Einstein wrong????
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24-09-2011, 04:34 AM
RE: Einstein wrong????
I think we should first discover how to travel at half of light speed, then concentrate on faster than light, but sure, these experiments are cool, they show us some limits, or no limits...



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24-09-2011, 03:13 PM
RE: Einstein wrong????
Perhaps this is a good time to point out why an "appeal from authority" is a debate fallacy. Even when people claim something is true because Einstein or Hawking said it doesn't mean it's absolutely true. Even geniuses can be mistaken.

But this wouldn't be too shocking. Einstein's idea that nothing could travel faster than light isn't something that could ever be proven, only something that appeared to be true with the information he had.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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24-09-2011, 03:54 PM
RE: Einstein wrong????
Einstein was NOT wrong.

His theory withstood the ordeal of one hundred and 6 years of extensive testing. For example, his General Theory of Relativity was built on top of the Special one and, without that we would have no reliable GPS system.

His theory was a philosophical decision that, in one stroke, solved all the unsolvable problems that plagued Physics at the and of the 19th Century.

Once you accept these philosophical postulates, the rest is an inevitable logical conclusion: nothing in the universe can exceed the speed of light, relative to any observer.

If the CERN experiments are confirmed (and it is a huge IF), Einstein’s theory may be extended, just like he extended Newton’s. It won’t make it false, within the parameters he postulated it.

Here is the heart of the special relativity theory: the famous two postulates:

1. “the same laws of electrodynamics and optics will be valid for all frames of reference for which the equations of mechanics hold good.
2. light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c which is independent of the state of motion of the emitting body

The consequences of these postulates are as fantastic as inevitable.

What Einstein gained by these assumptions was clarity and consistency of the theories and experiments collected in Physics for the last 300 years.

What he gave up was our common sense view of the universe.

The audacity of his suggestion reminds me of a joke I heard a long time ago: A husband arriving home unexpectedly finds his wife in bed with another man. When he confronts her, she asks indignantly: “do you believe me or your eyes?”

I don’t know how Einstein would have replied if he was ever put to the test, but in the area a Physics he was prepared to disbelieve his eyes – not because he was willing to discard experimental data, but because he assumed that our lack of experience with great speeds (close to 300,000 km/sec) had not allowed us to observe the actual behaviour of nature in such extreme circumstances.

The first postulate seems reasonable: if all the laws of mechanics work perfectly identically in two systems of observation, then why should electrodynamics (and optics) behave differently in the two? We assume nature to be consistent and if one aspect of it is identical in two systems, then we expect all aspects to be identical as well.

The second postulate is the one that goes against common sense. The only way this is possible is if the measurements of space and time yield different results for observers moving at uniform speed relative to each other, even if they use identical and synchronized instruments.

No wonder it required Einstein’s exceptional insight and courage to put forward such a preposterous proposal.

Anyway, all the implications and consequences of these postulates have been rigorously tested over a hundred years by physicists who were desperate to hang on to their common sense view of the world. ALL experiments (thousands and thousands) proved Einstein right.

However, no theory is a final theory. Theories are always extended to new areas never considered before. If the CERN findings won't do it, something else will. It won't prove Einstein wrong, it will build on his theory.

As Newton stated in a letter to his arch rival Robert Hooke: “If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” (Contrary to general belief, this was not a statement of humility, but a clever way of rubbing Hooke’s nose into the assumed fact of Newton’s superiority).
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