Two objects travelling at the speed of light collide head on. The combined resulting force would be twice the speed of light, therefore any particles flying off from the crash would be twice the speed of light, which science reckons is impossible. Is my thinking wrong?

By On Saturday, October 1st, 2016 Categories : Question & Answer

Two objects travelling at the speed of light collide head on. The combined resulting force would be twice the speed of light, therefore any particles flying off from the crash would be twice the speed of light, which science reckons is impossible. Is my thinking wrong?. Are You mate has this kind of problem?, If yes then please get the good tips below this line:

This situation does happen.  Two photons can collide.  It is also possible that one of the neutrinos is massless, and in theory (not observed yet) two massless neutrinos can collide.

But it is not true that the resulting particles would travel faster than light. When two photons collide, they could just bounce — and that results in two particles traveling each at light speed.

Another possibility is that they would collide and form a neutral pion. (We know the opposite happens; a neutral pion decays into two photons).  But if the photons come in at equal energies, from opposite directions, then that neutral pion is at rest; it is not moving at twice the speed of light.  You can see that just from the conservation of energy.

So your hypothetical situation is right, but your thinking was not. The problem was that you were using terms like “force” in a colloquial sense, not in the precise sense used by physicists, and that led you to an incorrect conclusion.

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Two objects travelling at the speed of light collide head on. The combined resulting force would be twice the speed of light, therefore any particles flying off from the crash would be twice the speed of light, which science reckons is impossible. Is my thinking wrong? | SitusPanda | 4.5