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Breaking Barriers

September 23rd, 2011 by Hank

For thousands of years the learned scientists worldwide agreed it absolutely couldn’t be done, but in 1947 we broke the sound barrier in the skies of California and flew faster than sound travels (more than 700 miles per hour). Now it’s routine for aircraft to fly faster than Mach One.

The scientists swallowed their pride, but continued to proclaim that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Einstein said that energy equals mass multiplied by the speed of light squared (the speed multiplied by itself). That’s a large number because light travels at 186 thousand miles per second, so c-squared is a gigantic number. The atomic bomb, based on that theory, has tremendous energy — although not as much energy as some of Nature’s thunderstorms. Nature rules, in spite of the theories of scientists. (Some people equate the words Nature and God.)

Now only sixty four years later Swiss scientists have demonstrated that things can indeed go faster than the speed of light. Of course the writers of the Star Wars movies knew that already. The space ships in those movies routinely go faster than the speed of light.

Stay tuned to see what the next broken barrier will be.

Posted in Musings, News, Philosophy

One Response

  1. Gregory Jordan

    I wonder, since measurements are relative, if the speed of anything should be considered relative to the measurement station and the measurement instrument.

    The speed of light is supposed to be constant, but I wonder.

    For example, if I am standing at the back of a train moving 50 miles per hour, measuring the speed of another train following me on the same tracks traveling 51 miles per hour, then I will only perceive the other train as traveling one mile per hour.

    Also, the measurement instrument needs to be considered. If it’s radar, radar waves travel at a certain speed back and forth. If it’s sonar, sonar waves travel a certain speed.

    And all of these instruments operate at slightly different speeds in different mediums (water, air, vacuum, space, etc.). And if the Earth is spinning, moving in a certain direction.

    My point is that perhaps all speeds are all relative, including light, and we can theoretically make things speed up and slow down based on how we measure them.

    The speed of sound at sea level is different from the speed of sound at very high altitudes, for example.

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