reply to post by Dr Expired
What interested me about the Speed of Light article is that it mentions the subject of information
Now, information is normally thought of as something that is only important to an information consumer, like you or me, a conscious being. And that
adds the phenomenon of consciousness into the subject of quantum physics.
Traditionally, physics is the study of the behavior of mass and energy (now linked by Einstein's equivalence formula). And now they are saying that in
quantum physics, consciousness enters into the situation. In other words, the quantum laws are also supposed to apply to information.
Electrons and Photons
I've studied electronics, so I know a little about electrons and photons in a practical sense. I know, for example, that you can take a little tiny
bit of specially-prepared matter, and push some of its electrons (using a voltage) up to a higher energy state. And when those electrons fall back to
a lower energy state, photons come out of them. Those photons travel at the "speed of light" in a vacuum and less fast if there are things there for
them to run into.
Then those photons can hit another specially-prepared little piece of matter, and the result will be that some of the electrons will move up to a
higher energy level, which will manifest as a voltage (or signal) in the target material.
In information terms, the excited material gave off information
in the form of photons, which propagated at the speed of light to the target
material, which then received that information
, producing a reaction (or signal) in that material similar to the action (or signal) that was
used on the excited material.
You see, then, that we have a communication going on here; a transmission of information. Similar to the broadcast signal of a radio station (very
And the only way we can tell that any of this is happening is that we have figured out a way to measure voltages (signals) across specially-prepared
pieces of matter.
Using these fundamentals, all this theory about sub-atomic particles, etc., has been built up in the laboratory.
How this theory is limited
All this theory is saying, then, is that when a communication (or signal) leaves one point, it can't reach any other point any faster than the speed
Thus, faster-than-light effects are allowed, as long as they don't result in any information moving from one place to another. The article argues that
other "faster than light" effects that have been observed did not actually involve a transfer of information, and they are therefore possible without
violating the theory.
The theory does not cover any other possible ways that information could be gained by consciousness. Some theories of consciousness suggest that it is
a totally non-physical phenomenon. Therefore, consciousness, acting alone and without the use of physical communication, might be able to acquire
information instantaneously. All it would have to do, theoretically, would be to consider that it knew the information.
I don't know much about these things, but they have been described as "uncharged electrons." I don't know how neutrinos exchange information. But
there is some anecdotal evidence that they are used by consciousness as an information storage medium. If this is so, it might be part of how
neutrinos could seem to "travel" faster than light. There could be a consciousness present assisting the process.
something to think about - signal propagation
It is thought that you will not be able to detect the information in a photon emitted by a source until that photon arrives at your detector. In other
words, there is no mechanism which allows photons to pass their data forward via other photons or some other particle.
A sound signal works entirely differently, though. Whereas photons travel fastest in a vacuum, where there is nothing in their way, sound travels
fastest through a stiff, solid medium. Sound travels much faster through steel than through air. The signal could be seen as a deformation in the area
of where the sound is produced. That deformation will spread out through the transmitting medium at a rate that depends primarily on how stiff that
It has been postulated that such a propagation mechanism for electromagnetic information may also exist. Modern physics seems to rule out this
possibility, but some still cling to it. Without a doubt, there is a lot of "stuff" out there where once we thought only empty space (vacuum) existed.
Even a vacuum will contain "something" if photons are propagating through it.
edit on 24/9/2011 by l_e_cox because: correct typo