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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bored of Light

  I recently started reading a novel that was published online as an ebook.  I put it down after I realized that it was a time travel story where the hero and main character was a writer researching a time travel novel, clearly meant to become the “expert” in the story.  A book with that premise can impress me, but it only happens rarely.

  Just as rare, one might say, are the Einsteins of the world.  Patent clerks who revolutionize physics.  As you may have read [article here], a recent attempt to depose Einstein was finally foiled.  The faster-than-light neutrino experiment was discovered to have been flawed.  But, even if it had been accurate, we should remember that the Speed of Light Constant is not the actual speed of light in the physical world.  It’s like Absolute Zero.  Nothing in the universe ever reaches it, but the fraction is so close that we consider the ideal number and the measured number to be functionally the same.

  Now, I don’t know if the number actually exceeded the “speed limit” set by the Speed of Light Constant, just like I don’t know if the author of that novel I read handled the absurd premise of his book well enough, because I did not read the book, and because I don’t know the exact number of the Speed of Light Constant.  But imagining the whole physics community being fooled by something my high school science teacher knew is a lot like putting down a book after only reading a few pages.  I can, so I do.

  I’m happy to hear that the experiment was flawed, anyway.  I don’t know if I could take a revolution in physics right now.

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