I knew that Onion-like headline would grab your attention. Now that I have it, suffice it to say that there are plenty of caveats here. Nonetheless, when I saw the following headline from our friends at phys.org shared by Mr. B., I really did think that this might be yet the newest "modification" to come along that might lead to a reworking of the famous theory:

Speed of light drops to zero at 'exceptional points'

The title says it all: light doesn't move at certain exceptional points. The question is, what are those exceptional points? Well, this one is an epistemological noodle-baker for sure:

The researchers, Tamar Goldzak and Nimrod Moiseyev at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, along with Alexei A. Mailybaev at the Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) in Rio de Janeiro, have published a paper on stopping light at exceptional points in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

As the researchers explain, exceptional points can be created in waveguides in a straightforward way, by varying the gain/loss parameters so that two light modes coalesce (combine into one mode). Although light stops at these exceptional points, in most systems much of the light is lost at these points. The researchers showed that this problem can be fixed by using waveguides with parity-time (PT) symmetry, since this symmetry ensures that the gain and loss are always balanced. As a result, the remains constant when the light approaches the exceptional point, eliminating losses.

To release the stopped light and accelerate it back up to normal speed, the scientists showed that the gain/loss parameters can simply be reversed. The most important feature of the new method, however, is that the exceptional points can be adjusted to work with any frequency of light, again simply by tuning the gain/loss parameters.

Now, I seem to remember something about Einstein talking about frames of reference and observers and so on, the gist of which was to maintain that the velocity of light was constant to every observer and any frame of reference. So the first thought I had when I read this was that the velocity of light drops to zero relative to what? In the article we're told that that this is achieved by certain times of wave guides that adjust gain and loss parameters with "parity--time symmetry." Whatever that means, and I'll take their word for it. But zero in reference to the waveguide? Presumably so. But the waveguide itself is still stuck on the laboratory tabletop, which is stuck to the ground of planet Earth, which is (the last time I checked) still moving around the Sun, which is still moving around the center of the galaxy... you get the idea.

It's that idea of being "trapped within the waveguide",  in other words, that really grabbed my attention, because if one looks at it a certain way - and again taking these guys at their word - it is really suggesting yet another strange twist: within certain systems under certain conditions, the velocity of light is zero, whether or not the system is moving. Phrased that way, it's the sort of paradox that the great Albert might have liked, and phrased that way, it sounds like a way to mimic black holes, without the gravitational effects thereof (or, conversely, by "stopping" light in this fashion, is a gravitational effect induced  After all, one of the consequences of relativity was that as the velocity of a mass approached light speed, its mass approached infinity. Does the opposite occur if light is "stopped"? The article doesn't say, but it would seem to me to be a question worth following.)
But I have to admit, that what really grabbed me here was that these scientists appeared to be playing with the same idea that I was playing with long ago in The Giza Death Star, the idea of "trapping" light under certain special conditions in a special lattice work of crystals, which would function as a waveguide for that purpose. To say all this is, of course, to say that a way may have been found to tap into the electromagnetic energy that is all around us. If those scientists are correct, then speculating a bit more here, adjusting those "gain and loss" parameters to control the way that "trapped" or "stopped" light is released might be profoundly destructive, or profoundly beneficial.
See you on the flip side...


  1. Lene Vestergaard Hau is a Danish physicist with a PhD from Aarhus University. In 1999, she led a Harvard University team who, by use of a Bose-Einstein condensate, succeeded in slowing a beam of light to about 17 metres per second, and, in 2001, was able to stop a beam completely.[1] Later work based on these experiments led to the transfer of light to matter, then from matter back into light,[2] a process with important implications for quantum encryption and quantum computing.

  2. (not condescending to my superior though a tad off topic and not in the spirit of it.) but these days I hate to quote Einstein anything after having read this.
    Like Monty Pythons Brave Sir Lawrence, he bravely ran away (to NY)from public meetings of German physicists who were calling him to account. Treated his wife like shit too after their separation (she knew more mathematics than he did). eg
    comments there interesting, another book to read, Galison’s

  3. Anyone remember the directrice of CERN going to the Vanderbilt Meeting this/last year? I wonder what she had to say.. I wonder why they’ve set their sights on Anti Matter this year..they were talking about luminosity and photon collisions when they started it back up last year..

    QUOTE :
    “”The protons interact like two big semi-trucks that are transporting cars, the kind you see on the highway,” explains Raben.

    “If those trucks crashed together, after the crash you’d still have the trucks, but the cars would now be outside, no longer aboard the trucks – and also new cars are produced. Energy is transformed into matter.”

    Ahhh.. Energy being turned into Matter.. so Scalar mode on.. Black Holes create matter through energy and shoot it off into erratic directions (ergo not all on the same axis of galactic center) to ensure some of it escapes away from nearby stars (who’d vampirise the matter) to create new stars elsewhere. Its the universe’s way of rebirthing itself. IF the Japanese can play with petawatt lasers and vacuums, imagine the power of a black hole frying the vacuum..

    What if…. the speed of light is just the speed that the energy passes along the spectrum, if you slow down the light.. are you slowing down all of the energy in the EM spectrum as well? Even that really highly exotic weird EM energy that ICECUBE is trying to grab down in the Antarctica? (GDS/Antarctica fix of the day :)) that keeps bandying around conversations that are talking about time travel..?? (and no.. Im not wearing any tinfoil.. that’s the crazy thing right??)

    What happens to E=mc² when c = 0? Is this their way of looking for negative energy for the Alucbierre warp drive??

  4. this seems more junk theory piled on junk theory sprinkled with the occasional odd fact almost accurately visualized. meanwhile a whole bunch of guys who shared tesla’s respect and loyalty (halton arp anyone?) spoke much plainer and simpler ideas and tested them to prove the vast majority of physics to be a joke. let’s imagine the unimaginable (and necessarily unmeasurable, unobservable and unproveable) and come up with wild names and descriptors, tell every one it’s too difficult to explain to such ignorant folk and then keep coming up with wilder and wilder rationalizations while mocking and impoverishing anyone who dares to question our veracity.

    vaccine industry much anyone? or cancer assn? or heart assn? or diabetes assn? or black holes? or big bang? makes me wanna run right out, get vaccinated for flu, hep a, b and c, parvo, measles, mumps, ebola, bird flu, zika, gardasil and eat a family size bag of low fat heart healthy doritos dipped in soybean mayo for my vegan dinner.

    doc there are much more tenable, workable and amazing splanations of how this all works. theories that are still wondrous and requiring much more research to get a better clue how they work. but at least testable and tested, observable and observed theories. are the northern lights electric (plasma)? well duh but look what hannes alfvens had to go through to clarify and prove that for a bunch of mainstream punks who tried the usual tactics of intellectual bullying on anyone doubting their ideas.

    kinda the same as the corporatzis running science research as the religion they regard it to be today. no thank you. i’ll stick with learning more about pertinent and infinitely more accurate ideas.

    1. Thank you goshawks, for getting into the spirit of things, rather than being condescending to me like some other commenters here. Thank you, because the attitude of some people gets very old, and very discouraging, in a hurry! I think your speculation is very intriguing.

      Scalars, anyone?

      1. If we keep walking out to the end of the twig….what are the implications for ‘time’ if the speed of light can be trapped/stopped etc?
        Could time be captured/stalled or manipulated? Imagine having the power to capture events in a time bubble that would then be ‘invisible’ to any observer.
        One could ‘bubble’ operations, economic actions, information in the medium perhaps?

      2. sorry you took it that way doc. that was the opposite of the intent. the frustration was not with the article nor its selection nor your writing. the frustration was with how the rockheads and rottenchildren have financed both sides of every hegelian dialectic imaginable and some we haven’t imagined for as far back as we might see.

        planned parenthood vs prolife. replublicrats vs democans. greenpeace vs exxon. allies vs axis. this religion vs that religion. this race vs that culture. a-biological petroleum vs hubbards peak. given these few examples, it feels like the article is a good attempt at getting to an invaluable observation that we’re all being allowed to see 1% of what we need to see.

        meanwhile we get told how carbon is cooking this planet. and chemtrails don’t exist. until of course they do exist and they’re saving us all from being cooked on this planet. and we knew about it all along. problem reaction solution?

        so yeh i’m thinking scalar too and feeling (cause that’s about as good as i can do with what limited horizon we can look at) it’s another facet in the same body of work tesla did and almost opened up our horizon by more than a few degrees.

        appreciate your taking the time to respond here and for what it’s worth, this is a good exchange to link to anyone who thinks the mod has every been used tyrannically.

  5. Meanwhile,
    it is being reported that
    Light can stop electrons.
    suggesting that macroscopic quantum effects could be mediated via the Light/Matter interaction.

    Study co-author Professor Alec Thomas, from Lancaster University and the University of Michigan, added: “One thing I always find so fascinating about this is that the electrons are stopped as effectively by this sheet of light, a fraction of a hair’s breadth thick, as by something like a millimetre of lead. That is extraordinary.”

    The data from the experiment also agrees better with a theoretical model based on the principles of quantum electrodynamics, rather than Maxwell’s equations, potentially providing some of the first evidence of previously untested quantum models.

  6. “God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform. He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.” – William Cowper, 1773.

    In ocean of time, there are electromagnetic storms. And when Narcissus drowns in Echo, the image is time coming to an end. Always is all ways.

    “Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill, He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.” – William Cowper, 1773.


      Relativists are in need to feed
      of the God they deny,
      by making the saints bleed
      in a Constant supply.

      Relativists are dark shadows
      against the living word,
      so that light bringer knows
      no peace, only sword.

      Let there be light!

  7. So … this sounds a bit nodes like a standing wave? The bit in a piece of string that has been given a twang … which does not seem to move??? Huh … interesting.

    Anyway, they may have phds coming out of every orifice known to man but they really haven’t got a clue what they are doing, have they?

  8. 20 years ago, this published paper in Nature reported experiments slowing light to 17 meters per second in a Bose-Einstein Condensates.
    Actual measurements !


    Techniques that use quantum interference effects are being actively investigated to manipulate the optical properties of quantum systems1. One such example is electromagnetically induced transparency, a quantum effect that permits the propagation of light pulses through an otherwise opaque medium2,3,4,5. Here we report an experimental demonstration of electromagnetically induced transparency in an ultracold gas of sodium atoms, in which the optical pulses propagate at twenty million times slower than the speed of light in a vacuum. The gas is cooled to nanokelvin temperatures by laser and evaporative cooling6,7,8,9,10. The quantum interference controlling the optical properties of the medium is set up by a ‘coupling’ laser beam propagating at a right angle to the pulsed ‘probe’ beam. At nanokelvin temperatures, the variation of refractive index with probe frequency can be made very steep. In conjunction with the high atomic density, this results in the exceptionally low light speeds observed. By cooling the cloud below the transition temperature for Bose–Einstein condensation11,12,13 (causing a macroscopic population of alkali atoms in the quantum ground state of the confining potential), we observe even lower pulse propagation velocities (17 m s−1) owing to the increased atom density. We report an inferred nonlinear refractive index of 0.18 cm2 W−1 and find that the system shows exceptionally large optical nonlinearities, which are of potential fundamental and technological interest for quantum optics.

  9. JPF: “…adjusting those ‘gain and loss’ parameters to control the way that ‘trapped’ or ‘stopped’ light is released might be profoundly destructive, or profoundly beneficial.”

    I had the same thought. Trapping (large amounts of) light and releasing it? We may just have witnessed the birth of the “Star Trek” Photon Torpedo

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