Can the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) accelerate?
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20-02-2015, 01:28 PM (This post was last modified: 20-02-2015 01:50 PM by One Above All.)
RE: Can the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) accelerate?
(20-02-2015 01:25 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  
(20-02-2015 01:11 PM)One Above All Wrote:  Because the laws of physics don't allow it. I've already explained this to you, as have others. The velocity of light is invariant, having the exact same value in all reference frames. The theory of General Relativity stands on that fact, and it has produced results that are in line with said fact.

why is the velocity of light invariant? because we have yet to observe it, like many other things?

...Do you think physicists just pulled "299 million, 792 thousand, 458 meters per second" out of thin air? The velocity of light has been measured with that degree of precision every time it has been measured.
As for why it's that way, that question is indistinguishable from asking why the laws of physics are the way they are. Physics is the way it is. That's all.

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20-02-2015, 01:38 PM
RE: Can the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) accelerate?
(20-02-2015 01:28 PM)One Above All Wrote:  
(20-02-2015 01:25 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  why is the velocity of light invariant? because we have yet to observe it, like many other things?

...Do you think physicists just pulled out "299 million, 792 thousand, 458 meters per second" out of thin air? The velocity of light has been measured with that degree of precision every time it has been measured.
As for why it's that way, that question is indistinguishable from asking why the laws of physics are the way they are. Physics is the way it is. That's all.

I sense some saltiness. Of course it's more likely than not that their right, so I believe there right, but that doesn't explain it conceptually, which is what I'm looking for. "it is the way it is" does not explain why it's happening. I didn't ask a question to be told "it is the way it is". The laws of physics are explainable. I was asking for an explanation. I get it now so doesn't even matter any more.

"If you cannot explain it simply, you don't understand it enough" -Albert Einstein
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20-02-2015, 01:47 PM
RE: Can the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) accelerate?
(20-02-2015 01:38 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  
(20-02-2015 01:28 PM)One Above All Wrote:  ...Do you think physicists just pulled out "299 million, 792 thousand, 458 meters per second" out of thin air? The velocity of light has been measured with that degree of precision every time it has been measured.
As for why it's that way, that question is indistinguishable from asking why the laws of physics are the way they are. Physics is the way it is. That's all.

I sense some saltiness. Of course it's more likely than not that their right, so I believe there right, but that doesn't explain it conceptually, which is what I'm looking for. "it is the way it is" does not explain why it's happening. I didn't ask a question to be told "it is the way it is". The laws of physics are explainable. I was asking for an explanation. I get it now so doesn't even matter any more.

I'm not sure why it's that speed... The only consolation I can offer is that we have assigned that number based on our local methods of recording time; the actual nature of light and time is certainly far more elegant.
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20-02-2015, 01:48 PM
RE: Can the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) accelerate?
(20-02-2015 01:38 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  
(20-02-2015 01:28 PM)One Above All Wrote:  ...Do you think physicists just pulled out "299 million, 792 thousand, 458 meters per second" out of thin air? The velocity of light has been measured with that degree of precision every time it has been measured.
As for why it's that way, that question is indistinguishable from asking why the laws of physics are the way they are. Physics is the way it is. That's all.

I sense some saltiness. Of course it's more likely than not that their right, so I believe there right, but that doesn't explain it conceptually, which is what I'm looking for. "it is the way it is" does not explain why it's happening. I didn't ask a question to be told "it is the way it is". The laws of physics are explainable. I was asking for an explanation. I get it now so doesn't even matter any more.

The laws of physics are describable. What's explainable is everything else, based on the descriptions of the laws of physics. However, we can't explain why the laws of physics are the way they are - why gravity is the weakest force; why its strength decreases proportionally to the square of the distance between two objects; why the electromagnetic and gravitational forces are so similar mathematically, yet so different physically; why photons have no rest mass - any more than we can explain what a 5D object looks like. It's beyond our comprehension.
FYI: If you ask a question, you shouldn't be looking for a specific answer. You should look for the right one. You not wanting to hear the truth - that the laws of physics just are the way they are - is irrelevant to the validity of my statements.

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20-02-2015, 02:02 PM
RE: Can the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) accelerate?
(20-02-2015 01:48 PM)One Above All Wrote:  
(20-02-2015 01:38 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  I sense some saltiness. Of course it's more likely than not that their right, so I believe there right, but that doesn't explain it conceptually, which is what I'm looking for. "it is the way it is" does not explain why it's happening. I didn't ask a question to be told "it is the way it is". The laws of physics are explainable. I was asking for an explanation. I get it now so doesn't even matter any more.

The laws of physics are describable. What's explainable is everything else, based on the descriptions of the laws of physics. However, we can't explain why the laws of physics are the way they are - why gravity is the weakest force; why its strength decreases proportionally to the square of the distance between two objects; why the electromagnetic and gravitational forces are so similar mathematically, yet so different physically; why photons have no rest mass - any more than we can explain what a 5D object looks like. It's beyond our comprehension.
FYI: If you ask a question, you shouldn't be looking for a specific answer. You should look for the right one. You not wanting to hear the truth - that the laws of physics just are the way they are - is irrelevant to the validity of my statements.

While I agree with the basis of what you're saying, that physics describes, and does not account for meaning, intention, or explanations as to why the laws are this way, it seems possible that there may be discovered a mechanism or underlying law within nature that governs the speed of light in a way that is currently unknown. I think that's what xsmile may have been asking about.
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20-02-2015, 02:04 PM
RE: Can the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) accelerate?
Whatever dude, I'm not going to waste any more time on this petty situation. I was trying to understand how we came to understand this, I understand it now so it doesn't matter. You know I was looking for more than "that's just the way it is". Deuces

"If you cannot explain it simply, you don't understand it enough" -Albert Einstein
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20-02-2015, 02:07 PM
RE: Can the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) accelerate?
(20-02-2015 02:02 PM)WeAreTheCosmos Wrote:  
(20-02-2015 01:48 PM)One Above All Wrote:  The laws of physics are describable. What's explainable is everything else, based on the descriptions of the laws of physics. However, we can't explain why the laws of physics are the way they are - why gravity is the weakest force; why its strength decreases proportionally to the square of the distance between two objects; why the electromagnetic and gravitational forces are so similar mathematically, yet so different physically; why photons have no rest mass - any more than we can explain what a 5D object looks like. It's beyond our comprehension.
FYI: If you ask a question, you shouldn't be looking for a specific answer. You should look for the right one. You not wanting to hear the truth - that the laws of physics just are the way they are - is irrelevant to the validity of my statements.

While I agree with the basis of what you're saying, that physics describes, and does not account for meaning, intention, or explanations as to why the laws are this way, it seems possible that there may be discovered a mechanism or underlying law within nature that governs the speed of light in a way that is currently unknown. I think that's what xsmile may have been asking about.

IMO, he was looking for something that doesn't exist: a correct answer in physics based on "this feels/seems right". Note how he only accepted that the velocity of light was constant because photons have no rest mass, even though that only explains why they move at the fastest possible speed.
(20-02-2015 02:04 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  Whatever dude, I'm not going to waste any more time on this petty situation. I was trying to understand how we came to understand this, I understand it now so it doesn't matter. You know I was looking for more than "that's just the way it is". Deuces
Quod erat demonstrandum. The correct answer to his question was not pleasant, so he took one fact and unwittingly twisted it to fit his need for a different answer.

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20-02-2015, 02:12 PM
RE: Can the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) accelerate?
(20-02-2015 01:28 PM)One Above All Wrote:  
(20-02-2015 01:25 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  why is the velocity of light invariant? because we have yet to observe it, like many other things?

...Do you think physicists just pulled "299 million, 792 thousand, 458 meters per second" out of thin air? The velocity of light has been measured with that degree of precision every time it has been measured.
As for why it's that way, that question is indistinguishable from asking why the laws of physics are the way they are. Physics is the way it is. That's all.

It's been a while, so I could be wrong about this (and I'm sure someone will tell me if I am), but I'm pretty sure the speed of propagation of electromagnetic waves in a vacuum (i.e., the speed of light) can be mathematically derived from Maxwell's equations, and that those equations were formulated before the speed of light was ever measured. So the measurement was, among other things, a validation of Maxwell's equations. The speed is somehow inherent in the structure of the electromagnetic field. I don't know that this really answers anybody's questions about "why", but it's pretty cool nonetheless.
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20-02-2015, 02:16 PM
RE: Can the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) accelerate?
I'm not a physicist (I don't even play one on message boards) but this is the way I had it explained to me that helped me visualize it.

Picture a cartesian coordinate plane with the Y axis representing time and the X axis being the 3 spatial dimensions. Everything in the universe is at a point on that plane and every point is always moving at a constant velocity. In order to move through space you have to move to the right and the fastest way you can do that is to move parallel to the x axis (no time component). If you move at an angle then your spatial displacement is less and you have some time displacement.

In order to move slowly through space you have to move more vertically which means time is going by faster.

The question isn't why can't you go faster, it's why must you always be moving at the same speed relative to both space & time.

Of course, that's a kindergarten-level view of it at best, and probably just plain wrong.

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20-02-2015, 02:16 PM
RE: Can the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) accelerate?
(20-02-2015 02:12 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(20-02-2015 01:28 PM)One Above All Wrote:  ...Do you think physicists just pulled "299 million, 792 thousand, 458 meters per second" out of thin air? The velocity of light has been measured with that degree of precision every time it has been measured.
As for why it's that way, that question is indistinguishable from asking why the laws of physics are the way they are. Physics is the way it is. That's all.

It's been a while, so I could be wrong about this (and I'm sure someone will tell me if I am), but I'm pretty sure the speed of propagation of electromagnetic waves in a vacuum (i.e., the speed of light) can be mathematically derived from Maxwell's equations, and that those equations were formulated before the speed of light was ever measured. So the measurement was, among other things, a validation of Maxwell's equations. The speed is somehow inherent in the structure of the electromagnetic field. I don't know that this really answers anybody's questions about "why", but it's pretty cool nonetheless.

Yes, it was/can be determined from Maxwell's equations. However, it was then verified experimentally, as all good science is.

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