Can electrons move faster than Light?

  • #1
70
1

Main Question or Discussion Point

I just read this article and it sounds like they are claiming that there are electron currents moving 6 times the speed of light? Am I understanding this correctly. The article title is "Faster-Than-Light Pulsar Phenomena"


http://www.universetoday.com/49646/faster-than-light-pulsar-phenomena/
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Khashishi
Science Advisor
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It says polarization currents, not electrons. It specifically says that the charged particles themselves move slower than the speed of light. Please work on your reading comprehension.

This is analogous to how the group velocity of a wave can exceed the speed of light, but the particles in the wave all travel slower than the speed of light.
 
  • #3
70
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Sorry I assumed polarization currents were electrons. I found another article that explains it much better so I think I get it now. Schmidt and Singleton's presentations provide strong support for a pulsar emission mechanism (the superluminal model) due to circulating polarization currents that travel faster than the speed of light. These superluminal polarization currents are disturbances in the pulsar's plasma atmosphere in which oppositely-charged particles are displaced by small amounts in opposite directions; they are induced by the neutron star's rotating magnetic field. Mystery solved. The underlined explanation is what I was looking for.

Khashishi this is a better way to answer a question its much less harsh.
 
  • #4
berkeman
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Khashishi this is a better way to answer a question its much less harsh.
He wasn't being harsh so much as just expressing a little frustration, IMO. There is a problem with posting sensationalist threads and titles about things that are almost certainly not true. We get that a bit too much here at the PF. But it's okay, you are just learning, which is a good thing. Just keep in mind that when you read a pop-science article, they will be using sensationalist phrases that are easily misunderstood.
 
  • #5
berkeman
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BTW, there actually is a situation where an electron can travel faster than the speed of light (in a dielectric medium). Check out this wikipedia page for more information if you're interested:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherenkov_radiation

:smile:
 

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