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An old new kind of observer dependency: is v > c possible if nobody was looking?

  1. Jul 19, 2005 #1


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    Since in relativity everything is relative to a frame, doesn't that mean that in relativity theory (RT), all measurements are observer-dependent? Doesn't RT historically precede quantum theory (QT) in that respect? I am asking this because it seems to me that there is a general presumption "out there" which amounts to saying that QT was the first physics theory to do away with the "neutral observer" axiom -- or, equivalently, to do away with the notion that it is possible to design experiments in which the result is independent of the observer. However, RT postulates that measurements of a given phenomenon by two observers located in different frames would typically differ. Even more drastically, RT postulates (or is consistent) with the notion that while objects outside each other's event cone may be moving at speeds higher than lightspeed, each such object will measure any other object to have slowed down to a sublight velocity as they enter each other's cone. Given these postulates, why is QT's observational dependency postulate made to be the earliest historical acknowledgement of an observer's influence on the result of an experiment?
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  3. Jul 19, 2005 #2


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    General Relativity is fundamentally determinisitic and it gives you the formulas you need to turn what you see from your POV into anyone else's POV. You can know what someone else is seeing and experiencing even if you aren't actually in their reference frame using the GR equations.

    The question can v>c if no one is looking is one that gets explored, but it generally done in the context of the well known phenomenas of tunnelling and entanglement.
  4. Jul 20, 2005 #3
    ohwilleke, speaking v> c via tunnelling, What are the current theories which allow quantom tunnelling? From my conversation with certian physicists, it is the act of opening up some sort of a buble in spacetime, or where you lose your reference frame or something to that effect. I don't think I recall what they explained to me properly so thats why I ask ::

    "Im the master of time!" -- Eiffel 65
  5. Jul 20, 2005 #4
    Special Relativity is, in a sense, an optical illusion that cannot be overcome. If there were an observer that was not subject to the same speed limit c, then they were not be subject to the same "illusion" that we observe. But this is a naive view, that ignores the fact that the hypothetical observer couldn't exist because the speed limit c is part of the structure of spacetime (it is so fundamental that without a speed limit, time as we know it would not exist.
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