CERN researchers claim superluminal neutrinos

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by mkrishnan, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #1
    If this turns out to be replicable, this is very interesting.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/22/science-light-idUSL5E7KM4CW20110922

    I haven't seen the research, but from the sound of the scenario, these are simply neutrinos traveling faster than light, rather than any of the harder to imagine scenarios like superluminal transit being accompanied by some non-causal relationship (that is, time travel) that relativity would suggest. And I'm not aware of any reason to expect neutrinos to just start traveling faster than the speed of light.

    It'll be really interesting to see if there are any flaws in this research, or if they've found something new and unexpected.
     
  2. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #2
    This would make Einstein roll over in his grave if true.
     
  3. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #3
    The idea of moving faster than light is full of interesting ramifications. What do you see when you overtake light? :confused:
     
  4. bigjobby macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Could it be that the speed of light as we know/knew it was actually, albeit ever so slightly, wrong all along? Or is it the birth of time travel?
     
  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #5
    The speed of light has been calculated over enormous distances: the possible margin of error is unimaginably small.
     
  6. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #6
    Yes, it's much more likely that something else would turn out to be wrong with this study than that our value for the speed of light is wrong.
     
  7. bigjobby macrumors 65816

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    #7
    all depends how 'unimaginably small' is defined I guess because those particles were only travelling a few billionths of a sec quicker than c. I'm no physicist but find the findings very interesting.
     
  8. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #8
    I would imagine that the speed of light has been measured with ever-increasing sophistication since the original calculations. I expect that a billionth of a second is a significant and accurately measurable variation.
     
  9. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #9
    For what it's worth, I believe Geneva and San Grasso are about 1400km apart, and so if I did my math right, it takes light somewhere around 4.7e-03 seconds (just for order of magnitude) to get from one to the other. So for order of magnitude, the speed of light would have to be wrong by 0.001% (hopefully I did the back of the envelope math right) which would actually be a pretty large error. Billionths of seconds sound like very small intervals of time, but measuring time on the nanosecond scale is actually pretty easy -- non-optical electronics have a 1-2 nanosecond kind of resolution without a lot of gimmicks. On an optical scale, 60 nanoseconds is a lot of time.
     
  10. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #10
    Thank you for confirming my uninformed, amateur speculation with some cold, hard facts. :)
     
  11. MultiM macrumors 6502

    MultiM

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    #11
    I don't even pretend to know the math or any details regarding FTL. I just got a bit of an excited lump in my throat when I read this because I'm a huge SciFi fan and love the idea of FTL travel. I wanna go now, please...
     
  12. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #12
    OK, I'm impressed. Make me feel like a complete dummy!:eek: :p

    (Barely passed high school physics - back BEFORE quantum physics. :eek:)
     
  13. bigjobby macrumors 65816

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    #13
    If only they had a 'takes a bow' emoticon on these forums. :)
     
  14. localoid, Sep 22, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011

    localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #14
    What fresh hell can this be?

    Wow. That was quick. Seems like just yesterday that they first detected a tau particle in a muon neutrino beam, but it actually was over a year ago. How time flies...

    Go particles!

    Gran Sasso? Appears to be 732.

    [​IMG]

    Image from: http://operaweb.lngs.infn.it/spip.php?rubrique41
     
  15. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816

    cantthinkofone

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    #15
    It's the black hole they all warned us about!!! It's absorbing the light!!! :eek:



    I hope this turns out to be true. I want to be able to say "back in my dad we didn't have field trips to Proxima Centauri".
     
  16. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #16
    Faster than light travel? Something is wrong or about to make many Physicists turn over...
     
  17. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    #17
    So basically

    E=MC2 is now wrong


    However fret not because

    an E + MC Hammer still = 80's party!
     
  18. miles01110, Sep 23, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011

    miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #18
    I wouldn't say it's "a lot." "Significant" maybe, if it turns out to be correct (which probably won't happen).

    Edit: Here's a pretty good article about the situation.

    http://profmattstrassler.com/2011/09/20/supernovas-and-neutrinos/

    Among the relevant parts,

     
  19. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #19
    Do they allow for the time it takes for electrical energy to pass through their test equipment?

    :rolleyes:
     
  20. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #20
    Ahhh, okay, so they're much closer than that -- meaning that the error in the speed of light would be even larger. Anyways. Shame on me for using Google Maps to guess how far apart they were.

    Sorry, I just meant in optical physics 60 ns is a lot -- when I did optics I was working in the picosecond to femtosecond time scale. :D I just mean that, at least inside the lab, nanoseconds are easy to measure. It's impressive to measure something to nanoseconds with the origin event 100s of km away, though.

    Actually, what's oddest about these results, if they're correct, is that matter is not engaging in some Battlestar Galaticesque jumping through space at speeds far exceeding light, but neutrinos are just going a tiny bit faster than light under what is not particularly a novel circumstance. Rather, the neutrinos in this experiment are presumably doing what neutrinos are always doing.....
     
  21. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #21
    Maybe c has been misdefined as the speed of light (photons), when it should be defined as the speed of neutrinos.
     
  22. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #22
    This is a valid point. Neutrinos are very exotic particles with a vanishingly small rest mass and very strange behavior patterns. They can apparently change from one type of particle to another for no obvious reason and can pass through an entire galaxy worth of matter without being affected.

    Here on earth, space-time is distorted by this planet's gravity well — enough that adjustments based on Einstein's math must be made in order for GPS satellites to return usable numbers. Given that neutrinos are such aloof beasts, perhaps they cross only flat space-time that we measure through the lens of gravimetric distortion (they take a shortcut). Or something like that.
     
  23. Messy macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Not really. Like all theories, it's simply evolved.

    E=Energy
    M=Mass
    C2=Speed of light squared.

    C now simply refers to the speed of a neutrino squared.

    Just to clear some other stuff up about Einstein too, he never said that something couldn't go faster than the speed of light. He said matter couldnt *accelerate* to the speed of light because it's mass would be infinite, he also said nothing about matter already travelling at the speed of light or greater.

    So many people jumping on this 'Einstein is wrong' bandwagon whilst not understanding his theorys and what he actually claimed.
     
  24. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #24
    Yea, don't think it works like that
     
  25. fireshot91 macrumors 601

    fireshot91

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    #25
    Me either.


    And say an object (of significant size, such as like....a ball) is traveling faster than the speed of light. Would the object going through the air actually be some time behind where the object is at the moment? Since it's going faster than the speed of light, it'd be at point A, when you see it at point B.


    *Balls path* ------------B----------------------A


    *You*



    How is that time travel? Wouldn't that be more of a form of teleportation? Not actually moving the particles through space and time, but moving faster than you can see, so the object ends up at another place faster than you can see?
     

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