THAT'S a speeding ticket...
May 30, 2000 11:42 AM   Subscribe

THAT'S a speeding ticket... Scientists push light up to 300 times the SPEED OF LIGHT. I just got a floaty-glowy feeling. Some interesting interesting stuff is happening in our world. My favorite quote from the article: "That is so fast that, under these peculiar circumstances, the main part of the pulse exits the far side of the chamber even before it enters at the near side. " [Note: link is for NYT, free registration req'd]
posted by cCranium (12 comments total)
The article made my brain hurt a bit as I was going through it; dealing with time travel and other FTL consequences can do that to me.

I'm rereading it again (yes, this is the third time I'm reading the article) and starting to get a grasp on the topic. Maybe.
posted by cCranium at 11:46 AM on May 30, 2000

Here's the version of the link to the story that doesn't require a login; thanks to Jorn for the rule.
posted by baylink at 11:57 AM on May 30, 2000

They also slowed light down a bit back, 38 mph!

posted by sonofsamiam at 11:58 AM on May 30, 2000

They also slowed light down a bit back, 38 mph!
Apples and oranges, but it's also interesting.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:59 AM on May 30, 2000

Here's the Slashdot thread with plenty o' useful info 'n' links.
posted by lbergstr at 12:06 PM on May 30, 2000

As opposed to slowing down and speeding up light, scientists have also teleported individual photons.

Granted, that doesn't mean that the days of "Beam me up, Scotty" transportation are near, if at all possible. Still interesting though - and I'm sure there are some technological applications out of all this.
posted by mkn at 2:41 PM on May 30, 2000

As I recall from yammering with a physics major friend in college, teleportation--or, as physicists like to call it, "tunnelling"--is theoretically possible even on a macroscopic level, just vanishingly improbable.

I wish they'd provided more details about the microwaves being transmitted faster than light, as the cesium chamber experiment was at least somewhat comprehensible when I thought about it long enough.
posted by snarkout at 2:55 PM on May 30, 2000

Okay maybe this wouldn't allow one to travel back in time and change events. Who wants to mess with that anyway? What a headache. Perhaps with more research and effort however, this will allow one to capture glimpses of the near future or recent past. It'll take a few more generations, and would be little more than a novelty, but think of a camera... okay maybe that's a bit too scifi.

Then again, rockets used to be scifi, too. And the early planes would explode when they hit the sound barrier. They used to think no one could travel faster than that. If anything this could give some aspiring writer something to use for a really badly concieved sequel to the Quantum Leap tv series. That could be fun.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:02 PM on May 30, 2000

On a related topic, in two different directions: does anyone have an opinion on whether the Scientific American article on 'quantum teleportation' was an AFJ?
posted by baylink at 3:49 PM on May 30, 2000

"Dr. Guenter Nimtz [[umlaut over u]] "

they can write an article on speeding up the speed of light, however they can't use ascii
posted by starduck at 4:13 PM on May 30, 2000

Actually, superliminal backward wave propigation has been around since Feynman`s time... more indepth information about this can be found in James Gleick`s excellent book, Genius : The Life and Science of Richard Feynman

On a related note: if you shoot subatomic particles through a substance faster than light travels through that medium, it emits light - an optic boom. Cool!
posted by SilentSalamander at 5:21 PM on May 30, 2000

The light effect is why radioactive stuff underwater glows (blue, not green as sci-fi would have you believe). Known as the Cerenkov effect.

posted by flestrin at 9:07 PM on May 30, 2000

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