faster than Light

( translated from the German by E. Habich)  source:

An experiment at the University of Cologne is putting accepted scientific knowledge to the test.

According to accepted teaching signals cannot be transmitted faster than light.  Some even believe that Einstein's Theory of Relativity could be broken if light moved faster.   At the University of Cologne physicists have begun to shake up this theory.

The spectacular experiment took place in a laboratory of the second  Institute of Physics.  Prof. Dr. Nimtz and Mozart's 40th symphony are our main protagonists in this experiment.  At first the music is put piggyback onto a carrier wave, in this case a carrier wave of ten gigahertz.  The carrier wave travels over a cable into a funneling antenna then a little through the air and into the reception antenna.    It follows another short thin tunnel -  where the signal should stop.   According to the laws of physics the microwave does not fit through the tunnel, it ought to be reflected back.  Despite this the signal mysteriously slips through the tunnel.  And in doing this moves faster than is possible by our present understanding of physics. 

The Nimtz Experiment is based on one of those bizarre tunneling effects by which quantum physics keeps confounding our every day experiences.  If you kick a soccer ball against a wall it bounces back.  But a wave packet can reappear behind the wall. It will be weaker but faster than before.  This can't be explained but it is a measurable effect.  Information can also be transmitted like this. 

Prof. Dr. Nimtz explains it thus: "We have sent such a signaling impulse through a test range and measured: What is its speed in comparison to the speed through the air? The speed we measured is 2.46 times the speed of light."  The type of signals are the same as in use in mobile communications devices or which are used for data transfer between computers.  It  also works for the transmission of more complex information like a whole symphony. 

"What these experiments have shown is that you can in principle look into the past. And it is also possible to reverse cause and effect", says Prof. Dr. Nimtz and explains:  "According to the theory of relativity a second observer in another inertial system (frame of reference) can see my signal exit the target before it was emitted by the source.  This means you can look into the past because you are moving faster than light, which is the speed at which the effect is moving, the event."

Guenter Nimtz is not claiming to have refuted Einstein.  Other physicists have repeated his tunneling experiments and confirmed that the experiment works.  The layman may believe this or not: "Faster than Light" has become a hot topic in physics.

© Translation Erich Habich 1999