Absolutely nothing can go faster than light. It’s a principle of physics woven into the very fabric of Einstein’s special theory of relativity. The faster anything goes, the better it gets to its perspective of time freezing to a standstill.
Go faster still, plus you run into issues of time reversing, messing with notions of causality.
But researchers from the Faculty of Warsaw in Poland and the National Faculty of Singapore have now pushed the boundaries of relativity to come up with a system which doesn’t run afoul of existing physics, and might even level the means to brand new theories.
What they have developed is an “extension of special relativity” which fuses 3 time dimensions with one space dimension (“1+3 space-time”), instead of the three spatial dimensions and single dimension that we’re all used to.
Instead of creating any major logical inconsistencies, this new study adds much more evidence to back up the concept that items might well be able going quicker than light without completely breaking the current laws of ours of physics.
“There is no fundamental reason observers moving in relation to the described physical systems with speeds greater compared to the pace of light should not be subject to it,” says physicist Andrzej Dragan, from the University of Warsaw in Poland.
This new study builds on previous work by several of the same researchers that posits that superluminal perspectives might help tie together quantum mechanics with Einstein’s special theory of relativity – two branches of physics that presently can’t be reconciled into a single overarching theory that describes gravity in similar way we explain other forces.
Particles can no longer be modelled as point-like objects under this framework, as we may of the more routine 3d (plus time) viewpoint of the Universe.
Instead, making sense of what observers might see and the way a superluminal particle may behave, we would have to convert towards the sorts of field theories that underpin quantum physics.
Superluminal objects, based on this brand new model, may look like a particle developing in space like a bubble, similar to a wave going in the field. On the flip side, the high-speed object would experience several timelines.
Even so, the speed of light in a vacuum would remain constant even for all those observers moving faster compared to it, which preserves one of Einstein’s fundamental principles – a process which has in the past only been considered in relation to observers moving slower than the speed of light (like all of us).
“This new description preserves Einstein’s postulate of constancy of the speed of light in vacuum even for superluminal observers,” states Dragan.
“Therefore, the extended special relativity of ours does not seem like an especially extravagant idea.”
However, the researchers recognize that moving over to a 1+3 space-time model does raise new questions, even while it answers others. They suggest that extending the principle of special relativity to add faster-than-light frames of reference is needed.
That could well require borrowing from quantum field theory: a blend of concepts from special relativity, quantum mechanics, along with classical field theory (which strives to anticipate exactly how physical fields will have interaction with each other).
If the physicists are right, the contaminants of the Universe would almost all have remarkable properties in extended special relativity.
One of the questions raised by re-search is whether or not we would actually be able to observe this lengthy behavior – but answering that’s going to require a lot more hours and considerably more scientists.
“The mere experimental discovery of a new elementary particle is a feat worthy of the Nobel Prize and doable in a big investigation group with the latest experimental techniques,” states physicist Krzysztof Turzyński, from the University of Warsaw.
“However, we wish to apply our results to a better understanding of the phenomenon of spontaneous symmetry breaking associated with the mass of the Higgs particle along with other particles in the Standard Model, especially in the first Universe.”
The research has been published in Classical and Quantum Gravity.