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Many thanks for that, T.R. ! The analogy of the wave in a rope makes a difficult concept easily understood. But how is it that we are always moving at the speed of light? I thought only photons could do that. Diana


From:  "T. R. Stratton" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Re: Warning//Quantum Mechanics/ /way off topic
Date:  Thu, 26 Jul 2007 09:33:56 -0700
Most people would say that special relativity prohibits us from
travelling at the speed of light, for, as you stated, time ceases to
move when you are moving through psace at the speed of light.  But, in
reality, you are always moving at the speed of light.  The question is
whether you are moving through space, time, or (much more commonly)
through some combination of the two.  Simply put, the (squared) sum of
your speeds through space and time is always equal to the speed of
light.  I have always preferred this way of thinking about special
relativity.

I highly recommend Relativity Visualized by Lewis Carroll Epstein for
an explanation of special and general relativity.

Also, the equation Richard cited, E=mc2, referrs to a particles _rest_
energy.  Particles in motion follow a different equation, which
utilizes momentum.  Photons are particles with momentum but not mass,
if they stop moving, they disappear.  The momentum is determined by
frequency and velocity.  In this sense photons are like waves in a
rope, they don't have mass per se, but they can carry energy.  This is
probably a pretty weak analogy but the best I can think of getting
ready for work.

T.R. Stratton, A.B. Physics

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T.R. Stratton
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