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Science communication is important in today's technologically advanced society. A good part of the adult community is not science saavy and lacks the background to make sense of rapidly changing technology. My blog attempts to help by publishing articles of general interest in an easy to read and understand format without using mathematics. I also give free lectures in community events - you can arrange these by writing to me.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Einstein Rides a Light Wave...

This is a thought experiment Einstein might have done (not necessarily in the way I have described but the idea is interesting)
A light wave is an electromagnetic wave (EM Wave) which has oscillating electric and magnetic fields. Suppose Einstein travels with the wave at the speed of light! What will he see?
He will see a constant electric field - this will not generate any oscillating magnetic field which in turn cannot generate an electric field. There will be no oscillating electric and magnetic fields that typify an EM wave. It would seem that no wave would appear to exist.
This is the interesting part - if you travel with the speed of light then you can not transmit or receive information: there are no EM waves.This encouraged Einstein to postulate that speed of light is the maximum speed allowed and nothing can move with a speed greater than the speed of light.

Not tremendously convincing but the idea is interesting.

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