measurement.

Using this, you can even backtrack and calculate how much mass was converted to energy in, for example, the Hiroshima bomb.  It released about 63 teraJoules of energy, which is 6.3x1013 kg*m2/s2.  The speed of light is approximately 3x108 m/s (which is close enough to 2.99792458x108 and much easier to multiply).  Squaring that gives 9x1016 m2/s2, by which we can divide the energy figure above so the m2/s2 will cancel and leave only kg.

And it leaves 0.0007 kg, or 0.7 grams of mass completely converted into energy.  That's all it takes to flatten a city.

And then energy is converted to mass by dividing it by light squared.  Love it, always have.  But why does that happen?
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead

Offline Baruch (OP)

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2017, 06:34:27 AM »
And then energy is converted to mass by dividing it by light squared.  Love it, always have.  But why does that happen?

Divide and conquer ;-)
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Online trdsf

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2017, 11:17:43 AM »
And then energy is converted to mass by dividing it by light squared.  Love it, always have.  But why does that happen?
Because... well, because it is proper to think of mass as frozen energy, in many ways, and of energy as liberated mass.  Which kind of breaks down to 'because it can', or at least 'because there is no physical law preventing it under those circumstances'.  And it goes both directions, which is why CERN is able to see massive short-lived particles like the Higgs by focusing enough energy in a minute space to allow one to form -- and why black holes leak Hawking radiation.  We just are more familiar with the matter-to-energy side since that's what powers nuclear reactors and the sun.
"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning." -- Calvin and Hobbes
"Confused? At a loss for what to do? Wow, sounds like you're human. Good luck." -- Welcome to Night Vale

Offline Baruch (OP)

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2017, 01:00:39 PM »
If A=C*B ... then B=A/C provided that C is never zero.

Cavebear might not be a random typing bot, but an HP calculator he isn't either ;-)
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Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2017, 08:01:27 PM »
There is a theoretical particle known as a tachyon.  It is described as a faster than light particle, and as a result it has some very unusual properties.

The first is that it takes as much energy to slow a tachyon down to light speed as it does to speed a regular particle up to light speed.

The most unusual thing is its mass.  It is measured in imaginary numbers, the square root of a negative.  Its existence is postulated by solving Einstein's equation for faster than light instead of slower than light, and having to take the square root of a negative in order to do so.
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Online trdsf

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #26 on: February 23, 2017, 10:23:59 PM »
There is a theoretical particle known as a tachyon.  It is described as a faster than light particle, and as a result it has some very unusual properties.

The first is that it takes as much energy to slow a tachyon down to light speed as it does to speed a regular particle up to light speed.

The most unusual thing is its mass.  It is measured in imaginary numbers, the square root of a negative.  Its existence is postulated by solving Einstein's equation for faster than light instead of slower than light, and having to take the square root of a negative in order to do so.
Yeah, as long as you don't mind dividing by i, superluminal travel isn't a problem.  And you make an excellent point: using complex space, Einstein's equations work perfectly well on the far side of c.  For objects with mass, they blow up at c, however, since you end up dividing by zero.
"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning." -- Calvin and Hobbes
"Confused? At a loss for what to do? Wow, sounds like you're human. Good luck." -- Welcome to Night Vale

Offline Baruch (OP)

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2017, 07:15:04 AM »
"dividing by zero" ... no problem for government finance ;-(
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Offline Cavebear

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2017, 11:57:12 AM »
Which is why I managed the telecommunications for 14,000 people and didn't manage physics at NASA.  But I still don't like an equation that can turn energy into matter, I don't understand WHY lightspeed SQUARED has anything to do with it, and I grudgingly accept that light can be particles and waves and the same time.   I accept that the universe can expand faster than lightspeed somehow (it what please don't ask), that there are quarks and massless objects, and dark matter and dark energy, etc

But please don't expect that it makes any sense to me.  ;)  Sometimes I feel like a Flatlander trying to understand 3 dimensions.  I'm getting too old for this.  I want to hang on to a rational 3D universe.  LOL!
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead

Online trdsf

Re: Do you think anything can travel faster than a photon?
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2017, 06:11:29 PM »
But please don't expect that it makes any sense to me.  ;)  Sometimes I feel like a Flatlander trying to understand 3 dimensions.  I'm getting too old for this.  I want to hang on to a rational 3D universe.  LOL!
I often feel much the same way about string theory.  I was only just starting to get my brain wrapped around QM, and boom, everything changed.  :)
"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning." -- Calvin and Hobbes
"Confused? At a loss for what to do? Wow, sounds like you're human. Good luck." -- Welcome to Night Vale