What prevents mass-less gauge bosons and gravity going faster than c?

1. Mar 11, 2013

Bararontok

Whether traveling at c in the form of radiation and carrying energy in the process or to exert the force propagated by force fields, the mass-less gauge bosons cannot go faster than c and even the gravitational force which is caused by the space-time curvature or hypothetically gravitons cannot go faster than c. What phenomenon is imposing this limit on the mass-less gauge bosons and gravity?

2. Mar 11, 2013

Staff: Mentor

Special relativity.
Why should mass-less gauge bosons and gravity go faster than c? ;)

3. Mar 11, 2013

Bararontok

With more and more energy being added to the system propagating as radiation or force, should the extra energy not propel all of these radiation and fields faster and faster and faster unless there is something to stop it? After all, mass is what limits fermions from going faster than c, so what is imposing a limit on the mass-less particles and gravity?

4. Mar 11, 2013

Staff: Mentor

The speed of those bosons does not depend on their energy - that is a direct consequence of special relativity.

Mass and the laws of relativity limit massive particles (not just fermions) to speeds below c, and the same laws force massless particles to have a speed of c.

5. Mar 11, 2013

Bararontok

But what about gravity, since it is the source of relativistic phenomenon, why is it limiting itself to c?

Is it because, in space there is no absolute vacuum because of the presence of radiation and force fields and anything traveling through space has to interact with the other objects such as the space-time curvature and even when the interaction is weak because the object is distant from the source of the force, this interaction forces the limit of c onto the object, even if it is mass-less.

6. Mar 11, 2013

Staff: Mentor

Read an introduction about (special) relativity, please. I cannot and do not want to replace a textbook.

7. Mar 11, 2013

Drakkith

Staff Emeritus
While I agree with MFB, it can also be said that there is simply a maximum speed limit that changes within the universe can propagate at. This limit is the velocity c. Massless particles happen to travel at c because they are massless. To my knowledge there is no known underlying reason for there to be a maximum speed limit, we only know that there is. Although if there wasn't, things would be much different in the universe.

8. Mar 11, 2013

Bararontok

Yes that is true, while I understand that the limit of c is shown to be mathematically consistent with the theories of Special and General Relativity and Lorentz Invariance and that going faster than c would violate causality, what I was looking for was not the mathematical and verbal description of the phenomenon but what causes the limit or how it originated. Perhaps, just like the other fundamental properties that the elementary particles and the curvature of space-time possess, this speed limit of c for mass-less particles does not have a cause and is simply a fundamental property that has no known origin and has existed for eternity, just like how energy cannot be created or destroyed and instead only changes form. Additionally, just like the other fundamental properties that make each elementary particle unique, the speed limit of c is just another property that simply exists. Although it may be possible that c is not really the limit if in the future a particle is discovered that can move faster than c. In conclusion these fundamental properties and physical constants are the final cause and basic building components of everything in the universe unless even more fundamental properties and phenomena are discovered. This question has been answered, thank you very much.