Physicists Extend Special Relativity Beyond the Speed of Light
by Lisa Zyga
Possibly the most well-known consequence of Einstein’s theory of special relativity is that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, c. According to the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2, an object traveling at c would have infinite mass and would require an infinite amount of energy to reach c. Over the past 100 years, numerous experimental tests of special relativity have confirmed its validity.
Now two physicists – James Hill and Barry Cox from the University of Adelaide in Australia – have shown that Einstein’s theory of special relativity can be logically extended to allow for faster-than-light motion. They’re quick to point out that their finding in no way contradicts the original theory, but simply provides a new aspect of it.
“As far as I’m aware, this is the first natural, logical extension of Einstein’s own theories,” Hill said. “We certainly haven’t superseded Einstein. The two theories are entirely consistent.”
There have been other suggestions of objects exceeding c – tachyons, for example – but these superluminal motions require complicated mathematics such as imaginary masses and complicated physics to ensure real, meaningful outcomes. In contrast, Hill and Cox’s proposal arises from the same mathematical framework as Einstein’s theory…
(read more: PhysOrg) (image: Hill and Cox, 1012, The Royal Soc.)
More information: James M. Hill and Barry J. Cox. “Einstein’s special relativity beyond the speed of light.” Proc. R. Soc. A. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2012.0340
via: ABC Science and Live Science