Tag Archives: formula

A thought experiment about traveling faster than the speed of light

Scientists like to say that the speed of light is as fast as it’s possible to go, but I don’t believe them. Just think about it, say you have two things travelling at light speed. Let’s say I’m one of those things, and that you’re the other thing. So we’re hurtling through space as fast as we can go, and I then I reach out my hand and push you forward. I’ll slow down, yeah, but you should wind up with a little boost, even if you’re just going a tiny bit faster, there it is, faster than the speed of light.


That wasn’t so hard, a pretty basic thought experiment, really. That’s how Einstein came up with the majority of his most brilliant ideas, just sitting around thinking about stuff. He’d be lost up there in his genius brain, maybe he hadn’t yet gotten out of his bathrobe, and people would be like, “Einstein? Einstein! Hello?” but he had an incredible talent for focus, able to concentrate solely on the experiments being carried out in his mind.

Because, come on, you think a regular person could just come up with E=mc2? No, you need to be a genius. I mean, I’ve always thought about coming up with my own genius equations, because they have to be out there, more laws that govern the universe, stuff we haven’t yet figured out. The way I see it is, all I have to do is come up with the right equation, it doesn’t necessarily have to be proved. But once it is proved, I’ll have called it.

Like, how about m=Ts3(D-4)? That seems like a good one. Any math majors out there want to take a look at my work? Remember, any published findings are going to have to include me as a source, and I’m not cheap. Well, if it’s only a minor breakthrough, then I guess we can work something out. I’m not totally unreasonable.

Does anybody remember that episode of Boy Meets World where Eric mistakenly refers to Albert Einstein as Calvin Einstein? I remember watching that as a little kid and almost passing out from laughing so hard. For years afterward, I’d try to replicate the joke, waiting for a moment where Einstein’s name should have been brought up organically, like as the answer to a trivia question, or during a discussion about science.

Or maybe if I was in the middle of a conversation about something intellectual or scientific, I’d throw in, “Look, I’m no Calvin Einstein …” and wait for laughter. But nobody ever laughed. And it always made me think, is the joke itself not funny? Or am I just butchering the delivery, screwing up the comedic timing? Because, like I already said, that episode was great, I couldn’t have been the only one to have laughed.

Anybody ever remember that movie where Einstein is trying to set up his niece on a date? When I was a little kid, it was always on TV, like one of those random movies that they’d play during the day while most of the world would be either at school or work. I could never make it through more than ten minutes, but I’d always think, who thought about this movie? What a lame idea.

I think I got off topic from my opening paragraph, the stuff about traveling faster than the speed of light. But what about the opposite, is there some sort of a universal slow limit? I guess zero motion would be the slowest, right? But what if we’re both standing still and I push you? Then you go backwards. Huh. Can light travel backwards?

All of these question, only Einstein would have been able to really come up with a decent thought experiment worthy of taking on such heavy topics. I guess we’ll all have to soldier on without him, instead relying on Stephen Hawking, he’s pretty smart, but I think even he would admit to not being as smart as Einstein.

Don’t we have Einstein’s brain preserved? I know that we haven’t really ironed out all of those sticky ethical issues in regard to cloning, but don’t you think that, as a species, it might do us some good to make an exception for Einstein? We could create a whole army of Einsteins, entire labs set up where everybody is Albert Einstein, even the janitors, they’d all be geniuses. Think of all of the scientific advancement, the progress we’d make. And if we raise them in America, we won’t have to worry about that funny German accent. Did he have a German accent in that movie? I can’t remember. But honestly, that movie was terrible.