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Name: James M.v
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Location: PA
Country: N/A
Date: 8/28/2005


Question: I am 17 years old and have gained a massive interest in theoretical physics.

I often ask my Chemistry/Physics teachers questions when I do not understand things (that he does not teach), but he often answers in ways that I am not completely capable of understanding. For instance, I asked what would happen if a laser was shot in a perfectly straight line with no matter or energy in its path to interrupt it in any way.

He replied that it would, in a way, reflect and return directly back to its point of origin according to one of Einstein's theories. Is this true? If so, why? If not, what would it do? Would it go on by itself forever in a straight line at a constant speed?


Replies:
James,

Interesting question regarding theoretical physics.

Because matter and energy does in fact exist in the universe, this experiment could not really be duplicated "going on and on forever".

You might try researching Einstein's theories on-line. You should find that even in the vast emptiness of space, light is bent by massive stars and planetary bodies. One could theorize that, due to the revolution of the planets, if a laser could be suspended and directed toward the emptiness of space, any moving object, in fact, could move into its path. Conceivably, this could include Earth.

The bottom line is that due to massive objects in the universe, even light is bent and would not continue forever and ever in a straight line, even if travelling through the mostly empty space.

Thanks for using NEWTON!

Ric Rupnik



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