I have looked at this and tried to accompany this thinking with actual work that has been put out there, and that has developed along these lines.
I will give a list of links and thiking that I had archived for looking at this issue and explain as best I can what one must look for.
Since the 1930s physicists have discussed whether the constants that appear in the equations for the fundamental laws of physics--such as the speed of light in vacuum and the electron charge--are actually constant. If they have changed over time, nature may have worked in different ways at different times, even if the equations themselves have remained fixed. Modern theories that attempt to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces leave room for such a time-dependence. But it's not easy to look for the effect. If the speed of light were slowly decreasing, for example, we might never know it, because our measuring apparatus might be shrinking at the same time.
John Webb, of the University of New South Wales in Australia, and his colleagues, focused on the fine structure constant, which goes by the Greek letter alpha, because it has no units and is independent of any measurement system. Its current value of roughly 1/137 could not have been very different in the past, as that would have spelled trouble for our very existence. A variation in alpha by more than a factor of ten would imply that carbon atoms could not be stable, and organic life could not have arisen.
So I'll deal first with the Fine Struture Constant and what I have got here. Stories in the news reflect at a fundamenatl level what is going onin the society of scientists? Whether a journalistic flavour is good or not, the basis of these myths propogated, if they are ever relegated to the "weird" or something not quite right, then one questions whether such journalistic behavior is very good?
But like myths, we look past the haze and fog to try and discern why such impulse and flavour was ever drawn to the topic at hand, and what is really going on in the society of scientists.
Change's in the Fine Structure Constant?
The world's most precise atomic clocks are now made from "atomic fountains". A gas of atoms within a vacuum chamber is trapped by a set of intersecting laser beams and cooled to a temperature close to absolute zero. The ball of atoms is then tossed vertically into the air by changing the frequency of the lasers and it passes through a microwave cavity on its way up and also on its way down as it falls under gravity. The whole process is then repeated.
Part of this attraction for me, was what was called "resonance curve."
So let's move on here.
As Van Den Broeck concludes: "
The first warp drive is still a long way off but maybe it has now become slightly less improbable."
An idea for achieving faster-than-light travel suggested by the Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre in 1994.1 It starts from the notion, implicit in Einstein's general theory of relativity, that matter causes the surface of spacetime around it to curve. Alcubierre was interested in the possibility of whether Star Trek's fictional "warp drive" could ever be realized. This led him to search for a valid mathematical description of the gravitational field that would allow a kind of spacetime warp to serve as a means of superluminal propulsion...
But there was a problem for me as I looked at this. I mean, if something is to attain the "speed of light" what happens to the ship? Of course along the way you meet people and learn things, and they extend the thinking.
Does it change what we know?
The ESAA group was founded with the ever present human nature of exploration in mind. The ultimate goal of the group is to physically explore the outer most human reaches, with an emphasis on intellectual exploration to achieve such goals. ESAA was founded by Fernando Loup, Edward Halerewicz, and David Waite to begin investigations into plausible methods to probe the outer reaches of known science. Fernado Loup a mathematician by trade was interested in exploring mathematical possibilities which may allow for superluminal travel. Edward Halerewicz a beginning physics student was primarily interested in popularizing advanced physical theories to encourage "outside the box thinking." David Waite a seasoned physics student was also interested in exploring the limits of known science and kept radical proposals grounded in real world physics. These three thinkers came together and discussed a recent theory within general relativity which would allow for serious superluiminal discussions.
Here is more on the Group which is now called "Stardrive.
Don't tell Lubos, because he does not accept his Martian ancestry. :)Am I a Et Alien?
Background on ESAA-Now Stardrive
Paul Karl Hoiland - Feb 10, 2004 7:20 am
In 1994 a Mexican mathematician, Miguel Alcubierre, discovered solutions to Einstein's equations which allow warps in the space-time metric to travel faster than the speed of light. But the proposal Dr. Alcubierre made was unrealistic on three basic grounds:
1.) It required a huge amount of negative energy. 2.) It displayed no casual connection of the ship with the field itself. 3.) The exotic energy states involved violated certain quantum energy conditions like the AWEC.
The ESAA group was founded with the ever present human nature of exploration in mind. The ultimate goal of the group is to physically explore the outer most human reaches, with an emphasis on intellectual exploration to achieve such goals.
ESAA was founded by Fernando Loup, Edward Halerewicz, and David Waite to begin investigations into plausible methods to probe the outer reaches of known science. Fernado Loup a mathematician by trade was interested in exploring mathematical possibilities which may allow for superluminal travel. Edward Halerewicz a beginning physics student was primarily interested in popularizing advanced physical theories to encourage "outside the box thinking." David Waite a seasoned physics student was also interested in exploring the limits of known science and kept radical proposals grounded in real world physics. These three thinkers came together and discussed a recent theory within general relativity which would allow for serious superluiminal discussions.
These discussions were opened in December 2000 to all that were interested within a yahoo discussion forum called the "Alcubierre Warp Drive" Club, named for the proposed superluimnal theory. The active members of the yahoo club then christened a name for themselves which became ESAA. The name ESAA was created by a club supporter named Simon Jenks, which is a Greek acronym for E Somino Ad Astra, or "From a Dream to the Stars." ESAA is an open and diverse group of individuals who are interested in seeking out nature's secrets to make some of mankind's most profound dreams come true.
The ESAA group consist of physicists, mathematicians, engineers, students, and layman whose members are spread throughout the globe. All members have an equal say on group developments and collectedly the group has worked on three separate modifications to "Warp Drive" theories alone. In more recent times Dr. Paul Hoiland has become a valuable member of the ESAA group. Bringing much needed experience and wisdom to the group as well as creating the Journal of Advanced Theoretical Propulsion, based on the ESAA philosophy.
ESAA History on the Warp Drive
The online discussion forum the Alcubierre Warp Drive, began as a novel experiment, where members would answer questions that interested parties had for the new science. The early discussions within the Alcubierre Warp Drive began with philosophical debates, random brain storming, and slowly evolved to include mathematical discussions. It was during this new phase where Waite joined the club discussion, and we carefully began discussing the ramifications of his proposed warp drive. Unfortunately as soon as the mathematics became the bulk of the discussion, most of the philosophical debates were lost, but at this point Fernando Loup and Edward Halerewicz began to describe the possible consequences of Waite's space-time. During the discussion of Waite's idea the club was very grateful to receive advice and guidance from the very busy but gracious Dr. Alcubierre. And it was at this point that simply entertaining the idea of a new warp drive became a much more formal process, and a new theory of its own right began to form.
The three early founders put together a paper which tried to levitate some of the problems with the "Alcubierre Warp Drive," (gr-qc/0009013) specifically reducing the amount of negative energy required within the theory. The paper was posted at the LANL ArXiv and was entitled "Reduced Total Energy Requirements for a Modified Alcubierre Warp Drive Space-time" (gr-qc/0107097). The paper also was not accepted for publication in established journals do to the inexperience of the authors in writing for academia. Also the paper was later found to have a few problems, e.g. the lapse function used to lower the energy requirements distorted time within the "warp bubble."
Since the energy problem was dealt in more creative ways such as varying the warp bubbles parameters as suggested by Chris Van Den Broeck (gr-qc/9905084), the ESAA group decided to attack another problem. One of the problems raised with the Alcubierre Warp Drive was that its superluminal nature would be impossible to control. If this were the case then using Warp Drives for superluminal travel would be out of the question, new members joined the ESAA group and decided to construct another paper.
The group wanted to know how superluminal motion would affect null geodesics and how this might be used as a clue to have control with a superluminal warp drive. The second paper put fourth by ESAA was entitled "A Causally Connected Superluminal Warp Drive Space-time (gr-qc/0202021), which proposed varying null geodesics to counter the superluminal problem. With this work several esteemed physicists gave there opinion on the paper, they largely argued against it because horizons will always form with superluminal motion. However ESAA argued against this reasoning as the horizons are still present they are simply moved by a dual light cone interpretation for space-time, the horizons just occur at another place. Expert opinion on this matter was that even if that held up, we couldn't show that a dual light cone interpretation is possible.
From this point ESAA has had some heated arguments, which gained some enemies and made a few friends. It was however mutually agreed that such a paper would never be accepted in an existing journal and so no additional publication was pursed on this paper.
The next paper proposed by the ESAA group was a paper to explore how Warp Drive space-time affect the geodesics of photons. From Alcubierre's original paper it is not to difficult to realize how the geodesics of photons become affected as was shown by Clarke, et. al (gr-qc/9907019). However a Portuguese researcher named Jose Natario showed that energy of the photons distorted by a warp drive would be lethal if traveling near the speed of light (gr-qc/0110086). This proved to be troubling as the popular press picked up on it as being the "Warp Drives are impossible," so ESAA decided to show how Warp Drives could still be possible with these "lethal" photons. It was found that a properly chosen dynamic space-time in several layers could act to slow the dynamic nature of the photons.
This solution ESAA proposed was entitled "On the Problems of Hazardous Matter and Radiation at Faster than Light Speeds in the Warp Drive Space-time" (gr-qc/0207109). However some of the excited authors mistook the slowing dynamics for velocity, when in reality it is the energy that is reduced, so the photons are non lethal.
Further inspection by ESAA and others have shown the lethal photons are fictitious as they exist with a Cauchy Surface, the photons energy doesn't change in the "warp bubble." There's just a frequency shift caused by the Cauchy region, since there is little interest in Warp Drives do the "toy" Alcubierre model ESAA has been slow in correcting this error. For these reasons this paper has not been considered for further publication, but again have shown that warp drives are mathematically feasible. However the ESAA solution dubbed a "shield" from its science fiction counter part does indicate the possibility of a dual light cone region as suggested by the second work which might warrant further investigation.
There were questions then too about the "specific design of the ship" and the group wondered. What designs did they come up with?
Doctor Paul Karl Hoiland - Jan 27, 2004 4:26 pm
Fernando's general idea was to use certain effects to escape off the brane. But while his proposed testing of such with high energy particles could open the door to testing out aspect of the RS model in general, he basically discovered that it does not allow matter to escape the brane. I'm not sure who exactly pointed this out to him since he tended to exit our group again. During his time in our group I had discovered what he was looking at was a brane lensing effect. In studying such I discovered it modifies gravity and the path of particles on and off the brane.
In the case of the extra dimension the length or volume is determined by the bulk cosmological constant(1) on both a local and global level. Gravity becomes higher dimensional at scales where
1/r ¨ 1/r^1+N.
But little has ever been mentioned of its modification of the on the brane Minkowski metric as well as the AdS one. Generally, what Fernando had noticed is that if you adjust the local Israel condition you can change the "warp factor" and that regular positive matter can adjust this. Its almost a pity he withdrew that third paper from GRG. With a bit of modification he had a perfect way to alter gravity in any local region which would have been a great test bed for certain Brane Models in general even if it did not support his hyperdrive idea.
I think after looking at this idea one could achieve what to a remote observer was faster travel times even though you never exceed C in the local frame. It literally was the original ST style warp drive. You could travel through a Universe that is smaller with no violations of the laws of physics in either the local or remote region.
Dr. Paul seems to have removed his links from one location to the next? Well, there are other names that can be followed up, if one thought to pursue this further.
So what was Dr. Paul refering too?
It is shown that our 3 + 1 Brane Einstein Universe is a trapped shell in a Higher Dimensional spacetime (Bulk). It is also shown that the Israel Condition acts like a pressure to trap matter in Einstein's Universe, and that if we overcome this pressure, we can make a particle leave Einstein's Universe and enter the Bulk. The conditions that allow the entrance to the Bulk permit its use to send signals or particles faster than the speed of the light, when “seen” from the Brane due to Brane Lensing. However, in the Bulk the particles remain subluminal. Our model differs from all the standard Braneworlds models, because all matter is trapped in this 3 + 1 Einstein Shell, independently of what the Standard Model might impose. What we propose is a new Braneworld Model using some of the features of the Chung-Freese Model, plus a way to overcome the pressure from the Israel Condition. Our model will remotely resemble the Davoudias Hewett, Rizzo modifications made to Randall-Sundrum Model that allow fermions (not only gravitons) to enter the Bulk, although we must outline that we are proposing a different idea.