# What do you think would happen if we broke the speed of light in a vacuum?

Asked by xxporkxsodaxx (1373 ) April 24th, 2010 from iPhone

Let’s get a hypothesis thread going.

I think that if something like that did happen it would make the person see only the current state of everything from then until they slowed down. Like how if you see something go into an envent horizon on a black hole, it appears to just be standing still yet it’s actually getting work done all over it on crazy levels.

Does that make any sense?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

Uh, not too much.

gailcalled (50917 )

Your mom would probably make you clean it up. ;)

Factotum (1454 )

We would have the equlivant of a sonic boom…only a light boom… like the flash from the Star trek TNG warp engines

talljasperman (15077 )

Well, this would require an infinite amount of energy, so I’m not sure what implications that would have. However, to you, the entire universe would contract to the point where it had no dimension. So, you could travel to anywhere in the universe instantly.

Ivan (13379 )

I don’t think it would be anything like breaking the speed of sound, for example.

The speed of light isn’t a “barrier” that can be broken so much as it is a fundamental building block of the reality around us. From what I know of relativity, the speed of light defines our concepts of distance and time—not the other way around.

So “breaking” the speed of light wouldn’t be so much like surpassing a limit as it would be like switching to another set of rules. Perhaps like moving from Euclidean to non-Euclidean geometry.

Yet another metaphor: it wouldn’t be like “breaking the best record” in an Olympic racing event—it would be like switching to an entirely different kind of event.

Qingu (21058 )

Well, try this: Drop a lightbulb on the kitchen floor, & vacuum it up!

Draconess25 (4428 )

You wouldn’t see anything because light cannot catch up to you, all you would see is darkness. A blackhole is invisible because light cannot escape it, so if we did travel “faster” than light just pray you don’t run into a big rock or something because you won’t see it.

earthduzt (3215 )

Something else to consider: if you are a photon traveling at the speed of light, you don’t experience time. Every moment in your journey happens at the same moment.

Even if, to an outside observer, it takes a million years for you to go from one galaxy to the next—for you, it happens in an instant.

This is why, as I said before, it probably wouldn’t be analogous to any known phenomenon—because the most fundamental properties of our existence (the experience of time and space) would be bent.

Qingu (21058 )

you could get away from your own farts.

anartist (14718 )

I think every vacuum in the world will turn into black holes/vortexes that can never be escaped.

andreaxjean (1268 )

Agree with @Qingu on this. We’ll need new paradigms in physics and geometry. We have already witnessed FTL under laboratory conditions. The notion that it’s “impossible” just means that our current descriptive/predictive models are insufficient. Just as Einstein showed that Newtonian physics is a “special case”, another radical thinker will show Einsteintian physics maybe is only a special case within the gravity well of a star?? It’s beyond my mental event-horizon.

Wait, when have we witnessed faster than light under laboratory conditions? (!!!)

Qingu (21058 )

@Qingu Yes, I’m interested in the answer to this as well. Technically speaking, though, Cherenkov radiation is FTL, sort of. But that really doesn’t count.

Rarebear (20555 )

I don’t have the exact reference, but there was a report about a year ago of particles observed traveling FTL in a vacuum. Maybe this was a Cerenkov-type effect though, they may have been passing through some medium within the vacuum.

Nimtz and Stahlhofen / Univ of Koblenz: “Macroscopic Violation of Special Relativity” published in “Quantum Physics” 5 Aug 2007.

Angry physicists would come out of the vacuum and kill you so nobody would know.

Bugabear (1707 )

isn’t movement relative?
if it is, wouldn’t being a true vacuum somehow negate that?

jackfright (1180 )

Sweet, my carpet would be vacuumed in no time.

slick44 (3778 )

whoops…

DarkScribe (15395 )

@Rarebear I never saw the retraction. My humble apologies.

If you approach the event horizon of a black hole everything else would speed up. Suppose the black hole is high above Milky Way’s halo and you’re close. You could watch the Milky Way spinning around like crazy. Beautiful sight. For you it’s just one minute, but for people on Earth it’s about 230 million years. If they got a telescope pointed at you it would appear to them that you are slowing down during your fall into the black hole.

mattbrowne (31286 )

or