Pinay Physicist Dr. Jacquiline Romero slows photons in free space and we should be interested

The most important things in life are happening on a molecular level.

Photo from GMA News

 

(SPOT.ph) A University of the Philippines alumnae (now postdoctoral fellow at the University of Glasgow) is part of a research team that devised a way to slow the speed at which light travels in free space. It doesn't sound very exciting, but remember: These discoveries lead to the gadgets we obsess over and make our lives more convenient.

 

Dr. Jacquiline Romero, along with fellow physicists Daniel Giovannini, Vaclav Potocek, Gergely Ferenczi, Fiona Speirits, Stephen M. Barnett, Daniele Faccio, and Miles J. Padgett, shared their discovery in Science Express on January 23.

 

In the article, the group gave details on their paper, Spatially structured photons that travel in free space slower than the speed of light, comparing the way light travels to a team of cyclists, "Although the group [of cyclists] travels along the road as a unit, the speed of individual cyclists can vary as they swap position."

 

The research her team is conducting has the greatest impact in measuring distances, as light is used to determine how far, say, the moon is from the earth. With the discovery that the speed of light may be affected by "tardy" protons, other scientists may need to check their data for accuracy. More on this detailed in Kenneth Macdonald’s report for BBC.

 

At the moment, this only seems important if you’re boldly going where no one has gone before...but you never really know when you’ll need precise measurement. Interstellar could happen.

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