What’s the fastest thing in the universe?

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What’s the fastest thing in the universe? If you’ll ask this question, the majority of the time people answer this question with the same answer, which is mind. But the mind itself works when the trillions of connections of neurons allow current flow at the speed of light, in other words, create consciousness. Does that mean, light is the fastest thing in the universe? Can anything really travel faster than the speed of light? Well, you’ll find out by the end of this article.

 

Is light really the fastest thing?

Light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be perceived by the human eyes. By the time you read this, the light travelled around 50 rounds around the earth. Fast, isn’t it? Though It is said, that light is the fastest thing in the universe and nothing can beat the speed of light but there are things in the universe that can even faster than the speed of light. Read till the end to know about them.

 

What's the fastest thing in the universe

 

History

At the beginning of the 17th century, everybody believed that light didn’t have speed. It just appeared instantaneously… What is this mean? Well, It means light is either present or absent.

In 1676, Denish astronomerOle Romer Observed Jupiter’s eclipse and he discovered that the duration of the eclipses is different at different times. So, he concluded that light took more time when the earth is further away. This discovery motivated him to work on it further and eventually, he calculated the speed of light which is about 220000 km/sec.

In the 1800s, James Clerk Maxwell introduced an equation through which we could measure the speed of light. Maxwell also said that light is electromagnetic radiation and einstein took this from him. But everything changed after 1905.

When Einstein published a paper on the special theory of relativity and by this theory einstein predict that nothing can travel faster than light. Which changed our understanding of physics. But why did einstein say that?

Before einstein special theory of relativity mass and energy treated as separate things but einstein tied them forever through the simple yet fundamental equation “E=MC2“. This equation predicts that nothing with mass move as fast as light.

 

Achieving the speed of light

In vacuum, the speed of light is approximately 3.8×10^8 metres per second which is the highest speed for anything to travel in the universe. The closest humankind has ever come to reaching the speed of light is inside of powerful particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider and the Tevatron.

These machines are accelerated subatomic particles to more than 99.99% of the speed of light but can never reach to the speed of light because that would require an infinite amount of energy and it’s impossible. Hence, anything with mass cannot move faster than light which means nothing can move faster than light.

 

faster than speed of light

 

 

Faster than the speed of light

If we keep the special theory of relativity in mind then there are many things in the universe that can travel faster than light and one of them is space itself. Yes, space can travel faster than light.

Since no material object is there to limit its speed, therefore, empty space can certainly expand faster than light. This is exactly what physicists think happened immediately after the big bang.

If we look at quantum mechanics then the sub-atomic particle can travel faster than light. If we have two electrons close together, they can vibrate in Unison. This is called quantum entanglement. It means that two particles are entitled to each other. Now, if we take these two particles apart like thousands of light-years apart. They will still vibrate in Unison.

Another way with which you can travel faster than the speed of light by using a wormhole like the one shown in the movie interstellar. Wormholes are like the tunnels in space. They can be thought of as the biggest shortcuts of the universe.

 

Not only this, there are particles that surpass the speed of light in water. The speed of light in water is 75% of the speed of light in vacuum. But there is radiation called Cherenkov radiation which can move faster than light in water. This radiation can be observed in nuclear reactors and can be seen with the eyes.

So now we know that light is not the supreme when it comes to speed. We have contenders who can beat the speed of light. If you have any queries or ideas using which one can travel faster than light to let us know in the comment box

 

 

FAQ

  1. Is lightning the fastest thing on Earth?

    According to general relativity, gravitons move at the speed of light. According to quantum mechanics, gravitons may move faster than light.
    Gravitons are hypothetical elementary particles that are theorized to be the “carriers” of gravity through space and time.

  2. What is the fastest thing on Earth other than light?

    Gravity travels at the same speed as light and on Earth we have gravity.
    If you are looking for something with mass, I would say high energy Neutrinos are the fastest thing on Earth. A billion neutrinos from the Sun probably passed through your head in the past second.
    Because Neutrinos have such a tiny rest mass of 0.2 eV which pales beside an electron at 0.511 MeV (electrons are about 2.5 million times heavier than neutrinos), Neutrinos move barely slower than photons.

  3. what is the fastest thing in the universe?

    In modern physics, light is regarded as the fastest thing in the universe and its velocity in empty space as a fundamental constant of nature.
    If we keep the special theory of relativity in mind then there are many things in the universe that can travel faster than light and one of them is space itself. Yes, space can travel faster than light.
    Since no material object is there to limit its speed, therefore, empty space can certainly expand faster than light. This is exactly what physicists think happened immediately after the big bang.

Rajat Red

Admin and Founder of "UNTOLD SCIENCE | Exploring The World Of Science & Nature". He is a science student pursuing B.Sc in Biology from India. He is a curious being and an explorer, who has an interest in many fields besides science. But, He loves to study and write about science.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. 1
    Steve Harris, MD

    Information cannot go faster than light (FTL), as that leads to logical paradoxes. Since in special relativity objects far away are pushed into the future when you travel toward, them, if there were FTL communications you could talk to those places and get a signal back and find out about the future. Then you could play the stock market and alter that future in some significant way. So where did the information come from then? Paradox. Something can't both happen and not happen.

    There is a theorem that nothing in quantum mechanics can be used to send a signal FTL. As for wormholes, FTL signaling still leads to paradoxes, which is why most people are convinced that either wormholes do not exist, or can't transmit information.

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