The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418   Message #1503455
Posted By: Amos
18-Jun-05 - 12:17 AM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
theory. Speaking most recently at last month's American Physical
Society meeting of the Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical
Physics in Nebraska, Alan Kostelecky of Indiana University (812
855-1485, KOSTELEC@INDIANA.EDU) described how light might exist as a
result of breaking an assumption of relativity theory known as
Lorentz symmetry. In Lorentz symmetry, the laws of physics stay the
same even when you change the orientation of a physical system (such
as a barbell-shaped molecule) or alter its velocity. According to
special relativity, the speed of light is the same in every
direction, a notion that current experiments verify to a few parts
in 10^16. However, if physicists find variations in the speed of
light with direction, this would provide evidence for broken Lorentz
symmetry, which would radically revise notions of the universe.
Broken Lorentz symmetry would give spacetime a preferred direction.
In its simplest form, broken Lorentz symmetry could be visualized as
a field of vectors (arrows) existing everywhere in the universe. In
such a picture, objects might behave slightly differently depending
upon their orientation with respect to the vectors.

In a recent
paper, published in Physical Review D (Bluhm and Kostelecky,
Physical Review D, 71, 065008, published 22 March 2005), the authors
propose that the veryexistence of light is made possible through a
vector field arising
from broken Lorentz symmetry. In this picture, light is a
shimmering of the vector field analogous to a wave blowing through a
field of grain (see animation at

The researchers
have shown that this picture would hold in empty space as well as in
the presence of gravity (curved spacetime) which is often ignored in
conventional theories of light. This theory is in contrast to the
conventional view of light, which arises in a space without a
preferred direction and as a result of underlying symmetries in
particles and force fields. Kostelecky says that the new theory can
be tested by looking for minute changes in the way light interacts
with matter as the earth rotates (and changes its orientation with
respect to the putative vector field).

In addition, Kostelecky says
that neutrino oscillations might arise from interactions between
neutrinos and the background vector field, as opposed to the
conventional explanation, which invokes neutrino mass as the
explanation for the oscillations.

There ya go, then. Space is certainly not something to be made light of.