So Einstein is Wrong — PinoyExchange

So Einstein is Wrong

Yes, you can slow down the speed of light!

A Filipino scientist in Scotland helps prove that it can be done even in vacuum
Published 8:03 AM, Jan 27, 2015
Updated 12:43 PM, Jan 27, 2015
DEFYING SCIENCE. While the speed of light is universally accepted, new research says it can be slowed down

DEFYING SCIENCE. While the speed of light is universally accepted, new research says it can be slowed down

MANILA, Philippines – Science labs are boring, right? But not when you do something awesome like slowing down the speed of light!

Rarely does a scientist get the opportunity to do something so cool like slowing down something like the speed of light, which is often regarded as "absolute" at 186,282 miles per second in vacuum, but one Filipina physicist Dr Jacquiline Romero, along with her partner Dr Daniel Giovannini, at the University of Glasgow did just that.

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story inadvertently omitted that the speed of light was only thought to be constant in vacuum, and that the experiment was conducted specifically to test light speeds in vacuum. We regret the error)

According to a report in BBC News, the scientists sent photons – or individual particles of light – through a special mask. That mask changed the photons’ shape – and slowed the light to less than the speed of light.

Romero received her undergraduate and master's degrees in physics from the University of the Philippines, and her doctorate from the University of Glasgow.

Light does slow down through water and glass, but this experiment showed that even in a vacuum, light can be slowed down.

And if slowing the speed of light wasn’t cool enough, Romero’s other research will get your imaginations running just as fast! How would you like to time travel?

"Teleporting a person, atom by atom, will be very difficult and is of course a physicist's way, but perhaps developments in chemistry or molecular biology will allow us to do it more quickly," she was quoted in a story by COSMO UK. She added: "The good thing about teleportation is that there is no fundamental law telling us that it cannot be done."

Are there practical applications to Giovannini and Romero’s research? Giovannini told BBC News it’s possible, but that their research is more fundamental than applied.

“But who knows?” –


  • TLG
    TLG The Dark Knight
    Am not sure if am correct but i do know speed of light slows down when passing a black hole.
  • alchemistofophir
    alchemistofophir Christian Communist
    one thing i noticed with this story is that the physicists sent the photons to a special mask, which is a medium wherein light speed can be reduced. but i thought also that if it just changed the shape of the photon, then nothing is technically changed with the photon intrinsically. so parang minold mo lang na maging triangle yung bilog na photon at nakaapekto na ito sa speed nya.

    TLG, idk haven't checked the intricacies of blackholes but according to special relativity, light is constant in vacuum conditions. and the physicists have slowed down light in this ideal vacuum conditions.
  • alchemistofophir
    alchemistofophir Christian Communist
    here's a better technical writeup about this

    Speed of light not so constant after all
    Pulse structure can slow photons, even in a vacuum
    Andrew Grant
    5:00pm, January 17, 2015
    laser light

    SHIFTING SPEEDS Even in vacuum conditions, light can move slower than its maximum speed depending on the structure of its pulses. The finding could be important for physicists studying extremely short light pulses.

    Jeff Keyzer/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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    Light doesn’t always travel at the speed of light. A new experiment reveals that focusing or manipulating the structure of light pulses reduces their speed, even in vacuum conditions.

    A paper reporting the research, posted online at and accepted for publication, describes hard experimental evidence that the speed of light, one of the most important constants in physics, should be thought of as a limit rather than an invariable rate for light zipping through a vacuum.

    “It’s very impressive work,” says Robert Boyd, an optical physicist at the University of Rochester in New York. “It’s the sort of thing that’s so obvious, you wonder why you didn’t think of it first.”

    Researchers led by optical physicist Miles Padgett at the University of Glasgow demonstrated the effect by racing photons that were identical except for their structure. The structured light consistently arrived a tad late. Though the effect is not recognizable in everyday life and in most technological applications, the new research highlights a fundamental and previously unappreciated subtlety in the behavior of light.

    The speed of light in a vacuum, usually denoted c, is a fundamental constant central to much of physics, particularly Einstein’s theory of relativity. While measuring c was once considered an important experimental problem, it is now simply specified to be 299,792,458 meters per second, as the meter itself is defined in terms of light’s vacuum speed. Generally if light is not traveling at c it is because it is moving through a material. For example, light slows down when passing through glass or water.

    Padgett and his team wondered if there were fundamental factors that could change the speed of light in a vacuum. Previous studies had hinted that the structure of light could play a role. Physics textbooks idealize light as plane waves, in which the fronts of each wave move in parallel, much like ocean waves approaching a straight shoreline. But while light can usually be approximated as plane waves, its structure is actually more complicated. For instance, light can converge upon a point after passing through a lens. Lasers can shape light into concentrated or even bull’s-eye–shaped beams.

    The researchers produced pairs of photons and sent them on different paths toward a detector. One photon zipped straight through a fiber. The other photon went through a pair of devices that manipulated the structure of the light and then switched it back. Had structure not mattered, the two photons would have arrived at the same time. But that didn’t happen. Measurements revealed that the structured light consistently arrived several micrometers late per meter of distance traveled.

    “I’m not surprised the effect exists,” Boyd says. “But it’s surprising that the effect is so large and robust.”

    Greg Gbur, an optical physicist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, says the findings won’t change the way physicists look at the aura emanating from a lamp or flashlight. But he says the speed corrections could be important for physicists studying extremely short light pulses.
  • tungkol na naman yan sa God particle, pero si stephen hawking na ang may hawak nyan,

    maganda ang concept ni Hawking, may matibay na syang ebedensya na may buhay talaga adter death o mayroon talagang dako paroon,

    yung speed of light nayan, dako paroon talaga yung tinutukoy nyan.
  • From today's Higgs boson to future rare isotopes, CERN Courier January-February issue out now: (digital copy:

  • Theatheist
    Theatheist AgnoAtheist
    The article seems to single out the Filipina. Where are the rest of the team and the credits due them?

    The initials J.R. is the Filipina.

    "M.J.P., D.F. and S.M.B. conceived the experiment and supervised the work; M.J.P., D.G. and J.R. designed the experiment; D.G. and J.R. constructed the experiment, acquired the data and carried out the data analysis; V.P., J.R., G.F., F.S. and S.M.B. further developed the theoretical model; J.R., D.G. and M.J.P. wrote the text with input from all co-authors."

    It's all a team effort. Anyway, what do we really expect from tabloid news nowadays? :lol:


    Slowing the speed of light is nothing new in physics. There was a news article about this way back in 1999.

    "Light travels 186,000 miles per second in a vacuum; in Lene Hau's lab, it ambles at 38 miles an hour"

    This beam of light was aimed at a cloud of sodium atoms in a temperature a billionth of a degree above absolute zero which made the speed of light crawled to 38 miles per hour in this medium.

    However, the main difference between this experiment and today's experiment from the University of Glasgow team is that light was made to slow down in "normal" vacuum after passing through two liquid crystal masks. Usually, when light travels through a medium like water for example, it slows down within the medium. After exiting the medium, light goes back to normal at full speed c.

    In this case, after exiting the liquid crystal masks, light slowed down in normal vacuum, although, very slightly. However, this is extremely significant, a "Eureka" event as no one has done this before.

    What actually happened was that some of the photons in the light beam traveled further within the masks. Instead of a straight path, some of the photons traveled diagonally, thereby, traveling further, thus, slowing down the whole beam of light. It's like a group of runners running at a constant speed. However, this group of runners are tied together by a rope. So, if one of them slows down, it will drag the whole group, slowing them down, thereby, affecting their constant speed. This is what happened during the experiment.

    I can see a practical application for this.

    If they managed to slow down light to walking speed, a soldier wearing a material that slows light down, can effectively deceive the enemy by giving them a false image of the soldier who left the spot a few hours ago. The slow light will take a few hours before reaching the enemy's eyes. When he shoots, he is only shooting an "after image" of the soldier who is already long gone.

    If they slowed down light to a halt, they would have effectively created a true cloaking device.
  • Theatheist
    Theatheist AgnoAtheist
    By the way, this doesn't change Einstein's General Relativity and the constant speed of light in a vacuum. The formula is already in use in GPS satellites. Otherwise, if this was wrong, your GPS device will be off by tens of kilometers daily and by a week's time, it will be by off by thousands of kilometers as the error will just keep incrementing. Commercial airlines uses GPS navigation system. If the formula was wrong, instead of Manila, it will land in Zimbabwe. If the formula was wrong, the atomic bomb would not exist.

    What the speed of light only tells us that all matter can only travel at near this maximum speed. It is actually not the speed of light, rather, it is the utmost maximum speed at which matter can possibly be propelled and it so happens that it is near the speed of light.
  • alchemistofophir
    alchemistofophir Christian Communist
    einstein's formula still works because the light that the gadgets use is not modified light. but the premise that light remains constant in vacuum does not hold now.

    well, i'm kinda ambivalent about the experiment. the slowed light is modified while natural light remains constant. modded light is not natural. but according to the experiment, only the structure of the waves are altered, not the photons itself.

    we can still say that e=mc2 still is true for natural light. but still laser, a modified light, still travels at the speed of light. while the structurally modified light traveled slower. so there must be in the structure that affects light speeds.

    structurally modified light is still light. so it is expected to travel at C. but no.
  • I blame it on journalists who tend to sensationalize every time there's an experiment which shows light has been slowed down or sped up. We read headlines such as Einstein made a mistake or General Relativity is on shaky grounds or c is not constant after all and what not. I just shake my head in utmost dismay why such garbages are even published. :rolleyes:

    Listen folks, the speed of light will always remain constant in a normal vacuum unless manipulated. Einstein's formula will always be correct no matter what. It's like claiming the color red may not be red after all. It's blue. :rolleyes:
  • So in short, if the actual light beam is travelling at the x-axis, the photons are modified to travel at an angle from the x-axis, the resulting speed should be the x-component of the photon speed.
  • where was the supposed mistake of einstein in this thread?

    if einstein said that the speed of light is constant in any medium it travels perhaps he was wrong or his knowledge is incomplete. but if he just only said that the speed of light is constant in a vacuum.i dont know if that is wrong..light traveling in a vacuum is an absolute free launch...he was right..
    there is no perfect vacuum anyway. so, i just think that the speed of light(saves that in the lab a so called vacuum) maybe affected by the observer, the instruments used, the working/interactions of the fundamental forces in the universe and the universe as a whole itself.

    i didn't mean that einstein never made a mistake. as per history, he committed a mathematical calculation blunder and hence, wasn't able to find a correct solution in one of his theories. this blunder was pointed out by a russian mathematician(i forgot his name,maybe it starts with F unless i google it).
  • Scientists do make a lot of mistakes and blunders, but that do not mean they egotiscally ignore it and don't correct it like some people with issues. Mistakes do not mean failures, rather, they are the means to understand a theory better and to correct it along the way as you develop it so that you're just a few steps away for a great discovery.

    By the way, an erratum on my part. It's not a whole beam of photons, rather it's only two particles of photons. One went through the masks and one without. But, this can also be applied to a whole beam of light.
  • "I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work." -Edison
  • Science has experts, but no one is an authority. No single scientists past, present and future are infalliable. In fact, Science itself is not just the body of knowledge - but the process of proving wrong: AKA Scientific Method.

    There were two great scientists that helped push Science where it is now: Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Newton's law of motion and other discoveries are foundations of modern Science, but remember - that guy was very eccentric, a pure introvert. Because scientists are also human, the weirdest thing about him was he believed in alchemy (alleged process that can turn an element to gold).

    For Einstein, he cannot wrap his head around the principle of Quantum Mechanics. Quantum Mechanics is a fact, to the point it is the reason why our electronic gadgets exist today due to it.

    Again, in Science there are experts in their particular field, but no one is an authority. The scientists main role is to prove their colleagues wrong, that earns them the Nobel Price.
  • So called Vacuum is not really empty space at all. It's full of Dark Matter or Scalar waves. Tesla has proven that he can extract energy out of so called NOTHING or Vacuum. Secret technologies have already misuse these energies as weapons of mass destruction.

    Photons or PARTICLES OF LIGHT are condensation of the amalgamation of such so called Dark Matter or scalar waves or Aether. This Dark matter is the bridge between higher dimensional planes(aka the Heavenly or Astral Spheres or the Kingdoms among ancient sages) and the material or physical plane/3D world.

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