X-Message-Number: 13851
Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2000 10:37:05 -0400
From: James Swayze <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #13842 - #13849
References: <>

Is this true or a hoax? It was forwarded to me so I don't know the source.
Eureka! Scientists break speed of light

Jonathan Leake, Science Editor

SCIENTISTS claim they have broken the ultimate speed barrier: the speed
of light.
In research carried out in the United States, particle physicists have
shown that light pulses can be accelerated to up to 300 times their
normal velocity of 186,000 miles per second.

The implications, like the speed, are mind-boggling. On one
interpretation it means that light will arrive at its destination almost
before it has started its journey. In effect, it is leaping forward in

Exact details of the findings remain confidential because they have been
submitted to Nature, the international scientific journal, for review
prior to possible publication.

The work was carried out by Dr Lijun Wang, of the NEC research institute
in Princeton, who transmitted a pulse of light towards a chamber filled
with specially treated caesium gas.

Before the pulse had fully entered the chamber it had gone right through
it and travelled a further 60ft across the laboratory. In effect it
existed in two places at once, a phenomenon that Wang explains by saying
it travelled 300 times faster than light.

The research is already causing controversy among physicists. What
bothers them is that if light could travel forward in time it could
carry information. This would breach one of the basic principles in
physics - causality, which says that a cause must come before an effect.
It would also shatter Einstein's theory of relativity since it depends
in part on the speed of light being unbreachable.

This weekend Wang said he could not give details but confirmed: "Our
light pulses did indeed travel faster than the accepted speed of light.
I hope it will give us a much better understanding of the nature of
light and how it behaves."

Dr Raymond Chiao, professor of physics at the University of California
at Berkeley, who is familiar with Wang's work, said he was impressedby
the findings. "This is a fascinating experiment," he said.

In Italy, another group of physicists has also succeeded in breaking the
light speed barrier. In a newly published paper, physicists at the
Italian National Research Council described how they propagated
microwaves at 25% above normal light speed. The group speculates that it
could be possible to transmit information faster than light.

Dr Guenter Nimtz, of Cologne University, an expert in the field, agrees.
He believes that information can be sent faster than light and last week
gave a paper describing how it could be done to a conference in
Edinburgh. He believes, however, that this will not breach the principle
of causality because the time taken to interpret the signal would
fritter away all the savings.

"The most likely application for this is not in time travel but in
speeding up the way signals move through computer circuits," he said.

Wang's experiment is the latest and possibly the most important evidence
that the physical world may not operate according to any of the accepted

In the new world that modern science is beginning to perceive,
sub-atomic particles can apparently exist in two places at the same time
- making no distinction between space and time.

Separate experiments carried out by Chiao illustrate this. He showed
that in certain circumstances photons - the particles of which light is
made - could apparently jump between two points separated by a barrier
in what appears to be zero time. The process, known as tunnelling, has
been used to make some of the most sensitive electron microscopes.

The implications of Wang's experiments will arouse fierce debate. Many
will question whether his work can be interpreted as proving that light
can exceed its normal speed - suggesting that another mechanism may be
at work.

Neil Turok, professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University,
said he awaited the details with interest, but added: "I doubt this will
change our view of the fundamental laws of physics."

Wang emphasises that his experiments are relevant only to light and may
not apply to other physical entities. But scientists are beginning to
accept that man may eventually exploit some of these characteristics for
inter-stellar space travel.

"Quod de futuris non est determinata omnino veritas"
       NOSTRADAMUS 15TH Century

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