October 11, 2012
Applied Mathematicians Extend Einstein’s Speed Of Light Theory
April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Is it possible to move faster than the speed of light? A group of applied mathematicians at the University of Adelaide believes so, saying they have extended Einstein's theory of special relativity to work beyond the speed of light.
Published in 1905, the theory of special relativity explains how motion and speed are always relative to the observer's frame of reference. It connects measurements of the same physical incident viewed from these different points in a way that depends on the relative velocity of the two separate observers. According to Register reporter Richard Chirgwin, the speed of light is considered to be an absolute cosmic speed limit, which can never be crossed
"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 Professor Jim Hill of the School of Mathematical Sciences in a prepared statement.
"About this time last year, experiments at CERN, the European center 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."
"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. 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."
The findings of this study have been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society. The group's formulas extend special relativity to a situation where the relative velocity can be infinite. This velocity can also 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 Dr Barry 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."
“If you really don´t believe that faster-than-light is possible, then humans will be limited forever,” Professor Hill said.