Archive for the ‘Speed of Light’ Category

Is All Motion Relative? No!

May 26, 2020

Some Motions Are Relative… Most Are Not.

Fundamental ideas can be simple, yet subtle. Take the “Higgs” Field idea. Dirac’s simple first order PDE for the electron (QED, Quantum ElectroDynamic) had to be modified to incorporate the “weak” nuclear force. But that worked with massless particles. Yet, particles had mass. What to do? The solution was to make the equations even more complicated by introducing a “Higgs” field, which, once it is non-zero on average, can give the electron a mass by interacting with the electron field without messing up the workings of the “electroweak” force. Basically the interaction with the Higgs Field acts like a glue, giving an inertial mass.

Complications on top of complications… Not necessarily a bad thing: after all we got away from the magical world by introducing extremely complex explanations elaborating from a few concepts, sort of all biology from DNA and RNA… A danger, though, is to start from erroneous concepts. As Henri Poincaré put it:

C’est même des hypothèses simples qu’il faut le plus se défier, parce que ce sont celles qui ont le plus de chances de passer inaperçues.

 

  • It is the simple hypotheses of which one must be most wary; because these are the ones that have the most chances of passing unnoticed.

 

    • Thermodynamique: Leçons professées pendant le premier semestre 1888–1889 (1892), Preface

The principle of relativity, first proposed by Galileo, was stated thus by Newton:

“The motions of bodies included in a given space are

the same among themselves, whether that space is at

rest or moving uniformly forward in a straight line.”

That says nothing about how to define “uniform”, except circularly. Nor does it says all inertial frames are equivalent, just that they “are the same among themselves”…

Quantum Vacuum Fields Radiate Under Acceleration (Un. Chicago 2019 picture).

A great progress attributed to Einstein was the disappearance of any absolute motion. The irony, hidden to the profane, was that Einstein set on developing General Relativity (GR) precisely to explain the “Mach Principle” that he was obsessed with… That thing of Mach was actually discovered by Newton. Put water in a pail hanging from a rope, said Isaac. Twist the rope slowly, rotation after rotation. Release. Pail starts to rotate, water climbs on the side of the pail. Why a rotation relative to the fixed stars would have such an effect is a mystery (Mach observed, Einstein tried to elucidate with GR).  

So the idea of GR, as far as Einstein was concerned, was to find a mechanism to explain absolute motion! Indeed the standard Lambda Cold Dark Matter (LCDM) Big Bang model defines, de facto, an absolute state of motion… the one relative to which the Cosmic Background Radiation looks isotropic… Except, oops, it’s not (latest news).

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But let’s go back to Relativity. It was named thus by Henri Poincaré, and rested on the notion of LOCAL TIME. In Fast Moving frames, time runs slow. That immediately led to the so-called “Twin Paradox” launched by Paul Langevin in 1911 (Einstein had mentioned the slowing of the moving clock in his 1905 paper). Langevin describes the story of a traveler making a trip at a Lorentz factor of γ = 100 (99.995% the speed of light). The traveler remains in a projectile for one year of his time, and then reverses direction. Upon return, the traveler will find that he has aged two years, while 200 years have passed on Earth. Langevin attributed the effect to ABSOLUTE acceleration (that’s reproduced by Richard Feynman, in his Lectures on Physics, but it’s not correct, I feel).

However, looking at the math more carefully, what really matters is how long the world-lines are, not how bent they are. The bending (acceleration) enables the length. The length referred to here is the Lorentz-invariant length or “proper time interval” of a trajectory which corresponds to the elapsed time measured by a clock following that trajectory. Basically the fast frame exchanges time for space: it covers lots of space, thus leaving little energy to spend on time: one can literally see the effect by looking at light wiggling back and forth between two mirrors. If the two mirror assembly goes fast, the wiggling is slow.

A related question is mass (like in “proper mass”). I have argued that it is time which slows down, not mass which goes up (as some texts have it, erroneously). Related to this is the Force-Acceleration law which involves now a (gamma)^3 factor… from multiple divisions by slow infinitesimal time…

All of this will leave some scratching their heads. Am I saying there is a notion of absolute motion? Well, the evidence is overwhelming. It’s time to remember the philosophy of  Henri Poincaré: if it looks like a duck in all ways, it’s a duck. Poincaré was actually saying that if all experiments give a speed of light equal to c then the speed of light c is a constant of nature (ironically, that’s true only locally… that is “infinitesimally”. In GR the speed of light is all over the space and, although locally constant, certainly not nonlocally constant… you see physics can be more subtle than basic logic…)

A notion not usually considered is that any manifold, or pseudomanifold, of dimension n can be embedded in manifold or pseudo manifold, of dimension (2n+1)… If one applies that to the curved spacetime of the LCDM, one gets an absolute reference frame… As de facto observed: the tapestry of galactic clusters is pretty much static…

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Where am I drifting with these pseudo-idle considerations? Well, I am reinstating in catimini the honorability of space and time absolutism… Comrade Poincaré, a colossal topologist, seems to have been aware of much of this… but he died at 58 in 1912, before GR was finished (Henri had introduced gravitational waves in 1905), and long before De Broglie came up with his ubiquitous Matter Waves. Matter Waves necessitate derivation relative to time… Which local time is that? Differently from Relativity, which starts with a non-accelerated frame, the class of uniformly moving ones, Quantum Physics is indifferent: any time will do. How could that be? Accelerated time is slow time, says General Relativity (this is actually an independent, most simple piece, a building block of GR, which doesn’t require the full theory). Quantum Physics doesn’t care about time as defined by light. It differentiates as if there was one and only one time, as In Newton’s time.

Why? An obvious explanation could be that the architecture of Quantum Physics implicates a much higher speed, the collapse/entanglement/Quantum Interaction speed…  In any case, to go from our class of uniformly moving frames to any others implicates Quantum fireworks, as pictured above… No uniformities are accessible, but for the one we enjoy…

Patrice Ayme

FTL: Faster Than Light Communications Don’t Violate Causality

April 30, 2020

Many physicists take for granted that if Faster Than Light (FTL) communications were possible some signals could be received earlier than they have been emitted. That’s not correct. “Proofs” that Faster Than Light would demolish causality rest on a confusion between causality and temporality. Time is affected by motion, causality isn’t.

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LIGHT/GRAVITY OBSERVED SIMULTANEOUSNESS OF EVENTS IS SPEED DEPENDENT:

Let’s call the Fast Frame FF and the Inertial Frame IF. The great result of Poincaré is that if a clock in Inertial Frame is accelerated to Fast Frame, once it sits still in FF, it will run slow (it’s called the “Twin Paradox”). 

Henri Poincaré pointed out as early as 1898 (Einstein was 19), events which are VIEWED AS simultaneous in the Fast Frame FF may not be VIEWED AS so in the Inertial Frame IF  depending on the exact motion of FF. (If light behaved as sound, it would be obvious why: sometimes sound takes longer to catch up. It’s basically the same mathematical idea.)

The fact events look simultaneous, or not, depends upon defining simultaneity with light speed, and that c is finite. The sketch above is ROUGHLY correct… But not really, because it contains implicitly a subtlety which needs to come to the fore to be fully correct: the LOCAL time inside the train is NOT the same as the LOCAL time on the platform watching the train… so the detail of the drawing is not as simple as the first sketch… But the basic concept remains: light will be seen as hitting the left side of the carriage first if the carriage is moving towards the right…

It’s very simple. Let’s visualize IF and FF the former as a train station, the second as a train, rushing by. Consider the two extremities of a carriage, A and B, call M the middle of the carriage. Then shine a light at M. From inside the carriage, one can see (say by reflecting the light on mirrors), that the light arrived at A and B simultaneously. 

However, from the outside, as seen from the Inertial Frame, the train station, as the carriage is going towards M, the light is going to hit A first, and B, later. 

The proof rests only on the speed of light being finite (something we have known since studying the moons of Jupiter in the Seventeenth Century. 

So simultaneousness of events having to do with light as defined in the Inertial Frame will be different from simultaneousness of events having to do with light in the Fast Frame… As seen with light!  The order of some events may appear one way in IF, and the opposite in FF. If one defines causality as temporal ordering, one is lost. All of this was discovered by Henri Poincaré… and probably why Henri proposed to call this “the theory of relativity”… Relativity of light events as seen by light. All very enlightening, but all too light.

Now here is a philosophical question: suppose we have an instantaneous way to communicate when things are happening. Would that redefine simultaneity? Of course. now in the real world, spacetime is curved, and light goes neither straight, nor constantly, and may even not go anywhere at all:

Spacetime is curved, and in other words, light is neither straight nor constant. More precisely this means that parallel transport along a ray of light brings a rotation of frames. Also shrinkage in various dimensions.

At first sight, physics locked the notion of time down. Indeed, at first sight…. we have only two long range interactions: gravity and electromagnetism (light). Moreover because of Energy = Mass (Henri Poincaré, 1899, La Sorbonne, Paris), they go at the same speed.

At second sight, we have Quantum Entanglement… Yes, I know, many physicists say Quantum Entanglement can’t be an interaction, because it would go faster than light, and that would violate causality. They may as well quote the Bible… It’s faith on their part, and dogma, not science…

Moreover, time, as defined by light clocks is only local, a notion living in the tangent space to spacetime. An explicit illustration of that is local time in a GPS satellite is not Earth time, and modifications to clocks have to be made constantly.

In this real world, defining time only with light is not the only problem. Wait, some will say, do you have any better than light and gravitation to tell us of distant events? Of course, we do: Quantum Entanglement. In my vision of the matter, matter, and space are literally created by Quantum Entanglement. And that goes at a faster clip than electromagnetism and gravity, or things would fall apart.

Patrice Ayme

STRUCTURED LIGHT: WHY LIGHT SLOWS DOWN IN WATER

February 14, 2015

Light slows down in water. That’s a known experimental fact. The usual explanation is that, when light advances through water, it collides with water molecules. So it zigs and zags through the water, and this zig-zagging action slows it down.

This makes no sense (sorry, noble predecessors!)

After showing why it makes no sense, I will present my solution, STRUCTURED LIGHT. The reasoning squarely contradicts Einstein on the photon, and its triumph helps to demonstrate how right it is.

Structured Light Slows Down In Empty Space. I Apply To H2O

Structured Light Slows Down In Empty Space. I Apply To H2O

If the zig-zag collision theory of the slowing down of light were true, light would lose energy during these collisions. (Light speed through water is only 2/3 c; the collision theory would mean that laser light through water would cover one third more distance, simply due to haphazard collisions; thus laser light would certainly losing coherence.)

Simple basic physics shows that light loses energy: if particle P hits particle W, and particle P’s momentum changes, W momentum also changes, and so does its energy. Energy is conserved (at least for times long enough), so as P gives energy to W, P loses energy. Here P is for Photon, of course, and W for Water. (Remember Quantum Physics does not contradict Classical Mechanics; instead, it gives it a SUBSTRUCTURE, in the finer domain that subtends the Classical domain.)

So the slow-down through collision theory predicts that light will lose energy when it goes through water.

However, it does not. Light comes out of water at the same exact color, thus energy, as it came in. Laser light keeps being laser light under water. It surely would not if every single photon of the beam had to collide with a water molecule. (Notice in the link how confused research presently is about optics and liquids; my proposed reasoning is at a scale thousands of times smaller.)

Proposing that light slows down from collision is thus wrong.

So, what’s my solution?

Absolute Wave Theory.

According to said theory, propagating photons are NOT particles (Va De Retro, Einsteinas!)

What are photons, when viewed as Absolute Waves?

Einstein proposed that photons (“Lichtquanten”) were points. He made it up. He had no proof, whatsoever, that this was true. It just sounded good. Worse: he did not need point-particle photons to explain the photoelectric effect. That error has poisoned the well of physics for 110 years. Thousands of physicists repeated what Einstein said. That Einstein was given the Nobel Prize for this exact idea, is no proof of its validity, as far as I am concerned. That makes me special.

But I have very good reasons to believe photons are not points. Because:

  1. I don’t know what points are. Not only I do not know what points are physically, I don’t even know what they are, mathematically. (By the way, I know Real Analysis and some Model Theory, so I am not as naïve as I may sound to the unwary.)
  2. Light diffracts and bends around corners. Isolated photons do this. How could they do it, if they were not spread about transversally?

Here is my conclusion: Photons are structured waves. This basically means that they have some width.

This is now experimentally supported. What was published in Science on January 22, 2015?

Spatially structured photons that travel in free space slower than the speed of light. (Daniel Giovannini1,*, & Al.)

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2015/01/21/science.aaa3035

“Abstract: That the speed of light in free space is constant is a cornerstone of modern physics. However, light beams have finite transverse size, which leads to a modification of their wavevectors resulting in a change to their phase and group velocities. We study the group velocity of single photons by measuring a change in their arrival time that results from changing the beam’s transverse spatial structure. Using time-correlated photon pairs we show a reduction of the group velocity of photons in both a Bessel beam and photons in a focused Gaussian beam. In both cases, the delay is several micrometers over a propagation distance of the order of 1 m. Our work highlights that, even in free space, the invariance of the speed of light only applies to plane waves.”

So what do I propose?

That water structures photons propagating through it. Structuring is what slows light down. Instead of having just one mask, as in the Glasgow experiment, we have thousand within one wavelength of light. Thus, instead of being slowed down .0001%, it’s slowed down of the order of 10% or more.

As in the Glasgow experiment, photons are not “particles”, they are spread about (they have a “TRANSVERSE structure”).

When a photon enters water, should it NOT hit a water molecule, the photonic wave will get endowed with a complex topology of non-trivial genus (because the non-linear wave that constitutes the photon has to have avoided nuclei and orbiting electrons, and the only way it can do that is by evolving holes in the right places).

As a photon passes a water molecular group, it slows down a bit. The water molecules act like the mask the physicists applied to slow down the beam photons in their experiment. Those breaking episodes pile up, and integrate in a global slow-down.

Frequency, thus energy, is unaffected.

Some may object that the theory is obviously false: should not the slow-downs pile up, and thus, the thicker the water, the more photons will slow down?

No. In the slowing down of the Structured Photons in vacuum, the slowing down is necessitated by the collapse of the photon back into a linear wave. It’s a one time event. However, in water, when the photon has acquired a structure which is enough like a sieve, after going around enough water molecules, it needs time to restructure. So over that distance, it has slowed down. Then the process repeats.

Let me quote a bit more from the violation of light speed Glasgow University paper (from behind its pay wall):

“The speed of light in free space propagation is a fundamental quantity. It holds a pivotal role in the foundations of relativity and field theory, as well as in technological applications such as time-of-flight measurements. It has previously been experimentally established that single photons travel at the group velocity (20). We have now shown that transverse structuring of the photon results in a decrease in the group velocity along the axis of propagation. We emphasize that in our full-aperture experiments, no pre- or post-selection is applied to the spatially structured photons, and that the group velocities are always compared over the same propagation distance, much as if they were in a race. The effect can be derived from a simple geometric argument, which is also supported by a rigorous calculation of the harmonic average of the group velocity. Beyond light, the effect observed will have applications to any wave theory, including sound waves.”

The authors have declared that they could not see any application of the effect they discovered. In particular not in cosmology.

However, I just found one, in everyday physics.

Einstein said nobody understood Quantum Mechanics. Feynman added that all the mystery of the Quantum was in the Double Slit Experiment. Here I explain speed of light in a medium by piling up thousands of double slit experiments within a wavelength of light, and the slow-down they bring. (It’s not quite the Double Slit as it involves continual collapses along the propagation axis.)

The structured photon is the fundamental idea, the order one idea, of the Absolute Quantum Wave theory. The preceding, and the Glasgow experiment itself, establish it further (more is coming soon).

There is no experimental support for Einstein’s views on the spatial the nature of the photon as a particle, there is plenty of evidence against it (the latest being Structured Light).

By contrast there is increasing evidence for the Absolute Wave Theory. Einstein and company, bless their souls, pontificated about a lot of things they did not know anything about. That photons were point-particles is one of them. Time to move on.

Patrice Ayme’