The physics of beautiful contradictions • 14 January 2008 • The SnowBlog
The physics of beautiful contradictions
You probably learned in school that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Or given that many of you are probably Eng. Lit. fans who snoozed through science maybe you learned no such thing. In fact, being arts graduates you probably heard it stated as a law but assumed you could get out of it if you had a good excuse. Well, it turns out you were right - and what better excuse than aesthetics? That picture is the pretty glow you get when you force charged particles to travel faster than the speed of light. Isn't that great? Science being contravened in the name of art. Except of course science is still in effect. The trick is that the speed of light is lower inside things - like water - and the rule about how fast you can go only applies to the speed that light reaches in empty space (where it's travelling flat out). Why am I showing you this? Because it's nice looking.