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Old 09-23-2011, 05:03 AM #1
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Default "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

Neutrino breaks light speed... According to experimenters at CERN in Geneva, where neutrinos were sent underground to Italy , a 454-mile journey. The article is longer than it needs to be compared to info it has, so I'll provide background that I know and bits from the article; I'm not reading or citing any other sources. I had some college physics but not my major, so those more educated I'd like their input (of course opinions of anyone else appreciated).

Neutrinos are indeed mysterious. There are 3 different flavors, along with at least one antineutrino (which is actually quite common); due to sort of recent discovery they can switch flavors in flight from sun to earth, means they have some small mass. They fly through matter almost completely unimpeded, going straight through the earth (weak force is the only interaction supposedly). They require large underground detectors, since the interactions are so rare. Trillions of neutrinos, mostly from the sun, fly through our body every second.

When the 1986 supernova happened, neutrinos actually made it here first before the light... but as I understand, they explained it as they are released first as the core collapses, but travelling very close light speed (99.999etc%; since it has mass relativity says it can't even reach true 100% light speed).

Ok now to the article. 454 miles underground they were sent... came out 60 nanoseconds faster than expected with a margin of error stated at 10 nanoseconds. The physicists quoted who were working on it said they waited months to check for errors, before releasing this info. Fermilab, an accelerator in the USA, said they also once measured them faster than light but since the margin of error was too high they dismissed it. Other physicists quoted said it must be an error; Brian Greene (who got me more interested in this field with the beginner-level but interesting book "Fabric of the Cosmos") says he bets "all he holds dear" that it is a mistake.

My opinion: I think it is a mistake, or agree it is something mundane , but I hope it isn't. 60 nanoseconds faster than c ... well let's put this in perspective. How long would it take light speed to go the 454 miles? I got 2 milliseconds. In 60 nanoseconds, c covers about 70 feet distance. I assume then, they have the distance calculated (underground) to error below 6 feet, not including any equipment mistake, etc. That is quite a small bit of time, although atomic clocks are very accurate a few orders of magnitude lower... even difference in gravity can change relative time over that distance (my opinion). If we could experience nanoseconds like we do seconds, it would take over 31 years to complete 1 second.
my calculations show, to put in perspective how "faster" it supposedly went:

0.002437165 seconds would take for light to go 454 miles
0.002437215 seconds they measured, or 0.00002% faster... couldn't go far back in time with it heh.

Maybe it is significant, but since I'm not familiar with all the equipment I can't give a good opinion.


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Old 09-23-2011, 05:09 AM #2
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

Yeah... I read about this.

I'm a physics major, so this is a big frakkin' deal to me! On one hand, I hope it's right, because it leaves the field open for me to make big discoveries. On the other hand... I love relativity!

Anyway, I think we will have to wait for some time before we get some certain results.
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Old 09-23-2011, 06:52 AM #3
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

This is could make us re-think physics as a whole. This event has been seen once by accident and then duplicated again on purpose. Both experiments showed identical results.

If we can slow light down (and freeze it) via Bose Einstein Condensate (BEC) then we can speed it up? Is it possible? Is matter able to travel at velocities at or greater than the speed of light? .... questions and possibilities are endless.
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Old 09-23-2011, 07:27 AM #4
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

Uhm, maybe they just used chronons instead neutrins for an error ..... chronons travels also in time, other than in space, so if they shooted negative chronons, they traveled back in time during the path, and arrived before the expected.

Pity they have not charged them more ..... in that case, they may have traveled back in space enough for arrive on the target before they depart from the source .....

(just kidding, ofcourse )




On the serious side, it's too early for hang on Einstein and his theory ..... needs a lot more confirmations (experimentals and reproducible in any place), before to accept this as an absolute truth ..... (and, who know ? ..... maybe hyperspace theories from science-fiction books are not so much impossibles )
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Old 09-23-2011, 07:45 AM #5
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

Pretty cool!

I've always found it a weird concept that nothing is supposed to be able to travel faster than light. Go neutrinos, go!

It's about time. Physics needs to be shaken up a bit.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:18 PM #6
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

Maybe the guy doing the speed calculations just moved the
decimal point one place too far....

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Old 09-23-2011, 01:35 PM #7
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

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Originally Posted by Ghostchrome View Post
Pretty cool!

I've always found it a weird concept that nothing is supposed to be able to travel faster than light. Go neutrinos, go!

It's about time. Physics needs to be shaken up a bit.
I find it a weird concept that anything can go faster than light, especially something with mass. If a massless partice would be the fastest possible, how can even a lightweight object be faster? The physics behind the relativety theory is very logic and looks complete (I've studied it). A neutrino faster than light would change things quite a bit.
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:26 PM #8
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

Well, (only partially joking, you cannot know if this IS possible ..... yet) if both the things are true (the light speed as limit, and the 3 tests they made had really all the 3 the 60 nanoseconds result), one of the possible cause CAN (with a lot of doubts) be the real existence of different "phisical spaces" (call them layers, dimensions, strings, or whatever you want) ..... so, if a particle become charged too much for exist in our "layer", it can jump on a different one, where maybe the light speed is not same as our one, just for the time needed for lost the extra energy and decay again in our "layer" ..... and, if in this hypotetical different layer the light speed is greater than our one, the particle can have traveled faster than "our" light speed, when it was there .....

It's just one of the hypothesis about a possible "hyperspace", that theorical phisics are debating from some time ..... and, being still all theory, you can never say that it's absolutely impossible
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:55 PM #9
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

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Old 09-23-2011, 04:43 PM #10
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

Hahaha. I love XKCD XD
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:45 PM #11
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

Quote:
Originally Posted by HIMNL9 View Post
Well, (only partially joking, you cannot know if this IS possible ..... yet) if both the things are true (the light speed as limit, and the 3 tests they made had really all the 3 the 60 nanoseconds result), one of the possible cause CAN (with a lot of doubts) be the real existence of different "phisical spaces" (call them layers, dimensions, strings, or whatever you want) ..... so, if a particle become charged too much for exist in our "layer", it can jump on a different one, where maybe the light speed is not same as our one, just for the time needed for lost the extra energy and decay again in our "layer" ..... and, if in this hypotetical different layer the light speed is greater than our one, the particle can have traveled faster than "our" light speed, when it was there .....

It's just one of the hypothesis about a possible "hyperspace", that theorical phisics are debating from some time ..... and, being still all theory, you can never say that it's absolutely impossible
Yeah, I bet it's something like that actually. I would almost bet that light has a different speed limit depending upon where you are in the universe (or universes ).
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:54 PM #12
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

It has not been observed that neutrinos ever slow down from their initial V~c.

Light on the other hand interacts with much more than just the weak force on its way to any detector. Light refraction is the slowing of light when it enters a medium more dense than a vacuum... in a sense.

So.. because the light has to go through such large expanses of mediums before it reaches the detectors, would it not make sense that the weakly interacting neutrino would beat the light to the detector?
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:05 PM #13
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

I think the issue is that they assumed the light was travelling through a vacuum. At least I would, if I were the one performing this experiment. That way, we could negate any effects that the particulate would have had otherwise. I think they just timed the neutrino, really. I don't think they compared it with light that was emitted from the same moment.
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:33 PM #14
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

It's difficult to say, not knowing the experiment setup ..... as example, today on news a speaker said, literally, that "for 3 times the neutrinos arrived 60 nanoseconds before the light", giving the impression that the experiment had a light source as reference timing ..... yesterday, instead, another one said that the total time of travel was 60 nanoseconds ..... but must also take in consideration that, most of the times, news speakers say wrong or not well known things as if they was sure facts, or distort the informations for lack of knowledges .....

I've found nothing technical about the experiment, anyway ..... there's no way for know the setup ? ..... without that, it's just speculation, at the moment .....
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Old 09-23-2011, 06:47 PM #15
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

but why does light in in or out of vacuum make a difference to this experiment. there is a know distance and light in c is constant. so if c doesn't add up to the known distance then obviously they werent comparing it to light c.
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:09 PM #16
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Default Re: "Faster than Light Measurement Challenges Relativity"

Perhaps the neutrinos are benefitting from the distortion to space/time by the gravity of the planet. As the effects of this distortion have been proven to be greatest at the surface level of the planet they would need to try transmission through the entire planet to see the results and then again through air to see if the matter was an influence too. (need to mount the detector on an airborne craft or satellite/space station and use the distance to the horizon as maximum distance without going through the ground. And they would need to use lasers during the event to monitor the atmospheric conditions at the time of the test.)

Perhaps this is the first step towards a form of time travel. But I don't see the concept of time travel to mean that you can go back in time but rather that you can manipulate your place in time/space in the "now". The "warp speed" idea. You get to the point where you can move great distances almost instantly with the application of huge quantities of power. The hardest part being that you need to also find & use that gravity well to start the journey. Then like HIMNL9 said, you keep the energy up past a certain threshhold to maintain the effect. But you had better have really good aim when you begin or you could end up a long way off course.
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