# Which Is Faster

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Here is one that started a heated argument earlier. Maybe all your input might help.

Which is faster...... The Speed Of Light?........ Or Electricity?

If you were 1 light year away, and someone turned on a light (laser lf you'ed like). And at the same time another person turned on a light switch (with a cord 1 light year long, and a lamp next to you).

Which light would you see first? The (laser) light, or the lamps?

Why?

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Good question....but this should be quite difficult, especially since light isn't mass, which would make it hard to compare....hmmm....

i'd say it would depend on the type of wire (type of atom transporting the electron), like copper, silver, etc., so basically saying that it is a possibility that electricity can beat light, if the conductor is the best.

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Ooooo this is a good one. a real tuffy.

on one hand you have more resistance from the copper wire and insulation but it keeps the energy more concentrated with less engery loss than the laser. while the laser has more energy and less resistance but has lots of energy loss. i'll have to think on this some more.

this reminds me when i tried to argue with my teacher that he couldn't acuratly calculate the true speed of light by using lights and switches and wires because the speed that he gets with his stop watch includes the resistance on the wires plus no human hand cane stop a watch fast enough.

do you have any specs on the laser or the power output for the wires of the light and switch?

this is a really good puzzler. thanks JSKY

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the speed of light is faster but going by your therory neither light would reach you as both would fizzle out...laser would dissipate ...just as a test hook up a power drill to an 14 ga. electrical cord that is 100 yards long and turn on the power...anyway superman is faster than either.

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Here is one that started a heated argument earlier. Maybe all your input might help.

Which is faster...... The Speed Of Light?........ Or Electricity?

If you were 1 light year away, and someone turned on a light (laser lf you'ed like).Â  And at the same time another person turned on a light switch (with a cord 1 light year long, and a lamp next to you).

Which light would you see first? The (laser) light, or the lamps?

Why?

Well here goes my extremely unscientific-minded answer

I think they would both arrive at the same time, since some form of electrical energy is feeding both, and of course assuming the lights are turned on at exactly the same time. Once the light is lit, it would travel at the same speed....the speed of light which is a set measurement of 186,000 miles a second.

By the way, I hated math thought problems in school and usually got them wrong due to my wierd way of thinking. Plus I always suspected all thought problems to be trick questions.

God bless everyone.

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One to throw in there... Electricity is constant at both ends. As soon as you through the switch. It moves at both ends.

Just food for thought. I'm still leaning towards light. But if you throw a quantum twist in there.......

Going by almost perfect conditions......Yes electricity has resistance, and light bends time/space.

Edited by JSKY

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You have to know how quickly each type of signal can propogate through whatever media are being used.

In any case, electrical signals, like all signals, can't exceed c and usually will fall a bit short of it (if for no other reasons, because of the geometry of the wiring), so under optimal conditions either the laser will win or it'll be a tie. Given the distance involved it's probably safe to treat the optical medium as a vacuum, so there's no way the lamp can win.

Forgot to mention that this is true regardless of how fast the electrical signal travels. Information can't be transmitted faster than c. Even if the electrical effect propogated faster than c you wouldn't see the lamp light until at least one year after the switch was flipped, at the same time the laser beam arrived if it (the laser beam) was travelling through a vacuum. Physics is fun.

299,792,458 meters per second: It's not just a good idea, it's the law.

Edited by jcl

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This may help!!

Light vs Electricity

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Thanks handplane!

Well my idea is that light would beat it first. Or why would nasa want to get lightspeed data transfer like we have over the internet?

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the speed of light is faster but going by your therory neither light would reach you as both would fizzle out...laser would dissipate ...just as a test hook up a power drill to an 14 ga. electrical cord that is 100 yards long and turn on the power...anyway superman is faster than either.

not that i'm arguing or anything. but i wasn't saying that the light would dissipate before it reached it's destination. the speed of a laser is determined by its mass of energy, compression and of course its amount of source. as the laser comes out its energy expands in every direction. we just see the straight line of a laser because that's the greatest concentration of mass. but as it moves along it looses some of it's energy thus slowing it down. if you just simply shot a laser beam off into space and turned off the source. the beam would move through out space and would eventually dissipate. how far will it go. as long as it still has concentrated energy. but will it be enough for us to see or pick up on a sensor? i would say for fairness sake. the laser would have to be sustained beam since the electricity would have to sustain its energy from source to destination.

energy in both forms, the laser and electricity share a property with water. they spread to where there is the least resistance. the difference is that with the laser its energy is that more of it's energy is lost. the electricity in the wire has spread its self to where the least resistance is. the other end of course. but the texture of the copper (or what ever metal is used) wire slows it down, it has to fill all the little imperfections like miniature wholes, ect.

ohh and all of this is still assuming that the speed of light is a constant which is still widely accepted by most. while i do believe that the true speed of light is a constant. i also believe that our measurement of the speed of light is it as and inconstant because of outside forces. even going through space the particle of the laser beam are larger than that of the fabric of space. but that's a whole other discussion.

anyways if do believe that the laser reach its destination first. be cause even in the best of conditions having a constant source the electricity would not have enough pressure to force it there quick enough due to the resistance of the wire.

or at least that's my story and i'm sticking to it.

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just a cool little tip. when i worked at the defense contractor there was this old project that i came across in an old file stuffed away in the failed experiment section. they thought about trying to create a new kind of laser that would actually be two lasers in one. and inner and an outer beam. the outer would inclose the inner beam and would repel the energy from the inner beam. thus stopping the energy loss on the inner beam. it was stuff in a pile of long forgotten projects so to speak, because of its horrid failure and was deemed impossible. but think of it. if you could do such a thing you could then just use laser pulses with much more efficiency of energy. an experiment such as Light Vrs. Electricity. would be totally different. no constant power source. too bad it'll probably never be done or at least not in my life time.

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not that i'm arguing or anything. but i wasn't saying that the light would dissipate before it reached it's destination. the speed of a laser is determined by its mass of energy, compression and of course its amount of source.

For most purposes the speed of light is determined just by the permeability and permittivity of the medium. Increasing the input energy to the laser will increase the output energy (amount of light, frequency, whatever) but won't increase the velocity of the light.

when i worked at the defense contractor there was this old project that i came across in an old file stuffed away in the failed experiment section. they thought about trying to create a new kind of laser that would actually be two lasers in one. and inner and an outer beam. the outer would inclose the inner beam and would repel the energy from the inner beam. thus stopping the energy loss on the inner beam.

You sure that was a laser and not a charged particle beam? That sounds similar to one of the proposals for 'neutralizing' particle beams so they could maintain cohesion in the open despite the tendancy of the charged particles to repel each other. The idea probably died when the gov't lost in interest in space-born directed-energy weapons.

IIRC photons don't interact with each other.

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Cool site, handplane.

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And thanks everyone for the great responses!!!!

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not that i'm arguing or anything. but i wasn't saying that the light would dissipate before it reached it's destination. the speed of a laser is determined by its mass of energy, compression and of course its amount of source.

For most purposes the speed of light is determined just by the permeability and permittivity of the medium. Increasing the input energy to the laser will increase the output energy (amount of light, frequency, whatever) but won't increase the velocity of the light.

i was talking about after the laser energy has left the source if it was a pulse and energy loss after that slowing it down.

when i worked at the defense contractor there was this old project that i came across in an old file stuffed away in the failed experiment section. they thought about trying to create a new kind of laser that would actually be two lasers in one. and inner and an outer beam. the outer would inclose the inner beam and would repel the energy from the inner beam. thus stopping the energy loss on the inner beam.

You sure that was a laser and not a charged particle beam? That sounds similar to one of the proposals for 'neutralizing' particle beams so they could maintain cohesion in the open despite the tendancy of the charged particles to repel each other. The idea probably died when the gov't lost in interest in space-born directed-energy weapons.

IIRC photons don't interact with each other.

to be honest i don't know. by the time i got to it about 75% of the documents were blacked out. even the project code name was blacked out. who in the world blacks out that. but what was cool was the date (1972). i only came across it by accident and i didn't even have high enough clearance to put it where it was supposed to be.

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i was talking about after the laser energy has left the source if it was a pulse and energy loss after that slowing it down.

Light doesn't slow down when it loses energy. The most noticable effect, I believe, is that the frequency shifts downward.

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I'm going to think about this some more and possibly bring it up in physics class tomorrow.

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I think Einstien therorized that light didn't move at a constant spped in outer space....you know his theroies are still being found correct. he theroized quantam physics but questioned himself about it..dam, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

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I think Einstien therorized that light didn't move at a constant spped in outer space....you know his theroies are still being found correct.Â  he theroized quantam physics but questioned himself about it..dam, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

The invariance of c is the Second Postulate of Special Relativity. (The First is that physics shouldn't change if you're in motion. The two of them together imply, among other things, that the speed of light is constant regardless of the motion of the observer.) He was the first to explain how it the speed of light could be constant.

Einstein was well-known for his dislike of QM and specifically the Copenhagen interpretation. My understanding is that he accepted that it was the best theory available but did not accept that it was a correct description of reality.

Edited by jcl

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What category would light be under, if it had be be classified [in the tangible sense; like solid, liquid, etc., maybe not that simple, but the same sense of the word "category"]?

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What category would light be under, if it had be be classified [in the tangible sense; like solid, liquid, etc., maybe not that simple, but the same sense of the word "category"]?

Well im not sure about that because it is generally accepted that light is a wave.... but some theorize that it is a particle.

Then again an experiment was conducted where two light waves were shot at one point and destructive interference was created so therefore darkness was created.... that should prove its a wave right? well no...

A wave needs a medium to travel such as air, water, ect...

But space is a vaccum so how does light travel through space??

bahh so many things to consider

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Which occurs first? The blinding flash or the bite from amperage discharged when you're stupid enough to stick a screwdriver where it doesn't belong working on your TV.

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What category would light be under, if it had be be classified [in the tangible sense; like solid, liquid, etc., maybe not that simple, but the same sense of the word "category"]?

Well, "solid" and "liquid" are phases of matter, but they're fairly coarse-grain descriptions. You can't really have liquid or gaseous light. It's just electromagnetic radiation in a certain range of frequencies.

Well im not sure about that because it is generally accepted that light is a wave.... but some theorize that it is a particle.

It's both. All 'particles', including photons, exhibit both wave-like and particle-like behavior depending on how they're viewed. This is called "wave-particle duality" and has been troubling people for a very long time.

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Which occurs first? The blinding flash or the bite from amperage discharged when you're stupid enough to stick a screwdriver where it doesn't belong working on your TV.

TT75

Not sure.

First fesopnce would be from the wife, "Didn't I say you were going to electricute your self!"

M

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Um, if you would use superconductors, they are usually cryogenic, than i beleice electricity would win/