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Reality Upside Down - Time and Light Bend

Updated on April 12, 2015

We have often heard it said, and at times experience it ourselves: we live in a crazy world. Some days you don't know which way is up. Luckily, there have always been things to grab us by the shoulders and plant us firmly with our feet on the ground. For some, it's religion. For others, it's science. Sometimes it's the harshness of reality. At least some truths were always self-evident. Just use your eyes!

But now, quantum physics, a relatively young field in science, is scratching away the outer layers and reveals a truth that is at times incomprehensible, and just sometimes, downright insane. These articles will share some of those discoveries with you.

To begin, we'll start off with a simple one.

Time

Most of us have heard of Einstein. According to his Theory of Special Relativity, the speed of light is a constant. But did you know that when you approach the speed of light, time stops?

Time follows gravity. As mass increases, gravity increases. As gravity increases, time slows down. Basically, time for people in orbit will move faster than for those on the earth. This is counting in nanoseconds, so we don't yet notice the difference, but the higher the gravity, the more pronounced that difference will be.

The faster you want to move, the more energy you need. To move near the speed of light, you'd need to have an infinite amount of it. That is one of the main problems we have today with engaging in space travel.

Light

Light? Surely, there's nothing that can effect light? It's just... light! It has no mass!

Ah, but you'd be wrong.

We've always been taught it moves in a straight line. Just shine your flashlight at something and it's obvious. But now quantum mechanics, as it's wont to do, says we're wrong. As it turns out, light does bend... by gravity. That same gravity that has an effect on time. So light passing by a star will be bent around. We have observed this effect in reality. Light in space does bend around things that have gravity. This happens with anything that has gravity, even humans, but again, at this scale, the effect is too small to see. Yes, as you're sitting there reading this, the light moving in the room is bending just so slightly around you - and all objects surrounding you.

This means in reality, the stars you see up there might also be slightly displaced from reality. Some stars are not where you see them.

So matter bends light.

But the really crazy thing? In a recent experiment in 2010, scientists discovered that light also bends matter!

So who thought they were fat... turns out you're just more radiant than other people. ;)

Your Opinion

So what do you think? What further implications can you see from these findings? Do you perhaps think they're wrong? If so, why? Do you know any other unbelievable findings from science to make us question our reality? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Your Opinion

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