# Matter to Light

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Okay, so I was thinking, If it is impossible for matter too travel at the speed of light, light particles easily travel at the speed of light, so instead of trying and failing over and over to make a fast enough vehicle to nearly hit the speed of light, could it be possible to transform matter into light so you can just get rid of the issue of resistance. I have no idea how a person would do this but I read about how students figured out how to turn light into mass and I was wondering if this could be done in reverse. I know about the term for this being Annihilation, but if their was a more controlled way to do this, we could transform objects into light temporarily. (Again, this is theoretical and I have no idea how this would be accomplished)

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4 minutes ago, CrazyScienceNerd said:

Okay, so I was thinking, If it is impossible for matter too travel at the speed of light, light particles easily travel at the speed of light, so instead of trying and failing over and over to make a fast enough vehicle to nearly hit the speed of light, could it be possible to transform matter into light so you can just get rid of the issue of resistance. I have no idea how a person would do this but I read about how students figured out how to turn light into mass and I was wondering if this could be done in reverse. I know about the term for this being Annihilation, but if their was a more controlled way to do this, we could transform objects into light temporarily. (Again, this is theoretical and I have no idea how this would be accomplished)

Simply put, light/photons have no rest mass and as a result have no other choice then to travel at "c"

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Just now, beecee said:

Simply put, light/photons have no rest mass and as a result have no other choice then to travel at "c"

So what you're saying is light can't slow down

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1 minute ago, CrazyScienceNerd said:

So what you're saying is light can't slow down

Not in a vacuum, yes, it always is "c"

Edited by beecee

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14 hours ago, CrazyScienceNerd said:

I know about the term for this being Annihilation, but if their was a more controlled way to do this, we could transform objects into light temporarily. (Again, this is theoretical and I have no idea how this would be accomplished)

No. We don't know of any other way to do this. There isn't any known science that says this is even possible. And you would have to do so coherently, preserving all of the information, which we also don't know how to do.

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This topic basically reminds me of teleportation. Does not seem impossible but huge technology advances are needed. Like Swan mentioned you would need to capture ALL the information in the system (person in our example). Every atom and every elementary particle within it. Also, every single neuron would need recording for reassembly later.

Basically we need to become masters at:

Converting mass to energy and the reverse, energy back to mass. Master these two conversions with absolute perfection and teleportation seems very possible (again, must have all the information as a prerequisite).

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On 10/1/2018 at 12:44 PM, CrazyScienceNerd said:

Okay, so I was thinking, If it is impossible for matter too travel at the speed of light, light particles easily travel at the speed of light, so instead of trying and failing over and over to make a fast enough vehicle to nearly hit the speed of light, could it be possible to transform matter into light so you can just get rid of the issue of resistance. I have no idea how a person would do this but I read about how students figured out how to turn light into mass and I was wondering if this could be done in reverse. I know about the term for this being Annihilation, but if their was a more controlled way to do this, we could transform objects into light temporarily. (Again, this is theoretical and I have no idea how this would be accomplished)

There are a number of problems with this.   You can't just convert matter into light any way you want.  For example, even if we start with something really simple, like an electron at rest.  If we were to convert this to light, it would have to be as a minimum of two photons.  And those photons would have to leave going in opposite directions.  Photons carry momentum, and since your electron at rest had none, the only way to conserve momentum after the conversion is for the momentum of the two photons produced to cancel out.

So to get these photons headed both in the same direction, so at a minimum, one would have to have the direction of its flight reversed.  This changes its momentum, which would have to be reversed again, upon reaching the destination in order to re-make the original photon at rest.  Now while the original reversal could be quite straight forward (just bounce the one going the wrong direction off a mirror),  at the destination, you'll have two photons moving in the same direction. How would you go about reversing just one of them?

It gets worse if the electron starts with some motion towards or away from the destination.  Now, in order to maintain momentum conservation, The momentum of the photons will not be balanced.  Since they travel at the same speed, this is achieved by their having different frequencies.  Again, one would have to have its direction reversed.  So two photons of different frequencies arrive at the destination, with one needing to have its direction reversed.   Now above, when the source electron was at rest, it didn't matter which of the photons did this, but now it does.  The right photon has have its direction reversed or the resulting electron will be moving in the wrong direction.  How does the destination know which is the right one?

For that matter, how does the destination decide which pair of photons were produced by the same particle?  If you started with two electrons, each with its own stating momentum, 4 photon would arrive at the destination, with no way of telling which pairs went together in order to form the originals.

So the only way to "reassemble" those photons back into the original object would be to send a separate signal carrying the info with the original object's specs.

For something like a human being, this would mean a lot of information encoded into that signal. The method of collecting, storing and transmitting this much data is far beyond anything we can even dream of at this stage.

But, let's assume we could, collect, encode and transmit all that info( And given the limitations built into the universe due to the implications of QM, this is unlikely*), and then use that info to "reassemble" photons back to the original object.  Do we really need to convert the original object to photons and send them too?  That information could just as easily be used by the destination by creating its own photons from matter on the spot and then reassembling them into a copy of the original.  You've really just invented a really complex fax and 3d printer set up.  Why go to Sirius, when you can send a copy instead?

Of course, maybe you would have to "disassemble" the original in order to collect the needed info.  But it would still be just a "copy" that made it to the other end, even if you used the photons created in the disassembly.  And you could use that info to make multiple copies.   It brings up the philosophical question of whether the copy is really "you", or did you die and were replaced by a doppelgänger?

If you decide that it is "you", then you've also invented effective immortality.  Every morning, you step into the scanner, and get your template "recorded".  Then, if something unfortunate happens (killed in a car accident, etc), This morning's template can be used to "reset" you**.    It might even be a good idea to keep earlier versions stored for emergencies ("I'm so sorry Mr. Smith, but the diagnosis came back as cancer, if we had only caught it 6 mo earlier".  Or your old heart just isn't what it used to be,  So a little tweak and you create a perfect, but un-living copy of your 20 yr old self as the perfect heart donor.)

In short, such an ability would have much wider ranging effects than just "I was there, and now I'm here."

** Star Trek the Next Generation made a nod to this by incorporating "Heisenberg compensators"  into the transporter mechanism.  When asked how they worked, one of the production staff answered "Very well."

*The 1965 short story Now is Forever by Thomas M. Disch touches on what type of effect this could have on society.

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19 hours ago, The Shadow said:

This topic basically reminds me of teleportation. Does not seem impossible but huge technology advances are needed. Like Swan mentioned you would need to capture ALL the information in the system (person in our example). Every atom and every elementary particle within it. Also, every single neuron would need recording for reassembly later.

Basically we need to become masters at:

Converting mass to energy and the reverse, energy back to mass. Master these two conversions with absolute perfection and teleportation seems very possible (again, must have all the information as a prerequisite).

The no-cloning theorem shows that you can't make an identical copy of a quantum system in an unknown state. You can transfer the information under the right conditions, but that destroys the state of the original.

The very act of measurement can change the state of the system.

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On 8/26/2019 at 5:25 PM, swansont said:

The no-cloning theorem shows that you can't make an identical copy of a quantum system in an unknown state. You can transfer the information under the right conditions, but that destroys the state of the original.

The very act of measurement can change the state of the system.

"Identical copy", true not possible. However, an imperfect copy or reasonable near duplicate is not impossible. We may even (hypothetically) teleport a person that had the flu at point A, but arrived at point B without it. I believe insuring the neuron information (memories, etc) remains near perfect will be the main challenge.

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4 hours ago, The Shadow said:

"Identical copy", true not possible. However, an imperfect copy or reasonable near duplicate is not impossible. We may even (hypothetically) teleport a person that had the flu at point A, but arrived at point B without it. I believe insuring the neuron information (memories, etc) remains near perfect will be the main challenge.

Well, if you only want an imperfect copy, you could use a 3D scanner at one end and a 3D printer at the other.

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8 hours ago, The Shadow said:

"Identical copy", true not possible. However, an imperfect copy or reasonable near duplicate is not impossible. We may even (hypothetically) teleport a person that had the flu at point A, but arrived at point B without it. I believe insuring the neuron information (memories, etc) remains near perfect will be the main challenge.

We were talking about quantum states. The spin of e.g. an electron is either up or down. So if you don't make an exact copy, the only other option is to get it completely wrong. There is no "near duplicate"

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5 hours ago, Strange said:

Well, if you only want an imperfect copy, you could use a 3D scanner at one end and a 3D printer at the other.

I guess there is the essence of possibility in a nutshell. An imperfect copy...somewhere between a primitive 3D figurine copy and a quantum altered kdifferent) rearranged copy🙄

2 hours ago, swansont said:

We were talking about quantum states. The spin of e.g. an electron is either up or down. So if you don't make an exact copy, the only other option is to get it completely wrong. There is no "near duplicate"

As soon as one mentions the "no-cloning theorem", by definition, the point of an imperfect copy is brought into discussion imo.

Unlikely to occur in our lifetime but nice (for me) to do thought experiments regarding it🤔

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19 minutes ago, The Shadow said:

As soon as one mentions the "no-cloning theorem", by definition, the point of an imperfect copy is brought into discussion imo.

Unlikely to occur in our lifetime but nice (for me) to do thought experiments regarding it🤔

In the simplest case where there are two possible states, the no-cloning theorem implies that the best you can do is 50% fidelity in copying an unknown state, and have no way of telling which are the duplicates and which are the anti-duplicates.

And the chances of a perfect copy go down with each state you are copying. 1/2, then 1/4, then 1/8, etc. It's the binomial distribution all the way down.

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1 hour ago, swansont said:

In the simplest case where there are two possible states, the no-cloning theorem implies that the best you can do is 50% fidelity in copying an unknown state, and have no way of telling which are the duplicates and which are the anti-duplicates.

And the chances of a perfect copy go down with each state you are copying. 1/2, then 1/4, then 1/8, etc. It's the binomial distribution all the way down.

Yes, indeed. What about orthogonal? Any thoughts? I am trying to educate myself on the depths of detail regarding such. Admittedly my sources are basically wiki.

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5 hours ago, The Shadow said:

Yes, indeed. What about orthogonal? Any thoughts? I am trying to educate myself on the depths of detail regarding such. Admittedly my sources are basically wiki.

Orthogonal what?

QM eigenstates are already orthogonal, if you've chosen the right basis (i.e. you have "good" quantum numbers)

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3 hours ago, swansont said:

Orthogonal what?

QM eigenstates are already orthogonal, if you've chosen the right basis (i.e. you have "good" quantum numbers)

From wiki regarding No-cloning theorem:

<<<Non-clonability can be seen as a property of arbitrary sets of quantum states. If we know that a system's state is one of the states in some set S, but we do not know which one, can we prepare another system in the same state? If the elements of S are pairwise orthogonal, the answer is always yes: for any such set there exists a measurement which will ascertain the exact state of the system without disturbing it, and once we know the state we can prepare another system in the same state.>>>

from wiki regarding orthogonal (directly) :

I, again, am educating myself regarding these terms and practices (hypothetical) regarding teleportation and it's obstacles. In my opinion, a near perfect copy might be feasible. For all practical purposes, it may even be indistinguishable (to human eyes) from the original. Of course the biggest tell, or give away, would be memory retention from the original.

In other words. I may look the same...almost perfect to the original (prior to teleportation)...however, my memories need to be intact. If you and I went to see a baseball game last summer...months later you bring it up in conversation...I would need to remember it. If not, I would not qualify as a, " near perfect copy" in my opinion).

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