MadSci Network: Physics

Subject: Do forces establish themselves faster than the speed of light?

Date: Thu Apr 19 20:26:37 2001
Posted by David
Grade level: undergrad School: University of Teesside
City: Middlesbrough State/Province: Cleveland Country: Britain
Area of science: Physics
ID: 987726397.Ph

If we consider a hypothetical situation were two masses a distance apart come 
in to existance.  Being mass they will establish a gravitational field and 
there will be a gravitational attractive force between them. At what speed does 
the attractive force establish itself. If they are established instantaneously 
then this would exceed the speed of light. I can only think of three situations 
which would avoid this conclusion. 1) That forces establish themselves at the 
speed of light and would therefore be a wave of some kind. 2) That forces are 
carried via particles which would mean forces travel slower than light. 3) That 
forces act through an enigmatic medium, like sound waves travel through fluids. 
I can think of problems with all of these hypothesis and am sure I am far from 
the truth with all of them. I am asking out of curiosity, I am a first year 
Chemistry student and the thought struck me in a Physics lecture on 

Re: Do forces establish themselves faster than the speed of light?

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