The February show of WNYC’s Radiolab, called ‘Speed‘, contains three great stories. I am encouraging everyone to listen to the show or at least to the segment called Master of the Universe (about 44:48 minutes into the show).
It is about the work of Danish scientist Lene Vestergaard Hau (above) who has not only slowed light from the speed of light to just 17 metres a second and later managed to stop a beam of light altogether but went on to transfer light to matter, then from matter back into light – in a different place. Stop and think about it – that’s catching light, storing it, moving it and then releasing it somewhere else at a later time!
To a kid who grew up watching Star Trek and grew up to see communicators, tricoders and tablet computers become reality, turning light to matter then back into light sounds not too far away from what the transporter did!