Social Anxiety Support Forum banner
1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,505 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If true, this could rewrite physics.

GENEVA (AP) - A fundamental pillar of physics - that nothing can go faster than the speed of light - appears to be smashed by an oddball subatomic particle that has apparently made a giant end run around Albert Einstein's theories.
Scientists at the world's largest physics lab said Thursday they have clocked neutrinos traveling faster than light. That's something that according to Einstein's 1905 special theory of relativity - the famous E (equals) mc2 equation - just doesn't happen.
"The feeling that most people have is this can't be right, this can't be real," said James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, outside the Swiss city of Geneva.
Gillies told The Associated Press that the readings have so astounded researchers that they are asking others to independently verify the measurements before claiming an actual discovery.
"They are inviting the broader physics community to look at what they've done and really scrutinize it in great detail, and ideally for someone elsewhere in the world to repeat the measurements," he said Thursday.
Scientists at the competing Fermilab in Chicago have promised to start such work immediately.
"It's a shock," said Fermilab head theoretician Stephen Parke, who was not part of the research in Geneva. "It's going to cause us problems, no doubt about that - if it's true."
The Chicago team had similar faster-than-light results in 2007, but those came with a giant margin of error that undercut its scientific significance.
Outside scientists expressed skepticism at CERN's claim that the neutrinos - one of the strangest well-known particles in physics - were observed smashing past the cosmic speed barrier of 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second).
University of Maryland physics department chairman Drew Baden called it "a flying carpet," something that was too fantastic to be believable.
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 enormous implications of the find, they still spent months checking and rechecking their results to make sure there was no flaws in the experiment.
"We have not found any instrumental effect that could explain the result of the measurement," said Antonio Ereditato, a physicist at the University of Bern, Switzerland, who was involved in the experiment known as OPERA.
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. The institute collaborated with Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory for the experiment at CERN.
Katsanevas said help could also come from the T2K experiment in Japan, though that is currently on hold after the country's devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Scientists agree if the results are confirmed, that it would force a fundamental rethink of the laws of nature.
Einstein's special relativity theory that says energy equals mass times the speed of light squared underlies "pretty much everything in modern physics," said John Ellis, a theoretical physicist at CERN who was not involved in the experiment. "It has worked perfectly up until now."
He cautioned that the neutrino researchers would have to explain why similar results weren't detected before, such as when an exploding star - or supernova - was observed in 1987.
"This would be such a sensational discovery if it were true that one has to treat it extremely carefully," said Ellis.
 

·
FAILURE
Joined
·
618 Posts
Wow I hope they can confirm this. That is amazing.
 

·
Geese
Joined
·
20,768 Posts
Honestly I hope they don't confirm this, because the amount of **** that will go down as a result will be mind boggling. As stated though, the "assumption" that nothing travels faster than light has not impeded mankind functionally (if it were to be incorrect) though how this would effect space research and the like would probably be pretty significant.

I'd like to know how they measure that velocity anyway and to that accuracy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
Honestly I hope they don't confirm this, because the amount of **** that will go down as a result will be mind boggling. As stated though, the "assumption" that nothing travels faster than light has not impeded mankind functionally (if it were to be incorrect) though how this would effect space research and the like would probably be pretty significant.

I'd like to know how they measure that velocity anyway and to that accuracy.
this is pretty much my view. how much of human knowledge would have to be rewritten to accommodate this finding? on the other hand the possibilities of this are quite awe inducing... so i suppose i am torn. damn physics.
 

·
FAILURE
Joined
·
618 Posts
^ I'm glad you mentioned that. It didn't occur to me earlier but since Neutrinos are subatomic particles even if they were able to confirm that it did go faster than the speed of light it wouldn't make much of an impact. It has been said that Einsteins theory of relativity only applies to the macroverse (things that are big in our universe) but scientist have yet to make a sound theory on how to describe the really really small part of our universe. It seems that on a subatomic scale normal physics does not apply.

Honestly I hope they don't confirm this, because the amount of **** that will go down as a result will be mind boggling. As stated though, the "assumption" that nothing travels faster than light has not impeded mankind functionally (if it were to be incorrect) though how this would effect space research and the like would probably be pretty significant.

I'd like to know how they measure that velocity anyway and to that accuracy.
Except the speed of light has been broken before, by our universe itself..
 

·
FAILURE
Joined
·
618 Posts
urgh I couldn't find the original article anymore this is the best I could find in short notice (though you might dismiss the source)

"While special relativity constrains objects in the universe from moving faster than the speed of light with respect to each other, there is no such theoretical constraint when space itself is expanding. It is thus possible for two very distant objects to be expanding away from each other at a speed greater than the speed of light. Since the parts of the universe cannot be seen after their speed of expansion away from us exceeds the speed of light, the size of the entire universe could be greater than the size of the observable universe." -wiki

When the Bigbang occurred the universe itself expanded from a subatomic particle to the size of an orange (can't remember exactly/not sure if it was an orange) in nanosecond which was stated to be way beyond the 299,792.458 kilometers per second speed cap.
 

·
Still searching..
Joined
·
400 Posts
I'm not sure I understand the difficulty that this would bring..

so now we know that microscopic particles can go faster than light .... and what exactly does this change about how we currently see the universe?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,810 Posts
"From what I've read, CERN has decided that if it's a measurement or human error, they can't isolate it, so they released it in order to provide it tons of scrutiny.

In other words, CERN doesn't believe this result is correct, but is challenging everyone else to prove it wrong."

The Register reports that CERN will be publishing their paper on arxiv.org on the 23rd, and that there will be a live webcast of their findings on http://webcast.cern.ch/ at 14:00 CEST (September 23rd)

Neutrino specific findings from the OPERA experiment will be discussed at 16:00 CEST"

Here's the full article that was released only recently:

http://static.arxiv.org/pdf/1109.4897.pdf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Honestly I hope they don't confirm this, because the amount of **** that will go down as a result will be mind boggling. As stated though, the "assumption" that nothing travels faster than light has not impeded mankind functionally (if it were to be incorrect) though how this would effect space research and the like would probably be pretty significant.

I'd like to know how they measure that velocity anyway and to that accuracy.
But this is progress. Remember, people used to think the Earth was the center of the universe.
 

·
FAILURE
Joined
·
618 Posts
Interesting, I just saw this. wonder if its true...

 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top