The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Are there objects that can only travel above the speed of light?  (Read 1475 times)

Offline jrussell

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
either i remember very wrongly, or there is a false assumption being made in many posts. i do it for simplicity in my posts, however, i am aware that it is wrong and would like clarification if someone would be so kind.

the cosmic speed limit, c, the speed of light - nothing can travel faster. however, i recall einstein theorising that, in fact, it can be broken but only by an object that can travel no slower than c. in other words, c is the lower speed limit for these objects.

am i remembering correctly??

Mod edit - I've formatted the subject as a question, feel free to change it to something more accurate.  Please make sure all your subjects are in the form of a question - it makes the forum tidier and easier to navigate.  Thanks.
« Last Edit: 30/04/2010 12:05:28 by BenV »


Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8583
  • Thanked: 41 times
    • View Profile
There's some stuff here
that I don't understand, but I think might answer the question.

This bit
"no experimental evidence for or against the existence of tachyon particles has been found" seems to be important.

Offline JP

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3366
  • Thanked: 2 times
    • View Profile
Objects with mass can't move faster than c.  Objects with zero mass always move at c.  These come out of the equations of special relativity and can be checked experimentally since such objects are regularly seen in the universe.

If you go to Einstein's equations and say "what happens if I have a complex-valued mass"?  (Complex means it has the square root of -1) in it, then you get something that is always moving faster than c.  This may or may not have physical meaning, but it's in the equations and the equations have been highly successful.  Sometimes what seems to be a mathematical trick at first later turns out to be something important physically.  But then again, other times it turns out to be just a mathematical trick with no physical relevance.  (The wiki page does seem to indicate that in certain cases, the mathematics ends up being useful, even if these aren't particles.)

The Naked Scientists Forum


SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums