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Q & A: Faster than light?

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Is it possible to travel faster than the speed of light, without becoming pure energy?
- Corey bower (age 13)
Jordan Glen School, Gainesville, FL. U.S.A
A:
Nothing that we know of travels faster than the speed of light, including all the forms of energy we know of. The speed of light here is the speed at which light travels in a vacuum. If stuff could go faster, there would be problems where events can happen without any cause. See other answers on this site of similar questions for more information.

Light travels in a vacuum at the speed of light. In a transparent material such as glass or water, light travels at a slower speed. The real speed limit of the universe is the speed of light in vacuum, and it is possible to zip past a light wave when it is traveling in a material like glass. If an object has an electric charge, it will radiate some light off to the sides if it travels through a material such as glass at faster than the speed of light in the glass. This is called Cherenkov radiation (named after the Russian scientist who observed it first), and is simliar to the waves in a wake of a boat on a pond if the boat is traveling faster than the speed of the waves on the pond (boats usually do).

Tom

(published on 10/22/2007)

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