The Speed of Light

30 Nov, 2006 530 Physics

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the speed of light. Scientists and thinkers have been fascinated with the speed of light for millennia. Aristotle wrongly contended that the speed of light was infinite, but it was the 17th Century before serious attempts were made to measure its actual velocity - we now know that it’s 186,000 miles per second. Then in 1905 Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity predicted that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. This then has dramatic effects on the nature of space and time. It’s been thought the speed of light is a constant in Nature, a kind of cosmic speed limit, now the scientists aren’t so sure.

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  • John Barrow 4 episodes
    Professor of Mathematical Sciences and Gresham Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University
  • Iwan Morus 4 episodes
    Senior Lecturer in the History of Science at The University of Wales, Aberystwyth
  • Jocelyn Bell Burnell 3 episodes
    Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, this week we're discussing the speed of light.