Why does the speed of light have to be constant to all observers?

  • Thread starter Bobcent
  • Start date
  • #1
31
0
Hello!

I think I understand the principle of Special Relativity, that because the speed of light has to be constant to all observers, the only solution to the problem is that time slows down or speeds up for different observers who are traveling at different speeds.

But my question is: Why does the speed of light have to be constant to all observers?

If the speed of light wouldn't be constant to all observers, there wouldn't be a cosmic speed limit, right? Because then, if I travel at a certain speed and emit light in front of me, the speed of that light would be my speed + the speed of light.

So if there wouldn't be a cosmic speed limit, would the universe still be logically consistent? If not, in what way wouldn't it be? Would it somehow violate the law of conservation of energy?

Or would the universe actually be logically consistent even if there wouldn't be a cosmic speed limit, just that it turns out that that's not the way our universe works?
 
Last edited:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
bcrowell
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
6,723
423
We have a FAQ about this: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=534862 [Broken]
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #3
31
0
Oh, I didn't notice, thanks! Will remove this thread.
 
  • #4
31
0
Hmm, can't find where to do this. Is it possible?
 
  • #5
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2019 Award
16,343
6,537
Hmm, can't find where to do this. Is it possible?
Only by hitting "report" and asking a moderator to remove the thread, but thread removal is rarely done.
 

Related Threads on Why does the speed of light have to be constant to all observers?

Replies
25
Views
2K
Replies
15
Views
2K
Replies
42
Views
6K
Replies
9
Views
1K
Replies
50
Views
20K
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
34
Views
3K
Top