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Could There Be Something Out There?

  1. May 15, 2008 #1
    I found this Article recently and thought?

    Are There Particles That Travel Faster Than Light Which Can Be Stopped In An Ether?

    Please Can You Read the Article and give me your opinion of this matter

    Hau, 41, a professor of physics at Harvard, admits that the famous genius would "probably be stunned" at the results of her experiments. Working at the Rowland Institute for Science, overlooking the Charles River and the gold dome of the state Capitol in Boston, she and her colleagues slowed light 20 million-fold in 1999, to an incredible 38 miles an hour. They did it by passing a beam of light through a small cloud of atoms cooled to temperatures a billion times colder than those in the spaces between stars. The atom cloud was suspended magnetically in a chamber pumped down to a vacuum 100 trillion times lower than the pressure of air in the room where you are reading this.

    "It's nifty to look into the chamber and see a clump of ultracold atoms floating there," Hau says. "In this odd state, light takes on a more human dimension; you can almost touch it."

    She and her team continued to tweak their system until they finally brought light to a complete stop. The light dims as it slows down, so you think that it's being turned out. Then Hau shoots a yellow-orange laser beam into the cloud of atoms, and the light emerges at full speed and intensity.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2008 #2
    Where is the article ?
  4. May 15, 2008 #3
  5. May 15, 2008 #4
    lol If this is true, we can concentrate sunlight and shoot them all together to create 10000 K to do something useful.
  6. May 15, 2008 #5
    This is the entire information you have ? You do not have even a technical reference !?

    How about that :
    http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2001/01.24/01-stoplight.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  7. May 15, 2008 #6
    I think he wants the source of the article.
  8. May 15, 2008 #7


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    If you cannot provide the reference then this topic will be closed for discussion.
  9. May 15, 2008 #8
    Here is a reference (even though not the same)

    I am indeed interested to know who wrote the first text. Communication of science is an interesting topic. In particular, Einstein has never been proven wrong.
    This is interesting but belongs to the "Atomic, Solid State, Comp. Physics (condensed matter)" forum.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  10. May 16, 2008 #9

  11. May 16, 2008 #10
    That is what I thought. You have been confused because "Harvard's gazette" suggests this experiment proves Einstein wrong. However, relativity is completely valid.

    Let me put it another way : I have a flash light. But this flash light works with solar batteries. Is there anything different in my flash-light-solar-batteries compared to this experiment ? I store light, for as long as I please, and then I release it. Wouhou ! I proved Einstein wrong at home !
  12. May 17, 2008 #11
    I would naturally assume that you would use your torch in the dark and solar batteries have a tendency to not last long therefore the solar powered torch would be useless (in the dark).

    anyway digressing if matter could be stopped in a confined space not just light do you think there would be other things to discover. That could possible solve how we could travel at the speed of light. If we could slow .... say a particle the size of an apple down (if we found it) we 'should' be able to find out how the particle gains its energy to propel it faster than the speed of light. (Possibly) :smile:
  13. May 17, 2008 #12
    ooh.. please dont close this topic yet.. Actually this is really thought provoking and downright cool. The principle investigator of these experiments suggests that computer data can be injected into the light stream. She suggests that this could be a new method for making quantum measurements. I really dunno... some time ago, these telecomm companies invented fiber optic laser cannons which inject encoded data into light waves. Now... my sci-fi thought process works like this. The possibility for time travel will first begin with the transfer of data because humans cannot travel within the light beam. light travels too fast to capture and that some past or future however if humans could slow down light
    in a ultracold environment, we could put together somekind of lightwave sniffer to see if
    our future or past selves have encoded some kind of alien message. Now I am not suggesting that a lightwave in this timeframe would contain any real data, however if there
    is intelligent life out there somewhere.... the most likely data transport is light.

    If one could transmit data into the past and future via light, it would be quite a feat.
    The question that comes to my mind is... how does one predict from a time line, where
    a light source emanates. Would it be theoretically possible to send data along a time line
    *if* if where traveling at the speed of light? Maybe we already done it, and we just don't
    know it yet. I believe that humans can do anything their minds can conceive.


  14. May 25, 2008 #13
    I'm a tad confused. Isn't interaction with the particles of the medium the only thing that 'slows' light down in a medium? My meaning behind this is that light would always travel at c, but absorption and emission make it appear to travel slower.

    On second thought, I know this is very wrong. How would a laser maintain coherency in any medium other than vacuum for any significant amount of time? And how would surfaces reflect radio waves if the photon is too weak to kick up an electron. I can see a photon contributing to the kinetic energy of a particle in the medium, but I still don't understand why it would be reflected. This specifically refers to specular reflection.

    I would love to be enlightened.
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  15. May 25, 2008 #14


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    There is nothing "odd" here other than an amazing accomplishment. Shine light onto an opaque material and you have "stopped light". The only difference here is that Hau and her team was able to preserve not only the light's energy, but also its phase coherence and "replayed" it at a later time. That's why her means of stopping light is useful.

    BTW, this has been discussed several times already on PF a few years ago. Please note that if you are trying to discuss something you read, you must cite the source clearly.

  16. May 25, 2008 #15
    Sorry but i was unable to cite said source due to the lack of posts as the forum rules enforced state that you must have at least 15 posts to link to an external URL source.
    sorry for any inconvenience caused.
  17. May 25, 2008 #16


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    Citing the source does not mean including a weblink.

  18. May 26, 2008 #17
    Does this have any bearing on the possible explanations for black holes? Like maybe they are just so dense and cold that light gets trapped instead of gravity itself trapping light? I guess that wouldn't explain light bending though would it?
  19. May 26, 2008 #18


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    Not it doesn't, unless you think an opaque material is a black hole.

  20. May 27, 2008 #19
    to my limited knowledge isn't a black hole a curve in space?
    to which gravity falls at one point?
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