Fruit of the Luminal
An international team of physicists has cooked up with a new theory that could allow for objects to travel faster than the speed of light — and while they say it wouldn't technically violate the laws of physics, it would lead to phenomena so mind-bending that it'd make the end of "Interstellar" look normal.
To wit, according to ScienceAlert's analysis of the team's new paper in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, travelers moving faster than the speed of light would "experience" multiple timelines at once.
How, you might ask? Through a "1+3 space-time" framework, which flips the idea of three spatial dimensions and one time dimension in favor of three time dimensions and a single spatial dimension.
"The other three dimensions are time dimensions," said coauthor Andrzej Dragan from the University of Warsaw in Poland in statement about the work. "From the point of view of such an observer, the particle 'ages' independently in each of the three times."
Does that make any sense from our puny human perspective? We're honestly not sure.
But it is a mind-bending exploration of an exotic what-if, not to mention yet another example of researchers playing around with the decidedly "Star Trek" concept of faster-than-light travel. An added bonus? In theory, the scientists say, the framework might even help reconcile Einstein's theory of relativity with quantum mechanics, two sets of rules in physics that have yet to play nicely after many decades.
"This new definition preserves Einstein's postulate of constancy of the speed of light in vacuum even for superluminal observers," Dragan said in the statement. "Therefore, our extended special relativity does not seem like a particularly extravagant idea."
Look, it sounds very cool. But then again, so did "Tenet" — and we all saw how that one turned out.
More on quantum physics: Physicist Says the Laws of Physics Don't Actually Exist