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Author Topic: The Speed of Light is Infinite  (Read 27680 times)

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« on: 29/04/2011 19:27:44 »
This was started to be written in answer to "Why is c 299,792,458m/s and not some other value?"
I soon realised it's actually a theory on time.

JML Carter.
Why is c 299,792,458m/s and not some other value?

JP
the meter was actually redefined so that it is now based on the speed of light.  That means that light speed has exactly that value simply because we've chosen a definition of meter to give it that value.

JMLCarter
What am I asking then? Why did c turn out to be 299792458 m/s and not 154675322m/s. Why is the universal speed limit set at the level it is? Why does light take 8ish minutes to get here from the sun, not 15ish minutes, or 4ish minutes? It doesn't matter to this question what units c is measured in.

Soul Surfer
out in your first question the speed of light as would be the speed of any wave motion comes directly from the properties of the medium (vacuum) in which the light travels.  So your question is really why does a vacuum have these elastic properties.

The question then arises, if like a gas we could "compress" the vacuum in some way we might be able to change the velocity of light.

JMLCarter
3) c is known to be related to the permeability and permitivity of free space, but this only begs the question what defines these?

A photon experiences no passage to time because its speed is infinite.

The universe contains both energy and matter.  We know from General Relativity that mass dilates the passage of time (I prefer to call it ‘the rate of flow of time’).  We live in, essentially a matter only universe, and matter gives the arrow of time a direction.  We can deduce from E = mc2  that mass (in this case matter) gives the arrow of time a direction and energy gives time a rate of flow.  Energy wants to dissipate in the shortest possible time over the greatest possible volume.  This is entropy.  Mass distorts space time in a manner that we call gravity.  So mass is trying to contract the universe and energy is trying to make it expand.  The speed of light in a vacuum is a constant so it is linked to time like this:-  The speed of light in a vacuum is a constant because the rate of flow of time is a variable.  From E = mc2  we can deduce the rate of flow of time Rt = √E/M.  We know from General Relativity that, on a local scale the rate of flow of time can vary depending upon mass.

Although the universe contains a finite amount of mass-energy, the ratio is continually changing.  Therefore the rate of flow of time is continually changing.  In other words what we think of as the permeability and permittivity of space is the relationship of mass (gravity) and energy and it is this relationship that we call time.  Perhaps this can be refined further by saying that the ratio of energy to matter is continually changing in favor of matter, which means time and entropy are the same thing.

A photon as it has no mass (please forgive me for what I am about to say) essentially travels at infinite “speed”.  However, speed has two components, distance and time.  The rate of flow of time if, infinite would allow the speed of light to be infinite.  However, the universe contains mass (matter) that moderates the rate of flow of time (slowing it down) and hence the speed of light remains a constant.  Phew!  The whole point here is very simple the speed of light in a vacuum remains a constant because the rate of flow of time is a variable.  This remains true even if the rate of flow of time is infinite.  This completely explains why the speed of light is what it is.  The number, as already agreed is purely dependant on the units chosen.  Distance is fixed units.  The rate of flow of time is variable which ensures that the speed of light in a vacuum remains a constant.

Another way of putting this is we could call the speed of light any arbitrary number and it would always remain constant because the rate of flow of time is variable.

Ron Hughes
If the density or energy of space sets the speed limit of C one would surmise that C may have been very much faster at the BB and is slowing down as the Universe becomes less dense as opposed to a hypothetical inflationary period?

Yes I agree.

Phractality
As far as I can tell, the Chinese experiment is only supposed to have transmitted an effect across 16 km. A pair of entangled photons went in opposite directions from a point approximately midway between the sender and the receiver (but slightly closer to the sender). When the quantum states of photons were detected at the slightly nearer end, the quantum state of their twins at the other end were determined instantaneously, before being measured. The act of detection at one end instantaneously affected the measurement at the other end.

Photons being mass less ‘particles’ do not experience time.  So it seems reasonable that in the above experiment any ‘communication’ between a bound pair would be instantaneous. Don’t ask me what the mode of communication is.

Final quick thought, instantaneous communication over any finite distance, sounds a lot like gravity.

Disclaimer so there is no confusion.  Nowhere have I ever claimed or will ever claim that the speed of light is not a constant.

JP

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #1 on: 30/04/2011 02:03:12 »
Photons being mass less ‘particles’ do not experience time.
It's wrong to think that photons don't "experience" (whatever that means to a massless particle) time.  Although it's wrong, it is however natural to think that they don't experience time, since applying the rules of special relativity to things moving at light speed seems to say that they don't experience time.  The problem is that the axioms of special relativity flat-out restrict it to not include the reference frame of a photon.

Quote
Final quick thought, instantaneous communication over any finite distance, sounds a lot like gravity.
To the best we know, gravity should move at light speed--at least that's what the equations of general relativity predict.  I don't think anyone's managed to actually test this experimentally yet.
« Last Edit: 30/04/2011 02:05:25 by JP »

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #2 on: 30/04/2011 11:20:19 »
As I said previously the above hypothesis started out as an answer to a post and because of that it never had as much thought as it deserved.  There is nothing that I wish to change but I would like to add the following as it sums up exactly what I believe time to be:-

The speed of light in a vacuum without the influence of gravity is infinite.  In the real universe, gravity slows the photons down.  It is this slowing down of photons by gravity that we call time.  The rate of flow of time is a variable so that the speed of light is a constant.  Any fuzziness in understanding this is probably due to language being inadequate

JP
"It's wrong to think that photons don't "experience" (whatever that means to a massless particle) time"

In what way do they experience time, please?

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #3 on: 30/04/2011 12:19:06 »
JP

Ok, the car thing is impossible but as a mind experiment I would like to have a go at answering it.  I am traveling at the speed of light at night and I turn on my headlights.  Actually, I am frozen in time so cannot turn the headlights on.

JP

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« Reply #4 on: 30/04/2011 15:23:39 »
Nowhere have I ever claimed or will ever claim that the speed of light is not a constant.

In the real universe, gravity slows the photons down.

There is something I don't get.  How can something be slowed down when it's speed is always constant?

Quote
Ok, the car thing is impossible but as a mind experiment I would like to have a go at answering it.  I am traveling at the speed of light at night and I turn on my headlights.  Actually, I am frozen in time so cannot turn the headlights on.
Sure.  Since this is your own theory, you can always add on an extra non-inertial reference frame in which time is frozen, but it is beyond anything that special relativity says.  That's all I was trying to point out.

yor_on

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #5 on: 30/04/2011 20:28:04 »

That's a strange thing with 'time' and its arrow. There is no frame of reference that can be said to be 'unmoving/frozen'. If you define a frame as such, then it has to be from a different 'frame of reference', relative that definition. And as soon as you're 'at rest' relative that 'frozen' frame you will find that its 'time' ticks the same 'as always', in fact it ticks the same as yours.

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #6 on: 01/05/2011 07:56:29 »
JP

Quote from: MikeS on 30/04/2011 11:20:19
Nowhere have I ever claimed or will ever claim that the speed of light is not a constant.

Quote from: MikeS on 30/04/2011 11:20:19
In the real universe, gravity slows the photons down.

There is something I don't get.  How can something be slowed down when it's speed is always constant?

This was what I said.
The speed of light in a vacuum without the influence of gravity is infinite.  In the real universe, gravity slows the photons down.  It is this slowing down of photons by gravity that we call time.  The rate of flow of time is a variable so that the speed of light is a constant.  Any fuzziness in understanding this is probably due to language being inadequate

Any fuzziness in understanding that is probably due to inadequacies of language.  Gravity does 'slow" photons.  It is this process that we call time. We exist within gravity and time. Trying to explain either from within is fraught with problems.  Trying to expain 'slow' without using words about time is where the misunderstanding is arising   Let me try this again.  Gravity 'slows' photons but as their 'speed' is required to be constant, the 'rate of flow of time' changes to compensate.

Quote
Ok, the car thing is impossible but as a mind experiment I would like to have a go at answering it.  I am traveling at the speed of light at night and I turn on my headlights.  Actually, I am frozen in time so cannot turn the headlights on.
Sure.  Since this is your own theory, you can always add on an extra non-inertial reference frame in which time is frozen, but it is beyond anything that special relativity says.  That's all I was trying to point out.

A photon experiences no passage of time.  Anything travelling at the speed of light will also experience no passage of time.  I thought this was generally accepted.

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #7 on: 01/05/2011 08:13:01 »
yor_on

That's a strange thing with 'time' and its arrow. There is no frame of reference that can be said to be 'unmoving/frozen'. If you define a frame as such, then it has to be from a different 'frame of reference', relative that definition. And as soon as you're 'at rest' relative that 'frozen' frame you will find that its 'time' ticks the same 'as always', in fact it ticks the same as yours.

No, I think that was a generalised statement that does not apply in this case.  Clocks stop at the speed of light.
Thats why nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.  According to your logic an observer on a spaceship travelling faster than the speed of light would see his clock operating as normal.  This is in contradiction to the arrow of time reversing (relative to us) as, I believe, is normally accepted.  It would also make 'time travel' into the future a possibility.

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #8 on: 01/05/2011 09:14:12 »
JP
"It's wrong to think that photons don't "experience" (whatever that means to a massless particle) time"

In what way do they experience time, please?

I am still interested to know in what way you think photons experience time?

Thanks.

JP

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« Reply #9 on: 01/05/2011 17:22:42 »
A photon experiences no passage of time.  Anything travelling at the speed of light will also experience no passage of time.  I thought this was generally accepted.

Nope.  No one knows what light "experiences," since no experiments can ever move at the speed of light to test it, and the theory of relativity does not say anything about what photons experience.  It's a common misconception that applying relativity to observers moving at light speed tells you that clocks stop, but it doesn't.  Relativity is based on the postulate that light moves at light speed for all observers, so when you ask about an observer who's moving at light speed he's by definition not covered by the theory.

If you apply the equations properly, setting mass to zero as well as speed to the speed of light, you see the equations break down.  It's only when you leave mass non-zero, but set speed to the speed of light that you get the incorrect answer that time stops.

JP

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« Reply #10 on: 01/05/2011 17:23:48 »
JP
"It's wrong to think that photons don't "experience" (whatever that means to a massless particle) time"

In what way do they experience time, please?

I am still interested to know in what way you think photons experience time?

Thanks.

I never said they experience time.  :)

We have no way of measuring or predicting what they "experience," so the question is outside of mainstream physics.  It's definitely a new theory to say that they don't experience time, but that's what this forum is for.

yor_on

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #11 on: 01/05/2011 18:23:32 »
No Mike :)

No clocks stops, ever. Not inside their own frame of reference, well as long as the battery works :) What is meant by a 'clock stopping' is a conceptual exercise relative a observer being 'at rest' relative something moving at 'lights speed in a vacuum', in the case of him stating that the 'clock' of the frame of reference he observes really can be said to have 'stopped'. And as we don't have anything made of matter that we ever can observe, including a black hole, as having that 'stopped clock' we can't observe it at all in fact.

Anything being totally 'stopped' relative my frame of reference will indeed become a singularity, well except light then. But light only exist in its interactions. You have no way other than conceptual to define as 'propagating', when it comes to 'matter' is seems somewhat different as you actually can see it 'move' as translated by light.

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #12 on: 01/05/2011 18:39:47 »
JP
Thank you for engaging with me in this debate.

No one knows what light "experiences," since no experiments can ever move at the speed of light to test it, and the theory of relativity does not say anything about what photons experience.

But we can speculate based upon what we do know (whatever that means in physics)

If you apply the equations properly, setting mass to zero as well as speed to the speed of light, you see the equations break down.  It's only when you leave mass non-zero, but set speed to the speed of light that you get the incorrect answer that time stops.

But why would you set mass to zero when Relativity tells us that mass traveling at the speed of light becomes infinite.  Plug that into the equation and it returns the speed of light to be zero but the speed of light is a constant so the passage of time (rate of flow of time) must be zero.  The clock’s stopped.

It's a common misconception that applying relativity to observers moving at light speed tells you that clocks stop, but it doesn't.  Relativity is based on the postulate that light moves at light speed for all observers, so when you ask about an observer who's moving at light speed he's by definition not covered by the theory.

Ok, so if you do the sums again setting mass at infinity minus a bit your clock has to all intents and purposes stopped and your still obeying the postulate that light moves at light speed for all observers.

"It's wrong to think that photons don't "experience" (whatever that means to a massless particle) time"

I never said they experience time

"It's wrong to think that photons don't "experience time"

Isn’t that the same as saying they do experience time (whatever that means to a massless particle)

yor_on

You posted while I was writing the above.

No clocks stops, ever. Not inside their own frame of reference,

I appreciate you cant have a material clock travel at the speed of light but as a mind experiment it seems valid. What I said above still seems true to me and for the same reason, a clock in its own reference frame would stop.  I have explained my reason for thinking that.  If you think I am wrong, please explain, preferably non mathematically.

Thanks

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #13 on: 01/05/2011 18:50:08 »
light only exist in its interactions. You have no way other than conceptual to define as 'propagating', when it comes to 'matter' is seems somewhat different as you actually can see it 'move' as translated by light.

Is that like saying if I have a light source inside a sealed box the light is neither propagating nor not propagating until I open the box?

JP

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« Reply #14 on: 01/05/2011 20:20:49 »
But why would you set mass to zero when Relativity tells us that mass traveling at the speed of light becomes infinite.

Ah, you're thinking of relativistic mass.  I'm talking about rest mass.  Rest mass = 0 objects are the only ones that can move at the speed of light.  And the theory of relativity doesn't describe their point of view.  In more technical terms, there is no inertial reference frame for them.

Trying to measure time or space or describe the laws of physics in their inertial reference frame is new physics outside of the existing theories.  That's the entirety of my point.

yor_on

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« Reply #15 on: 01/05/2011 22:33:04 »
Mike, I admit that it depends on how you define it :) I like to define it as 'interactions' myself, but not as 'propagating'. I also define it as a 'constant'. You are free to define it as propagating too naturally, most do so as all experiments we make give us a definition where we can count on light as having a constant unvarying speed.

Using my logic all 'speeds' becomes questionable, as all speeds becomes defined from light signals interacting with us. So even though there is a difference in that matter gets 'translated' as 'moving' before interacting with me (football) it still gets its definition from what I then see as not 'moving' at all, namely light.

To me it all has to do with how I think of SpaceTime. I see it as a game, the game has certain rules. They make a logic that creates our 'reality'. But when you dismantle that reality it seems to rest on light signals interacting. Those 'photons' we split in 'virtual' and 'real' but to me they seem the same. The only difference being the way our arrow of time treats them.

I know, I'm weird :)
==

What the definition does though is simplifying all experiments made with light to me. It becomes simple to see why different setups have different results. It's not any longer a question of 'propagation' and 'many ways' or the Copenhagen definition. Well, it is in a way, but it in another way only becomes the result of how you define the setup. Think of it as my cosmic puzzle, you set out the definitions for the outcome in the way you define your setup. That you are able to do so is a result of our arrow, that's what allows the logical 'linearity' we 'experiment' from. Even when testing entanglements at a QM level we actually do it inside this 'arrow of time'. Stating that something is 'time less' then becomes just another outcome of the rules. The arrow seems very real to me using those definitions, and if I look at the way my own 'clock' will 'tick', from my birth to my death I know that it will tick the same as long as I'm alive. My intrinsic arrow don't care if I'm traveling near the speed of light, to me it always will give me the same heartbeats relative some time piece.

The funny thing is that even though Einstein saw this too, he didn't went the whole way with it? I don't know why. I find it no more unreal to look at it my way than to look at entanglements and 'wave functions' collapsing only in the observation. Or as seems modern for the moment, using Feynman's 'sum over paths'? I mean, his paths has to be taken, all of them simultaneously, then with 'time' rolled up backwards for all paths not making sense from a statistical view point. You can look at it as 'interference', as if every instant 'ticking' was some kind of wave phenomena naturally, but if you do you're no longer considering the macroscopic reality, instead once again placing the macroscopic reality only on a conceptual plane.

In a way he makes a lot of sense to me, as my idea of interactions builds on the same phenomena, light. But so do the wave function collapsing, as that is a direct analogy to the interaction as the light interacts with you. Still, who knows :)
==

Maybe it was because if you follow the logic full out, you don't 'exist' :) That is, what we call 'matter' then just becomes one of the outcomes of 'rules'. Like as if we all instinctively had agreed on a game at birth, or before. Translating it into a 'reality' by the way we look at it. Defined that way it reminds me of some mystic Eastern cult :) But I happen to believe in that we exist, although, I don't see us as observing the same SpaceTime, ever. 'Frames of reference' is a real mystery to me, it's a direct translation of how light signals act between 'observers', allowing us a distinct feeling and experience of 'seeing the exact same' a 'wholeness' as long as those light signals doesn't becomes too 'Lorentz translated'. I think he was working from a model where we really was 'here', just as we experience it. And so this thought would have been preposterous to him, other than as a philosophical question.
« Last Edit: 01/05/2011 23:32:31 by yor_on »

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #16 on: 02/05/2011 06:37:38 »
yor_on

I agree with on some points, everything seems to be relative.
Please see my last post today 05.58 http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=39042.new#new
I wrote it before reading your last post but it shows, in some manner we agree on some things.

I personally believe the universe on a large scale to be very simple straightforward and intuitive; it just appears complicated when you do not understand it.  On the other hand, the world of quantum mechanics is the opposite and definitely not intuitive.

You have stopped challenging me on the idea of the passage of time (as Einstein referred to it or ‘rate of flow of time’ as I prefer to call it) being variable, both in the universe as a whole and locally (time pockets as you referred to them).  Does this mean (inconceivable) that you have come around to my way of thinking (that the rate of flow of time is variable) or have you just given up?

yor_on

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« Reply #17 on: 02/05/2011 18:41:13 »
Well, we're in 'New Theories' Mike. Here you will get shoot at :) too, and fight for your ideas. Where we were before though we're expected to present the mainstream proposition firstly, our own only when relevant to ah, :) whatever (admittedly it's a grey-zone:) But keeping inside the main stream anyway.

Einstein made his theory on one constant. Lights constant invariable speed in a vacuum, from all frames measurable, and as observed in all other frames. Your interpretation is not the one he presented. You might use it, as intuitively it's not a bad one, I too find myself thinking in similar ways at times, so? But no, I think of light as invariant still but that doesn't state that there can't be a way looking at it as you do.

The reason why we're mainstream above is simply that this site is a little different in that it presents mainstream science for viewers and readers. Then those write and ask and expect us to present where science stands on that question today. It's a privilege answering those and we all like to feel as we 'know' :) But with the restriction that we stay inside what is accepted today. Otherwise we would lead them away from what's mainly accepted into what we ourselves think of as 'acceptable' to us.

But we constantly balance a thin line there answering. Still, first 'mainstream' then, if found necessary, your own interpretation of the same, but always defining your source if so. Those asking may be new to physics, so first let them find the limits of mainstream science themselves before throwing them into deep water :)

Here we have the freedom to build our own logical universes.
So let's do it, and da*n the torpedoes :)
==

Sorry about the spelling, my keyboard is more or less in pieces here.
« Last Edit: 02/05/2011 19:00:57 by yor_on »

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #18 on: 03/05/2011 13:49:08 »
yor_on

Well, we're in 'New Theories' Mike. Here you will get shoot at :) too, and fight for your ideas. Where we were before though we're expected to present the mainstream proposition firstly, our own only when relevant to ah, :) whatever (admittedly it's a grey-zone:) But keeping inside the main stream anyway.

Einstein made his theory on one constant. Lights constant invariable speed in a vacuum, from all frames measurable, and as observed in all other frames. (1)Your interpretation is not the one he presented. You might use it, as intuitively it's not a bad one, I too find myself thinking in similar ways at times, so? (2)But no, I think of light as invariant still but that doesn't state that there can't be a way looking at it as you do.

The reason why we're mainstream above is simply that this site is a little different in that it presents mainstream science for viewers and readers. Then those write and ask and expect us to present where science stands on that question today. It's a privilege answering those and we all like to feel as we 'know' :) But with the restriction that we stay inside what is accepted today. Otherwise we would lead them away from what's mainly accepted into what we ourselves think of as 'acceptable' to us.

But we constantly balance a thin line there answering. Still, first 'mainstream' then, if found necessary, your own interpretation of the same, but always defining your source if so. Those asking may be new to physics, so first let them find the limits of mainstream science themselves before throwing them into deep water :)

Here we have the freedom to build our own logical universes.
So let's do it, and da*n the torpedoes :)
==

Sorry about the spelling, my keyboard is more or less in pieces here.

To answer all of your above points of which there are two.

Einstein made his theory on one constant. Lights constant invariable speed in a vacuum, from all frames measurable, and as observed in all other frames.
(1)Your interpretation is not the one he presented.

I believe my interpretation is the one Einstein presented.  You obviously disagree.  Please tell me what I have said that you think contradicts that?

(2)But no, I think of light as invariant still but that doesn't state that there can't be a way looking at it as you do.

I too believe the speed of light to be invariant as I have always maintained because the ‘Rate of flow of time’ is variable.  To the best of my knowledge this is exactly what Einstein maintained.  As I understand it, I am looking at the situation the same, as did Einstein.  In what way do you think I am looking at it differently?

Please answer the above two questions as we seem to be going around in circles.  If I am wrong then I want to know in what way am I wrong.

Ron Hughes

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #19 on: 04/05/2011 17:42:37 »
A clock just outside the event horizon of a black hole will appear to be almost stopped to an observer far away. That same clock will appear to run faster on Earth, faster on the moon and faster in empty space. Those four locations will have an average rate which suggests the Universe has an average rate based on the matter energy density of the Universe. In space I have a device that will emit a beam of light which I call device A. Three hundred thousand kilometers away I have a detector which I call device B. Some distance away I have a clock which is entangled with device A and B such that when A emits the beam my clock starts and when device B detects the beam my clock stops. I trigger device A to fire and my clock shows a time of one second determining the speed of light to have it's current value. I now move my clock to the edge of the event horizon of a black hole and trigger device A again. If my logic is correct don't I measure c to be almost infinite?

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #20 on: 04/05/2011 23:44:52 »
I have only just given this some quick thought but I think I understand what you are saying.  Lets say clock B is right on the event horizon.  It will have stopped.  Therefore there can be no causality.  The signal from A will never reach it.  This says nothing about the speed of light which remains a constant.  What you must remember is the speed of light is a constant because the rate of flow of time is a variable.  Its not the light that has stopped but the clock.

the Universe has an average rate based on the matter energy density of the Universe.
Have you actually read and understood my posts?

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #21 on: 05/05/2011 07:43:44 »
[
Have you actually read and understood my posts?
[/quote]

Sorry, that sounds sarcastic, it wasn't meant to.  What I meant was you seem to have read and understood some of my posts?

yor_on

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« Reply #22 on: 05/05/2011 08:02:09 »
Instead of me fighting for it, let me quote some history Mike, then you will see why I see it the way I do. This is about his 1905 paper.

"In this paper, as in almost all subsequent accounts, Einstein bases SRT on two fundamental principles: the principle of relativity and the principle of the constancy of the velocity of light. The principle of relativity originated in Galilean-Newtonian mechanics:

Any frame of reference in which Newton's law of inertia holds (for some period of time) is now called an inertial frame of reference. From the laws of mechanics it follows that, if one such inertial frame exists, then an infinity of them must: All frames of reference (and only such frames) moving with constant velocity with respect to a given inertial frame are also inertial frames. All mechanical experiments and observations proved to be in accord with the (mechanical) principle of relativity: the laws of mechanics take the same form in any of these inertial frames. The principle of relativity, as Einstein stated it in 1905, asserts that all the laws of physics take the same form in any inertial frame-in particular, the laws of electricity, magnetism, and optics in addition to those of mechanics.

The second of Einstein's principles is based on an important consequence of Maxwell's laws of electricity, magnetism, and optics, as interpreted by H. A. Lorentz near the end of the nineteenth century. Maxwell had unified optics with electricity and magnetism in a single theory, in which light is just one type of electromagnetic wave. It was then believed that any wave must propagate through some mechanical medium. Since light waves easily propagate through the vacuum of interstellar space, it was assumed that any vacuum, though empty of ordinary, ponderable matter, was actually filled by such a medium, to which our senses did not respond: the ether. The question then arose, how does this medium behave when ordinary matter is present? In particular, is it dragged along by the motion of matter? Various possible answers were considered in the course of the nineteenth century, but finally only one view seemed compatible with (almost) all the known experimental results, that of H. A. Lorentz: The ether is present everywhere. Ordinary matter is made up of electrically charged particles, which can move through the ether, which is basically immobile. These charged particles, then called "electrons" or "ions", produce all electric and magnetic fields (including the electromagnetic waves we perceive as light), which are nothing but certain excited states of the immovable ether. The important experimental problem then arose of detecting the motion of ponderable matter-the earth in particular-through the ether.

No other theory came remotely close to Lorentz's in accounting for so many electromagnetic and especially optical phenomena. This is not just my view of Lorentz's theory, it was Einstein's view. In particular, he again and again cites the abberration of starlight and the results of Fizeau's experiment on the velocity of light in flowing water as decisive evidence in favor of Lorentz's interpretation of Maxwell's equations.

A direct consequence of Lorentz's conception of the stationary ether is that the velocity of light with respect to the ether is a constant, independent of the motion of the source of light (or its frequency, amplitude, or direction of propagation in the ether, etc.).

Einstein adopted a slightly-but crucially-modified version of this conclusion as his second principle: There is an inertial frame in which the speed of light is a constant, independent of the velocity of its source. A Lorentzian ether theorist could agree at once to this statement, since it was always tacitly assumed that the ether rest frame is an inertial frame of reference and Einstein had "only" substituted "inertial frame" for "ether."

But Einstein's omission of the ether was deliberate and crucial: by the time he formulated SRT he did not believe in its existence. For Einstein a principle was just that: a principle-a starting point for a process of deduction, not a deduction from any (ether) theory. (I am here getting ahead of my story and will return to this point later.) The Lorentzian ether theorist would add that there can only be one inertial frame in which the light principle holds. If the speed of light is a constant in the ether frame, it must be non-constant in every other inertial frame, as follows from the (Newtonian) law of addition of velocities. The light principle hence seems to be incompatible with the relativity principle. For, according to the relativity principle, all the laws of physics must be the same in any inertial frame. So, if the speed of light is constant in one inertial frame, and that frame is not physically singled out by being the rest frame of some medium (the ether), then the speed of light must be the same (universal) constant in every other inertial frame (otherwise the democracy of inertial frames is violated). As Einstein put it in 1905, his two principles are "apparently incompatible." Of course, if they really were incompatible logically or physically, that would be the end of SRT.

Einstein showed that they are not only logically compatible, but compatible with the results of all optical and other experiments performed up to 1905 (and since, we may add). He was able to show their logical compatibility by an analysis of the concepts of time, simultaneity, and length, which demonstrated that the speed of light really could have the privileged status, implied by his two principles, of being a universal speed, the same in every inertial frame of reference." From how did Einstein discover relativity?

==

"Newtons First law: Every body remains in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force. This means that in the absence of a non-zero net force, the center of mass of a body either remains at rest, or moves at a constant velocity."

That one is often referred to as Newtons law of inertia.

And "an inertial frame of reference, or inertial reference frame, is one in which Newton's first law of motion is valid. However, the principle of special relativity generalizes the notion of inertial frame to include all physical laws, not simply Newton's first law." What that means is that any experiment done in one inertial frame must be reproducible in any other inertial frame. A simple example is the equivalence of all uniform motion. And in a way also the equivalence between a rocket constantly and uniformly accelerating at one gravity as compared to the same experiment done on Earth (one gravity), ignoring tidal forces as the same principle comes into play there, that you if you find yourself getting the exact same outcomes from any experiment thought up in all 'frames' you test in then those frames must be equivalent physically. That's a idea that it took a Einstein to formulate so clearly as I understands it. The theory of equivalence you might call it :) But it's obvious when you think of it.
« Last Edit: 05/05/2011 10:54:23 by yor_on »

MikeS

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #23 on: 05/05/2011 09:07:25 »
yor_on

I really do not understand what you are saying.  I have no problems with SRT whatsoever, other than perhaps it could have gone further.

To answer all of your above points of which there are two.

Einstein made his theory on one constant. Lights constant invariable speed in a vacuum, from all frames measurable, and as observed in all other frames.
(1)Your interpretation is not the one he presented.

I believe my interpretation is the one Einstein presented.  You obviously disagree.  Please tell me what I have said that you think contradicts that?

(2)But no, I think of light as invariant still but that doesn't state that there can't be a way looking at it as you do.

I too believe the speed of light to be invariant as I have always maintained because the ‘Rate of flow of time’ is variable.  To the best of my knowledge this is exactly what Einstein maintained.  As I understand it, I am looking at the situation the same, as did Einstein.  In what way do you think I am looking at it differently?

Please answer the above two questions as we seem to be going around in circles.  If I am wrong then I want to know in what way am I wrong.

We are still going around in circles.  Quoting SRT to me Isn't helping as I agree with it.  As per my previous two questions, which really boil down to one and I will repeat the question.  What is it about Einstein made his theory on one constant. Lights constant invariable speed in a vacuum, from all frames measurable, and as observed in all other frames. that you think I disagree with?  Please, this deserves an answer.

yor_on

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #24 on: 05/05/2011 10:12:26 »
Well, this was why I find Einstein being right in treating light as a constant. When it comes to your definitions of lights 'infinite speed' I can't agree. To me, and Einstein, light has only one speed, it does not adapt to 'time/gravity'.
« Last Edit: 05/05/2011 10:57:13 by yor_on »

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The Speed of Light is Infinite
« Reply #24 on: 05/05/2011 10:12:26 »