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85
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9answers
10k views

How fast does gravity propagate?

A thought experiment: Imagine the Sun is suddenly removed. We wouldn't notice a difference for 8 minutes, because that's how long light takes to get from the Sun's surface to Earth. However, what ...
61
votes
8answers
11k views

Why is quantum entanglement considered to be an active link between particles?

From everything I've read about quantum mechanics and quantum entanglement phenomena, it's not obvious to me why quantum entanglement is considered to be an active link. That is, it's stated every ...
66
votes
10answers
7k views

Quantum Entanglement - What's the big deal?

Bearing in mind I am a layman - with no background in physics - please could someone explain what the "big deal" is with quantum entanglement? I used to think I understood it - that 2 particles, say ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

How do electrons know which path to take in a circuit?

The current is maximum through those segments of a circuit that offer the least resistance. But how do electrons know beforehand that which path will resist their drift the least?
19
votes
3answers
3k views

In superluminal phase velocities, what is it that is traveling faster than light?

I understand that information cannot be transmitted at a velocity greater than speed of light. I think of this in terms of the radio broadcast: the station sends out carrier frequencies $\omega_c$ but ...
34
votes
4answers
16k views

How does faster than light travel violate causality?

Let's say I have two planets that are one hundred thousand lightyears away from each other. I and my immortal friend on the other planet want to communicate, with a strong laser and a tachyon ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

on causality and The Big Bang Theory

With the notion of causality, firmly fixed by GR, we derived the concept of a singular point from where space-time begun. Causality alone gives us the possibility to talk about a known past (i.e. ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there such a thing as “Action at a distance”?

What ever happened to "action at a distance" in entangled quantum states, i.e. the Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky (EPR) paradox? I thought they argued that in principle one could communicate faster than ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Extended Rigid Bodies in Special Relativity

I was reading Landau & Lifshitz's Classical Theory of Fields and I noticed that they mention that an extended rigid body isn't "relativistically correct". For example, if you consider a rigid ...
19
votes
3answers
989 views

How is quantum mechanics compatible with the speed of light limit?

Consider a free electron in space. Let us suppose we measure its position to be at point A with a high degree of accuracy at time 0. If I recall my QM correctly, as time passes the wave function ...
3
votes
1answer
230 views

Regarding the possibility of Closed Timelike Curves

I've been looking a lot at Closed Timelike Curves, and how if a theory allows for these curves it doesn't respect causality. I understand that about the curves themselves (Grandfather Paradox), but ...
22
votes
5answers
4k views

How does “warp drive” not violate Special Relativity causality constraints?

I'm talking about this nonsense: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/06/11/this-is-the-amazing-design-for-nasas-star-trek-style-space-ship-the-ixs-enterprise/ Now, I'm aware that ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Does a Weak Energy Condition Violation Typically Lead to Causality Violation?

In the answer to this question: ergosphere treadmills Lubos Motl suggested a straightforward argument, based on the special theory of relativity, to argue that light passing through a strong ...
10
votes
9answers
1k views

Is causality a formalised concept in physics?

I have never seen a “causality operator” in physics. When people invoke the informal concept of causality aren’t they really talking about consistency (perhaps in a temporal context)? For example, if ...
8
votes
2answers
821 views

the causality and the anti-particles

How can I quantitatively and qualitatively understand the fact that there is a relevence between the existence of anti-particles and the causality?
15
votes
5answers
2k views

The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics

John Cramer’s transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TIQM) is billed as resolving the fuzzy agnosticism of the Copenhagen interpretation while avoiding the alleged ontological excesses of ...
8
votes
5answers
960 views

Quantum entanglement and spooky action at a distance

When quantum entanglement is explained in "layman's terms", it seems (to me) that the first premise, that we have to accept on faith, is that a particle doesn't have a certain property (the particle ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Can causality be violated?

A common justification for prohibiting many unusual phenomena such as faster than light travel is that if they were possible, causality would be violated. Let's define causality as: You cannot ...
26
votes
2answers
3k views

Definitions: 'locality' vs 'causality'

I'm having trouble unambiguously interpreting many answers here due to the fact that the terms locality and causality are sometimes used interchangeably, while other times seem to mean very different ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

What are some scenarios where FTL information transfer would violate causality?

I've always heard people saying, "Faster than light information transfer can't happen because it would violate causality! Effects can precede their causes!" However, I'm trying to think of a ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Do electrostatic fields really obey “action at a distance”?

In an electromagnetic theory class, my professor introduced the concept of "action at a distance in physics". He said that: If two charges are at some very large distance, and if any one of the ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

How soon that a force affect another object?

Imagine this scenario: I have 2 objects in vacuum without any force exerted upon them not even a possible gravitational force between them. Now if one of them gets a gravitational or magnetic force, ...
2
votes
0answers
212 views

Testing Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) with a causality-violating configuration of “superluminal cables”

Suppose we managed to arrange a causality-violating transmission of data with hypothetical “superluminal cables” (SLC; see both links for respective descriptions) and expect, similarly to ideas ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How would wormhole-based FTL violate causality?

We already have an answer why physically traveling faster than light would violate causality (the clock on board our hypothetical FTL spaceship would tick backwards to some outside observers). ...
7
votes
2answers
245 views

Speed of gravity in cosmological codes and ephemeris generation

There are few questions in Phys.SE concerning the speed of gravity, and the answers are traditionally that the speed of gravity equals to the speed of light. But in that case I have three more ...
5
votes
2answers
133 views

Which causal structures are absent from any “nice” patch of Minkowski space?

Which "causal separation structures" (or "interval structures") can not be found among the events in "any nice patch ($P$) of Minkowski space"?, where "causal separation structure" ($s$) should be ...
4
votes
2answers
386 views

Why does the Dopfer EPR experiment require coincidence counting?

Dopfer Momentum-EPR experiment (1998) seems to provide a interesting tweak in the EPR experiment. To read more details on this experiment, see: ...
1
vote
1answer
143 views

Can the vanishing of the Riemann tensor be determined from causal relations?

Given a Lorentzian manifold and metric tensor, "$( M, g )$", the corresponding causal relations between its elements (events) may be derived; i.e. for every pair (in general) of distinct events in set ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

In QFT, why does a vanishing commutator ensure causality?

In relativistic quantum field theories (QFT), $$[\phi(x),\phi^\dagger(y)] = 0 \;\;\mathrm{if}\;\; (x-y)^2<0$$ On the other hand, even for space-like separation $$\phi(x)\phi^\dagger(y)\ne0.$$ ...
10
votes
4answers
904 views

Event horizons without singularities

Someone answered this question by saying that black hole entropy conditions and no-hair theorems are asymptotic in nature -- the equations give an ideal solution which is approached quickly but never ...
6
votes
3answers
283 views

Why can a particle have a nonzero amplitude outside its forward light-cone?

I'm having trouble grasping an idea that I think that is a very basic part of  quantum field theory. Many introductory QFT resources I have consulted often pose the following question: What is ...
3
votes
4answers
195 views

Can FTL-Communication between two points in the same frame of reference break causality?

Hi I want to get to the bottom of some thaughts I have and for that I need an answer to a - I have to admit - highly constructed example. Lets assume - against all possibility - we find a strange ...
7
votes
2answers
326 views

Why does the minus sign in the Minkowski metric mean that nothing can move backwards in time?

I just watched this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkCWywO93b8#t=27 and there Mr. Cox states that because of the minus sign in the Minkowski metric nothing can move backwards in time. It's ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the Andromeda Paradox?

I have been studying causality (specifically why there is no such thing as a simultaneous instant of time across all observers) recently and I keep hearing references to the Andromeda paradox. Can ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Does magnetic propagation follow the speed of light?

Does magnetic propagation follow the speed of light? E.g. if you had some magnet of incredible strength and attached an iron wire that is one light year long to it, would the other end of the iron ...
5
votes
4answers
490 views

“Center of a black hole is a time”

$\newcommand{\d}[1]{\mathrm{d} #1}$In one lecture (around 1:33:15) of the series of lectures "Theoretical Minimum" of Prof. Susskind he talks about black holes and the Schwarzschild metric: $$\d ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

Example of space-like intervals in spacetime

From wikipedia: When a space-like interval separates two events, not enough time passes between their occurrences for there to exist a causal relationship crossing the spatial distance ...
3
votes
2answers
252 views

Thought experiment about no-cloning theorem and FTL information

The quantum no-cloning theorem states that one cannot "build" a perfect cloning device for arbitrary quantum systems. There also exists a famous thought experiment where Alice transmits information ...
1
vote
1answer
394 views

Retarded potential in gravitational field?

Is there a retarded potential concept in gravitational field similar to electromagnetic radiation?
22
votes
1answer
1k views

Causality and how it fits in with relativity

I was talking to my teacher the other day about Einstein's spacetime and there's one thing he couldn't explain about the nature of Cause. I may be being stupid or just unable to comprehend, thanks for ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

What do physicists mean by “information”?

On the question why certain velocities (i.e. phase velocity) can be greater than the speed of light, people will say something like: since no matter or "information" is transferred, therefore the ...
8
votes
2answers
884 views

What's wrong with this QFT thought experiment?

In quantum field theory, the propagator $D(x-y)$ doesn't vanish for space-like separation. In Zee's book, he claims that this means a particle can leak out of the light-cone. Feynman also gives this ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

What spacelike, timelike and lightlike really mean?

Suppose we have two events $(x_1,y_1,z_1,t_1)$ and $(x_2,y_2,z_2,t_2)$, then we can define $$\Delta s^2 = -(c\Delta t)^2 + \Delta x^2 + \Delta y^2 + \Delta z^2$$ which is called the spacetime ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the physical definition of causality?

Maxwell's equations give a physical relationship between the electric and magnetic fields $\vec E$, $\vec B$ at the same time, which some interpret as changes in one causes changes in the other etc. I ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Why should one expect closed timelike curves to be impossible in quantum gravity?

From the Wikipedia article, it seems that physicists tend to view closed timelike curves as an undesirable attribute of a solution to the Einstein Field Equations. Hawking formulated the Chronology ...
2
votes
0answers
75 views

Amplitude for a string to propagate from one point to another

In Zwiebach’s book sections 12.6 and 12.7 interesting aspects of the wave function of the string are discussed. In order to introduce my question first recall what happens with the relativistic ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Does the heat equation violate causality?

I've ran across the idea that, besides simply writing partial differential equations in covariant form, they need to be hyperbolic with all characteristic speeds less than the speed of light. A ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Time travel outside of light cone without causality violation

If one is able to travel into the past but at a spatial distance that puts him outside of his own past light cone would this be considered a causality violating trip? Looking at a Minkoski diagram, it ...
4
votes
2answers
393 views

What would a closed timelike curve look like?

What exactly are closed timelike curves. In a metric in which they would exist, what would they look like. What would it be like travelling through them? It obviously wouldn't look like a door. Would ...
4
votes
2answers
994 views

The order of seeing event in different spacetimes

Assume this question: Three events A, B, C are seen by observer O to occur in the order ABC. Another observer O$^\prime$ sees the events to occur in the order CBA. Is it possible that a third ...