Re: SCI: The light barrier

Michael Lorrey (
Fri, 05 Dec 1997 07:22:07 -0500

Ian Camilleri wrote:
> Quick question, want feedback and sources of literature. As far as I
> know only members of the electromagnetic spectrum can travel at the
> speed of light. If it is impossible to get anything with mass to
> travle the speed of light, because it would need infinite energy, and
> light has a wave/particle duality...then how do photons of light get
> the energy to travel at that speed?

photons are only considered particles in that the energy they contain is
equivalent to a given amount of mass via e=mc^2. When you stop a photon,
it has mass because you've taken all of its energy away. It is going
nowhere and falls back into the space-time continuum.

Now, this brings up a big difference between light and solid matter with
regards to black holes. As far as we know, light cannot escape a black
hole, because the singularity drains all energy from the photons to the
point that they cannot be detected in the visible spectrum. However, if
you have a toroidal black hole such that matter can pass through from
pole to pole, conservation of momentum dictates that the matter should
retain most of its momentum, and reemerge from the other side (or if a
wormhole is formed, out of the other hole). As wacky as this sounds,
even Hawking has posited this possibility....

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------	Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?