LANL scientist makes radio waves trav...

LANL scientist makes radio waves travel faster than light

There are 6 comments on the The Santa Fe New Mexican story from Apr 13, 2010, titled LANL scientist makes radio waves travel faster than light. In it, The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that:

Photo: This Los Alamos National Laboratory gadget, called a polarization synchrotron, combines radio waves and a rapidly spinning magnetic field, which forces radio waves to travel faster than the speed of light.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Santa Fe New Mexican.

James

Auburn, NE

#1 Apr 15, 2010
You've implied that radio waves aren't particles, information, or light. Radio waves are all of those.
Martin

Stuttgart, Germany

#2 Apr 28, 2010
This is not true! Nothing is faster than c_0!
Martin

Stuttgart, Germany

#3 Apr 28, 2010
Arnau

Murcia, Spain

#4 May 11, 2010
That's impossible!! XD
marc

New York, NY

#5 May 11, 2010
"If you take a laser and shine it on the moon and swing it rather gently, for example, the spot on the moon travels faster than the speed of light," Singleton said. "If an effect can do that..."

It can't!

The spot won't move faster than the speed of light because the light has not yet arrived to move the spot! The spot would not keep up with your laser. In fact, you would see a delay while the light returned back to earth, so it would only appear to move at half the speed of light, regardless of how fast you swing the laser.

There has to be a ton of details that are lost in the layman's translation. I'm sure this will wind up in Scientific American so we can see what is really going on.
Jesse Chisholm

Edison, CA

#6 Jul 19, 2010
"If you take a laser and shine it on the moon and swing it rather gently, for example, the spot on the moon travels faster than the speed of light," Singleton said. "If an effect can do that..."

Singleton is only slightly equivocating. ;-)

The "Effect" is the imaginary wave front. And it can, indeed move faster than light. This fact is useless to us.

Consider.

The "first" photon strikes the moon at point x0 at time t0.

The "second" photon strikes the moon at point x1 at time t1.

Calculate, and sure enough the distance x0 to x1 in the time t0 to t1 is faster than light.

But no photons traveled from point x0 to point x1. It was two different photons, each traveling only at speed c. One went to x0 and the other went to x1. No laws were violated.

This $3M will not help in any way to get radio waves to travel as in Star Trek (faster than light), but may help to explain the signal strength in Pulsars.

The concept of a "sonic boom" is that the sound of a jet traveling faster than "the speed of sound" at time t0 had distance d0 to travel to get to you. The sound at time t1 had distance t1. etc. If the sound from those distances arrive at your location at the same time, then you "hear" a sonic boom -- the sum of the strength of the sound from all those distances. If you were not too stunned to check you would find that after the jet passes directly ove3rhead, you hear much less than normal from its engines. This is because the sound combines destructively on those routes.

Deeply buried in the author's fussy terminology is the idea of a "luminal boom" -- the light from the edge of the pulsar when its spinning is to one side, added with the light when it points directly toward us, and all angles between sum together to make a signal stronger than expected. As the source on the pulsar surface spins past and away, the interference is destructive, making the single less than expected. The difference between is the "pulse" we observe.

If the $3M is not to go to waste, then this is where new information will be gained, not in the newspaper title about "radio waves faster than light".

One must take article captions with a grain of salt. They are not intended to convey information, they are intended to get you to read the article.

-Jesse

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