## Faster Than The Speed Of Light?

**SILLY**

If this is science, I will eat my shoe.

James Hill and Barry Cox are mathematicians from the University of Adelaide. They say Einstein’s special theory of relativity can now cover phenomena faster than light speed (* Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences*). Einstein missed this; they fixed it.

They say if you extend the math properly it can describe phenomena at any speed – even infinite speed at which, they say, your mass will shrink to zero.

Pretty good, huh?

But the math breaks down at the speed of light itself. They say that’s not a problem. It’s like breaking the sound barrier, something which was once was “impossible”. We do it all the time now, right? With some new technology – maybe better spacecraft propulsion- sooner or later, we’ll be wondering why we poked along at a less than 186 thousand miles a second.

Here’s the thing. And where do I begin?

The special theory explains how, as you approach the speed of light, you appear to be gaining mass. The closer you get to the speed of light, the more mass you appear to have gained. (This is all relative to an “observer”.) Although your rocket engine (and your fuel) will get bigger too, you won’t be able to get ahead of the effect of your gain in mass and your speed will remain “subluminal”. Fast, yes. Light speed? Not gonna happen.

Says Einstein.

If you can’t GET to light speed, you can’t PASS light speed. And, if you can’t pass it, you can’t take advantage of the mathematics of Hill and Cox.

The authors admit that they aren’t physicists – just mathematicians having a nice day.

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Fair disclosure: I’m not a physicist either. And I’m having a nice day too.