Miguel Alcubierre, a physicist who challenged the limits of the speed of light

Last November, the Capitol Gran Via Theater in Madrid The scene became Great science festival in Spain. After the success of the first edition, Very interesting He again held a gala Science FestivalThe event brought together the best lobbyists of the year to bring the world of science closer to the public.

This time, than 1,000 persons Had a chance to enjoy Over four hours Inspirational presentations The secrets of the universe, the mysteries of the human mind, new science and technology or our future.

Miguel Alcubierre during his conference at the Muy Interesante Science Fest 2023Very interesting

The gala was lively because of it Juan Luis CanoA veteran journalist and comedian also served as Master of Ceremonies and masterfully entertained the speakers with hilarious 'paintings'.

One of the most awaited conferences Miguel Alcubierre(Mexico City, 1964), A Theoretical physicist Known to have contributed particularly to the theory of general relativity. This scientist came to address a concern plaguing the scientific community Can it travel faster than light?

To do this, Alcubierre gave a speech on speed and space. And the possibility of traveling faster than light provided a unique lesson for everyone The limits of physics and the possible boundaries of our knowledge.

He started talking about Principle of RelativityAn idea that challenges traditional conceptions of absolute motion by saying that All motion observations are relative to a specific frame of reference.

“The origin of the word relativity is that motion is relative. Part of Einstein's genius was realizing that Mathematical solution that allows to have relative speed and absolute speed“, to be precise.

Precisely, from a priori theories Albert Einstein Until modern speculation, the search for ways to exceed the speed of light has not stopped. Doubts about the nature of the universe and our technological capabilities.

Miguel Alcubierre during his conference at the Muy Interesante Science Fest 2023Very interesting

The truth is The speed of light in a vacuum – 300,000 kilometers per second – is constant and the same for all observers regardless of relative motion between them.. “The speed of light is absolute, light always moves at the same speed, no matter what,” he added.

Also, according to Einstein's theory of relativity, “Nothing can travel faster than light.”. An idea that sets a basic limit on the maximum possible speed in the universe, but is tempting Questions about the possibility of traveling faster than light.

In this sense, he pointed out that Einstein's theory of general relativity also explores the relationship between gravity and the curvature of spacetime. In Alcubierre's words, “Gravity is nothing more than an expression of the geometry of space and time, an expression of the curvature of space and time”.

The seats of the Capitol Theater in Madrid during the most interesting Science Festival 2023

For example, the image of the planets orbiting the Sun in a curved space captures the essence of how mass and energy distort the fabric of space-time, creating the illusion of gravity. However, general relativity not only gives us a new view of gravity, but also poses it Possible ways to challenge the limits of the speed of light.

Precisely, this Mexican scientist is known for creating a mathematical model that can travel faster than light without violating the aforementioned general relativity.

Thus, Alcubierre introduced two fascinating ideas to the public: wormholes and space warp propulsion. The Worm holesTheorized as Tunnels in the fabric of space-time connecting different parts of the universe, according to this popularizer of the promise of instantaneous travel between cosmic distances. And, on the other hand, the Space warp propulsion proposes the manipulation of space-time To accelerate a spacecraft without exceeding the speed of light.

However, these theoretical possibilities are not without challenges. “Negative energy, a hypothetical force necessary to create and stabilize wormholes and space warp propulsion, remains an elusive concept in modern physics,” he noted.

And he added: “The search for this negative energy raises questions about the practical viability of these types of interstellar missions and challenges our current technical and theoretical limitations.”

Explore the boundaries of the universe

But beyond these scientific and technical challenges, Alcubierre had time to talk about it The motivations behind the human desire to explore the stars. “We want to go [a las estrellas] Because they exist, photographs are not enough for us,” he contradicted.

“The question of whether there is life in the universe far from Earth is, I think, a very important one,” he said. Therefore, the Search for extraterrestrial life and the possibility of colonizing other worlds It never fails to raise questions about our identity as a species and our role in the wider universe.

Miguel Alcubierre during his conference at the Muy Interesante Science Fest 2023Very interesting

Should we be a multiplanetary species? What implications does the discovery of extraterrestrial life have for our understanding of the universe and ourselves? As we proceed Exploring the boundaries of the universeOnly time will tell if we can ever reach the stars and unlock the secrets of the universe.

“If there's life out there, it's going to know us. If it's intelligent life, talk to them and learn. We need to plant life on other worlds and other stars,” he concluded, before receiving a round of applause from the audience.

Miguel Alcubierre during his conference at the Muy Interesante Science Fest 2023Very interesting

For the scene A very interesting science festival The great men who spread in Spain marched and brought to the public some great advances in science and invention.

Names like Juan Luis Arzuca (Anthropology), Miguel Angel Sabadell (Astrophysics), Dolores Martin (health), JOSE MANUEL LOPEZ NICHOLAS (Biotechnology), Ana Mikes (Neurology), Clara Grima (Mathematics), Javier Ramos Lopez (Engineering), Luis Quevedo (Dissemination of Science) and Fran Navarro (History).

If you missed it A very interesting science festival Or you want to refresh it, we invite you to listen to it in its entirety on the podcast Very updated (Available on all platforms):

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