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Acceleration of an object to the speed of light.

  1. Jan 29, 2014 #1
    I'm reading Pauling's General Chemistry and he starts off his first chapter with, "Matter may be defined as any kind of mass-energy that moves with velocities less that the velocity of light, and radiant energy as any kind of mass-energy that moves with the velocity of light."

    I know that we can't accelerate an object to the speed of light, but the wording of this sentence seems to imply that, if we could, it would become radiant energy; as it would then be mass-energy moving with the velocity of light.

    So my question is, if we could accelerate an object to the speed of light would it become radiant energy?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 29, 2014 #2


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    The answer is, as you've already admitted, is we can't. (You are, in effect, asking, what would happen if the laws of physics were different? We can't use the laws of physics to answer that.)

    That's why the definition makes sense. Anything that starts off slower than light will always be slower than light. Anything that starts off at the speed of light will always be at the speed of light.
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