In a pinch and need to go back in time or flee to Alpha Centauri in a hurry? Find a mathematician, quick!
If only Einstein's theory of special relativity were extended to work beyond the speed of light, things would be easy. But of course Einstein's theory holds that nothing could move faster than the speed of light. Special Relativity was published in 1905 and explained how motion and speed is always relative to the observer's frame of reference. The theory connects measurements of the same physical incident viewed from these different points in a way that depends on the relative velocity of the two observers.
Professor Jim Hill and Dr Barry Cox at the University of Adelaide say they have developed new formulas that allow for travel beyond this limit. "Since the introduction of special relativity there has been much speculation as to whether or not it might be possible to travel faster than the speed of light, noting that there is no substantial evidence to suggest that this is presently feasible with any existing transportation mechanisms," said Hill. "About this time last year, experiments at CERN, the European centre for particle physics in Switzerland, suggested that perhaps neutrinos could be accelerated just a very small amount faster than the speed of light; at this point we started to think about how to deal with the issues from both a mathematical and physical perspective."
Really, that is all a mathematician needs. Everything else, like the actual universe, is a pesky detail left to physicists.
"Questions have since been raised over the experimental results but we were already well on our way to successfully formulating a theory of special relativity, applicable to relative velocities in excess of the speed of light," says Hill. "Our approach is a natural and logical extension of the Einstein Theory of Special Relativity, and produces anticipated formulae without the need for imaginary numbers or complicated physics."
Their formulas extend special relativity to a situation where the relative velocity can be infinite, and can be used to describe motion at speeds faster than light.
"We are mathematicians, not physicists, so we've approached this problem from a theoretical mathematical perspective," said 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."
So don't plan on re-enacting that "Loopers" movie just yet.
Published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Erupting Bardarbunga Volcano In Iceland Sits On A Massive Magma Hot Spot
- Genetically Modified Stem Cells Kill Brain Tumors
- Researchers Created A Laser Bullet To See What It Would Look Like - And Here It Is
- How Gut Bacteria Ensure A Healthy Brain – and Could Play A Role In Treating Depression
- Ebola's Evolutionary Roots Are Ancient
- Preventing Murder: 3 Ways To Predict Who Will Become A Killer
- We're Too Late To Prevent 137,000 More Ebola Cases, Says Epidemiology Paper
- "/* Science advances as much by mistakes as by plans. */ Apparently the mainstream physicists are..."
- "Part of being a theorist in any subfield is trying to explain the results that we have in hand..."
- "This essay interested me immensely. My father claimed to be an 'atheist' all his life but..."
- "Not all of us are explorers, much less pioneers. The author is certainly not the latter and too..."
- " Obviously 300% more fish farming means more illnesses and more antibiotic use.Is it really..."
- How to sell a toxic pesticide the smart way–call it organic
- Leftist dystopia? Anti-technology fever animates opposition to GMOs and other ‘disruptive’ technologies
- CDC faced a nearly impossible balancing act with Ebola, and failed
- Why Chobani reversed course, making yoghurt only from milk from cows not fed GMO grain
- Monterey, California, hotbed of anti-GMO activism, home to new GMO corn farm
- Evolution is sometimes messy or even outright ridiculous