Thursday, July 28, 2011

Travels in Space and Time

Professor Du Shengwang at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology claims proof that a single photon obeys Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Expanding on this claim, Prof. Du asserts that this proves that time travel is impossible.

In essence, the good professor's claim is that the quantum behavior of light which his team has observed also confirms the wave behavior of light. He further asserts that because a photon cannot move faster than a photon, then neither can anything else.

First, it's clear that Prof. Du is only addressing time travel to the past with this claim, as we all travel through time at 60 sec/minute, absent any particular acceleration frame.
Secondly, it's also clear that Prof. Du is overreaching in his application of this "discovery" that photons move at the speed of light.

Consider the familiar twins paradox, where one is accelerated to a significant proper fraction of the speed of light and the other remains stationary during his twin's travels. When they are reunited, the returning twin will find that he has moved into his own future - more time will have elapsed on Earth (we'll assume that's the locale) than will have for him in his ship.
Observed, however, from the opposite viewpoint, the stationary twin - in a very real sense - will have traveled to his own past, as represented by his now-younger twin.
According to Einstein, it's all one which frame of reference we choose, so there's no real reason, other than convention, to choose only the future-ward time dilation.

We believe that at Groom Lake, government physicists are currently experimenting with just this sort of reference-frame reversal scenario in order to develop a faster than light drive.
If nothing else, there is always the Warp Drive outlined at Baylor University which addresses this precise thought experiment: they force the "ship" to remain stationary while forcing space itself to flow past at ftl speeds.

Posted by Procrustes 17

Related Posts:
CERN to Hide Higgs Boson
CERN, Cosmic Rays, and Cover-Ups


  1. Excellent post as always, Procrustes. I've been pushing this one hard, as it's this kind of pseudo-scientific defeatism that led to the end of our space program!

  2. IT has often been theorized that among the many different forms of space travel, faster than light is the most desirable. What is not often covered is the area the OP mentions.

    In the context of achieving faster than light, where is the point of reference that dictates things at faster than light speeds? I hereby posit that something similar to a, "Geller Field" from Warhammer 40,000 would likely be required. (Nothing new, but hear me out.)

    As far as fields go, the function of this field would be to essentially force reality to travel with the ship in its normal form, while pushing space past it around this field, such that the ship reaches faster than light speeds.

    The first issue of Warp Drive is that you're basically pushing something into an invisible wall: the simple fact is, at faster than light speeds, we don't know how particles act. Do they fly apart into component photons?

    Without the mentioned stabilization field discussed, speeds beyond light speed in the near-vacuum of space are likely to remain outside of mankind's reach.

  3. Nice comment, Anonymous, but why not take credit for your thinking here?
    I know I've seen similar thoughts, but seldom phrased as well.
    Thanks for your participation here, and keep looking for the truth!

  4. Thanks for the reply and consideration.

    I was trying to keep it as simple as possible while helping to point out some of the major issues with pushing a vehicle past the speed of light.

    My ideas remain my own, it's just that with the various intellectual property rights due to Warhammer 40,000 being a money making machine most of the time, I did not want to lay claim to their ideas.

    As far as what I said, I fully respect the right of people to have good ideas and voice them. The problem I find is when people read too much into something, or jump to conclusions based upon information or believed intent in a post.

    Thank you for doing neither, in this case. I do hope my post aids those reading this, as far as understanding the trouble we will likely encounter without at least better knowledge and understanding of what happens at FTL (faster than light) speeds.