Pulsars, Einstein, and the Need for Speed

New research published by Andrea Schmidt and John Singleton of the Los Alamos National Laboratory promises to reshape the way we think about the speed of light.  After prolonged study of nine pulsars, this duo found strong evidence of the source of their pulsing behavior.  They discovered that these pulsar echoes are the “sonic boom” of faster-than-light superconductivity within the circular orbit of charged particles on the plasma shell of the star.  While this seems to violate Special Relativity, the phenomenon manages to stay within the bounds of accepted physics.  This superluminal current appears to travel at as much as six times the speed of light, but each charged particle interacts only with its close neighbors, resulting in overall particle velocities that are slower than light.  Given the presence of increased nuclear density on neutron stars, this interaction resembles an extremely compact and circular newtonian demonstrator with a wave of motion moving faster than anything ever observed. The radiation emitted outward from this circuit is itself still travelling at or below the speed of light.  Other pulsar oddities are well explained by this so-called superluminal model.  The rate of decay from the flux of pulsar radiation is observed in non-conformity with the inverse-square law, which describes the mathematical relationship of an outwardly radiating sphere to its source (like light from a lightbulb).  This has long been a symptom of unseen complexity in our knowledge of pulsar activity.  This research complies with the observable flux of pulsars, which is instead measured as 1/d (d is a given distance).

So what does this mean for us?  In designing the next generation of quantum computers, leveraging superluminal communication between qubits and standard electrical relays may be necessary to maintain the high performance of these new processors.  In the more distant future, dumb matter (non-organic stuff like rocks and water) will likely be enlisted to perform computational tasks in much the same way as quantum computers.  In such a future, the spectacular bandwidth and parallelism possible could permit the inter-atomic communication of information at speeds greater than light (again, similarly to the newtonian demonstrator).  This might overcome the struggle presented by quantum uncertainty, one of the great hedges against capturing, communicating, and recreating a given quantum state.  Overcoming this dilemma would bring the inventors of the future significantly closer to the much theorized concept of teleportation.  Of course, these are a lot of compounded hypotheticals, and as Mythbusters aptly pointed out, while Star Trek manages to make teleportation look  easy, their personal communicators are worse than the cell phones in Wall Street.

Now that I think about it, teleportation won’t be much of a priority if everyone goes to a virtual environment for work and play. Damnit Star Trek.


~ by Wil Finley on January 26, 2010.

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