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Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
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What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
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Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
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Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American


How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
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Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American

What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008

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Anything...: on 1/23/11 at 0:32am UTC, wrote is possible in physics, but self-doubt. Egoism is what makes the world go...

I DO I DO I DO: on 1/23/11 at 0:31am UTC, wrote believe ... has nothing to do with science. I must, however, grant that...

HuggaBuggah: on 1/23/11 at 0:24am UTC, wrote Is my girlfroind digital, or analog? I have spent much time investigating...

I'm Not a Convict, really...: on 1/23/11 at 0:12am UTC, wrote Its really not very scientific of you to assume (anything)that personal...

YakYak: on 1/23/11 at 0:09am UTC, wrote I live in the Bronx and my wife can talk so fast she would leave...

Mariusz R. Krakowski: on 12/13/10 at 5:52am UTC, wrote One can't help wondering how this essay has ever made it to the...

Yuri P.: on 11/13/10 at 6:27am UTC, wrote You are incorrect in your scale example, I did not read further assuming it...

Chris C.: on 11/1/09 at 22:06pm UTC, wrote Time is a concept by man but it is used to describe the change of state of...


John Cox: "Sorry, Georgina, I have had a busy summer and am racing the change of..." in The Nature of Time

Jim Snowdon: "If the Earth did not have it`s rotational motion, the apparent time of day..." in The Quantum Clock-Maker...

Steve Dufourny: "Yes indeed the present seems the only one thing where we can insteract ,..." in The Quantum Clock-Maker...

Stefan Weckbach: "Hi Lorraine, thanks for your reply. You are correct, that's what I was..." in The Present State of...

Georgina Woodward: "John, Thank you for responding. I was hoping for evaluation of the..." in The Nature of Time

Lorraine Ford: "Stefan, First, one has to try to define the essential features of..." in The Present State of...

Lorraine Ford: "David and Kelvin, How would you describe consciousness, i.e. what are you..." in Consciousness and the...

Steve Dufourny: "Hello Daniele Oriti, I liked your approach for this quantum gravitation...." in The universe as a quantum...

click titles to read articles

Reconstructing Physics
New photon experiment gives new meta-framework, 'constructor theory,' a boost.

The Quantum Engineer: Q&A with Alexia Auffèves
Experiments seek to use quantum observations as fuel to power mini motors.

The Quantum Clock-Maker Investigating COVID-19, Causality, and the Trouble with AI
Sally Shrapnel, a quantum physicist and medical practitioner, on her experiments into cause-and-effect that could help us understand time’s arrow—and build better healthcare algorithms.

Connect the Quantum Dots for a New Kind of Fuel
'Artificial atoms' allow physicists to manipulate individual electrons—and could help to reduce energy wastage in electronic devices.

Can Choices Curve Spacetime?
Two teams are developing ways to detect quantum-gravitational effects in the lab.

September 25, 2021

CATEGORY: What's Ultimately Possible in Physics? Essay Contest (2009) [back]
TOPIC: What is the Ultimate Velocity? by Andrew Miller [refresh]
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Author Andrew Miller wrote on Oct. 1, 2009 @ 11:41 GMT
Essay Abstract

For the majority of the twentieth century, the ultimate velocity of any object seemed established via sound scientific principles. This paper will readdress those principles. Upon the completion of the analysis, it will be shown that it may be possible to exceed this established velocity.

Author Bio

The great physicist Richard Feynman always advocated assessing the quality of the paper, not the person who wrote it. Any information about me would only serve to bias the assessment of this paper in a negative way.

Download Essay PDF File

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Uncle Al wrote on Oct. 1, 2009 @ 16:57 GMT
Oscillators are complicated clocks. Use radioactive decay (not electron capture decay) and mechanical arguments vanish. Clocks are only meaningful when locally compared. Within a coordinate frame nothing changes at all in Special Relativity, for velocity is arbitrary. It is only between reference frames that velocity matters,

e observer or clock traversing the most space accumulates the least time; the four-vector is conserved. Contention that density increases with velocity is nonsense. A deeply relativistic observer "seeing" a rest frame subcritical solid plutonium ball does not detonate it . There is no known quantitative observable that affects the way an object vacuum free falls, observed true to 5x10^(-14) difference/average from beryllium marbles (University of Washington, Eot/Wash) to pulsar binaries (arxiv:0805.2396). The only remaining unexamined case is macroscopically and chemically identical, enantiomorphic atomic mass distributions (e.g., left - vs. right-handed single crystals of alpha-quartz or glycine gamma-polymorph). That divergence is thermodynamically constrained to less than 10^(-12) relative.

There is NO length contraction, there is only observer perspective. If the relativistic object is passing by rather than coming right at your nose you don't even get that, you get Terrell rotation.

Scharnhorst effect - local speed of light in excess of vacuum lightspeed.

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Anton W.M. Biermans wrote on Oct. 3, 2009 @ 05:13 GMT
‘… one day it may be possible to travel faster than the speed of light …’

I’m sorry but the speed of light isn’t even a velocity but just a number which says how many meters correspond to how many seconds, so you can never travel a greater spacedistance than the time-distance it corresponds to. Like some rulers which show lengths in centimeter at one side and in inches on the other, their ratio being 2.54, spacetime uses a ruler with a length scale at one side and a time scale at the other, the ratio between meters and seconds being c. Spacetime is not a space where it is everywhere the same time: the idea of a universal clock, which comes down to a clock outside the universe directing the pace of everything inside is a truly religious notion. As it isn’t everywhere the same time but clock readings depend on the observer and the observed process, as there’s no point in the universe from which unambiguously can be determined where it is earlier or later, a photon cannot even know in which direction it moves. Only an object which interacts with the environment it travels through can have a velocity with respect to the things it interacts with: as the photon cannot express its properties in interactions so the part “with respect to” doesn’t even apply, the speed of light is not a velocity. As it took me years to accept this state of affairs and only now am beginning to understand this dichotomy, its need in nature for engineering reasons, I suspect this to be hard to fathom for the reader: that Newton was right in thinking light to be transmitted instantaneously, Einstein being right in equating a spacedistance with a timedistance, but nevertheless mistaking a timedistance for a duration. As to a photon the world it travels in doesn’t exist as at that speed its properties are suspendend in time so it cannot express them in interactions with that world (which anyway would require influences propagating even faster), to the photon there’s no space nor timedistance between the points it is transmitted (never mind that photons do seem to interact when traveling –see Mechanics of a Self-Creating Universe), its transmission is instantaneous, notwithstanding the fact that an observer measures a time proportional to the distance between the points it is transmitted as to him they have different spacetime coordinates.

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Narendra Nath wrote on Oct. 3, 2009 @ 09:05 GMT
The velocity has a limiting value only if the space is homogeneous. If one can create inhomogeneous space for a space vehicle to move ther can be no such limiting magnitude for the velocity of thst vehicle. For example, if the spave is condensed in front and expanded behind a vehicle in such a space, it can go to much higher velocity than the speed of light! May visit my essay on this forum in this regard.

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Janko Kokosar wrote on Oct. 4, 2009 @ 20:47 GMT
I also mentioned larger speed of light in my essay by a few sentences. By I do not change special relativity theory, because general relativity almost allows larger speed of light by using wormholes. But we do not know, how it is in quantum gravity, and we cannot exclude these quantum wormholes.

So a principle is 1. c is constant, 2. space can be curved and (maybe) arbitrarily curved. This means the same effect as v>c.

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NN wrote on Oct. 11, 2009 @ 03:30 GMT
Sorry, i am unable to follow the impact your response. in my comment i am talking of non-homogeneity in space curved, rolled or whatever.Homogeneity sets the limiting value of velocity to c.

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NN wrote on Oct. 12, 2009 @ 04:06 GMT
i still await the response. However, i feel that i may mention an experimental measurement reported from the large aperture,array radiotelescopes set up in Australia to look for distant galaxies/interstyeller objects. It showed the velocity of light signals coming from a 12 billion years away object was distictly higher than the value of c so established. Also measurements of e/m made on such objects using spectral lines showed deviations from 'establishes' values. i personally expect the early universe to posess such characteristics as the situation than was too violent in many ways and today's Physics did not take such factors into account. i expect changes in the values of all the physical constants we talk about today, including the Planck's constant h, which i expect had a lower value than worked out by us today! I even suggest in relation to the essay of Tajinder on this website that mesoscopic region amy well have existed in the early universe. Such accurate studies in cosmology may be persued with enhanced precision, instead of huge cost experiments being attempted at LHC in geneva and another machine near Chicago.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Oct. 24, 2009 @ 14:52 GMT

Worth much more, so have rated you much higher.

I do believe in the constancy of 'c', but also that there are ways.. - have a look at my offering 'Perfect Symmetry. (and rate it if you feel generous). You may well find the posts informative too. A field moving within a field (AE's 52 proposition) may allow relative superluminal motion.

Best of luck

Peter Jackson

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I DO I DO I DO replied on Jan. 23, 2011 @ 00:31 GMT
believe ... has nothing to do with science.

I must, however, grant that nonstandard views offer the most provocative results...and challenge to orthodox boneheads. Good luque 2 the duck.

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Chris C. wrote on Nov. 1, 2009 @ 22:06 GMT
Time is a concept by man but it is used to describe the change of state of a system. So taking a subset of the universe that is a box, if the box is at 0 K and all particles that have mass within the box is completely frozen, then time is not passing in its frame of reference. Of course assuming there is constant change outside of that system, something outside can disturb the box and set it in motion again. So if the universe was frozen, then time would effectively be frozen. But if the universe is the only set in existence then that means if it were frozen, it would never be unfrozen without outside interference. Obviously the universe is not frozen, so all measurements of time is with respect to the constant change of the universe.

When you travel closer to the speed of light it requires more energy to increase your velocity the same amount when you were stationary. So given that the limited amount of energy you started with, as you move closer to the speed of light you have less energy in your body to set your atoms in motion at the same speed relative to stationary. The particles in your frame of reference are slowed down. However from your humanly perception you will not notice a change because your brain is moving at a relatively slow speed too. So given the example of a clock, the clock now only has the enough energy to move at an extremely slow rate. But with all particles of mass slowed down, then for all intents and purposes time has slowed down. Remember we defined time as the change in state. If there is no change, no time has passed.

So in effect time is dilated in that for all intents and purposes there is a proportional difference in the actions of a clock at .99c with respect to a clock at rest.

If there are any experienced physicists who would like to correct anything I said, please, do so because I pulled that out of my butt with limited knowledge of relativity.

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Yuri P. wrote on Nov. 13, 2010 @ 06:27 GMT
You are incorrect in your scale example, I did not read further assuming it invalidates the rest of the paper and being short on time, so if you covered this later please accept my apology.

The scale will not sink lower if the density increases but the mass remains constant. Simply because the area that the entire system (the platter on which the weight is placed and the weight itself) "interacts" with the spring (I doubt this is the proper term, but it I hope you get the idea).

i.e. While the force/m^2 acting on the platter increases the area decreases, thus leaving the system in balance (If it contracts vertically the force/m^2 stays the same).

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Mariusz R. Krakowski wrote on Dec. 13, 2010 @ 05:52 GMT
One can't help wondering how this essay has ever made it to the competition, being so obviously scientific garbage. That people comment or even rate it is beyond belief. Either the author is as ignorant as some of his readers, or he is a successful provocateur. Only Yuri P. (in his post on Nov. 13th)noted the fundamental flaw in the dissertation that renders it completely worthless.

It does not take a rocket scientist to see it. In fact, any brighter sixth grader would know that "when an object is placed on the scale, the degree to which the scale descends is dictated by the equation P=F/A" is utter rubbish.

I don't think it would be appropriate to elaborate any further on this forum.

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YakYak wrote on Jan. 23, 2011 @ 00:09 GMT
I live in the Bronx and my wife can talk so fast she would leave auctioneers speechless with amazement. Just last night while I watched some Bozo on the news network attempt to convince viewers he had a handle on current events and the sound of buzzing intruded into my erstwhile consciousness. I knew it was the buzz of reality moving in on me like a religious experience eclipsing the dogged journalistic hype oozing from the video newscast. I turned to see the source of the buzz. It was my wife. She was yakking into her new Iphone on a conference call and she clearly had about six other callers seized within her linguistic grasp. I focused on her mouth and could barely make out that she was talking five conversations at the same time. Is this amazing, or what? She's a master at multitasking and I shuddered to think of what it would do to me when later in bed she slipped that awesome tongue between my lips in a good night smootch. Would I be vaporized or maybe killed by the piercing reach of her awesome tongue? I could only marvel that she must have been some kinda alien in another life. Maybe she lives in another form on a distant planet like KPax to which she is intimately connected in subluminous entanglements and horrible physiks?

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I'm Not a Convict, really... wrote on Jan. 23, 2011 @ 00:12 GMT
Its really not very scientific of you to assume (anything)that personal information about you would prejudice the reader about what you have to say on this topic...unless you are really the unibomber in disguise and if you WERE...

why should I care unless you plot to smuggle bombs to readers disguised disingenously as essays in Scientific Americana Magajagwa?

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HuggaBuggah wrote on Jan. 23, 2011 @ 00:24 GMT
Is my girlfroind digital, or analog?

I have spent much time investigating this difficult paradox and after applying rigorous methods of inquiry the evidence convinces me she is BOTH! By use of loving licks to her outside and deep sudden probes of her innards it is clear that I MUST engage more study to ascertain the truth of her exquisite vitals.

So, until then... I remain totally engaged in this rather ultimate pursuit of truth and intellectual illumination. Who knows what hard face of reality will leap out of context to grab me by the throat and demand my wallet?

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Anything... wrote on Jan. 23, 2011 @ 00:32 GMT
is possible in physics, but self-doubt. Egoism is what makes the world go round and without egoism no one gets grants and peer recognition.

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