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Is Warp-Drive Technology Possible?
Faster Than A Speeding Light Wave
(*Please refer to the short Glossary at the end of the article for help with bold, italicized terms.)
What is the cosmic speed limit? According to special relativity, it is light. Macroscopic objects will never have the ability to travel at or faster than light. The only thing exempt from this law is space itself. Only things moving around within space cannot exceed the speed-of-light barrier. Will science discover a way around this prevailing speed limit? If quantum engineers discover a method to bend or warp space, they may find a loophole in the cosmic speed limit after all.
It is not so much objects are unable to travel faster than light, just unable to cross the speed-of-light barrier. It would require an infinite amount of energy to propel a particle or object up to or past it. At the same time, it would require an infinite amount of energy to slow a particle to below the light-speed barrier.
Tachyons are hypothetical entities that travel above the speed of light. Many cosmologists believe they do not exist. Tardons, or everyday particles and objects, are all other particles that travel below it.
The speed of light equals 186,284 miles per second. This speed never changes no matter the reference frame from which it is measured. Whether one is stationary, traveling at 70 miles per hour, or traveling at half the speed of light either toward or away from a measuring source, the light-speed measurement remains constant.
One light-year is equivalent to five trillion miles, or the distance light travels in one year. It takes one second for light to reach Earth from the Moon, eight minutes from the Sun, four years from the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, 2.5 million years from the Andromeda Galaxy, and 10 billion years from distant quasars.
Particle accelerators can propel small entities like muons at 99.5% the speed of light, or 667 million mph. Energy requirements to propel a macroscopic object anywhere near that speed, such as a spacecraft and occupant, would be near infinite. Current laws of physics, notwithstanding economics, prohibit such endeavors.
If air is at rest relative to a stationary observer, sound waves will move toward that person at 700 mph. If the air is moving at 50 mph toward the observer, the sound will move toward him at an increased rate of 750 mph. Likewise, if air is moving away from the individual at 50 mph, the sound will travel toward him at a reduced speed of 650 mph.
Light does not move in this manner since it has no medium like sound waves do through the air. Light waves travel in the direction of person at a fixed speed no matter how fast or in which direction she is moving to or from its source. Light travels at the same speed relative to any observer in any frame of reference. The relative measurements from these differing perspectives, however, will produce varying results. The following section on relativity explains this behavior in more depth.
Quantum physics reveals how light is both a wave and a particle though not at the same time. It exhibits both properties depending on how one is able to measure it and what he is looking for. Even so, wave-particle duality results are complimentary, not contradictory. Light has both wave and particle aspects when looking for each property separate from the other, but both properties are unable to manifest themselves at the same time. Light is indeed a very peculiar phenomenon.
Do You Believe Warp Drive Technology Will Ever Become Possible?
“Since, in the long run, every planetary civilization will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring—not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive…If our long-term survival is at stake, we have a basic responsibility to our species to venture to other worlds.”—Carl Sagan[i]
With current technology, it takes nine minutes to get into space and three days to get to the Moon. A hundred years ago, this statement would have sounded like something out of a science-fiction novel. Today, people take space travel for granted as a part of normal, everyday life.
A hundred years ago, it took three months to travel to the other side of the planet. Today, that same journey takes less than a day.
In 1901, two years before the Wright Brothers made the historic first flight at Kittyhawk, Wilbur Wright said, “The secrets of flight would not be mastered within our lifetime, not in 1,000 years.”
During the 1930s, Arthur C. Clarke admitted he never believed space flight would be possible in his lifetime but knew it would be an eventual possibility.
At 100 miles per second, a spacecraft powered with an ion or nuclear-powered jet engine would take 10 days to reach Mars and 16 months to reach Pluto. The technology to produce such a thrust might arrive in another hundred years or so.
A trip to the stars and back in a human lifetime would require a spacecraft able to reach speeds of 10,000 miles per second. It is impossible for an engine that powerful to remain cool, no matter if the fuel is antimatter. The ability for humanity to reach the stars will not happen in this century, perhaps not for many lifetimes.
Six years after the successful V-2 rocket launches of 1950, British Astronomer Royal Sir Richard Woolly said the following about space travel in an October 1956 television interview: “I don’t think anyone will ever go [to space], it’s too expensive.”[ii] Twelve months later, on October 4, 1957, the Soviets proved him wrong after they launched their useless satellite, Sputnik. Just over a decade following that achievement, NASA landed a man on the Moon.
Today, scientists make similar mistakes when referring to limited interstellar mobility. After all, many aspects of scientific theory evolve from one generation to the next. Very few make accurate renditions of the future; their spoken record more than proves this. Philosophers and science-fiction writers have been more accurate with predictions of future technologies than have learned scientists, and space travel is no exception. What scientists think they know now of possible space exploration technology will change in the future because this fact remains: scientists are bound by current knowledge and technology.
Quasars may provide proof the laws of nature have changed over time. John Webb, a physicist from the University of South Wales, suggests the speed of light may not be the same in different areas of the Universe, and that it ran faster during its infancy. He studies the “barcodes” of light emanating from distant, earlier parts of the Universe that suggest this is possible.
Theoretical Physicist João Magueijo uses the varying speed of light theory to explain how the Universe expanded so fast right after the big bang, as outlined in inflation theory. He believes the speed of light was faster in the early Universe, and that it changed, or slowed down, as time passed. Cosmic strings, or tiny fractures in the structure of the Universe, might be “high-speed lines” where faster-than-light travel remains possible. (See Diagram link below this section.)
[i] Sagan, Carl. Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. New York: Random House Books, 1994, p. 371.
[ii] Woolley, Sir Richard. British Astronomer Royal. October 1956 television interview.
Direction depends on perspective. There is only up from the point of view of a planet’s surface and the fact gravity holds one to it. From a universal perspective, there is no up, down, left, or right, just to and fro.
An individual’s position within the space-time continuum changes all the time. People rotate with the surface of Earth, Earth rotates around the Sun, the Solar System rotates around the Galaxy, and the Galaxy, itself, expands ever outward. An individual, never for an instant, occupies the same space-time coordinate.
From a grand universal perspective, there is no exclusive, individual frame of reference, rather an all-encompassing, inclusive one. Contemplation of an all-inclusive Now for all potential observers rather than passing off distant perspectives as elsewhere is essential to the universal perspective.
A quantum drive that bends the space-time continuum will be the singular method of proving an alien from a star system in the Andromeda Galaxy is enjoying some exotic fruit during the same instant in the Now as someone sitting here on a beach eating a coconut.
If anything is possible over time, and the evidence found in quantum mechanics defends warp drive as a possibility, we can infer at some point in the future, scientists will discover how to utilize and incorporate those aspects for macroscopic objects. Any scientist opposed to faster-than-light travel is deluding others based on incomplete information. This may sound like a bold statement, but scientists have been guilty of similar methodologies over the years about some hypotheses now valid theories. Some have been quite adamant said hypothesis is impossible, for their peers to find later they were not only incorrect, but embarrassed by their previous admission.
Science-fiction author and technical science writer Arthur C. Clarke composed several quotes regarding the approach some scientists have adopted with regard to technological progress. The most famous of those are based on Clarke’s Three Laws:
1. Clarke's First Law: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”
2. Clarke's Second Law: “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”
3. Clarke's Third Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Clarke made the following statements about scientists over the years:
“Anything that is theoretically possible will be achieved in practice, no matter what the technical difficulties are, if it is desired greatly enough.”
“If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run—and often in the short one—the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative.”
“I'm sure we would not have had men on the Moon if it had not been for Wells and Verne and the people who write about this and made people think about it. I'm rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books.”
“One of the biggest roles of science fiction is to prepare people to accept the future without pain and to encourage a flexibility of the mind. Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.”[i]
Today’s scientists would do well to avoid absolutions for what is and is not possible with respect to future discoveries and technology. Einstein took part in disproving his quote with regard to the atom bomb but later admitted taking part in its application for war was the biggest mistake of his life. The unlucky ones, those living after their statements were discredited, probably hid in the shadows for the rest of their lives. As a matter of fact, German physicist Ludwig Boltzmann committed suicide in 1906 after intense ridicule for promoting the idea of the atom. He formulated the laws of thermodynamics and was a pioneer of his time.
The apparent criticism toward scientists in this chapter is meant to point out their error in making matter-of-fact claims to the contrary of said idea. (The last section in this article presents many erroneous quotes made by scientists of the past.) While most tend to keep a positive open mind, there is a handful that would do well to heed the echoes of the past. Healthy skepticism is one thing. Criticizing one for an opposing viewpoint because it does not mesh with your personal ideas is another. Unless forced to make a statement, the latter should be avoided at all cost.
In general, scientists are to be respected and commended for their achievements. They are the ones doing the groundwork and developing the technology that make our lives and knowledge of the Universe more rich and full. Sometimes, however, a bad apple can spoil the lot.
[i] Clarke, Arthur C., “Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination.” Profiles of the Future. 1962, pp. 14, 21, 36.
Do You Believe Wormholes Would Be The Only Method Of Faster Than Light Travel?
“For reasons that are far from obvious, science has stepped back from rational investigation of the possibility of alien visitations. We would like to see scientists think again about their present coyness to look for evidence of interstellar mobility.”—Physicist Andrew J.H. Clark and David H. Clark, Ph.D.[i]
Could some form of exotic matter that would manipulate the space-time continuum for instantaneous space travel exist? Can mainstream scientists be certain it does not? Are tachyons, envisioned by physicist Gerald Feinberg, such particles? If so, the speed-of-light barrier would no longer present a problem, and an immediate quantum leap from one point in space to another would forever change how astronauts explore space. Where might physicists detect such elusive particles? One possibility may be inside cosmic rays.
Many physicists insist that because gravity is a basic force of nature, construction of an antigravity machine is a theoretical impossibility. Others argue this reasoning is another example of psychological egoism. If it were possible, such a machine would utilize special magnets to propel a spacecraft more efficiently and much faster than ion propulsion. Antimatter might be a necessary fuel source to operate such a machine, but harnessing it may not be possible to foreseeable science. Negative energy is another potential source, but most scientists believe it does not exist.
If antimatter is the answer, administration of the fuel would incorporate a total annihilation reactor, one that carefully combines matter and antimatter. With it, the craft would set up its own gravitational field, phase shift that field, and use it to maneuver the craft. The gravity amplifier would sustain a gravity-like environment within the capsule so that outside forces are not felt while maneuvering.
Franklin Mead of the Advanced Concepts Office, US Air Force admitted they are looking for a new propulsion system for flying in space. He said, “It is not a question of whether antigravity will be achieved, but when.”[ii]
Maverick scientist Bob Forward argues a portion of space the size of a sugar cube, which appears empty, has enough electromagnetic energy to run the entire world for a billion years. He insists it is possible to get energy from nothing.[iii]
A force-field machine that manipulates matter similar to gravity is another endeavor that might become possible. Ning Lee, Jonathan Campbell, and Larry Smalley have all worked on a high-temperature, superconducting, antigravity apparatus at their Huntsville, Alabama laboratory. A bowling ball placed anywhere above the 12” doughnut-shaped disc will hover stationary once this force-field mechanism is complete. The device will not modify gravity, but produce a gravity-like field that is either attractive or repulsive.[iv] Calculations of Einstein’s theory of general relativity predict this behavior. Such “free energy” could make space travel a regular occurrence for future generations.
In the early part of the century, physicist Paul Dirac had a theory for matter-antimatter, warp-drive reactors, later envisioned in the television series, Star Trek.[v] Today, scientists at NASA’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics (BPP) Project attempt to make such a vision possible. Marc Millis’ team is trying to devise alternative drive systems based on theoretical aspects of physics yet to emerge. One such design, a negative-energy induction ring, wraps local space into a contained bubble around a ship. The designated area creates opposing fields by altering the properties of space, thus permitting a “shortcut” outside the restrictive boundaries of relativity.[vi]
Of course, all talk of these alternate means of travel is mere speculation at this point. The quest for warp-drive technology will override any obstacles scientists might encounter. Human beings have an innate drive to make the impossible become possible.
[i] Clark, Andrew J.H.; Clark, David H. Aliens. New York: Fromm International, 1999, p. 255.
[ii] Mead, Franklin. Advanced Concepts Office, US Air Force.
[iii] Tutt, Keith. The Search for free EnergyNew York: Simon & Schuster, 2001, p. 190.
[iv] Wilson, Jim, “Taming Gravity.” Popular Mechanics. (October 2000): pp. 40-43.
[v] Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, Paramount Television, 1966-1969.
[vi] Millis, M. G. “Assessing Potential Propulsion Breakthroughs.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. (2005): pp. 441-461.
Do You Believe Time, As We Measure It, Exists?
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”—John Lubbock[i]
Some form of collective present for all frames of reference should exist if quantum tunneling is a valid theory. Within the collective present of the Now, there are temporal branches of relative experiences. Looking at the collective Universe as a whole, these individual experiences should have no immediate impact on the overall universal perspective. Individual relative experiences, by themselves, have no causal influence on all relative experiences, only do those from a panoptic perspective outside looking in.
The “big picture” is not necessarily from the perspective of a divine being outside the Universe, but from any being at any point within it. (See Figure #2 above for a Diagram thought experiment regarding time and perspective.) From a grand universal perspective, there is no elsewhere, causality, time, relativity, or other factor separating each part from the whole. Each perspective incorporates the whole and is related on some level. The problem people have in getting around this concept is their subconscious inclination to separate themselves from their surrounding environment, particularly the rest of the Universe.
Consider the following thought experiment. Two people witnessed the same traffic accident from two separate locations. A drunk driver slammed his car into a tree just off the side of the road. Person A is sitting on top a hillside overlooking the road where the accident occurred. Person B is standing on the road beside the accident, much closer than person A. Person A swears he saw the driver get up and walk away from the wreckage. Person B insists she saw the driver lying next to the wreckage, dead as a doornail. One news agency reports the first story while another reports the latter prior to them both appearing on the 6:00 news.
In actuality, the driver ended up in a coma and nobody knows whether he will come out of it. He could have been walking around after the wreck for a brief moment, substantiating person A’s perspective. Person B might have arrived somewhat late to the scene and witnessed the driver lying on the ground. Only after she left the area were the paramedics able to get a heartbeat.
Nevertheless, the actual event transpired in a specific way and at a precise moment during the collective present. Just ask the person in the coma should he ever regain consciousness. How other people experienced the event is subject to individual perspective, not collective reality. Only the man in the coma will experience his true fate, for he is the one that will end up either dead or alive. Death is not subjective.
In essence, there should be a universal collective present and a universal collective perspective allowing for individual, relative perspectives throughout the whole. The main difference is the relative perspectives are subjective based on certain conditions and parameters, the collective one is not.
Another example that might lend credibility to the existence of a collective perspective in the Now relates to how the mind remembers and categorizes events in our past. Ever had a memory you swear or genuinely feel happened the previous year, when in reality was something that occurred a decade ago? Perhaps moments like these are attributed to our subconscious trying to tell us there is no time. Maybe the reason our minds can jumble events in our past is because everything we experience occurs during the ever-present Now instead of some imaginary, constructed past. Instances like this can be attributed to nothing more than poor memory, but we have all felt it.
Applying Schrodinger’s cat experiment, why should the wave function of what the cat experienced not collapse until a remote perspective observes it? Since the cat, itself, is a living being, would it not know it is alive, thereby collapsing the wave function whether someone looks in or not? Why must there be an independent observer for causality? Of course the dead know nothing, but perhaps the growing bacteria on the dead carcass have a story of their own to tell if only they were intelligent enough to speak.
Specific observations of cosmic rays and subatomic particles are forcing physicists to revisit the causality of Schrodinger’s thought experiment. It is egotistical to assume human observance is any more significant than the observance or experience of any other life form. What if the observer was an advanced android that has no contact with any living being as opposed to a biological entity? Would the wave function not collapse after the android makes the observation?
One must disregard individual perspective as a causal determinate. The tree falling in the forest indeed makes a sound whether anyone is around to hear or observe it. While pressure waves require an auditory mechanism and response to hear the sound, the waves remain there just waiting to be heard.
A better example might be the inevitable course of a lifeless asteroid colliding with another in vacuum. If that collision causes one of them to hit Earth and destroy all life, will everyone on the planet witnessing its descent argue, “This can’t be possible since the wave function of the initial collision that sent it here wasn’t witnessed by any living entity in the vacuum of space. Perhaps if everyone shuts their eyes, there will be a 50/50 chance of it not striking us in this reality. Just don’t look…Just don’t look!”
Quantum aspects in physics do allow for alternative approaches to a comprehensive reality more so than classical ones, yet more discoveries and some revisions are inevitable. The Universe may not be as complex as one might assume. Perhaps remaining exclusive to one approach or the other is the biggest error among scientists. There may be a valid aspect to just about all classical and quantum scientific theories. Finding the primer that verifies legitimate aspects of each is the key to unlocking the true nature of reality. There must be a contributing factor to almost every theory supported with viable evidence, including some hypotheses. Combined with the philosophical insights of each, in particular those able to culminate aspects of most, we may discover they each have something important to contribute after all.
[i] Lubbock, John. The Beauties of Nature. New York: Macmillan Co., 1892 (1905), p. 3.
Do You Believe There Is Some Form Of A Universal, All-Encompassing Perspective?
Different Levels Of Observation
“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality” --Albert Einstein[i]
Various manufactured devices provide people with the ability to detect otherwise undetectable phenomena. A radio receives input from frequencies outside the detectable range of human perception and transforms them into audible sound waves. Without such a device, the phenomenon would never exist for us. Scientists of the nineteenth century could argue with confidence that radio waves do not exist and never will. For them, a radio exists outside the realm of empirical reality. Just 350 years ago, the suggestion of radio waves would have been metaphysical or magical, perhaps blasphemous.
How would a modern computer appear to an individual of the same era or the existence of quantum particles and the devices physicists use to detect them? Such realities would appear God-like to anyone from this time-period. We could never begin to imagine how they might perceive many aspects of current technology.
Now attempt to imagine what technological discoveries await scientific revelation just 350 years from now. One could conjure several theories for how the future might appear, but if the previous comparison is any indication, then we too have no idea since technology increases exponentially. What the future truly has in store is outside the realm of anyone’s full comprehension.
At least one scientist from each generation has claimed humankind has learned all there is to know about the true nature of the Universe; at least, that is how they tend to argue it when adhering to the status quo. If history is any lesson, they should, instead, remain open to any possibility. Though the modern scientific approach appears as a timeless method of observation; it remains so until someone like Einstein comes along in the future and contributes in rewriting it.
Time and again, scientists are vehement humanity will never invent or discover something new that changes current perceptions of reality. Some have a terrible habit of placing limitations on future accomplishments. They find comfort and finality in that approach, knowing a conflicting alternative to their theory will never be substantiated in their lifetime.
Many scientists deny we will ever discover a way to travel from one point in space and time to another instantaneously, such as bending the space-time continuum for faster-than-light travel. Others believe there is neither means nor motive for an extraterrestrial civilization to travel to Earth. Distances between star systems, they argue, are too vast and would be too expensive to make such a trip. The ability to consider alternative means of travel besides from point A to point B inside a fuel-powered rocket exists outside the realm of what they consider possible science. This is how SETI astronomers justify their emphatic argument that aliens could never reach Earth, and the only alternative is to listen for antiquated radio signals. Anyone with common sense can see past that “educated” excuse as nothing more than an obvious conflict of interest.
Scientists often trap themselves within a status-quo reality and refuse to consider alternative ideas. They have the latest equations and prestigious academic tenure on their side. While they may have the best possible interpretation at their disposal, all of it is based on limited knowledge and early twenty-first-century science and technology. If history is any indication, much of the knowledge we have now regarding the nature of existence, over time, will change considerably. The only remaining giggle factor will be based on how scientists treated some of the fringe theories out there, ones that may turn out to be correct in the near of far future.
[i] Einstein, Albert; Jeffrey, George Baker; Perret, W. Sidelights on Relativity. Ulan Press, 1891, p. 28.
The following are examples of erroneous quotes made by scientists and other distinguished individuals often legitimizing predictions made to the contrary by science-fiction writers, philosophers, and other critical thinkers. The first group of quotes is based on applications of radio, television, and the telephone:
“They will never try to steal the phonograph because it has no `commercial value.”—Thomas Edison (1847-1931). He later revised that opinion.
“This `telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a practical form of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”—Western Union internal memo, 1878.
“Radio has no future.”—Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, ca. 1897.
“While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.”—Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer, inventor of the vacuum tube, 1926.
“[Television] won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”—Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century Fox, 1946.
The next four quotes are based on the power of the atom:
“There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. The glib supposition of utilizing atomic energy when our coal has run out is a completely unscientific Utopian dream, a childish bug-a-boo. Nature has introduced a few fool-proof devices into the great majority of elements that constitute the bulk of the world, and they have no energy to give up in the process of disintegration.”—Robert A. Millikan, 1928 speech to the Chemists' Club, New York.
“...any one who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine...”—Ernest Rutherford, 1933.
“There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear energy] will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.”—Albert Einstein, 1932.
“That is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.”—Admiral William Leahy, advice to President Truman when asked his opinion of the atomic bomb project.
These quotes are based on flight and space travel:
“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”—Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, ca. 1895
“...no possible combination of known substances, known forms of machinery, and known forms of force, can be united in a practical machine by which man shall fly long distances through the air...”—Simon Newcomb (1835-1909), astronomer and head of the U.S. Naval Observatory.
“I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years. Two years later we ourselves made flights. This demonstration of my impotence as a prophet gave me such a shock that ever since I have distrusted myself and avoided all predictions.”—Wilbur Wright, speech to the Aero Club of France, 1908.
“This foolish idea of shooting at the Moon is an example of the absurd length to which vicious specialization will carry scientists working in thought-tight compartments. Let us critically examine the proposal. For a projectile entirely to escape the gravitation of earth, it needs a velocity of 7 miles a second. The thermal energy of a gramme at this speed is 15,180 calories... The energy of our most violent explosive--nitroglycerine--is less than 1,500 calories per gramme. Consequently, even had the explosive nothing to carry, it has only one-tenth of the energy necessary to escape the earth... Hence the proposition appears to be basically impossible.”—W. A. Bickerton, Professor of Physics and Chemistry at CanterburyCollege (Christchurch, New Zealand), 1926.
“Men might as well project a voyage to the Moon as attempt to employ steam navigation against the stormy North Atlantic Ocean.”—Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1793-1859), Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at UniversityCollege, London.
“To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the Moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to Earth--all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances.”—Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer, inventor of the vacuum tube, 1957.
“Space travel is utter bilge.”—Sir Richard Wooley, Astronomer Royal and space advisor to the British government, 1956. (Sputnik orbited Earth the following year.)
Here are some general science and technology quotes:
“The abolishment of pain in surgery is a chimera. It is absurd to go on seeking it... Knife and pain are two words in surgery that must forever be associated in the consciousness of the patient.”—Dr. Alfred Velpeau, French surgeon, 1839.
“When the Paris Exhibition closes, electric light will close with it and no more be heard of.”—Erasmus Wilson, Professor at OxfordUniversity, 1878.
“If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done.”—Peter Ustinov.
“It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.”—Robert Goddard (1882-1945)
These three quotes are based on Einstein’s theory of relativity:
“I can accept the theory of relativity as little as I can accept the existence of atoms and other such dogmas.”—Ernst Mach, 1913.
“The so-called theories of Einstein are merely the ravings of a mind polluted with liberal, democratic nonsense which is utterly unacceptable to German men of science.”—Dr. Walter Gross, 1940.
“The theory of a relativistic universe is the hostile work of the agents of fascism. It is the revolting propaganda of a moribund, counter-revolutionary ideology.”—Astronomical Journal of the Soviet Union, 1940.[i]
(* Terms devised by the author.)
*Collective Present Idea that time does not exist and all potential beings throughout the entire Universe share in a collective, present experience of three-dimensional reality. This interpretation of the Now allows for individual relative experiences and holographic interpretations of time dilation where extreme gravity is present, but they all remain tethered to the collective-present reality. See also continuous present.
Cosmic Rays Energetic, highly charged subatomic particles from outer space. They contain normal, everyday particles and a small fraction of antiparticles. With the right technology, scientists may harness these negative particles and use them for unlimited energy applications.
Elsewhere Stephen Hawking’s idea that remote events have no causal effect on local ones. In other words, something happening on a planet toward the other side of the Galaxy cannot, in any way, relate to events happening in our corner. Attempting to compare or associate the viewpoints is moot. The passage of time from our perspective is different from theirs, so there is no possible correlation. This book argues against some aspects of that interpretation in that it postulates there may be relative, elsewhere time perspectives but also an all-encompassing, universal one relative to all observers from all perspectives. The differing localized ones are based on the holographic effects of light and gravity, not time.
Exotic Matter Any type of matter not composed of protons or neutrons. Matter absent of everyday matter. Dark energy and dark matter are examples of exotic matter. It is believed some form of exotic matter will be a necessary component for warp-drive technology and the ability to stabilize a wormhole for interstellar mobility. See also non-baryonic matter.
Giggle Factor A compulsive reaction by scientists regarding hypothetical concepts embarrassing for them to contemplate, such as the extraterrestrial hypothesis. It prevents them from doing serious research for an anomaly that might turn out to be valid. One of the main reasons scientists react to some unexplained phenomena in this manner is because of the association extremists have to it. The UFO phenomenon, ghosts, and the sixth sense are a few examples of concepts surrounded by such clutter. Instead of pursuing the research to determine the validity or lack thereof, most scientists refrain from touching such topics with a ten-foot pole.
Induction Ring A theoretical negative-energy drive that warps the space around a ship for interstellar travel. Engineers are working on its applications for future use but remain a long way off. If ever developed, it will utilize the relationship between electricity and magnetism.
Negative Energy Also known as exotic matter. This theoretical source of energy is thought to reside in a true vacuum where no positive energy exists. In quantum mechanics, they would be inherent fluctuations of energy within a magnetic field. It is an unpredictable force that might exist around black holes. Harnessing it would be a momentous task, one future generations may develop.
Now, The British physicist Julian Barbour’s view that time is an illusion, and reality is nothing more than a collection of moments in the Now. Change and motion create the illusion of time as we measure it. Time does not exist, only things that move and change within the familiar framework.
Schrodinger’s Cat Experiment A thought experiment devised by Erwin Schrodinger in 1935. It deals with observed wave functions in quantum mechanics. The wave function of a particular observation does not collapse and is in an unknown state until someone makes an observation, thereby collapsing the wave function. Before doing so, it is in a superposition of states. The experiment describes placing a Geiger counter hooked up to a vial of poison and a cat in a box. There is a 50/50 chance a small radioactive substance placed beside the Geiger counter will decay. If it reads the decay, the poison will release automatically and the cat will die. If not, it remains alive. Until someone makes the observation to determine either way, the cat is stuck in a superposition of states, neither dead nor alive. Some argue the experiment is flawed if the Universe, itself, is a type of living organism. In addition, the cat is a living being able to make the observation it remains alive. The existence of microbes, bacteria, and atoms in the box make additional observations of their own and collapse the wave function long before anyone peeks into it. If the Universe is a living organism, it is already “aware” of any decay and no observers of any sort are necessary. Also consider wave functions throughout the Universe collapsed during its early stages before the existence of any life. If anything, the experiment suggests nothing more than the Universe is a type of living organism.
Special Relativity Einstein’s theory that, in the absence of gravity, all scientific observations are the same for all observers. Special relativity is basically general relativity minus gravity. It is a special case of general relativity based on the same principles. If two people are traveling at different speeds in vacuum, they will make different measurements with respect to each other even though the speed of light remains constant. General relativity deals with the properties of curved space-time and the gravitational influence of relative reference frames and special relativity the speed of light and either relative or non-relative reference frames. The differences can be somewhat tedious. See also general relativity.
Tachyons Hypothetical particles that move faster than light, but most physicists believe they are nonexistent. Though macroscopic objects require too much energy to reach the speed of light, subatomic particles may be an exception. If such a particle exists, applications might include sending a direct message faster than the light-speed limit.
Tardons Particles that travel slower than light. All known matter is made up of tardons.
Thermodynamics Describes the properties of macroscopic objects, such as energy or propulsion systems, and how they relate to each other. Fields of application include several engineering studies, various biological studies, and what goes on inside engines. There are four laws of thermodynamics, each relating to heat, work, entropy, and energy.
*Universal Perspective, The A prevailing, all-encompassing perspective relative to all observers throughout the entire Universe. The idea allows for individual relative perspectives as they relate to the effects of gravity, momentum, and the holographic principle, but the universal one trumps all. For example, someone may observe a single traveler “frozen in time” as he travels at near the speed of light, but the traveler’s perspective is akin to being in a type of stasis, nothing more. He is not traveling through time, but appears frozen in it from everyone else’s viewpoint. The idea may rely on physicists learning the fundamental properties of quantum entanglement and non-locality.
Varying Speed of Light Theory Argues the speed of light was not always the same or constant in vacuum, which is in contrast to Einstein’s theory of relativity. Those physicists who adhere to the theory believe the speed of light ran much faster in the early Universe. Perhaps the size of the Universe is related directly to speed c and, as it expands, gradually slows down over time.