The researchers expect that their findings will aid in gaining an understanding of the early universe's spontaneous symmetry breaking.
In a vacuum, how would our world be perceived by observers that are moving faster than light? According to philosophers from Warsaw and Oxford Universities, such a view would differ from what we see everyday, given the presence of not only spontaneous phenomena, but also particles traveling multiple paths at the same time.
The very notion of time would be completely transformed — a superluminal world would have to be described in the familiar language of field theory. Moreover, it is quite possible that superluminal objects exist.
Albert Einstein transformed the way we perceive time and space in the early twentieth century, and time and space, previously separate, began to be treated as a unit in Albert Einstein's special relativity theory in 1905.
The first principle, according to Andrzej Dragan, is crucial. Every inertial system must follow the same laws, and all inertial observers must be equal.
This principle is most often applicable to observers who are moving relative to each other at speeds lower than the light speed (c). However, there is no compelling reason why observers moving in relation to described physical systems at speeds greater than the light speed should not be subject to it.
What happens if we assume, at least theoretically, that the world could be observed from superluminal frames of reference? This intriguing possibility was developed for the first time in the paper published two years ago in the New Journal of Physics.
In their latest book "Relativity of superluminal observers in 1 + 3 spacetime," five physicists go a step further presenting findings about the entire four-dimensional spacetime.
Only one dimension of this world retains a spatial character, the one along which the particles may travel, according to the superluminal observer.
Professor Andrzej Dragan explains that the other three dimensions are time dimensions.
"The particle "ages" independently in each of the three instances, but from our perspectives - illuminated bread eaters - it appears to be a simultaneous motion in all directions of space, i.e. the propagation of a quantum-mechanical spherical wave associated with a particle," according to Professor Krzysztof Turzyski, the co-author of the study.
Professor Andrzej Dragan explains that quantum mechanics is in accordance with Huygens' principle, which stated that every wave point reached must result in a new spherical wave. This principle initially applied to the light wave, but quantum mechanics extended this principle to all other materials.
The addition of superluminal observers to the description requires the creation of a new velocity and kinematics, according to the authors of the paper. – This new definition preserves Einstein's postulate of the constancy of the speed of light in a vacuum even for superluminal observers – adds Dragan.
What does the description of the world in which we introduce superluminal observers change? After considering superluminal solutions, the world becomes nondeterministic, particles begin to move along many trajectories at the same time, in accordance with the quantum principle of superposition.
The classical Newtonian point particle ceases to make sense to a superluminal observer, and the field becomes the only quantity that can be used to describe the physical world, according to Andrzej Dragan.
“Until recently, it was generally believed that quantum theory's postulates were fundamental and cannot be derived from anything more basic.” – write the authors of the publication.
All particles therefore appear to have extraordinary – and amazing – properties in the extended special relativity. Does it work the other way around? Can we detect particles that are normally seen by superluminal observers, i.e. particles moving relative to us at superluminal speeds?
Professor Krzysztof Turzyski says it isn't that easy.
“The mere experimental discovery of a new fundamental particle is a meritocracy worthy of the Nobel Prize and feasible in a large research team using the most recent experimental methods.”
Andrzej Dragan argues that a tachyonic field is a critical component of any spontaneous symmetry-breaking mechanism. It appears that superluminal phenomena may play a key role in the Higgs mechanism.
Andrzej Dragan, Kacper Dbski, Krzysztof Turzyski, and Artur Ekert, 30 December 2022, Classical and Quantum Gravity. DOI: 10.1088/1361-6382/acad60