What If Einstein Was Wrong?

Submitted By Rawwca
Words: 1018
Pages: 5

What if Einstein Was Wrong? Albert Einstein was a German theoretical physicist who is best known for creating general and special theories of relativity. Through his hard work and research, these theories would eventually lead to the creation of the concept of mass-energy equivalence, which today is considered the foundation of modern physics. (Keifer & Blewett, 2005). This concept is expressed by the famous equation E=mc2 . Briefly, this equation describes how energy and mass are related. This equation unifies energy (E), mass (M) and the speed of light (C). What is implied by this is that mass and energy are the same physical entity and can be converted into each other. On top of this, modern physics also states that it is physically impossible to travel faster than the speed of light. Just the thought of exceeding the speed of light creates much controversy while simultaneously opening up many other scientific possibilities. If Einstein’s formula is wrong, then physicists have been observing the world incorrectly for many years. Despite being established in the physics community, Einstein’s famous equation continues to raise attention due to the controversial experiments of others, its mind-bending implications and theories of what would happen if the equation was wrong. For as long as modern physics has been established, it is agreed-upon that nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of light. It was not until after a revolutionary experiment took place that physicists began to explore the possibility that Einstein was wrong. In 2011, scientists in Switzerland said an experiment appeared to prove that tiny particles traveled at superluminal speeds (Smith-Spark, 2011). In the experiment, the physicists sent subatomic particles called neutrinos on an underground path from Switzerland to Italy. Unexpectedly, the particles arrived a fraction of a second sooner than they should have, according to the speed of light (Smith-Spark, 2011). If true, the discovery would challenge long-established laws of physics and essentially change modern science. The physicists who worked on the experiment are considering new ideas that will either confirm or disprove the results. It seems that the science community is trying its best to disprove this result because they know that if the speed of light is reachable, science will be open to many different areas that could not be explored in the past. While this sounds exciting, the majority of physicists want to believe that they have been observing the world correctly rather than incorrectly for many years. In order to understand what would be possible if the speed of light could be broken, one must first understand what Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence formula implies. Einstein’s ideas regarding relativity challenge much of the way traditional science has looked at certain aspects of the universe. The first implication of Einstein’s theory is that the speed of light is constant for all observers (Arora, 2008). For instance, a beam of light will travel at the same speed for a stationary observer and an observer that is travelling eighty kilometers per hour in a car. If light’s speed doesn’t vary, this means that distance and time must change to always reach the same number (Arora, 2008). Therefore, time itself is relative. Einstein’s theory also implies that mass increases with velocity and reaches infinity at the speed of light (Skorucak, 2011). In order to accelerate infinite mass to superluminal speeds, one would need an infinite source of energy. Unfortunately, an infinite source of energy has not been discovered yet, which makes passing the speed of light a challenging task. While exceeding the speed of light seems impractical and it is likely that the physicists in Switzerland made a mistake, it is exciting to explore what might happen if one could travel to these speeds. As something increases in speed, time for that object begins to slow down