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Proceedings Paper

Light and the observer: new experiments and a critique of our common beliefs about light
Author(s): C. S. Unnikrishnan
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Paper Abstract

The origin and elaboration of our fundamental theories like quantum theory, the theory of relativity and the quantum field theories can be traced to the study of light and its properties. While developing these theories, several notions on the behaviour of light have been hypothesized as well as asserted, sometimes without any direct or compelling empirical evidence. In the context of quantum physics, there is a widespread belief that experiments on quantum correlations establish nonlocality as an essential aspect of nature. Another unshakable belief without direct empirical support is the absolute constancy of the speed of light relative to moving observers. In this paper, I argue that no experiment on quantum correlations of spatially separated photons necessitates the concept of nonlocality, and that there is no direct empirical proof of nonlocality. I also comment on the need to modify established notions on quantum light, in the context of a clear conflict between cosmology and the zero point energy of quantum electrodynamics. Then I describe the first experiments on the measurement of the true one-way speed light relative to a reference platform that is in inertial motion. The results are at variance with the belief that the speed of light is independent of the velocity of the observer.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 August 2007
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6664, The Nature of Light: What Are Photons?, 66640R (31 August 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.731043
Show Author Affiliations
C. S. Unnikrishnan, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (India)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6664:
The Nature of Light: What Are Photons?
Chandrasekhar Roychoudhuri; Al F. Kracklauer; Katherine Creath, Editor(s)

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