Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby Mark » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:27 pm

CERN scientists ask for confirmation of discovery that could refute laws of nature

By Frank Jordans

updated less than 1 minute ago 2011-09-22T18:48:41
Print Font: + - GENEVA — Scientists at the world's largest physics lab say they have clocked subatomic particles traveling faster than light, a feat that — if true — would break a fundamental pillar of science.

The readings have so astounded researchers that they are asking others to independently verify the measurements before claiming an actual discovery.

"This would be such a sensational discovery if it were true that one has to treat it extremely carefully," said John Ellis, a theoretical physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, who was not involved in the experiment.

Nothing is supposed to move faster than light, at least according to Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity: The famous E (equals) mc2 equation. That stands for energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.

But neutrinos — one of the strangest well-known particles in physics — have now been observed smashing past this cosmic speed barrier of 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers).

CERN says a neutrino beam fired from a particle accelerator near Geneva to a lab 454 miles (730 kilometers) away in Italy traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light. Scientists calculated the margin of error at just 10 nanoseconds, making the difference statistically significant. But given the enormity of the find, they still spent months checking and rechecking their results to make sure there were no flaws in the experiment.

The CERN researchers are now looking to the United States and Japan to confirm the results.

A similar neutrino experiment at Fermilab near Chicago would be capable of running the tests, said Stavros Katsanevas, the deputy director of France's National Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics Research.

Katsanevas, who participated in the CERN experiment, said help could also come from the T2K experiment in Japan, though that is currently on hold after the country's devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.

Scientists agree that if the results are confirmed, it would force a fundamental rethink of the laws of nature, starting with the special theory of relativity proposed by Einstein in 1905.

Special relativity, which helps explain everything from black holes to the Big Bang theory about the origins of the universe, underlies "pretty much everything in modern physics," Ellis said. "It has worked perfectly up until now."

He cautioned that the neutrino researchers also would have to explain why similar results weren't detected before, such as when an exploding star — or supernova — was observed in 1987.



Well, I guess next we'll hear about some guy named Cochrane building a rocket in his backyard.
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Re: Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby Tyyr » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:40 pm

I'm not really getting this statement
He cautioned that the neutrino researchers also would have to explain why similar results weren't detected before, such as when an exploding star — or supernova — was observed in 1987.

Is that really relevant? If a neutrino beam is found to be able to travel faster than light why do they have to explain why some neutrinos haven't done the same?
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Re: Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby Lighthawk » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:18 pm

Hell, how would you even know if there had been FTL neutrinos from a supernova? If they really are FTL, than by the time the supernova was visible (when the light reached Earth), wouldn't the FTL neutrinos have already arrived and gone?
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Re: Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby Mikey » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:20 pm

I think the idea behind that is that it's a discrete statement: either neutrinos can travel faster than light, or they can't. Neutrinos presumably don't have a range of speeds - no matter the directional component of their velocity, the assumption is that the speed of a neutrino is the speed of neutrino, period. The question would be why neutrinos traveled at one speed in 1987 and a different one in 2011.
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Re: Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby Mark » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:15 am

Inflation?
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Re: Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby Lighthawk » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:51 am

...okay, that was actually kind of funny.
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Re: Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby colmquinn » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:11 am

Mikey wrote: ...sic... The question would be why neutrinos traveled at one speed in 1987 and a different one in 2011.


They brought out the sequel with a new warp scale :-)

Seriously though any result is a good result - it drives science further forward.
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CERN scientists 'break the speed of light'

Postby thelordharry » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:32 am

Maybe one day, we'll see that headline without the quote marks.

...but I doubt it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/8782895/CERN-scientists-break-the-speed-of-light.html
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Re: CERN scientists 'break the speed of light'

Postby colmquinn » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:46 am

See here for existing thread I believe http://www.ditl.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=6858
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Re: CERN scientists 'break the speed of light'

Postby thelordharry » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:25 am

Ah. I checked the Politics and Current Events but not the science section. A schoolboy error!
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Re: Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby Mikey » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:18 pm

No problem.
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Re: Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby Tyyr » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:14 pm

Mikey wrote:I think the idea behind that is that it's a discrete statement: either neutrinos can travel faster than light, or they can't. Neutrinos presumably don't have a range of speeds - no matter the directional component of their velocity, the assumption is that the speed of a neutrino is the speed of neutrino, period. The question would be why neutrinos traveled at one speed in 1987 and a different one in 2011.

Except there's one big huge assumption, that neutrinos can't travel both faster and slower than light. The researchers that discover faster than light neutrinos aren't responsible for explaining everything. If they discover faster than light neutrinos and it can be verified and proven the onus is on the rest of the physics community to start figuring out how it works.

The first thing I'd want to see is the data from 1987. Lets see here, the neutrinos arrived 60 nanoseconds early over a distance of 730 kilometers. SN 1987A is a supernova that happened 168,000 light years away. MATH AWAY!

There are 9.47 E^12 km in a lightyear. Since these neutrinos are clocking in 60 nanoseconds early per 730 km that means in the course of a light year these neutrinos will arrive 778 seconds, or almost 13 minutes, early. So over 168,000 lightyears we'd expect these faster than light neutrinos to arrive we'd expect these neutrinos to arrive 4.14 years early. So instead of bitching about why all the neutrinos didn't arrive 4.14 years early I'd be going back and seeing if there was any increase in neutrinos 4.14 years ago, give or take a few months.
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Re: Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby Sonic Glitch » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:03 pm

Tyyr wrote:
Mikey wrote:I think the idea behind that is that it's a discrete statement: either neutrinos can travel faster than light, or they can't. Neutrinos presumably don't have a range of speeds - no matter the directional component of their velocity, the assumption is that the speed of a neutrino is the speed of neutrino, period. The question would be why neutrinos traveled at one speed in 1987 and a different one in 2011.

Except there's one big huge assumption, that neutrinos can't travel both faster and slower than light. The researchers that discover faster than light neutrinos aren't responsible for explaining everything. If they discover faster than light neutrinos and it can be verified and proven the onus is on the rest of the physics community to start figuring out how it works.

The first thing I'd want to see is the data from 1987. Lets see here, the neutrinos arrived 60 nanoseconds early over a distance of 730 kilometers. SN 1987A is a supernova that happened 168,000 light years away. MATH AWAY!

There are 9.47 E^12 km in a lightyear. Since these neutrinos are clocking in 60 nanoseconds early per 730 km that means in the course of a light year these neutrinos will arrive 778 seconds, or almost 13 minutes, early. So over 168,000 lightyears we'd expect these faster than light neutrinos to arrive we'd expect these neutrinos to arrive 4.14 years early. So instead of bitching about why all the neutrinos didn't arrive 4.14 years early I'd be going back and seeing if there was any increase in neutrinos 4.14 years ago, give or take a few months.

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Re: Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby Mikey » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:56 pm

Tyyr wrote:
Mikey wrote:I think the idea behind that is that it's a discrete statement: either neutrinos can travel faster than light, or they can't. Neutrinos presumably don't have a range of speeds - no matter the directional component of their velocity, the assumption is that the speed of a neutrino is the speed of neutrino, period. The question would be why neutrinos traveled at one speed in 1987 and a different one in 2011.

Except there's one big huge assumption, that neutrinos can't travel both faster and slower than light. The researchers that discover faster than light neutrinos aren't responsible for explaining everything. If they discover faster than light neutrinos and it can be verified and proven the onus is on the rest of the physics community to start figuring out how it works.

The first thing I'd want to see is the data from 1987. Lets see here, the neutrinos arrived 60 nanoseconds early over a distance of 730 kilometers. SN 1987A is a supernova that happened 168,000 light years away. MATH AWAY!

There are 9.47 E^12 km in a lightyear. Since these neutrinos are clocking in 60 nanoseconds early per 730 km that means in the course of a light year these neutrinos will arrive 778 seconds, or almost 13 minutes, early. So over 168,000 lightyears we'd expect these faster than light neutrinos to arrive we'd expect these neutrinos to arrive 4.14 years early. So instead of bitching about why all the neutrinos didn't arrive 4.14 years early I'd be going back and seeing if there was any increase in neutrinos 4.14 years ago, give or take a few months.



All of that is fairly said, except for the onus being on others than the finders to research the findings - I think the whole point of being the guy(s) who found this data is to be the ones to delve into it. However, I wasn't saying that the research should be abandoned, or even received cynically; I was merely answering your question as to why the 1987 event was mentioned as contrary to the modern findings. Didn't say it was my viewpoint, only that it my be the one from the naysayers about which you asked.
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Re: Astounding discovery: Faster-than-light particle

Postby Tyyr » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:08 pm

It's an avenue to look into. However if faster than light neutrinos can be proven not having a sound explanation for the 1987 event doesn't automatically discount it which is what the tone in the article seemed to be. I didn't mean to say that it's not these guy's problem either, but that it's a question for the larger scientific community to begin pondering, not just these guy's job.
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