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Photons vs Basketballs

  1. Sep 19, 2009 #1

    I wanted to discuss the refutation provided in this article below, because it is the most widely cited refutation in connection with what it's trying to refute:

    http://www.assassinationscience.com/johncostella/shawyerfraud.pdf [Broken]

    It may be that the idea that Costella is trying to refute is indeed false, but I'm concerned that Costella is trying to base his refutation on an oversimplification. It may indeed be that there is a legitimate case for making a refutation, but I'm not sure that Costella's is it.

    In my opinion Costella tries to discuss photons as if they were basketballs rather than quantum objects subject to quantum level effects. We know that there are many differences between basketballs and photons, as well as differences in their behaviors.

    If I try to accelerate a basketball in a field, then it will accelerate in a simple Newtonian way.
    Anything else would be considered a conservation violation.
    If I try to accelerate a photon the same way, instead of it accelerating it will simply shift its frequency (energy level). By the standards of macroscopic newtonian objects, that could be called a "conservation violation" too. But photons can do that, because they aren't macroscopic classical newtonian objects. We know they always travel at the same speed through ordinary space, not changing their velocity but only changing their frequency (energy) in response to other influences.
    Photons have no rest mass, so what newtonian momentum do they have to conserve? They change energy level (ie. frequency), and that's not something you can claim to be a closed property inside a superconductive cavity. If the system is not closed with respect to that property, then you can't claim that property must be conserved.

    It is claimed that a QuantumElectroDynamic cavity can be tailored to have an asymmetric shape, so that the opposite sides of it will each have different amounts of quantum interaction with the photons. It is being claimed that this difference is what allows the photon to exchange more momentum in hitting one side of the cavity than in hitting the other, thus resulting in net movement. This lopsided behavior is claimed to be due to quantum effects, but Costella's refutation doesn't bother to talk about quantum level effects, and instead offers a refutation against basketballs and their newtonian behavior.

    So if there is a case to be made in refuting the claim that Costella is trying to invalidate, is Costella's newtonian basketball model really the best way to do it? Is it really appropriate to apply a newtonian analogy to a debate about photons?

    I'd instead be interested in hearing an explanation of whether quantum level interactions have to be symmetrical in an asymmetrical QED cavity.

    Can someone provide it, please?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Photons have momentum. This is an experimental fact.
  4. Sep 19, 2009 #3
    photon translational momentum conserved, photon oscillation momentum not conserved

    But the momentum that comes from wavelength energy is not identical to the momentum that comes from Newtonian velocity energy. We can say they're equivalent, (due to the Equivalence Principle) but not that they're identical.

    If a photon's wavelength is due to its oscillation, then what is it oscillating against?
    If a pendulum oscillates, it is oscillating against gravity - the pendulum moves in one direction until gravity overcomes it, and then it starts moving in the other direction until gravity overcomes it, etc, etc. The pendulum is exchanging momentum with gravitational potential, and then regaining opposite momentum while losing gravitational potential.

    If the photon is moving in a particular direction as part of its oscillation, then what is acting to overcome that motion, to send it in the opposite direction to continue the oscillation? It's probably oscillating against whatever space is made out of.
    Whatever it is interacting with, is changing the direction of its momentum. Momentum is being exchanged for something else, and then being given back in an opposite direction, and then being exchanged back again, etc, etc.

    The photon is undergoing 2 types of motion -- its local oscillation motion, and its translational motion along a broader trajectory. So there are 2 types of momentum here -- the local oscillation momentum, and its translational momentum.
    That translational momentum is being exchanged against the walls of a resonant cavity, in a symmetrical way. It bounces off one wall and bounces off the opposite wall in the same way, exchanging translational momentum with each in the same way.

    But that oscillation momentum which correlates to its wavelength does not have to be exchanged with both walls in the same way. How that oscillation momentum is exchanged with each wall, depends on the geometry of each wall.
    On one side, you have a flat wall, and on the other side you have an angular wedge shape.
    The flat wall exchanges translational momentum with the photon, but not the oscillation momentum. Meanwhile the wedge shape is able to exchange translational momentum with the photon, but is also acquiring oscillation momentum of the photon due to being wedge-shaped. The act of trying to move into the wedge/keyhole means transfer of oscillation momentum to the walls of the wedge/keyhole. The photon is losing oscillation momentum (aka wavelength energy), and the wedge shape is gaining that energy. It bounces back toward the other wall, and repeats the process again... and again... and again, etc.

    The photon's translational momentum is conserved, but its oscillation momentum is not conserved. The wedge shape means that the photon can keep proceeding farther and farther down the wedge on each successive trip back, giving up oscillation momentum to it again, and again, and again, etc.

    Remember Voyager? Gravitational slingshot? How did it get extra translational momentum? It stole Jupiter's rotational momentum to gain translational momentum. But Voyager was tiny, while Jupiter was massive.
    Here, the size ratios are reversed -- photon is tiny, but walls are more massive. Wedgewall is stealing photon's oscillation momentum, but photon keeps coming back again and again, to give more and more again. Flatwall is not stealing oscillation momentum. Hence, lopsided exchange.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  5. Sep 19, 2009 #4
    Action without reaction.

    Conversion device.

    Conversion device has taken wavelength energy and converted it to translational newtonian velocity energy. Equivalence Principle.

    It has not taken away from photon's translational motion to give the rest of the system translational newtonian velocity energy.

    Action without reaction.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  6. Sep 19, 2009 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Of course it is. I can convert the momentum carried by a photon to the momentum carried by a basketball by shining a light on one.

    No it's not. A photon doesn't wiggle back and forth. The electric and magnetic field oscillates, but the photon doesn't move along a sine wave trajectory.

    You're not actually defending this crackpot nonsense, are you?
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