-1
$\begingroup$
  1. I wanted to ask if higher speed than the speed of light will be discovered, will scientists be able to adjust the special relativity to the new situation?

  2. I read that informations transmitted faster then the speed of light, but According to special relativity, $c$ is the maximum speed at which all matter and information in the universe can travel. Is there a contradiction here?

  3. How the fact that the speed of light is the maximum speed for all matter, affects special relativity?

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Where did you read about point number 2? $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Aug 9 '14 at 10:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Dear @Michael, I have basically memorized The Elegant Universe during the process of my translating it to Czech - it was reprinted recently - and I assure you that Brian Greene never claims that the information or matter in the Universe around us is actually ever moving faster than light. Maybe what you misinterpreted is Brian's claim that if the world had Newton's gravity, than the information carried by Newton's gravity would propagate faster than light. But he immediately says that this is not allowed and not actually happening, and a better theory, general relativity (Chap 3) explains why. $\endgroup$ – Luboš Motl Aug 9 '14 at 11:12
  • $\begingroup$ Concerning the other points, if faster-than-light motion will be discovered, scientists would hypothetically have to discard the existing theories based on special relativity - a new theory would have to be very close to the existing theories, however, which are otherwise well-tested. In practice, however, if they see faster-than-light motion, scientists will react by looking for the mistake in the experiment, some loose cable or something like that. Your 2nd question is a wrong statement. Your 3rd question is like asking "how the non-survival of the not viable species affects Darwin's theory. $\endgroup$ – Luboš Motl Aug 9 '14 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ It affects it greatly - it is really a point - but it's more accurate to say that the theory implies (or assumes) the statement (the dieoff of the lame species; or the speed limit) rather than the other way around! Relativity is clearly inseparable from the speed limit. $\endgroup$ – Luboš Motl Aug 9 '14 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ Question 1 is answered here physics.stackexchange.com/q/107963/23473 $\endgroup$ – Jim Aug 9 '14 at 20:12
4
$\begingroup$

if higher speed than the speed of light will be discovered, will scientists be able to adjust the special relativity to the new situation?

I suppose so. Science has encountered paradigm-shifting discoveries many times, and has always come up with new ways to describe reality. If this does happen, it could be an adjustment to special relativity, or called something else entirely. Since it hasn't happened yet, we can't know.

I read that informations transmitted faster then the speed of light, but According to special relativity, c is the maximum speed at which all matter and information in the universe can travel. Is there a contradiction here?

I don't know where you read that, but faster than light communication would be a huge discovery, and certainly would contradict a large body of currently accepted science. I'm not saying that can't happen. I'm just saying it would be a big deal, which in older times, would probably get you murdered by the pope. Today, probably just a Nobel prize.

I know of two things which could be misinterpreted as faster-than-light information: quantum teleportation and anomalous dispersion. Neither has been demonstrated to actually allow faster-than-light communication, though.

How the fact that the speed of light is the maximum speed for all matter, affects special relativity?

Special relativity is all about making that true. Here's a simple problem: you are in a spaceship travelling at 80% of the speed of light, and you turn on your headlights. What happens?

What happens if there's another spaceship travelling in the opposite direction, also traveling at relativistic speeds? How do they not see the light from your headlights zooming past at several times the speed of light?

Special relativity is what makes all of this consistent with a constant speed of light, for all observers.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.