Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Photon Acceleration and Constant Speed of Light

Name: David
Status: educator
Grade: other
Country: Australia
Date: Fall 2011


Question:
One of my students showed me a paper which he found on your site

http://jchemed.chem.wisc.edu/JCEWWW/Articles/DynaPub/DynaPub.html

His question is that if a photon does accelerate when it comes into existence is its acceleration relative to a fixed point different if it is coming towards that point or away? Thus it is not at a constant speed to all observers which breaks a fundamental law?

Replies:
David, A photon does not accelerate when it comes into existence. Things do not have to be still when it appears. Before the photon exists, you can neither say it is still nor moving. It is not even there. When it appears, it is already moving. Its speed is part of its existence.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf Physics Instructor Illinois Central College


Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory