Question on Physics

This is a discussion on Question on Physics within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; For the physicists out there, help me with the following. I'm curious as to whether speed affects matter at the ...

  1. #1
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Question on Physics

    For the physicists out there, help me with the following.

    I'm curious as to whether speed affects matter at the molecular level. Theoretically, assuming a vacuum environment, if an object moves at the speed of light, how will its atoms behave? Normally?
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  2. #2
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    Concerning the internal interactions, the atoms will behave normally, because their reference point is each other, so they might as well not move at all.

    I don't know how the interactions with the outside world change. That's where my knowledge gives out.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

    "There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
    - Flon's Law

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornedBee View Post
    Concerning the internal interactions, the atoms will behave normally, because their reference point is each other, so they might as well not move at all.
    As I suspected. Thanks CornedBee

    Quote Originally Posted by CornedBee View Post
    I don't know how the interactions with the outside world change. That's where my knowledge gives out.
    This is probably the bit that interests most for what I'm doing right now. But I'm unsure as to what exactly you mean. You mean the possibility of the object losing atoms even in the absence of attrition?
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  4. #4
    carry on JaWiB's Avatar
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    According to Einstein, it isn't possible for an object with mass to move at the speed of light.
    "Think not but that I know these things; or think
    I know them not: not therefore am I short
    Of knowing what I ought."
    -John Milton, Paradise Regained (1671)

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    The superhaterodyne twomers's Avatar
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    >> Concerning the internal interactions, the atoms will behave normally,
    I disagree. Towards any extremity things behave ... funny. Very high frequencies, very low temperatures, very high temperatures, very high pressures, just to name a few. Very high speeds is bound not to be an exception -- nature copied and pasted a lot of characteristics.

    As things get faster I believe Einstein conjectured* that they move slower in time and get heavier. I agree with JaWiB, but I do not pretend to know much about this kind of stuff.

    * I think he proved this, in fact, but I cannot fully remember.

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    - - - - - - - - oogabooga's Avatar
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    I agree with CornedBee.

    The idea of special relativity is that you have to take certain distortions into account when you measure objects going at high speeds relative to you. The distortions occur because of the finite nature of the speed of light and the non-absolute nature of space-time. Importantly, the objects do not change at all; just the measurements change. Einstein's (special) relativity is a straightforward working-out of this idea.

    twomers is right that extreme conditions will always produce some crazy effects, but the conditions must be "absolute", such as being near a high-gravity source. Gravity and acceleration are absolute. The general(ized) theory of relativity deals with them.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    ok. We seem to be establishing that if an object could theoretically move at the speed of light in vacuum, it probably wouldn't experience any kind of molecular changes.

    Imagine now a perfect sphere. By perfect I mean no joints and a smooth surface. And by smooth I mean smooth to the extreme. Lets move this object at the speed of light and introduce some sort of attrition... air molecules for instance. Would this object invariably be destroyed?

    Understand I'm only after a plausible answer. No hard facts really. I'm writting a fiction based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft (one of my favorite writers after poe). At some point two of the characters are meant to be discussing this issue. The setting is the late 19 century. And while these are two bright individuals, their knowledge on these issues is only scant and populated with myth.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  8. #8
    The superhaterodyne twomers's Avatar
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    >> We seem to be establishing that if an object could theoretically move at the speed of light in vacuum, it probably wouldn't experience any kind of molecular changes.
    An fine deduction for a pack of hobby programmers, huh?

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    - - - - - - - - oogabooga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I'm writting a fiction based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft (one of my favorite writers after poe). At some point two of the characters are meant to be discussing this issue. The setting is the late 19 century. And while these are two bright individuals, their knowledge on these issues is only scant and populated with myth.
    Cool, a story! They should mention (perhaps argue about) the "luminiferous aether". The idea is how can light (considered a wave at that time) travel without a medium? The medium was called the aether. Beginning the disproof of aether's existence was the Michelson-Morley experiment (1887), so that's probably after (or perhaps during) your storyline.

    You're emphasizing the perfect smoothness of the sphere. That is already a problem. What is it made of? How could it be "perfectly smooth" if it consists of atoms/molecules? At some level, it must be bumpy. Certainly it is bumpy at the level of air molecules, which will therefore not just slide around it but smash it to pieces. Also your use of the word "attrition" presupposes the sphere is being affected. If it is capable of being attrited, and realistically it must be, then it will be destroyed.

    But since it's a story, perhaps this sphere is something not seen before, an alien technology made of a super-thin shell of neutron star material. That way it wouldn't have molecules or even atoms, but it would still be bumpy at some level, but perhaps at a level below that of the size of air-molecules. That might help. I don't know if it's "possible", though.

    Also remember that if the object has any mass at all, it should be going *less* than c, though perhaps near it.

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    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    I don't know if it's "possible", though.
    Kind of. Neutron stars are solid spheres of neutrons packed as tightly as possible. You couldn't make a hollow sphere out of neutrons, because their own gravity would cause them to collapse into a smaller sphere - unless you have something strange in the middle that keeps them in position. Definitely sounds like alien technology. Since neutrons are not affected by electromagnetic forces, and the weak nuclear force is too, well, weak to counter gravity at this level, it would have to be either anti-gravity or a repelling form of the strong nuclear force.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

    "There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
    - Flon's Law

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    No. The two gentleman are only theorizing on the effects of speed on matter. In the end one of them wants to convince the other things ages, wither or are otherwise altered in a negative way because they are in a constant motion, or being affected by the motion of other things. The other wants to convince him that's nonsense.

    I'm only extrapolating into current knowledge so that I can have a foothold from which to build this conversation. The dialog serves as a parody to science sometimes being made, not of careful examination and experimentation, but instead of argumentation.

    Also remember that if the object has any mass at all, it should be going *less* than c, though perhaps near it.
    Yes. This was brought up before. For the purpose of my task, this is irrelevant. However, let me say something about it... just because this is after all the General Discussions forum.

    Some FTL theories exist that try to contradict this. At least, to say that objects and information can move at speeds higher than the speed of light under special circumstances. While Einstein's theory of Special Relativity has been observed countless times since its inception, the fact also is that it can't contradict some of these FTL theories either.

    Necessarily they are only conjectures, some better supported than others. However, our understanding of the universe has taken many turns, sometimes dramatically. Establishment works against science. So I prefer to remember at all times SR is still a theory, despite increasing evidence that supports it.

    The wording thus is "according to SR, if the object has any mass at all, it should be going *less* than c"
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  12. #12
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oogabooga View Post
    You're emphasizing the perfect smoothness of the sphere. That is already a problem.
    Ah. I didn't say perfect. Yes. The sphere is only smooth at a scale higher than that of molecules. In fact, this can be done today... maybe not a sphere, but metallic plates have been constructed.

    If it is capable of being attrited, and realistically it must be, then it will be destroyed.
    This is important. I agree it should be too. After all, it is more or less what happens at the atomic level in today's particle accelerators. I'd imagine molecules bumping at the speed of light would counter the nuclear forces and fundamentally alter their structure.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 02-04-2008 at 04:53 AM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Ah. I didn't say perfect. Yes. The sphere is only smooth at a scale higher than that of molecules. In fact, this can be done today... maybe not a sphere, but metallic plates have been constructed.
    The most perfect sphere ever created was not metallic plates, but fused quartz.
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

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    - - - - - - - - oogabooga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    While Einstein's theory of Special Relativity has been observed countless times since its inception, the fact also is that it can't contradict some of these FTL theories either.
    Can you give an internet site for some (or one) of these conjectures?

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Well, you can google for FTL or go to the wiki and build your way up from there.

    As for books, I'd probably recommend introductory books to quantum physics and necessarily any writings by the authors of these theories. I seem to remember the first time I've read about FTL with some lengthy discussion was on a book from either Brian Greene or Stephen Hawking.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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