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Faster than Light - Summary Wanted

  1. May 27, 2012 #1
    Faster than Light travel is often discussed, but it seems that facts and fiction are often mixed together. (FTL not nessesarily from point A to point B at a velocity greater than C, just move object from A to B faster than light could travel.)

    To make it quick; there are some theories right now on Faster than Light (hereafter FTL) travel. Many theories are just humbug from some viral video, with no scientiffic basis at all, theese are not the subject here.

    I'm interested in the theories with real scientiffic background. I've bee searching for an "introduction to the different theories" with a summary of what scientiffic grouns each theory holds. Has anybody seen a summary like this?

    Dr. Ael Rin Sirion has written something about FTL from a quantum-theoretical viewpoint, are his claims good or bad? corner.net/admiral/warptek.htm

    The 'humbug-theories' like "aliens planted a blueprint in my head" are not the subject in this thread.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2012 #2


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    It's all fiction.
  4. May 27, 2012 #3


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    And not even very interesting fiction at that.
  5. May 28, 2012 #4
    So at this point there is no valid theory, not even the slightest hint, of traveling from point A to point B faster than light would in a straight trajectory (space folding and so on)?
  6. May 28, 2012 #5


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    After the OPERA publication, some theories were developed which had some FTL-effects inside, some of them from notable scientists. They all created some sort of violation of Lorentz-invariance.
    But I don't think any of them got attention after the OPERA collaboration announced their measurement issues.

    You can find a lot of arXiv articles with OPERA or neutrino as keywords.

    Stream of dark matter as a possible cause of the opera clocks' synchronization signals delay <- this one has a funny abstract
  7. May 28, 2012 #6
    Thank you for an extensive answer, I'm unfamilliar with the "OPERA Publication". As soon as I've done my finals in June, I'll dive right into that.
  8. May 28, 2012 #7


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  9. May 28, 2012 #8
    Looks like I've found my excuse for not studying this summer-vacation either.
  10. May 28, 2012 #9


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    In Short: OPERA reports FTL neutrinos; a lot of publications were made to explain FTL neutrinos or where OPERA error'd in their measurements; OPERA reports that a GPS timing error could be at fault due to a not fully plugged in fiber optic cable.
  11. May 28, 2012 #10


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    Hmmm... Sounds to me more like you'll be studying, just not what that you're supposed to be studying :)

    If that's your plan... Be aware that Dr. Ael Rin Sirion's (could that possibly be an anagram?) stuff is worse than mere science fiction... It makes incorrect statements about things that we already know and have confirmed through experiment. In particular, all that stuff about light pulses propagating at speed v-c behind you and v+c in front of you... It's nonsense, that's not how light behaves.

    Dig up a decent textbook, spend a few months working through it, and you'll understand special relativity in a way that "Ael Rin Sirion" never will... and that is way more interesting, exciting, and rewarding than anything that he'll ever come up with. There's a reason why smart people devote their lives to understanding and advancing physics... and it's not how well it pays.
  12. May 29, 2012 #11
    Well there's wormholes and Alcubierre drive, but the latter is probably impossible to achieve without the energy of say, an entire galaxy, while we don't know how to create the former, it may not even be possible to create a wormhole, though the universe might have created some for us to "harvest" (but we've never found one).

    If there will ever be FTL travel it would probably happen via wormholes.
  13. May 29, 2012 #12
    Isn't the problem even worse, it needs galaxies worth of negative mass?
  14. May 29, 2012 #13
    There was a TV video starring Stephen Hawking which covered time travel, and, by implication, distance travel. I think it was on the Science Channel or National Geographic. You should find it interesting. The material covered is not bull.

    I'm surprised that none of the responders mentioned a "kind of" FTL travel associated with Special Relativity. If you get in a space ship and move at speeds very close to the speed of light relative to our galaxy, then, as reckoned from your frame of reference, the distances in our galaxy are contracted, and, to the residents in our galaxy, the clocks in your spaceship (and your biological clock) are running very slowly. To the residents of our galaxy, you may have covered, for example, 30000 light years in about 30000 years, but, from your frame of reference, you have covered 30 light years in about 30 years. Thus, in neither frame of reference have you exceeded the speed of light, but you have still covered the 30000 light years across the galaxy during your lifetime. Of course, from a practical standpoint, enormous amounts of energy are required for you to reach speeds such as implied here. But still, it is conceptually possible.

  15. May 29, 2012 #14


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    Probably not mentioned because that is NOT "FTL" of any kind. As measured from your moving reference frame the distance you have covered is much less than 30 light years while, as measured from a frame stationary with respect to the planets, you have taken much longer than 30 years. In order to get it to look like "FTL" you have to mix reference frames.
  16. May 29, 2012 #15


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    Both require negative energy. The worm hole is not traversible by matter unless stabilized with negative energy. Note that classically, there is no such thing as negative energy. In QM there are effects (Casimir) that are effectively negative energy, but they are subject to strict constraints. It is likely, based on trends in recent research, that it will be established that neither traversible wormholes nor Alcubierre drive are achievable, even in principle (based on the tight negative energy constraints in QM).

    (Separately, Alcubierre drive, even if achieved, would incinerate both the spaceship and the destination).
  17. May 29, 2012 #16
    I believe that is what I said. And, after all, I did call it "kind of" FTL, didn't I? I just thought the OP would find this interesting.

  18. May 29, 2012 #17


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    There are other ways of time traveling, and thus getting from A to B faster than light.

    Some solutions that satisfy Einsteinian relativity - such as infinitely long relativistically-rotating cylinders and toroidal black holes - result in being able to travel along a time-like curve instead of a space-like curve. Once you can do that, you;ve got all the time in the world to get to your destination.

    But they're even less feasible than Alcubierre Drives and wormholes.
  19. May 30, 2012 #18


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    It might be more accurate to call this "one-way time travel"....

    Still sounds pretty cool.... Until you realize that we've all been doing this since we were born, and after about fifty years or so the coolness wears off.
  20. May 31, 2012 #19
    I'm thinking something else - imagine point A to point B distance of say 10 light seconds.

    What happens if a body at point B starts traveling towards point A at the same exact moment that a body originating at point A starts traveling towards point B (they both travel with C)
    Even though the distance was 10 light seconds , the 2 bodies will meet in the center of the road in 5 seconds each of them having traveled only 1/2 the distance.

    I don't understand how this is not ftl travel - the 2 bodies are moving towards each other (as seen by an independent observer) at a speed of 2C.

    I don't understand how there can be a maximum speed if the only way to measure speed is to compare the rate of movement of the body to a point of origin - does that mean that when traveling between the stars you can accelerate infinitely since there's no point of origin?

    Maybe I'm too stoopid :P to wrap my mind around "max speed"
  21. May 31, 2012 #20


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    So each body travels 5 light-seconds in 5 seconds; where is the ftl part?
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