Many are aware that nothing in the universe can surpass the speed of light. This fundamental principle stems from Einstein’s theory of relativity, which dictates that objects with mass cannot exceed this cosmic speed limit.

You may find it perplexing then, as I introduce the concept of faster-than-light particles.

It’s because Tachyons are hypothetical particles.

The story behind the emergence of this hypothetical particle called the Tachyon is truly fascinating.

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All Because of SF Novels?

While science fiction novels have been popular since the development of classical mechanics, human curiosity and the desire for space exploration have been immense long before the creation of rockets.

tachyon

 

As a result, some pioneering science fiction novels began to explore journeys beyond our solar system, reaching other stars or even galaxies to encounter extraterrestrial life forms.

However, astronomers discovered that stars within our galaxy were at most 4.3 light-years away, with even distant stars only a few thousand light-years distant from our solar system.

Therefore, in order to address this discrepancy, science fiction stories had to premise the development of spacecraft capable of traveling much faster than light, surpassing the constraints of conventional physics.

This necessitated the creation of ships capable of achieving superluminal speeds, beyond the limitations set by Einstein’s theories.

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Proved Tachyon?

Einstein’s theory of relativity has robustly demonstrated that no object in universe can move faster than light.

Despite attempts by other scientists, this theory has remained unshakable.

Source: ASC // Arnold Sommerfeld

However, German physicist Arnold Sommerfeld mathematically proved the possibility of moving faster than the speed of light from the equations of relativity.

Sommerfeld’s claim is as follows:

  • If the square of rest mass (m) ever turns out to be negative, it implies mathematically that faster-than-light particles are possible.

However, all the numbers we know of inevitably result in positive values when squared.

Therefore, Sommerfeld’s claim suggests that if mass were to be imaginary, the object associated with it would have to move faster than light.

Until then, many regarded it as merely a mathematical curiosity.

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But…?

The potential for tachyon existence emerges when exploring string theory or quantum mechanics, where their mathematical frameworks allow for such possibilities.

This suggests that under circumstances of universal instability, tachyons could theoretically manifest.

tachyon

Contemplating unstable universes or multiverses perpetuates the intriguing notion of tachyon existence.

However, within our current understanding, tachyons remain absent from our reality.

Nonetheless, the concept of tachyons persists within mathematical formulations, showcasing the vast expanse of human imagination and its ability to transcend conventional boundaries.