The Instigator
Geocentricist
Pro (for)
The Contender
SheBlindedMeWithScience
Con (against)

The Wang Experiment Proves Relativity Is Wrong

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/13/2017 Category: Science
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 450 times Debate No: 103928
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
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Geocentricist

Pro

The Wang Experiment can be read about at these links:

An animation of the experiment can be watched here (the second part is simply the first in the frame of the detector/emitter):

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmGStcDcUGk


Relativity: A term referring to both Special Relativity and General Relativity.

Special Relativity: A theory which states that light speed will always be measured at c in an inertial frame.

General Relativity: A theory which states that light speed will not always be measured at c in a non-inertial frame.

Inertial Frame: A frame that is either motionless or moving in a straight line at an unchanging speed.

In this experiment, the speed of light is measured to be other than c in an inertial frame. Therefore, Special Relativity is false.

Please post your rebuttal to this statement.

I do not expect anyone to accept, because this falsification of Special Relativity is so manifestly obvious and irrefutable that it would be foolish to contradict it.

SheBlindedMeWithScience

Con

First, a word on how light works and some definitions. Light propagates through as both a wave and particle. As it relates to this debate, we will be focusing on the waveform and leave the particle/wave duality weirdness to the theoretical physicists. Light propagates through any given medium at some fraction of c (e.g.. some number less than 299,792 km/s). In a perfect vacuum, light would propagate at exactly c.

A standing wave is actually not a single wave. It's many different waveforms that converge and create a (wave function)- a meta-wave as it were. The standing wave is the sum of those waveforms. In other words, it's a composite of the waves that contribute to it. The standing wave can be manipulated (introducing variations in the peaks and troughs) in such a way as to transmit information. This is the principle that allows fibre-optic cable to operate and why the experiment was performed.

However, while it is possible (and totally in keeping with relativity) to create a standing wave that appears to move faster than c, this effect cannot transmit information faster than c (which would cause serious injury to relativity) because it's not the standing wave that transmits information, it's the variation in the standing wave that transmits information. Since these variations in the standing wave are caused by the changes to the individual waveforms that constitute the standing wave and these individual waveforms can only propagate at some speed equal to or less than c, no matter how fast the individual standing wave appears to travel, information can only travel at some fraction of c.

An example of this to illustrate. Imagine you have a laser pointer and you point it at the wall at a distance of one meter. When you flex your wrist just a little, the point of light will move. Then, repeat the same motion, pointed at the same wall from a distance of 5 meters. The point of light will appear to move a great deal faster (5 times the speed of the first). Now, if you had a super powerful laser pointer and you point it roughly at the visible edge of mars and move your wrist 20 degrees in one second, the laser pointer will cross mars at 1.9749e+7 mi/s or 106*c. But that's perfectly fine, because the theoretical laser pointer did not transmit any information faster than c, nor did any constituent part move faster than c.

Just like our thought experiment, the Wang experiment was not measuring the speed of a single photon that they had coaxed into zooming along faster than c, it was measuring the velocity of the peak of a pre-existing standing wave which can move faster than the light that comprises it (just like a wave in any medium can move faster than the component particles of that wave). There is one simple concept that immediately invalidates the proposition:
The peak of the standing wave can, in fact, 'travel' at superluminal speeds within the confines of an existing standing wave, but it cannot carry information faster than c and none of its constituent waves can travel faster than c.
Therefore, it does not invalidate relativity.

References (sorry, not APA):
Journal Article "First-Order Fiber-Interferometric Experiments for Crucial Test of Light-Speed Constancy*"
https://www.researchgate.net...
Standing (Stationary) Waves
https://youtu.be...
Wait, I'm still confused why information can't travel faster than the speed of light. (Beginner)
http://curious.astro.cornell.edu...
Sixty Symbols Superluminal Speeds
https://youtu.be...
Debate Round No. 1
Geocentricist

Pro

To see actual standing waves, checkout this link:
  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gr7KmTOrx0#t=03m11s

"In a perfect vacuum, light would propagate at exactly c."

That is what Special Relativity claims, but it's my task in this debate to show it's wrong.

My opponent states that a standing wave can travel faster than c without violating Special Relativity, but his analogy does not explain the logic of this:

"Imagine you have a laser pointer and you point it at the wall at a distance of one meter. When you flex your wrist just a little, the point of light will move. Then, repeat the same motion, pointed at the same wall from a distance of 5 meters. The point of light will appear to move a great deal faster (5 times the speed of the first)."

This has to do with geometry, not the speed of light. How is this analogous to a standing wave exceeding the speed of traveling waves? I await a better analogy or explanation from my opponent, maybe a graphic or animation illustrating how and why a standing wave can exceed the speed of traveling waves.

SheBlindedMeWithScience

Con

The laser pointer is actually a very good analogy. Yes, it's exactly an effect of geometry just like the traveling wave moving faster than c. The thing that is moving faster than c, is not light, it's simply the point at which the waves intersect in certain ways. The reason this doesn't have any bearing on relativity, is that neither light waves nor information are propagating faster than c , but the point where they intersect in a specific way changes position faster than light actually propagates.

My opponent has not yet provided evidence, nor logical syllogism to support his claim. This doesn't bode well for the pro side of a debate. I'm left wondering if he will provide such.
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Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SheBlindedMeWithScience 10 months ago
SheBlindedMeWithScience
The wang experiment didn't show 'light' going faster than c. that's not how fiber optics work. There's no single light pulse in a fiber optic media. There is a standing wave and information is passed through it using the wave function. wave functions can easily go faster than light. They have two constraints: they can only exist within a region that contains a standing wave, and any information transmitted will, at maximum be a fraction of c.
Posted by Geocentricist 10 months ago
Geocentricist
theta_pinch I found it:

www.researchgate.net/publication/242479763_First-Order_Fiber-Interferometric_Experiments_for_Crucial_Test_of_Light-Speed_Constancy

"a result falsifying the principle of the light-speed constancy."
Posted by Geocentricist 10 months ago
Geocentricist
theta_pinch, that's a completely different experiment. You asked for where the author of the experiment stated it falsified Relativity. The links are listed here but unfortunately they are dead and I can't find the papers anywhere else:

http://www.naturalphilosophy.org...
Posted by theta_pinch 10 months ago
theta_pinch
Looking it up, apparently they recorded a group velocity exceeding the speed of light, but not the phase velocity which is what relativity cares about.
http://physicsworld.com...
Posted by theta_pinch 10 months ago
theta_pinch
Looking it up, apparently they recorded a group velocity exceeding the speed of light, but not the phase velocity which is what relativity cares about.
http://physicsworld.com...
Posted by theta_pinch 10 months ago
theta_pinch
@Geocentricist could you post a link to it in the comments?
Posted by Geocentricist 10 months ago
Geocentricist
The author of this paper said it disproves Relativity in a different paper. He didn't write that in this paper because if he had the paper wouldn't have gotten published in a mainstream journal.
Posted by theta_pinch 10 months ago
theta_pinch
Don't you think if it did disprove relativity they would have noted that in the research paper? At least a footnote? Or that some other scientist would have noticed in the 13 years since the paper was released?
Posted by Geocentricist 10 months ago
Geocentricist
The Wang Experiment involves an inertial observer observing light traveling at a speed that isn't c. This violates Special Relativity.
Posted by Mharman 10 months ago
Mharman
Why is this wang experiment so extraordinary? There have been several of these, it's nothing new.
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