1997-98
NEW MEXICO
HIGH SCHOOL
SUPERCOMPUTING
CHALLENGE

Interim Report


Team Number: 078
School Name: Manzano High School
Area of Science: Physics
Project Title: Relativity and near-luminal motion
Project Abstract: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/abstracts/078.html
Interim Report: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/interims/078.html
Final Report: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/finalreports/078/finalreport.html

The original project presented in the abstract discussed only tachyons, or theoretical particles which move faster than the speed of light. However, this topic reflects only a small parcel of the current project.. The current project is based on relativity, but does include discussion of tachyons and the reasons why such particles are theoretical. The project now goes much further into the discussion of superluminal travel, or travel faster than light, and whether or not such travel is possible. The basis of the presentation is relativity and how travel near the speed of light distorts the relative size and mass of the object traveling at such speeds. Since the initial project entailed a simulation of theoretical particles, one would have to predict the position, velocity, mass, and other such characteristics as a function and its derivatives based on trends in existing tachyon data. Because there is no proof that tachyons exist, there is obviously no data to derive such functions from. Another option for presenting such a simulation is by creating functions based on the theoretical characteristics of the particles. However, based on Einstein's theories of energy and mass, and Lorentz's theories of velocity, mass, and size, the constant c presents a limit of the velocity of all moving objects. Hence, moving at the speed of light would require an infinite amount of energy, producing an infinite mass of the moving object, and the size of the object would be zero. In application of the functions for velocity, mass, size, and energy, one cannot obtain real values for these characteristics when the only substitutions are infinite or zero. In much simpler terms, the particles' size would be zero or negative, which violates real time and space order, and the mass would be infinite. Hence, the only way to simulate tachyons would be to actually create them. However, in order to accelerate an object to the speed of light, one would have to apply infinite energy. Because Tachyons, by definition, move faster than the speed of light, one would have to apply more than infinite energy. Group 078 has yet to find a source which can supply a sum of energy greater than infinity.

Despite the theoretical contradictions of the initial topic, the project has not come to a screeching halt just yet. Mathematical models of these theories have been created and can be used to demonstrate the distortions of one-, two-, and three dimensional objects with respect to velocity. The concepts will demonstrate how the objects shrink in size and increase in mass as the velocity nears the speed of light. Such demonstrations will contribute to the discussion of the possibility of superluminal travel. The application of computers in the project will be through writing a C++ program which will draw the objects on the screen. Hence, a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional object and its distortion will be used to better visualize the theoretical application of the concepts of relativity. The graphs will be evaluated and explained at various intantaneous velocities, and a code is currently in the works to animate the representation to introduce a fourth dimension- time.

Team Members:

Sponsoring Teacher(s):

Project Advisor(s):


New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge
http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us