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New method would not break Einstein's Theory of Relativity

Virtually all science fiction that involves intergalactic travel or convenient travel between planets in our own solar system revolves around faster than light travel. One problem with many theories for faster than light travel is the proposed methods would violate Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Two physicists from Baylor University have theorized what they believe to be a method of faster than light travel that would not break the Theory of Relativity. Einstein's Theory of Relativity states that objects accelerating to the speed of light require an infinite amount of energy.

The physicists -- Gerald Cleaver and Richard Obousy -- have theorized a new idea for faster than light travel that involves manipulating dark energy to propel a spacecraft. According to the universe -- in theory -- moved faster than light for a short time after the Big Bang, propelled by dark energy which represents about 74% of the mass energy budget in the universe. goes on to say that, 22% of the mass energy budget consists of dark matter and what remains of the mass-energy budget in the universe being made up of stars, planets and other things we see.

Some current evidence supports the theory that the fabric of space-time can expand faster than the speed of light. This is said to be because the reality which light travels is expanding itself.

The Baylor physicists took a recent idea in string theory to devise a method of manipulating dark energy to accelerate a spaceship based on the Alcubierre drive. The Alcubierre drive works on the principle -- in theory -- that expanding space-time behind a ship and reducing space-time in front of the ship would result in propulsion at faster than light speeds.

Cleaver said, "Think of it [faster than light travel] like a surfer riding a wave. The ship would be pushed by the spatial bubble and the bubble would be traveling faster than the speed of light."

It is believed that 10 dimensions exist, with six of them being largely unknown. M-theory suggests that hypothetical one-dimensional strings vibrate in yet another dimension. Cleaver and Obousy theorize that manipulating the dimension the strings vibrate in would alter dark energy in height, width, and length to permit a spaceship to take advantage of dark energy's effect on the universe.

Cleaver told, "The dark energy is simultaneously decreased just in front of the ship to decrease (and bring to a stop) the expansion rate of the universe in front of the ship. If the dark energy can be made negative directly in front of the ship, then space in front of the ship would locally contract."

While the whole theory hardly sounds simple, one of the greatest problems is the amount of energy required to propel a ship using this method. The physicists estimate that to move a small ship -- measuring approximately 33-feet x 33-feet -- would require energy equivalent to the entire mass of Jupiter.

Cleaver continued saying, "That is an enormous amount of energy. We are still a very long ways off before we could create something to harness that type of energy."

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RE: Theories...
By homebredcorgi on 8/22/2008 5:14:06 PM , Rating: 2
Not entirely, though it would certainly help. The author tries to dumb it down and give enough background so a laymen can understand. I'd say if you could understand the gist of this article, you could easily handle the book. It's a very interesting read. I recommend it to anyone interested in physics or science.

The author's major gripe (and it's a big one) is that by the current definition(s) of string theory, it can't be disproved by experiment. Period.

This is the root of the scientific method being thrown out the window and I can't help but wonder if the physics community has wasted years on it.

When a theory is shown to be false by experiment, you scratch your head, admit you're wrong and move on with something new. We like to call this progress and we like to believe it actually happens in the real world. Unfortunately, string theory allows us to devise an experiment to prove the theory, but when nothing is found, equations can be changed and we can show that the experiment never should have found anything in the first place. See the problem here?

Complex and abstract mathematics is a nice skill, but it doesn't mean anything if you can't connect it to the real world. String Theorists have utterly failed to devise some experiment, ANY real-world experiment to prove themselves WRONG. Sadly there are major political factors involved and you are basically kissing your career in physics goodbye if you badmouth string theory.

RE: Theories...
By Oregonian2 on 8/22/2008 8:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly there are major political factors involved and you are basically kissing your career in physics goodbye if you badmouth string theory.

I understand that it wasn't that long ago when one's career would have gone bye-bye if you said anything good about string theory. I recall articles about the nut-cases who came up with it.

Somehow I'm not upset with the theory not being disproved. Seems like a good thing, although not as good as proving it to be true.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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