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 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 79
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ? Page 5 of 6    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
That's incorrect is incorrect, argue with Mach.

Instead of posting your misunderstanding of basic physics here, submit an article to phys rev letters and let me know when it's published. PRL will happily publish a CORRECT theory that disagrees with all known physics while still explaining everything and making new predictions.
 jackfouru
Joined: 9/10/2010
Msg: 81
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/1/2011 3:45:05 PM
mccullough64, you are not seriously trying to debate a scientist are you? You know, I consider myself really, really smart. And I love reading Scientific American, its probably my favorite magazine. But that doesn't make me a mathmetician or a scientist. I think the level of ability to understand the beauty of math is probably far more than you or I or almost everybody here could muster. Abe may be blowing smoke up our rearends, but given some of his posts, he knows a lot more than you or I could ever possibly imagine in this field. This is not a field where you can have an opinion about something and your opinion is as good as any body elses. You might be able to debate the existence of God with a neurosurgeon, but try not to tell him how to operate on the brain. And if you are a retail clerk with some college, I really doubt you have the credentials to stand up to a post-doctorial student in the area of Physics. Granted physicists obviously don't know everything, but they know a heck lot more than most of us when it comes to the basics. So why not accept the fact you are NOT abes equal in this field rather than trying to argue with him? Argue the existence of God if you want. That's your right. Argue whether there are slimmer pickings or not, or whether women grow crabby with age (as I contend), but stay away from what E=MC squared actually means, unless you want to look foolish.

By the way Abe, I don't get the entanglement theory. My understanding is entangled particles can have instantaneous effects on each other over galactic distances. But doesn't this violate the limitations of the Speed of Light, or does that not apply at the Quantum level? And if not, why not?
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 85
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/2/2011 9:48:14 AM

That's alway's been my argument with math ! that it's a language created by and for the privaleged few in their metaphorical ivory towers who look down on the smaller minds and fling around all these equation's and formula's with (defined)constant's needed to make them work .


It may be your argument with math but you have to see that it amounts to little more than an argument ad ignorantum. You don't understand the math so you question its validity. But that, in itself, is not a legitimate objection. Do you question the calculation of the circumference of a circle or the mathematics that are involved in keeping a plane up in the sky?

Mathematics is a language. I'm in no way a fluent speaker of it. Quite the opposite. However, if there is one thing I do know about math, it's that it is a very effective language for describing much of the fundamenal nature of the universe. Does it tell us everything? Absolutely not. But it's a damn good start.


and the only reason i started this thread was to question is what we say is a constant/s actually a constant or just defined as constant's in order to make equations work in the science's , do the science's actually settle for what is logically "true enough ", rather than the actual absolute truth of a given situation ? like for example the speed of light


If it's not real-world observable, then it is unproven. The reason the speed of ligh works as standard is that it is observed and confirmable. You could set up an experimnt tomorrow and prove it true. So it's not just a convention but a physical fact.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 86
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/2/2011 10:11:50 AM
By the way Abe, I don't get the entanglement theory. My understanding is entangled particles can have instantaneous effects on each other over galactic distances. But doesn't this violate the limitations of the Speed of Light, or does that not apply at the Quantum level? And if not, why not?

I'll write something longer later on, but essentially the confusion lies in mistaking correlation with causation. For example, suppose someone throws a red ball and a blue ball, but the person doesn't know which he threw in which direction. All he knows is that he threw the two balls in different directions. Another person picks up the red ball and yet another picks up the blue ball. Both know that the first person threw a red and a blue ball, so the person who picked up the red ball knows the other person picked up a blue ball and vice-versa. Picking up the red ball didn't make the other ball turn blue. This would be called ``classical entanglement'' if there were such a thing. There isn't such a thing because it is just common sense.

You could repeat the experiment 100 times and have each of the two people who pick up the balls record their color. When they got together, they would indeed find that where they had written red, the other had written blue and vice versa. But, there is nothing mysterious about it. Each person who records red and blue have data that is correlated with that of the other person, but neither person who records a color causes the other person to record the other color. When quantum mechanical effects enter the picture, things become a little different becuase the two balls may no longer be considered to be two different balls. They must be treated as superpositions of of the two individual balls.

I'll expand on this later, but the bottom line is that once you analyze this quantum mechanically, you find out that the answer is the same: the merasurements are correlated, but neither measurement causes the other measurement to be what it is. This was confusing for a long time and it wasn't until John Bell derived what is known as Bell's inequality, that this was understood (and first verified in experiments done by Alain Aspect). The same result was derived in what is called the CSHS inequality which shows explicitly that the measurements are strictly correlations with no signal propagating faster than light (which in turn means that no information propagates faster than light.) There is no cause-effect relationship between those two spatially seperated measurements.

and the only reason i started this thread was to question is what we say is a constant/s actually a constant or just defined as constant's in order to make equations work in the science's , do the science's actually settle for what is logically "true enough ", rather than the actual absolute truth of a given situation ?

If you had one sheep and someone gave you one sheep, would you stop to wonder why

1 sheep +1 sheep = 2 sheep?

I mean, why should you expect anything? Why wouldn't that add up to 5 buildings? If addition doesn't bother you because it seems like common sense, then the only reason other mathematics is more mysterious to you is because it is more mysterious to you. Although it is an interesting question to ask why mathematics DOES describe the world, that question is a much deeper one than is being asked here. As soon as you start down along the ``it's only math'' objection, you need to go all the way and ask why 1 sheep + 1 sheep = 2 sheep and for that matter, ask why it's possible to even enumerate them at all.

any one can be a scientist it doesn't take a degree.

That's true and I've never said otherwise. However, to be a scientist, one at least has to understand the science one claims to understand.
 jackfouru
Joined: 9/10/2010
Msg: 89
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/2/2011 2:05:27 PM
Thank's Abe. I've read a few biographies over the years on Einstein and have read how he explained his thought experiments, you know trains passing in the night, etc. I did a fairly passable job of understanding some of the stuff he was trying to explain and trying to think of the world from the lense of a physicist. But this stuff really is far, far beyond me. . . and I got about a 700 on my Math SAT years and years ago. I like reading the various theories scientists come up with, but I have no idea how you guys do it. This stuff is so incredibly difficult to understand from a conceptual point of view, let alone from a purely mathematical point of view. How Einstein came up with his five miracle papers, including general and special relativity, and how all of the other greats came up with their theories, and how the scientists of the present do it is just beyond me. Its almost like a minuscule portion of mankind was given a mathematical vision that the rest of us could never conceive. I mean how do scientists come up with something like String Theory, multi universes and everything else. Just astounding.

tall, E=MC2 resulted in nuclear power and the Manhattan project. These scientists and mathematicians have put men on moon, vehicles on mars, and Voyager about 11 billion miles from earth right now heading to interstellar space. Einstein's theories have produced an incredible amount of technology today. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7318567/ns/technology_and_science-science/

They may get some things wrong, but they get a lot right. Anybody of reasonable intelligence can learn to be a lawyer or a doctor or even an engineer. But only the very select few are true rocket scientists or theoretical physicists. Just something that the rest of us with lesser abilities have to accept.

mccullough64, are you suggesting you actually understand this stuff . . Mach, etc? It takes more than spouting what you think you understand after reading a few pages of Scientific American to convince others that you have any idea of what you are talking about in the scientific realm.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 90
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/3/2011 10:25:16 AM

All im suggesting is that maybe the equations that are put forward may in some instances be wrong or have errors or not complete , so just because we arn't fluent in their language we shouldn't just take what they tell us as factual ?


Absolutely correct. Don't take everything you read, see and hear from science as necessarily factual...unless of course it is demonstrable and confirmed. Remember, science is a skeptical business. It has to be or else it fails to learn. The only endeavour that benefits from assertions of absolute authority is religion.
 jackfouru
Joined: 9/10/2010
Msg: 92
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/3/2011 2:46:25 PM
I suppose your nephew is one of those run of the mill rocket scientists :-). Really, I am speaking more in terms of the creative geniuses who actually figure things out, create the formulas, not the run of the mill guys who simply apply the formulas. I will continue to be astounded by what some of these guys come up with and what they have accomplished by way of technology. I do not of course speak for their personalities or anything else.
 jackfouru
Joined: 9/10/2010
Msg: 94
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/3/2011 5:32:16 PM
To the contrary mccullough, I am using my free will to respect those whom I wish to respect and to think those foolish whom appear foolish to me. I respect intelligence and knowledge and creativity. I do not respect those who only pretend to be intelligent or knowledgeable. I also believe I have enough intelligence to recognize those people who know what they are talking about and those who only think they know what they are talking about.
 jackfouru
Joined: 9/10/2010
Msg: 96
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/4/2011 1:38:42 PM
Just how have I contradicted myself? Message numbers please.



And I don't have to pretend to be intelligent



Good job
 chrono1985
Joined: 11/20/2004
Msg: 98
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/6/2011 7:26:05 AM

Anybody of reasonable intelligence can learn to be a lawyer or a doctor or even an engineer. But only the very select few are true rocket scientists or theoretical physicists. Just something that the rest of us with lesser abilities have to accept.


This isn't necessarily true. What separates any complex mathematician from an ordinary person is understanding how the various functions break down into the primitive mathematical functions (add, subtract, multiply, divide). That takes no special talent, simply takes knowledge which can be acquired through study. Now deriving new equations does take some degree of talent, that requires some in-depth knowledge on what variables mean, how they are used, and some ingenuity. But most rocket scientist are really only applying knowledge that can be acquired from a text book given enough time to study said text book.
 jackfouru
Joined: 9/10/2010
Msg: 99
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/7/2011 8:32:21 AM
The reason I disagree with you is because, yes, everything is built on learning basic math, but learning mathematical functions, but actually conceptualizing and appreciating more complex mathematical theories have nothing to do with each other. I was pretty good in math in my day, and I am sure if I had applied myself I could have learned to apply theorems and mathematical formulas to reach conclusions. But I could never look at an equation and understand its inner beauty. So could I have become an engineer? Probably. Could I have been a high school physics teacher? Probably. Would I have been a grand designer based on my knowledge of math? No way. Do I have the foggiest notion of what the scientists are talking about when they describe things like String Theory? Nope. Am I going to pretend that I do simply because I read Scientific American? Nope.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 104
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/10/2011 2:00:40 PM

if a photon has energy? but has no mass then if you give m the value zero in E=MC2 , then if you multiply zero by C2 then wouldn't that give E a value of zero ?

The correct expression is:

E^2 = (pc)^2 + (mc^2)^2

where p is the momentum. if m=0 then E = pc. No problem.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 105
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/10/2011 2:43:10 PM

so is the question" whether scientist's just "cooked the books" because the mass was so small."

That's only an interesting question to a konspricy theorist who hasn't actually studied physics. First of all, if the photon had a mass, Maxwell's equations would be wrong and the electromagnetic force would not have the form of 1/r^2. That immediately puts stringent limits on the how large the photon mass can be without someone having noticed it 100 years ago. (See the first chapter in ``Classical Electrodynamics,'' Jackson, J.D., for a survey of phenomena in which a non-zero photon mass would be readily apparent.)

Second, no one really has any vested interest in what the photon mass is apart from the noteriety one would gain from performing an experiment that definitively showed is wasn't zero. If anything, there is incentive to find the photon mass to be non-zero. That would add a little excitement to theoretical physics, which has been a little dull for the last quarter of a century.

Third, the experimentally measured upper limit on photon mass is about 10^-51 grams. If you can improve on that limit, please do so and publish the data in Phys. Rev. Letters. You'll be cited by the particle properties data group and lots of authors.

Fourth, it's very simple to write down a theory of electromagnetism in which the photon has a mass and the theory is relativistically correct. For example, the Proca Lagrangian was posed before 1920 (I don't recall the exact year.) Light doesn't propagate at `c', and Maxwell's equations have to be modified, but if you've read Einstein's original paper, ``On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,'' you would know that Einstein's motivation for postulating the speed of light to be constant was to reconcile Maxwell's equations with classical mechanics by assuming that Maxwell's equations were correct, in which case light does propagate at a constant velocity. (Note that paper doesn't have relativity anywhere in the title.)

Fifth, the Lorentz transforms and more generally, the Poincare transforms were known well before Einstein derived them. Einstein got the credit for relativity because he didn't get the reasoning backwards like his predecessors did in attempting to do the same thing.) However, it didn't take long before physicists realized that relativity only requires massless particles to propagate at a constant velocity and the constant `c' was merely a constant that converts meters to seconds. Meters and seconds were invented by people for convenience, so when using the same units to measure all 4 dimensions, the value of `c' is 1. It has the same significance as the number pi does in describing geometric objects. To obssess over the photon mass or (equivalently) whether or not the speed of light is constant aside from historical interest, is to miss the entire point of relativity as it was generally understood after 1909, when Hermann Minkowski pointed out the geometrical aspect of the theory.

Sixth, there are only two four dimensional geometries consistent with anything resembling the world we see. One is relativity in which `c' is finite (i.e., c=1, no matter how you slice it), and the other is the limit in which c -> infinity, otherwise known as Newtonian mechanics. The latter has been ruled out by thousands of experiments and the fact that lots of everyday technology you take for granted wouldn't work if Newtonian mechanics was correct. Thinking there is some kind of konspiracy afoot to supress dissent is just silly.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 107
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/10/2011 6:59:57 PM
But, if they have studied the issue so well as to have experimentally put an upper limit on what the upper limit on photon mass could be.
I think quite a few people are interested in the subject.

Only because it would be very theoretically interesting if the photon mass is not zero. Performing an experiment to demostrate it is exactly zero is logicaly impossible, so setting an upper limit is the only measurement possible.

And not only Lorenz transformations predate Einstein

I noted that along with the reason Einstein got the credit in the paragraph that begins with the sentence, ``Fifth, the Lorentz transforms and more generally, the Poincare transforms were known well before Einstein derived them. ''

but Relativistic mass which Lorenz was also involved with.

The concept of relativistic mass does more to confuse people than whatever little utility it has warrants using it. It's merely a convenience that allows one to take a few shortcuts at the expense of clarity when it's possible to get away with being sloppy. The quantities of theoretical interest in a physical theory are the invariants, so unless otherwise stated, physicists use the term mass to mean the invariant mass. I can't remember seeing a paper in a physics journal that uses relativistic mass. It's a very dated concept that should have been dispensed with decades ago.

and well it is not a conspiracy there is a tendency I have noticed for mocking people for dissent with the supposed majority views.

If someone wants me to take the time to pick apart a dissenting argument against relativity, I think it's only fair that he/she takes the time to understand relativity. I'm willing to explain relativity or any other physics one might ask about OR I'm willing to entertain an argument against it that indicates the person really understands his/her argument. I'm not willing to explain something to someone while he/she is arguing against something he/she doesn't even understand, especially when physicists have tried for a century to find a single physical phenomen that doesn't fit the predictions of the theory. Contrary to the belief of some, the entire point of doing an experiment is to find something wrong with a theory. There's no real virtue in announcing yet another boring experimental result that only verifies what everyone expected.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 109
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/11/2011 8:50:15 AM
I would say the concept of relativistic mass tends to be confusing, because it gives rise to the notion that so called time dilation is nothing more than an atomic clock that has gained in mass and as a result run "slow" and researchers prefer living in an exiting fantasy world than one where the clock runs slow and they don't have a coherent theory.

You just providred a really good example of why using frame dependent quantities is confusing because you have apparently confused over which things are frame dependent and which are not. Every clock at rest runs at the correct rate and from the first postulate in Einstein's original paper, all inertial frames are equivalent. In particular, given two clocks which are moving at some velocity relative to each other, the laws of physics have to be the same regardless of which one (if either) you choose to define as being at rest. If you define clock A to be at rest, then clock B runs slow relative to clock A. Because the definition of ``at rest'' is arbitrary, you can equally well define clock B to be at rest, in which case clock A runs slow relative to clock B. This only seems strange because most people aren't seeing this as geometry However, suppose you pick two points on a circle that are 180 degrees apart. If you define one to be located at 0 degrees, the other coordinate is 180 degrees. If you define the other to be 0 degrees, the first now has the coordinate at 180 degrees. The two points are equivalent and differ only by which one you define to be your reference. Nothing about that seems very weird.

In relativity, time is another coordinate and mesurements made in a particular coordinate system depend on that coordinate system. Since coordinates are things invented by people for convenience and nature doesn't care how we describe things for our convenience, any proprty ntrinsic to real physical object cannot depend on how humans choose coordinates to describe things. Hence, the actual physics that describes nature in the way it really exists in nature are the quantities which are invariant under coordinate transformations.

Relativity only seems weird because coordinate transformations (Lorentz boosts) rotate both space and time axes such that space and time are not distinct from each other. Changing a velocity is equivalent to a rotation in the plane defined by a spatial axis and a time axis in the same way that a spatial rotation is a rotation in the plne of two spatial axes. The invariant here is defined by the metric (i.e., the spacetime equivalent of the pythagorean theorem):

dT^2 = dt^2 - dx^2

(As is usual, c = 1 and time is measured using the same units as space. That means velocities are dimenionless). dT is an interval which is invariant under Lorentz transformations. If dT^2 is positive, the interval is called timelike (also called the ``proper time''). If it's negative, it's called spacelike. If it's zero it's called lightlike or null. The above may be rearranged as:

dT^2 = (1 - (dx/dt)^2) dt^2

dx/dt is a velocity, so if we define clock A to be at rest, then in that coordinate system,

dT^2 = dt^2.

and clock B has some velocity, call it v = dx/dt. The person riding with clock B may also consider himself to be at rest, so in his coordinate system,

dT^2 = dt'^2 - dx'^2 = (1 - (dx'/dt')^2) dt'^2

with v' = dx'/dt'

and since he considers himself to be at rest,

dT^2 = dt'^2

Both clocks tick at exactly the same rate in their own rest frames. However, since Lorentz transforms rotate both space and time axes, mixing space and time up, each sees the other clock running at a different rate. Since the velocity is relative, frame A sees B moving with velocity v, frame B sees frame A moving with velocity v' and v' = v. So, if we pick just one frame to measure the time on both clocks and recall that dT must be the same in both frames then in frame A:

dt'^2 = (1 - v^2) dt^2

or

dt^2 = dt'/(1- v^2)

which is just the time dilation found through the Lorentz transforms (in fact, we've derived the Lorentz transforms in a restricted form). Moving clocks run slow. Similarly, in the rest frame of clock B,

dt^2 = (1-v^2) dt'^2

or the time passing on clock A as read by the person moving with clock A is:

dt'^2 = dt^2/(1-v^2)

so the observer in frame B sees clock A running slow.

_________________

That might lead one to ask about the various pardoxes in relativity, especially the twins paradox in which the twin that sppeds off in a rocket and returns to Earth is definitely younger than the twin who remained on Earth. The answer is that, the twins are not equivalent. The twin who speeds off in the rocket must change directions to return and by doing so, must accelerate. Acceleration requires a force and since which twin must apply a force to meet the other again, it's clear that the twins are not equivalent. If I could draw a spacetime digram, this would be very clear. Acceleration changes velocities and so no matter how you slice it, the twin in the rocket ship must at least change reference frames once by changing velocities to consider himself at rest in his own reference frame.

There is no absolute frame of reference in special or general relativity, so the only quantities which are truly physical must not depend on any definition of ``at rest.''

-------------------------
It's impossible to measure the mass to be exactly zero because any experiment is limited by the resolution of the measuring instruments. The upper limited quoted for the photon mass is just the mass which is consistent with a photon mass of zero and the ability of the experiment to determine that it's anything different from zero. You would determine that the photon has a mass by measuring a mass that is non-zero even after one accounts for the experimental error introduced by the limited resolution of the measuring devices. That makes the photon mass consistent with any value between zero and the upper limit and clearly, the resolution of any real measuring device can never be infinite. The best one can do is to improve the resolution to the extent technology allows.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 112
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/28/2011 5:27:07 AM
I was reading the book "why does E=Mc2? by brain cox. In it he say that the basis for Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is that all objects accelerate at the same rate no matter what the mass.

Unfortunately, that's a rather imprecise way of saying what he means.

This notion goes back to galileo and his experiment at the Tower of Pisa. however in actuality galileo missed the fact that the larger mass hit the ground first.

You're overthinking this and your book is apparently not making the point of that experiment clear. First, let's clear up the mass thing. If the mass of the earth is M and you carry a mass m up to the top of the tower, then the mass of the Earth is no longer M. It's M - m and the force is given by:

F = G (M-m)m/r^2

and the acceleration due to the earth a distance r above the Earth is given by:

F = ma = G(M-m)m/r^2

or

a = G(M-m)/r^2

Clearly if m is larger, than the acceleration due to the Earth becomes smaller. On the other hand, the acceleration of the Earth towards the mass becomes larger. However, Galileo didn't even consider anything that complex[1], since Newton hadn't been born yet. Galileo assumed that the acceleration due to gravity was constant and concluded that any two masses falling in a uniform gravitational field have exactly the same acceleration (which IS true). It was that which Einstein used to define the principle of equivalence which led to the general theory of relativity. The principle of equivalence simply states that the m in F = ma is identical to the gravitational mass.


[1] If you want to consider something that complex, you first have find a point between the two masses which consitutes an inertial frame, i.e., the acceleration is zero. By assuming that g was a constant, Galileo assumed the Earth was an inertial frame. If you don't assume that, you need to seperate the motion into center of mass and relative motion, in which case, the masses enter into defining your coordinates.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 113
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 3/28/2011 6:06:10 AM
The shots also pulled on the earth- the 10# mass at twice the rate that the five # shot did- dragging it towards them at the same time as the earth was pulling on them so gradually the gravitational forces increase but faster for the 10 # mass so it hits the ground first by a hair but first.


Watch this:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6926891572259784994#

So, that would be a "no" then.

Moving on.
 R_O_U_S
Joined: 3/20/2011
Msg: 116
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 4/16/2011 2:10:22 AM
At light speed all matter goes still in the theory of quantum mechanics. Which is he expansion of relativity. Subparticles smaller than quarks coexist. Occupying two points at one time. Relativity is general primary rule of gravitation arch in super massive gravitational pull. Trigonometry anyone. Lol.
I opine that it is the relative mass of the earth in ratio to the unfounde dark matter surrounding our planet that allows for the world to turn on it's axis in relation to the sun. Sort of a huge intergalactic superconducting iron ore magnet in polarity to to the unconducting dark matter. Something random. Shoes have...
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 117
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 4/17/2011 5:18:15 AM

At light speed all matter goes still in the theory of quantum mechanics.

That isn't correct. The quantum mechanically and relativistically correct wave equations are the Dirac equation and the Klein-Gordon equation. For both of those equations, the only eigenvalues for the velocity are +/-c. This leads to what is called zitterbewegung for massive particles.

Subparticles smaller than quarks coexist.

As far as anyone knows, the fundamental constituents of matter are quarks and leptons.
 jackfouru
Joined: 9/10/2010
Msg: 118
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 4/17/2011 11:48:38 AM
Abelian, you realize do you not that you are posting way over the head of everybody else here? You study this stuff. Obviously you have a mind geared to understanding and working with this stuff, its your field, so you know it. We don't. I would suspect that even those with an undergraduate degree in Physics have no idea what you are talking about. I just finished reading Hawking's a Grand Design. He used No Math in his book, trying to reach a general audience, but even there it was very difficult to understand the concepts he was trying to portray, and I consider myself highly intelligent. (He concluded, by the way, that the Universe could spontaneously arise out of nothing, and that likely 500 Billion Universes did just that, and we happen to be living in a Universe where the laws of physics is conducive to our way of life - - I just can't agree with that theory). At any rate, any layman here trying to expound on relativity or the complex theories of physics are just talking out of their rear ends. You're probably the only guy here who understands this stuff, but I doubt you can realistically explain it to the rest of us in terms we would understand, at least you haven't yet.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 119
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 4/17/2011 1:00:55 PM

You're probably the only guy here who understands this stuff, but I doubt you can realistically explain it to the rest of us in terms we would understand, at least you haven't yet.

All I can do is address the question posed in the simplest way it can be addressed in the context of what it genreally accepted physics, answer questions and attempt to include things which may be easily found through a google search for anyone interested in more depth. Trying to cover some of these topics in detail would require writing a book to examine all of the facets. I will happily answer any questions about what I've written or whatever anyone digs up from other sources. I presume that anyone who is seriously interested in the details will also expect understanding the details requires a little work.

but I doubt you can realistically explain it to the rest of us in terms we would understand, at least you haven't yet.

I try to strike a happy medium between being too terse and saying nothing, but when someone finds some error in relativity, quantum mechanics, etc., I feel like it's fair to presume that person understands the subject well enough to know what I'm talking about.
 sum1reel
Joined: 6/5/2005
Msg: 120
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 4/17/2011 7:16:35 PM

He concluded, by the way, that the Universe could spontaneously arise out of nothing, and that likely 500 Billion Universes did just that, and we happen to be living in a Universe where the laws of physics is conducive to our way of life - - I just can't agree with that theory


I can't either.....until he discovers exactly what "nothingness"(out side the confines of the Multiverse) really is.....he is just voicing an opinion (at best), or making a hollow conjecture (at worst).
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 121
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what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 4/18/2011 10:09:18 PM
Please don't complain on MY behalf, jackforyou. My life is such that I can not give the time I would require to know as much as I want to, and so I read things such as Abelian writes, and though I DON'T grasp much of it, I grasp ENOUGH to make a tiny, yet occasionally satisfying bits of progress for myself.
My most recent 'relative' leap forward, came from the mention of using GEOMETRY to understand some of the complexities of physics. In addition to simply being excited because I DO relate VERY well to geometry (far better than to algebra), I have a shot at gaining more of an understanding than I've heretofore had. In addition, just the possibility that when someone speaks of things like "coordinate transforms," that they are referring to a geometric model, suddenly gives those words a potentially comprehensible meaning for me, where before, the phrases were as meaningless as magic "mumbo-jumbo" words.
So PLEASE, I hope EVERYONE continues to jabber about things I don't understand. I may remain a relatively ignorant boob, but I will become a MICROSCOPICALLY LESS ignorant boob, with each fresh attempt.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 122
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 4/19/2011 4:07:41 AM

I grasp ENOUGH to make a tiny, yet occasionally satisfying bits of progress for myself.

That is the way everyone learns physics. When I started graduate school, I used to listen to my advisor ramble on about stuff that I knew nothing about and which was way over my head. Occasionally, I'd ask a question if he said something familar enough to me that I could at least ask something sensible. Eventually, I was able to connect the dots, but it helped to hear the words in various contexts long before I knew what he was talking about.

My most recent 'relative' leap forward, came from the mention of using GEOMETRY to understand some of the complexities of physics. In addition to simply being excited because I DO relate VERY well to geometry (far better than to algebra), I have a shot at gaining more of an understanding than I've heretofore had.

You should look for the book, ``Spacetime Physics,'' by Taylor and Wheeler. Also, the algebraic and geometric descriptions are equivalent, so which you find more intuitive is a personal preference.
 jackfouru
Joined: 9/10/2010
Msg: 123
what happens to the general and special theory of relativity if light speed isnt a constant ?
Posted: 4/19/2011 10:03:35 AM
point well taken Igor. I suppose I felt that Abe was spending a lot of time explaining things that was going over everybody's head anyway, but heck if you get something out of it . . that's great. Maybe it is a function of my age and early onset Alzheimers, but this stuff makes my head spin.
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