Can a particle exceed the speed of light in water

In summary, light travels through water at a speed of about 2.25e8 m/s. However, if a particle tries to travel faster than this, it will be stopped by the water's refractive index.
  • #1
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Homework Statement


Light travels through water at a speed of about 2.25e8 m/s. Is it possible for a particle to travel through water at a speed v greater than 2.25e8.


Homework Equations


E=(Rest Energy)/sqrt(1-v^2/c^2)


The Attempt at a Solution


I realize that light requires no medium to propogate through and is massless and therefore nothing can exceed this speed since it would require infinite energy to do this. However when light passes through a dense media it scatters and slows through different refractive indexes. So I would thinnk the answer would be yes it is possible but then again I look tat the equation I gave for finding total energy and no matter what the value of c is if your numerator in higher it will become imaginary so by that equation it fails no matter what so would the answer be no?
 
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  • #3
Thanks for the info and sorry for the grammatical errors all over the place. So by that article I assum the answer to the question would be yes but I am really stuck here because we haven't cover Cherenkov Radiation yet, so I am confused uggg. I would have to say the overwelming response seems to be yes.
 
  • #4
DODGEVIPER13 said:

Homework Statement


Light travels through water at a speed of about 2.25e8 m/s. Is it possible for a particle to travel through water at a speed v greater than 2.25e8.


Homework Equations


E=(Rest Energy)/sqrt(1-v^2/c^2)


The Attempt at a Solution


I realize that light requires no medium to propogate through and is massless and therefore nothing can exceed this speed since it would require infinite energy to do this. However when light passes through a dense media it scatters and slows through different refractive indexes. So I would thinnk the answer would be yes it is possible but then again I look tat the equation I gave for finding total energy and no matter what the value of c is if your numerator in higher it will become imaginary so by that equation it fails no matter what so would the answer be no?

Hint -- what particle can travel through the Earth at nearly the speed of light in a vacuum...?
 
  • #5
The electron? Maybe I am sorry not trying to sound like a goober I am seriously trying to understand this.
 
  • #6
DODGEVIPER13 said:
The electron? Maybe I am sorry not trying to sound like a goober I am seriously trying to understand this.

No, an electron would be stopped as soon as it hit the atmosphere inbound to the Earth. There is a particle (the major local source is the Sun) that basically does not interact with matter at all. Do some Googling to see if you can figure out which particle it is...
 
  • #7
The neutrino I would assume it was what I was going to say but I figured it wasnt the answer.
 
  • #8
Ok so the answer to my question is then yes because in water the c constant slows down and the neutrino a particle which doesn't interact with matter can pass right through a very near the speed of light.
 
  • #9
DODGEVIPER13 said:
Ok so the answer to my question is then yes because in water the c constant slows down and the neutrino a particle which doesn't interact with matter can pass right through a very near the speed of light.

Sounds right to me :smile:
 

1. Can a particle travel faster than the speed of light in water?

No, according to the theory of special relativity, the speed of light in a vacuum is the maximum speed at which all particles can travel. In a medium such as water, the speed of light is slower, but it is still the maximum speed for all particles.

2. Why is the speed of light slower in water than in a vacuum?

The speed of light in a medium is determined by the properties of the medium, such as its density and refractive index. In water, the molecules are more tightly packed together and interact with the light, causing it to slow down.

3. Is the speed of light in water the same for all wavelengths?

No, the speed of light in a medium is dependent on the wavelength of the light. This is known as the dispersion effect. In water, red light will travel faster than blue light, resulting in the separation of colors in a rainbow.

4. Can anything travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum?

No, according to the theory of special relativity, the speed of light is the ultimate speed limit for all particles. It is considered a fundamental constant of the universe and cannot be surpassed.

5. What happens if a particle exceeds the speed of light in water?

It is physically impossible for a particle to exceed the speed of light in any medium. However, if it were to happen, it would violate the laws of physics and lead to paradoxes such as time travel. This is why the speed of light is considered a universal speed limit.

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