I have always had a problem with the speed of light. Not why is it constant but, why is it 299,792, 458 meters per second? Why isn’t it 300,000 m/s? No one seems to be pursuing the answer to this, which I consider a very interesting question. Interestingly enough, Hubble’s constant gives an expansion rate of the universe that equals c at a distance equivalent to the age of the universe in light years (i.e. the age of the universe is estimated at 13.8 billion years old and the distance at which objects are moving away from us at the speed of light is estimated at 13.8 billion light years). My personal hypothesis is that the speed of light is tied to the expansion rate of the universe. Now, that seems unlikely a coincidence. So, the fact that 299,792,458 m/s being the speed of light would really only be a corollary to the reason that it can’t go any faster, which would be the expansion rate of the universe. Am I missing something? Well, let’s figure it out.
image source: theme bin
First argument of the speed of light
The first recorded discussion of the speed of light (I think) is in Aristotle, where he quotes Empedocles as saying the light from the sun must take some time to reach the Earth, but Aristotle himself apparently disagrees, and even Descartes thought that light
travelled instantaneously. Galileo, unfairly as usual, in Two New Sciences (page 42) has Simplicio stating the Aristotelian position,
Everyday experience shows that the propagation of light is instantaneous; for
when we see a piece of artillery fired at great distance, the flash reaches our eyes without lapse of time; but the sound reaches the ear only after a noticeable interval.
Of course, Galileo points out that in fact nothing about the speed of light can be deduced from this observation, except that light moves faster than sound. He then goes on to suggest a possible way to measure the speed of light. The idea is to have two people far
away from each other, with covered lanterns. One uncovers his lantern, then the other immediately uncovers his on seeing the light from the first. This routine is to be practiced with the two close together, so they will get used to the reaction times involved, then they are to do it two or three miles apart, or even further using telescopes, to see if the time interval is perceptibly lengthened. Galileo claims he actually tried the experiment at distances less than a mile, and couldn’t detect a time lag. From this one can certainly deduce that light travels at least ten times faster than sound.
The speed of light is the most famous natural constant. The value of many parameters, and also the validity of many theories and postulates, was based on its size. In fact, it is a speed of moving of photons as quanta of electromagnetic radiation. The size of this fundamental physical constants is determined – on the one hand – on the basis of values obtained by measuring , and on the other hand – on the basis of electromagnetic theory by J. C. Maxwell (James Clerk, 1831-1879). Namely, in his “Dynamic theory of electromagnetic fields” published in the 1865th Maxwell defined constant which determines the relation between electric and magnetic phenomena, where the relationship – in a dimensional sense represented speed and had a very close numerical value to measured value of speed of light.
Although this fact was only emphasizing fact that the light has electromagnetic nature, these two highly related but essentially different, natural categories were completely equalized and completely associated not only in terms of quantity but in terms of quality also! Unfortunately, even bigger mistake was made when this “unified” velocity value was adopted as “the greatest possible speed of any phenomenon in nature”, and then it became a key value of the Lorentz transformations. This is one of the most important, although unintentionally committed (procedural) errors in the development of scientific thought , because with this mistake we lost an one entire world – a world that is an integral part of the existing reality, but completely inverse for the one that we know. First world which is measurable and perceptually accessible to us, we call reality. The second one, extremely far from our senses but quite familiar with our experience although it is not directly measurable, also exist as a real component of one higher reality we live in. This “lost world” we only can anticipate, theoretically we are describing as a virtual. By accepting the heterogeneity of named categories, with “disuniting” their values and with adopting Maxwell’s constant, instead of the speed of light, as a key value of Lorentz transformation we will significantly expand the realm of reality covered by existing theories, including an entirely “new” world in which the photon is “normal” particle with full real-remaining mass and in which all current virtual structures such as the “dark mass,” “dark energy,” “exoteric matter” and so on are “translated ” into the realm of the real world.
The maximum possible speed in nature
In our opinion, based primarily on analysis of original works Coulomb (Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, 1736 to 1806), which you will learn more with Aaditya’s upcoming post, and Maxwell, the measured speed of light should not be equated, and certainly not equalized with Maxwell’s constant, because they are related, but structurally totally different forms – a completely analogous to the concepts of electromotive force (E) and voltage (U) in the electric circuit, which are also very similar but still significantly different sizes. More importantly, the value of Lorentz constant which determines the quantity of relativistic effects, certainly should not be defined based on measured values of the speed of light, i.e. experimentally measured velocity of the photon!
One of my favourite topic in physics! Lorentz transformations are the basis of the theory of relativity. The quantity of relativistic effects (weight increase, length contraction, time dilatation, etcetera).
depends on the value of the constant gamma, γ=1/√1-(v/c)2 where the parameter “c” represents the highest possible speed in the nature and that is – according to current conventions – the speed of light, whose value is mistakenly identified with the value of Maxwell’s constant. And there is a problem. In accordance with this definition of the Lorentz constant, particles with no real rest mass can’t reach the speed of light, and on the other hand, photon, which is (however) moving at that speed, is defined as “particle” with no real rest mass and has a virtual mass m = E /c2, which is – although paradoxically – widely accepted. What we suggest is conceptual separation of the measured speed of light, and Maxwell’s constant, so that to the quantity of the “c” (which, in our view, in the Lorentz transformations is the theoretical value of the “greatest possible speed” of movement in nature) should not be assigned the value of the measured speed of light as it is now, but the value of Maxwell’s constant. Due to fact that its size is slightly, but still a bit higher than the speed of light, that value would actually have to be the real Lorentz “theory barrier” and substantial objects completely unattainable speed, which, as such, can never be measured experimentally, but – as Maxwell showed – it can be obtained on the basis of electromagnetic properties of the vacuum.
By adopting of our suggestion, Lorentz transformations remain the same, their invariance is not in question, but a qualitative difference becomes huge because now “Luxon wall” can be achieved, even skipped, without violate to currently valid postulates and / or theories. Let’s study Maxwell’s constant for a bit.
Maxwell’s constant value is indeed slightly higher than the measured speed of light and, with certain conventions that will be explained below, has the value v = 3×108 m/s. This “slight” difference has almost no effect at low, medium or even high speeds and this is probably one of the main reasons why Maxwell’s constant value was equalled with the speed of light.
Today, in the terminology of modern physics, we can say that the speed represented by Maxwell’s constant, and which has a dimension of speed is not the speed of any physical phenomena, electrical, magnetic, light, gravity, or any kind but only a theoretical value of velocity vector sum of the electron spin and propagation perpendicular to the spin while the light speed imply real moving speed of the photons. So Maxwell’s constant that represents a speed and not a speed of light is invariant physical barrier of speed propagation for electromagnetic fields in vacuum, and that can be achieved only in theory, indefinitely after spending large amounts of energy, which of course is impossible!
So Maxwell claims (only) that the speed of light and the ratio of electric and magnetic phenomena (“Ratio of Units”) are quantities of the same order of magnitude, which, as two different qualities, may have identical size, i.e. numeric value. Unfortunately, after the publication of Maxwell’s theory, in spite of different ideas (Somerfield, Heaviside, for example) these two quantities are completely identified
which is quite understandable because light is, at that time, the only known phenomenon with this speed. The fact that the photon must be massless particles is not considered to be absurd, as it actually is, but it is widely accepted as evidence that light have wave nature. Why all this year, this error is not detected and corrected?
First, there are very few of those who believe that Maxwell’s constant and the speed of light are different qualities. On the other hand, Einstein’s authority is really great, TR (theory of relativity) supported by appropriate experimental evidence so that anything that requires any corrections or contradict the theory in any sense – is not an allowable option for science. However, the experimental reality points as to the insufficient lack of width of the existing theories, demanding new ideas. In our opinion the solution is very simple. It only takes a small change in the understanding and interpretation of the concept of the highest possible speed in nature as the key size, which determines the value of the Lorentz constant.
I suggest you to read “Seventeen equations that changed the world” by Ian Stewart. That’s how I learnt about Maxwell’s equation.
Firstly, I thought to write about Lorentz transformation in the function of Maxwell’s constant, but it’s really hard physics stuff and I need to research about it more so I decided to save it up for another time!
First measurements of the speed of light
Empedocles was the first to claim that light has a finite speed. He maintained that light was something in motion, and therefore must take some time to travel. Aristotle argued, to the contrary, that “light is due to the presence of something, but it is not a movement”. Euclid and Ptolemy advanced the emission theory of vision, where light is emitted from the eye, thus enabling sight. Based on that theory, Heron of Alexandria argued that the speed of light must be infinite because distant objects such as stars appear immediately upon opening the eyes.
Measuring the speed of light with Jupiter’s moon
The first real measurement of the speed of light came about half a century later, in 1676, by a Danish astronomer, Ole Rømer, working at the Paris Observatory. He had made a systematic study of Io, one of the moons of Jupiter, which was eclipsed by Jupiter at regular intervals, as Io went around Jupiter in a circular orbit at a steady rate. Actually, Rømer found, for several months the eclipses lagged more and more behind the expected time, until they were running about eight minutes late, then they began to pick up again, and in fact after about six months were running eight minutes early. The cycle then repeated itself. Rømer realized the significance of the time involved-just over one year. This time period had nothing to do with Io, but was the time between successive closest approaches of earth in its orbit to Jupiter. The eclipses were furthest behind the predicted times when the earth was furthest from Jupiter.
The natural explanation was that the light from Io (actually reflected sunlight, of course) took time to reach the earth, and took the longest time when the earth was furthest away. From his observations, Rømer concluded that light took about twenty-two minutes to cross the earth’s orbit. This was something of an overestimate, and a few years later Newton wrote in the Principia (Book I, section XIV):
For it is now certain from the phenomena of Jupiter’s satellites, confirmed by the observations of different astronomers, that light is propagated in succession (NOTE: I think this means at finite speed) and requires about seven or eight minutes to travel from the sun to the earth).
This is essentially the correct value. Of course, to find the speed of light it was also necessary to know the distance from the Earth to the Sun. During the 1670’s, attempts were made to measure the parallax of Mars, that is, how far it shifted against the background of distant stars when viewed simultaneously from two different places on earth at the same time. This (very slight) shift could be used to find the distance of Mars from earth, and hence the distance to the sun, since all relative distances in the solar system had been established by observation and geometrical analysis.
Other famous measurements
There were many other measurements which were granted as the earliest by people like James Bradley in 1728, Fizeau and Foucault in 1850 and Albert Michelson in the 1860s.
Maxwell’s constant value and speed of light (namely photons velocity) have to be disunited. Releasing Maxwell’s constant of join to the measured value of the speed of light and adopting its released, original Maxwell’s, value as the greatest possible speed in nature, we will free matter from the shackles of subluminal speed allowing it a new form of existence and the qualities that now depend only on the local-structural properties of the vacuum, where the speed of light itself i.e. speed of photons, becomes invariant. The photon is finally transformed into a “normal” particle with real rest mass which he already express in a number of experiments, and all theories and postulates remain valid. What’s more – this is of crucial importance for modern physics because the structure of the vacuum does not – or can have, nor anything in nature – the absolute attributes, which confirms the practice.
And in the end – the most beautiful part… If we accept that a photon has a real rest mass, just like all other known stable particles, their structure can be explained in function of a more primary entities, the basic bricks of our world, from which everything is made up – from atoms to the largest celestial bodies including, of course, and all forms of life.
- THE VELOCITY OF LIGHT AND MAXWELL’S CONSTANT, Felipe O. Bertrand
- Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Sir Isaac Newton
- Coulomb’s Electric Torsion Balance Experiments,
- On the Notation of MAXWELL’s Field Equations,
- Unconventional physics – BeotelNet,
- Wikipedia – speed of light; Rømer’s determination of the speed of light,
- Seventeen Equations That Changed the World, Ian Stewart, 2012
- PhysForum Science, Physics and Technology Discussion Forums,
- Galileo, Department of Physics, University of Virginia,
- Mr. Clintberg’s Studyphysics,