# The Speed of Light is Not Constant

The laws of physics are identical in inertial frames.

The stuff you just said is messed up:

If the speed of light is same in all frames of references, then why do the wavelength and frequency of light change with reference? Does this mean that only the light particle moves at C, but its wave nature, via wavelength and frequency, by not being the same in all references, is not at C?

Like something realityCheck would say, i.e. a photon moves at C but it's wave remains uncommitted???

If the speed of light is same in all frames of references, then why do the wavelength and frequency of light change with reference? Does this mean that only the light particle moves at C, but its wave nature, via wavelength and frequency, by not being the same in all references, is not at C?

No, that is not what it means. Light waves propagate at c (not 'C' by the way). The dual nature of light (both particle and wave) is 2 aspects of a photon. Think about it how could one move faster than the other?

Not being the same in all references is an artifact of inertial. Only the speed of light is the same in all references. This division between inertial and the speed of light seems clear cut by observing variable versus fixed. So if wavelength and frequency is not the same in all references it is not at speed of light since light speed of the same in all references. Does this means that the wave-particle duality of light is connected to energy existing in both the consistent speed of light (particle) reference and the variable inertial reference (wavelength and frequency) at the same time?

No. Check out this wiki. It is very helpful to work out the math - it is not difficult (most of it is SR not GR) for someone who is a ChE

This would explain the intuition that light is not always at C, since wavelength/variable is variable with reference.

Intuition based on our everyday experiences will only get you into trouble when dealing with relativity and QM.

Intuition based on our everyday experiences will only get you into trouble when dealing with relativity and QM

If we assume relativity and QM are true, these ideas and parameters become part of our everyday experience though thinking. One can then process this further via intuition to define additional features.

The speed of light is the same in all references. While the wavelength and frequency of light are not the same in all references, or else there would be no red shift observed. The changing of inertial reference impacts wavelength, but it does not impact the speed of light. I will leave this as an observation which anyone can verify.

The product of wavelength and frequency will remain C. This function remains at C, but not the individual variables of wavelength and frequency, since those can red and blue shift.

This suggest that energy has two legs, one leg in C and the other leg in inertial, yet both overlapping. Inertial conditions can tweak wavelength and frequency through doppler motion for example. But this tweak does not impact particle speed.

If you look at the Doppler shift, the motion will add/substract distance to the wavelength; therefore the wavelength is inertial. If the wavelength was constant within the C reference, inertial motion would have no impact.

If we assume relativity and QM are true, these ideas and parameters become part of our everyday experience though thinking. One can then process this further via intuition to define additional features.

The speed of light is the same in all references. While the wavelength and frequency of light are not the same in all references, or else there would be no red shift observed. The changing of inertial reference impacts wavelength, but it does not impact the speed of light. I will leave this as an observation which anyone can verify.

The product of wavelength and frequency will remain C. This function remains at C, but not the individual variables of wavelength and frequency, since those can red and blue shift.

OK

This suggest that energy has two legs, one leg in C and the other leg in inertial, yet both overlapping. Inertial conditions can tweak wavelength and frequency through doppler motion for example. But this tweak does not impact particle speed.

I do not know what you mean by 2 legs. The energy of the photon is changed when there is relative motion between the obeserver and the source. If you are moving fast enough towards a source of white light the energy increase can result in the photon 'becoming' a gamma ray.

If you look at the Doppler shift, the motion will add/substract distance to the wavelength; therefore the wavelength is inertial. If the wavelength was constant within the C reference, inertial motion would have no impact.

I think I see what you are saying but I think that you run off the rails trying to decouple the wave aspects from the particle aspects of a photon. If this visualization helps you to 'come to grips' with light propagation that is fine. A real physicist may have heart ache with this approach, but I don't know.:shrug:

Don't apply your misunderstandings . . . .!

Like you said, if the math matches reality, then it's perfect. Your math doesn't match reality. Thus, it's a good idea to clear up your misunderstandings and get a more perfect understanding.

Or alternatively, continue trolling.

Good question, in case Farsight has you on ignore: Has Farsight proposed an experiment to overturn all other experiments done in nearly a hundred years of relativity, or is he just going to constantly post his evaluation of a gif?
No. The existing experiments support my case. Like the Shapiro delay. I referred to that in the OP. Light goes slower when it skims the sun. See the old Wikipedia article, and there's the Einstein quote about the speed of light varying with position:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shapiro_delay&oldid=394744801

And optical clocks go slower when they're lower. The evidence supports my case. It doesn't support yours.

Distance/time = speed. Distance(contracted)/time(dilated) = speed(unchanged.)

I couldn't agree more; however speed is a function of distance/time and what we call dilated time is really unequal unit values between perspectives. It may seem that I'm splitting hairs (and I'm not), if you examine and understand the properties of time in any empirical role (which I understand very well); in that role it is always a ratio of two physical quantities in a change of position and its magnitude relative to a distance (the quantities are a distance/magnitude). The magnitude within a distance is what we define as speed, so when you say time is slowed in any empirical examination it means that the magnitude within the specific distance has decreased (in other words the speed value has decreased). This can be seen and verified in any empirical role and is easiest to see in a clocks functions (a time keeping device or a body that can function as a clock such as the Earth).

I make no argument against c being measured invariant from every frames perspective, but if you truly analyze and understand the physical quantities that comprise time, therefore any speed too, you'll realize that time cannot be dilated relative to some other perspective without that encompassing all speeds that are a function of time too (time=distance/speed). In other words using a gamma of 2 a dilated clocks t would be t/2 so where the non dilated clock sees t=d/s the dilated relative clock is t/2=d/(s/2), it must be this way because as described the unit value d remains equal (d=d) between both frames (a meter is still a meter we just measure less of them). What I hope I've said clearly enough is time is comprised of distance/speed, in your dilated example quoted of that, by default the dilated time means the the physical value of the quantity speed (more accurately its magnitude) has lessened to the same unit value of distance.

In essence Farsight is on the right track but I see in his arguments he is missing some clarity of functions in his arguments.

If the radiation is caused by spin-flips, then it is the spin-flips that determine how many periods of radiation we count. Ie, if the spin-flips slow down, then the radiation gets redder.
Russ, stop being evasive. The definition of the second is quite clear. It's the periods of radiation. Not the spin-flips. And anyway, the hyperfine transition is an electromagnetic phenomena, just like light.

The lower clock goes slower, but the graphic is wrong on the reason why. You seem to be confusing the linear speed of a photon (which is what a light clock thought experiment uses) with the photon's frequency (which is what an atomic clock uses).
It doesn't use the frequency. I've explained that. It's periods of radiation. You count 9,192,631,770 of them and say that's a second, then the frequency is 9,192,631,770 Hertz by definition. And you know damn well that the lower parallel-mirror light-clock will go slower regardless of frequency. Russ, you are clutching at straws. Face up to what Einstein said. And face up to the evidence.

Under what conditions? Define such an experiment.
The NIST optical clocks that lose synchronisation when one is 30cm higher than the other.

Russ_Watters said:
And just to be clear here, your thesis is this: Measured differences in the rate of passage of time at different elevations are an illusion caused by a varying speed of light.
It isn't my thesis. Did you miss the quote where Einstein said light curves because the speed of light varies with position? Did you not see A World without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Godel and Einstein. It's Einstein's thesis. Or Gödel and Einstein's if you prefer. And what passage of time? Whoosh, can you see time passing like a bus? No. It's a figure of speech. Clock don't measure time passing. They clock up some kind of regular motion and show you a cumulative result called the time.

Russ Watters said:
Am I correct that that is your thesis?
Sigh. See above.

So we're having a semantic argument that is of no special consequence. There's no operational way to distinguish between time slowing down and all motion slowing down. In fact, it sounds like you're saying they're the same thing.
It is of special consequence. Remember I started all this to make my case for black holes.

Is this important to your argument in some way?
Yes. Because the radiation is light, and light moves.

James R said:
Yes, I agree it goes slower.
Good. The NIST optical clocks are more complicated, but when one runs slower when it's lower, it's for the same reason.

James R said:
The spacetime in the NIST lab is curved, so there's more space at the bottom clock than at the top one (if you're talking light clocks). Therefore, light takes longer to cross the gap. But we like to assume we're in a flat spacetime, so it looks to us as if light has slowed down. Or something like that.
No. Nothing like that. The metre doesn't change.

I couldn't agree more; however speed is a function of distance/time and what we call dilated time is really unequal unit values between perspectives. It may seem that I'm splitting hairs (and I'm not), if you examine and understand the properties of time in any empirical role (which I understand very well); in that role it is always a ratio of two physical quantities in a change of position and its magnitude relative to a distance (the quantities are a distance/magnitude). The magnitude within a distance is what we define as speed, so when you say time is slowed in any empirical examination it means that the magnitude within the specific distance has decreased (in other words the speed value has decreased). This can be seen and verified in any empirical role and is easiest to see in a clocks functions (a time keeping device or a body that can function as a clock such as the Earth).
Hurrah! Somebody else understands it.

I make no argument against c being measured invariant from every frames perspective, but if you truly analyze and understand the physical quantities that comprise time, therefore any speed too, you'll realize that time cannot be dilated relative to some other perspective without that encompassing all speeds that are a function of time too (time=distance/speed). In other words using a gamma of 2 a dilated clocks t would be t/2 so where the non dilated clock sees t=d/s the dilated relative clock is t/2=d/(s/2), it must be this way because as described the unit value d remains equal (d=d) between both frames (a meter is still a meter we just measure less of them).
Good. The metre is unchanged because the slower light yields a bigger second, but then the slower light and the bigger second cancel each other out to yield the same old metre.

In essence Farsight is on the right track but I see in his arguments he is missing some clarity of the functions in his arguments.
Thanks Maxila. Point taken about clarity. It's tricky to explain it succinctly and keep it reader-friendly. It's hard to make it easy.

And the Shapiro delay is also a test for general relativity, which, Farsight, wants to make everyone believe he understands better than everyone else. I'm guessing at this point, Farsight, understands the experimental results of the Shapiro delay better than the ones that conducted the experiment.

Still, there must be something wrong with relativity, but Farsight can't seem to point it out. Time travel perhaps? Maybe he thought arguing against some bad sci-fi movie he watched would win him such high esteem and get him a Noble prize. Or, maybe this thread is just bluster for his own ego?

Still, there must be something wrong with relativity, but Farsight can't seem to point it out. Time travel perhaps? Maybe he thought arguing against some bad sci-fi movie he watched would win him such high esteem and get him a Noble prize. Or, maybe this thread is just bluster for his own ego?

I don't see his argument as Relativity being wrong, as much as I see a disagreement of interpretation as to the meaning of its math and experimental evidence. While one can choose to interpret some comments more harshly, I prefer to give a person the benefit of the doubt.

Thank you Maxila.

I think relativity is the Cinderella of contemporary physics.

I don't see his argument as Relativity being wrong, as much as I see a disagreement of interpretation as to the meaning of its math and experimental evidence. While one can choose to interpret some comments more harshly, I prefer to give a person the benefit of the doubt.

But he's been up to nonsense for about a decade as far as I know, and I don't think, Farsight, has done any math on it in all that time.

Hurrah! Somebody else understands it.

Good. The metre is unchanged because the slower light yields a bigger second, but then the slower light and the bigger second cancel each other out to yield the same old metre.

Is that not circular reasoning? IMO, it comes down to the ability (speed) to become physical reality. Time is the chronologic accounting (result) of physical events at quantum level. Is the speed of a unit of light (photon) constant or variable and does it make a difference?

Thanks Maxila. Point taken about clarity. It's tricky to explain it succinctly and keep it reader-friendly. It's hard to make it easy.

Thanks to all who take the time to explain the current knowledge in a narrative way.

No. The existing experiments support my case. Like the Shapiro delay. I referred to that in the OP. Light goes slower when it skims the sun. See the old Wikipedia article, and there's the Einstein quote about the speed of light varying with position:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shapiro_delay&oldid=394744801

And optical clocks go slower when they're lower. The evidence supports my case. It doesn't support yours.
Is this the quote you are looking for, from the link you provided?:
wiki said:
The speed of light in meters per given interval of "local time" (calculated by the metric tensor) is a constant, however the travel time of any electromagnetic wave, or signal, moving at 299,792,458 meters per "second" is affected by the time dilation in regions of the space through which it travels.
Seems your own source disagrees with you:
1. The speed of light is constant.
2. The travel time varies due to gravitational time dilation.
It doesn't use the frequency. I've explained that. It's periods of radiation. You count 9,192,631,770 of them and say that's a second, then the frequency is 9,192,631,770 Hertz by definition.
You just said it is not a frequency, then said it is a frequency. Want to try again?
And you know damn well that the lower parallel-mirror light-clock will go slower regardless of frequency.
Agreed. So it doesn't match what a cesium clock does.
We use the motion of light to define the second...
As you said: it is counting cycles, not its linear motion (as in your diagram). So it has nothing to do with the speed of light.
...and the metre. And what do we use them for? To measure the motion of light. That’s why we always measure the speed of light to be 299,792,458 m/s. But it isn't constant.
That's a false statement of the history. Light was first measured over and over and over and over again and found to be constant and it is because the speed of light is constant that it is used to define the meter. It isn't some accidental/false/unwarranted assumption/side-effect as you claim.

Is that not circular reasoning? IMO, it comes down to the ability (speed) to become physical reality. Time is the chronologic accounting (result) of physical events at quantum level. Is the speed of a unit of light (photon) constant or variable and does it make a difference?
No, it isn't circular, and it is in line with Einstein and the evidence, and it does make a difference. You can actually understand things that appeared to be some intractable mystery, and you're left blinking at just how simple they are. What's circular is saying the speed of light is the same at different altitudes because we use the motion of light to define the second and the metre, and then use them to measure the motion of light.

Thanks to all who take the time to explain the current knowledge in a narrative way.
Einstein said "if you cannot explain it to your grandmother, you do not understand it yourself". Or words to that effect. Allegedly. A few years back I realised that there were some very basic things I didn't understand, and decided I'd try to "explain them to my grandmother". In doing so, I learned something. I hope some of it rubs off.

Is this the quote you are looking for, from the link you provided?:
Seems your own source disagrees with you:
1. The speed of light is constant.
2. The travel time varies due to gravitational time dilation.
Read it again. If the speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second, and the second at one location is not the same as the second at another, then one 299,792,458 meters per second is not the same as the other.

You just said it is not a frequency, then said it is a frequency. Want to try again?
No. FFS, read what I said.

Agreed. So it doesn't match what a cesium clock does.
This is getting ridiculous. Yes it does. The parallel-mirror light clock is an idealised clock commonly used in relativity.

As you said: it is counting cycles, not its linear motion (as in your diagram). So it has nothing to do with the speed of light.
??? How many times have I got to explain it? The light waves come at you like waves in the ocean. You're in your canoe, counting them pass you by. When you get to a 9,192,631,770 you declare that a second has elapsed, whereupon you then declare the frequency of those waves to be 9,192,631,770 Hertz by definition. And if the waves were moving slowly your second is bigger. But you still declare the frequency to be 9,192,631,770 Hertz.

Russ_watters said:
That's a false statement of the history. Light was first measured over and over and over and over again and found to be constant and it is because the speed of light is constant that it is used to define the meter. It isn't some accidental/false/unwarranted assumption/side-effect as you claim.
I never made any statement of history, so your assertion is a straw man. What I have said is that what underlies Einstein's SR postulate is the wave nature of matter. Again, see the Other Meaning of Special Relativity by Robert Close.

This is getting ridiculous. Yes it does. The parallel-mirror light clock is an idealised clock commonly used in relativity.

Farsight, understands Einstein and relativity better that anyone else. All thanks to a gif.

A gif means that no mathematical model is required. All experimental results can be shown to correspond to a gif. In the Farsight intellectual revolution, all textbooks will be replaced with gifs, and the learning process will become so simple.

:m:

Oops, there's math in that pic. Sorry.

I couldn't agree more; however speed is a function of distance/time and what we call dilated time is really unequal unit values between perspectives.
Even if that were a plausible argument, the dilation of time is offset by the contraction of length, and vice versa. So the argument hits a brick wall anyway.

It may seem that I'm splitting hairs (and I'm not),
Pulling out hair comes to mind.

if you examine and understand the properties of time in any empirical role (which I understand very well);
No understanding short of a Jimi Hendrix experience could lead to these conclusions.

in that role it is always a ratio of two physical quantities in a change of position and its magnitude relative to a distance (the quantities are a distance/magnitude).
In the first place it's the derivative of length with respect to time. In the second place, this has nothing to do with relative measurements, which require the Lorentz transformation. A little math goes a long way toward getting the correct results.

The magnitude within a distance is what we define as speed, so when you say time is slowed in any empirical examination it means that the magnitude within the specific distance has decreased (in other words the speed value has decreased).
All relativity says is that the two frames depart from each other in what they formerly agreed was the same duration and length. That difference is the Lorentz factor.

This can be seen and verified in any empirical role and is easiest to see in a clocks functions (a time keeping device or a body that can function as a clock such as the Earth).
Clocks on Earth can demonstrate relativity (the Aluminum clock at NIST slows as it's lowered) although GPS is the quintessential example of the combined rotation and counter-rotation, per Lorentz, due to velocity- and gravity- induced frame differences.

I make no argument against c being measured invariant from every frames perspective, but if you truly analyze and understand the physical quantities that comprise time, therefore any speed too, you'll realize that time cannot be dilated relative to some other perspective without that encompassing all speeds that are a function of time too (time=distance/speed).
You missed the point that distance contracts as time dilates, and vice versa.

In other words using a gamma of 2 a dilated clocks t would be t/2 so where the non dilated clock sees t=d/s the dilated relative clock is t/2=d/(s/2), it must be this way because as described the unit value d remains equal (d=d) between both frames (a meter is still a meter we just measure less of them).
When did you decide to throw out all observations of length dilation/contraction?

What I hope I've said clearly enough is time is comprised of distance/speed, in your dilated example quoted of that, by default the dilated time means the the physical value of the quantity speed (more accurately its magnitude) has lessened to the same unit value of distance.
You have yet to explain how you arrived at the conclusion that length is constant across frames. That is contradicted by gravitational lensing.

In essence Farsight is on the right track but I see in his arguments he is missing some clarity of functions in his arguments.
Thanks for pointing out one of the serious flaws in Farsight's arguments. I think he's been told several thousand times of this fundamental error.