Conceptual Physics (12th Edition)

Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 0321909100
ISBN 13: 978-0-32190-910-7

Chapter 35 - Think and Discuss: 90

Answer

Yes, some "things" can travel faster than light.

Work Step by Step

For example, the beam of a spotlight sweeping the inside of a huge dome, or an illuminated spot on an old-style TV screen can travel faster than light (see Question 56). However, special relativity says that no material thing can move faster than light. The illuminated spot isn't a thing. The electrons themselves move slower than the speed of light. Furthermore, there is no energy or information moving perpendicular to the beam - in other words, there is no way to send a faster-than-light signal from one location to another. In summary, special relativity bans the transmission of energy, particles or information at speeds greater than the speed of light, c.
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