May 12, 2006
E = M x (WHATEVER YOU DECIDE) SQUARED (via Tom Morin):
Light's Most Exotic Trick Yet: So Fast it Goes ... Backwards? (University of Rochester, May 11, 2006)
In the past few years, scientists have found ways to make light go both faster and slower than its usual speed limit, but now researchers at the University of Rochester have published a paper today in Science on how they've gone one step further: pushing light into reverse. As if to defy common sense, the backward-moving pulse of light travels faster than light.
Confused? You're not alone.
"I've had some of the world's experts scratching their heads over this one," says Robert Boyd, the M. Parker Givens Professor of Optics at the University of Rochester. "Theory predicted that we could send light backwards, but nobody knew if the theory would hold up or even if it could be observed in laboratory conditions."
Boyd recently showed how he can slow down a pulse of light to slower than an airplane, or speed it up faster than its breakneck pace, using exotic techniques and materials. But he's now taken what was once just a mathematical oddity—negative speed—and shown it working in the real world.
This should cheer up that quack in today's Times who thinks Darwinism is the only science that the rest of us think is silly.
Posted by Orrin Judd at May 12, 2006 3:13 PM