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Speed of light

 
 
Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 07:11 am
I have been reading, with some skepticism, about the variance in the speed of light. Who has information that can shed some light on this? Is there something to this or is it just another example of junk science?
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Brandon9000
 
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Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 07:46 am
The speed of light in vacuum is constant as far as I know, but it is less in various materials, such as glass.
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rosborne979
 
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Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 11:34 am
Brandon9000 wrote:
The speed of light in vacuum is constant as far as I know, but it is less in various materials, such as glass.


Also, it's important to note that within materials which seem to slow light, the slowness is caused by the absorbtion and re-emission of photons by the atoms of the material. The speed of the photons between the actual atoms is still that of the vacuum. This means that the speed of light is really still a constant, it's just that propagation through an atomic matrix obscures the truth by involving atomic properties of the material itself.

This is important because it means that causality still has a primary and constant speed.
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rosborne979
 
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Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 11:36 am
Re: Speed of light
McGentrix wrote:
I have been reading, with some skepticism, about the variance in the speed of light. Who has information that can shed some light on this? Is there something to this or is it just another example of junk science?


If you mean "variance" as in the idea that the speed of light has changed over the eons, then that's a different question than the one which Brandon and I have replied to.

Are we answering the right question yet?
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patiodog
 
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Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 11:41 am
I thought there was some article last year purporting that the speed of light was not actually constant. I don't know anything about this stuff, though, but I think that might be what McG is referring to...
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patiodog
 
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Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 11:45 am
Here we go...

http://www.rense.com/general28/erin.htm

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/generalscience/constant_changing_010815.html
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rosborne979
 
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Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 01:11 pm


A few extracts from this article tell the tale...


The Article wrote:
The research was met with caution by many scientists, who also said that if it is accurate, then the adjustment to theories would be significant and far-reaching.

... This implies that something in the early universe behaved differently. Because the speed of light is one factor in the fine structure constant equation, it might be it that has changed over time, Churchill said. Or it could be that unknown properties of the early universe forced atoms and electrons to behave in ways researchers don't understand.

..."There are many possibilities to incorporate a variation of the fine structure constant into existing theories, and there are some theories were the constants of nature are predicted to vary," Stiavelli said. "For the proponents of these theories this would become evidence that the theory is correct."

One of the ideas that might benefit is string theory, which holds that there are many more dimensions to the universe than just time and space. String theorists say that changes in these dimensions over time could force changes in the fine structure constant.

Several scientists told The New York Times that they were skeptical that the new finding would hold up under further scrutiny, saying that the very small difference found could be a slight statistical or observational flaw in the study. But these same scientists were also excited about the possible implications.


It's all interesting, but I'm not sure what they've got here yet.
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