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  1. #1
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    Default Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    Particles measured faster than light, AP

    Speed-of-light experiments give baffling result at Cern

    Quote Originally Posted by BBC
    Puzzling results from Cern, home of the LHC, have confounded physicists - because it appears subatomic particles have exceeded the speed of light.

    Neutrinos sent through the ground from Cern toward the Gran Sasso laboratory 732km away seemed to show up a tiny fraction of a second early.

    The result - which threatens to upend a century of physics - will be put online for scrutiny by other scientists.

    In the meantime, the group says it is being very cautious about its claims.

    "We tried to find all possible explanations for this," said report author Antonio Ereditato of the Opera collaboration.

    "We wanted to find a mistake - trivial mistakes, more complicated mistakes, or nasty effects - and we didn't," he told BBC News.

    "When you don't find anything, then you say 'Well, now I'm forced to go out and ask the community to scrutinise this.'"
    Caught speeding?

    The speed of light is the Universe's ultimate speed limit, and much of modern physics - as laid out in part by Albert Einstein in his special theory of relativity - depends on the idea that nothing can exceed it.

    Thousands of experiments have been undertaken to measure it ever more precisely, and no result has ever spotted a particle breaking the limit.

    But Dr Ereditato and his colleagues have been carrying out an experiment for the last three years that seems to suggest neutrinos have done just that.

    Neutrinos come in a number of types, and have recently been seen to switch spontaneously from one type to another.

    The team prepares a beam of just one type, muon neutrinos, sending them from Cern to an underground laboratory at Gran Sasso in Italy to see how many show up as a different type, tau neutrinos.

    In the course of doing the experiments, the researchers noticed that the particles showed up a few billionths of a second sooner than light would over the same distance.

    The team measured the travel times of neutrino bunches some 15,000 times, and have reached a level of statistical significance that in scientific circles would count as a formal discovery.

    But the group understands that what are known as "systematic errors" could easily make an erroneous result look like a breaking of the ultimate speed limit, and that has motivated them to publish their measurements.

    "My dream would be that another, independent experiment finds the same thing - then I would be relieved," Dr Ereditato said.

    But for now, he explained, "we are not claiming things, we want just to be helped by the community in understanding our crazy result - because it is crazy".

    "And of course the consequences can be very serious."
    Now, this need more confirmation, but if true, this could shake up our views on physics quite a bit, and certainly throw out Einstein's special theory of relativity.

    certainly hope they manage to do that before I take too many courses in relativity...
    Last edited by Musashi; 13th October 2011 at 06:17 PM.

  2. #2
    You don't know me. Jack Pschitt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    I like how these scientists don't immediatly rush to conclusions.

    But as for the experiment itself, I'm dubious about it. I'm not gonna rush to conclusions either. That would be interesting if it is true, though.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    Not too much of a big deal.
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    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    Quote Originally Posted by SmearglePaints View Post
    Not too much of a big deal.
    Why? Because it doesn't benefit you personally? I never understood this type of reasoning. What's so bad about knowledge for its own sake?

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    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyperion09 View Post
    Why? Because it doesn't benefit you personally? I never understood this type of reasoning. What's so bad about knowledge for its own sake?
    It's not a big deal because it has very little real-world value. It's not like our entire understanding of the universe was just rocked. We did perfectly fine without it for thousands of years, so I wouldn't say that the foundation of physics/science will be affected much.

    Einstein being the plagiarist he was almost certainly wasn't intelligent enough to come up with something as solid as a theory.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    Quote Originally Posted by SmearglePaints View Post
    It's not like our entire understanding of the universe was just rocked.
    If this gets verified it will do just that.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    Quote Originally Posted by yunabomb View Post
    If this gets verified it will do just that.
    Not really. It was just a theory that we held onto for far too long. Did anyone even bother to explain why light needs to be the fasted thing in the universe? It doesn't matter as long as something is fastest.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    Quote Originally Posted by SmearglePaints View Post
    It's not a big deal because it has very little real-world value. It's not like our entire understanding of the universe was just rocked. We did perfectly fine without it for thousands of years, so I wouldn't say that the foundation of physics/science will be affected much.
    Wrong. This finding, if true, will without a doubt change EVERYTHING.

    Faster than light particles found, claim scientists | Science | The Guardian
    It is a concept that forms a cornerstone of our understanding of the universe and the concept of time – nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.

    But now it seems that researchers working in one of the world's largest physics laboratories, under a mountain in central Italy, have recorded particles travelling at a speed that is supposedly forbidden by Einstein's theory of special relativity.

    Scientists at the Gran Sasso facility will unveil evidence on Friday that raises the troubling possibility of a way to send information back in time, blurring the line between past and present and wreaking havoc with the fundamental principle of cause and effect.

    They will announce the result at a special seminar at Cern – the European particle physics laboratory – timed to coincide with the publication of a research paper describing the experiment.

    Researchers on the Opera (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) experiment recorded the arrival times of ghostly subatomic particles called neutrinos sent from Cern on a 730km journey through the Earth to the Gran Sasso lab.

    The trip would take a beam of light 2.4 milliseconds to complete, but after running the experiment for three years and timing the arrival of 15,000 neutrinos, the scientists discovered that the particles arrived at Gran Sasso sixty billionths of a second earlier, with an error margin of plus or minus 10 billionths of a second.

    The measurement amounts to the neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light by a fraction of 20 parts per million. Since the speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second, the neutrinos were evidently travelling at 299,798,454 metres per second.

    The result is so unlikely that even the research team is being cautious with its interpretation. Physicists said they would be sceptical of the finding until other laboratories confirmed the result.

    Antonio Ereditato, coordinator of the Opera collaboration, told the Guardian: "We are very much astonished by this result, but a result is never a discovery until other people confirm it.

    "When you get such a result you want to make sure you made no mistakes, that there are no nasty things going on you didn't think of. We spent months and months doing checks and we have not been able to find any errors.

    "If there is a problem, it must be a tough, nasty effect, because trivial things we are clever enough to rule out."

    The Opera group said it hoped the physics community would scrutinise the result and help uncover any flaws in the measurement, or verify it with their own experiments.

    Subir Sarkar, head of particle theory at Oxford University, said: "If this is proved to be true it would be a massive, massive event. It is something nobody was expecting.

    "The constancy of the speed of light essentially underpins our understanding of space and time and causality, which is the fact that cause comes before effect.

    "Cause cannot come after effect and that is absolutely fundamental to our construction of the physical universe. If we do not have causality, we are buggered."

    The Opera experiment detects neutrinos as they strike 150,000 "bricks" of photographic emulsion films interleaved with lead plates. The detector weighs a total of 1300 tonnes.

    Despite the marginal increase on the speed of light observed by Ereditato's team, the result is intriguing because its statistical significance, the measure by which particle physics discoveries stand and fall, is so strong.

    Physicists can claim a discovery if the chances of their result being a fluke of statistics are greater than five standard deviations, or less than one in a few million. The Gran Sasso team's result is six standard deviations.

    Ereditato said the team would not claim a discovery because the result was so radical. "Whenever you touch something so fundamental, you have to be much more prudent," he said.

    Alan Kostelecky, an expert in the possibility of faster-than-light processes at Indiana University, said that while physicists would await confirmation of the result, it was none the less exciting.

    "It's such a dramatic result it would be difficult to accept without others replicating it, but there will be enormous interest in this," he told the Guardian.

    One theory Kostelecky and his colleagues put forward in 1985 predicted that neutrinos could travel faster than the speed of light by interacting with an unknown field that lurks in the vacuum.

    "With this kind of background, it is not necessarily the case that the limiting speed in nature is the speed of light," he said. "It might actually be the speed of neutrinos and light goes more slowly."

    Neutrinos are mysterious particles. They have a minuscule mass, no electric charge, and pass through almost any material as though it was not there.

    Kostelecky said that if the result was verified – a big if – it might pave the way to a grand theory that marries gravity with quantum mechanics, a puzzle that has defied physicists for nearly a century.

    "If this is confirmed, this is the first evidence for a crack in the structure of physics as we know it that could provide a clue to constructing such a unified theory," Kostelecky said.

    Heinrich Paes, a physicist at Dortmund University, has developed another theory that could explain the result. The neutrinos may be taking a shortcut through space-time, by travelling from Cern to Gran Sasso through extra dimensions. "That can make it look like a particle has gone faster than the speed of light when it hasn't," he said.

    But Susan Cartwright, senior lecturer in particle astrophysics at Sheffield University, said: "Neutrino experimental results are not historically all that reliable, so the words 'don't hold your breath' do spring to mind when you hear very counter-intuitive results like this."

    Teams at two experiments known as T2K in Japan and MINOS near Chicago in the US will now attempt to replicate the finding. The MINOS experiment saw hints of neutrinos moving at faster than the speed of light in 2007 but has yet to confirm them.
    Quote Originally Posted by SmearglePaints View Post
    Einstein being the plagiarist he was almost certainly wasn't intelligent enough to come up with something as solid as a theory.
    Really?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest370 View Post
    Wrong. This finding, if true, will without a doubt change EVERYTHING.
    Having read that article already I can see no indication within about the doubt changing "EVERYTHING." There is, however, some gibberish about effect happening before cause, which is impossible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest370 View Post
    Yes, really. That section fails to mention Henri Poincaré, whom Einstein plagiarized much of his findings on relativity from.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    It would be a cool newstory if this is confirmed to be true. But this is science, things CHANGE. Our understanding CHANGES, it doesn't mean that everything we have hold dear in our lives will change. Gravity isn't going to suddenly reverse itself because of this potential discovery. It means it is time to go back to the drawing board and re-run the experiment, develop a new theory, and explain how things work from there.

  11. #11
    Hψ=Eψ H-con's Avatar
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    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    Quote Originally Posted by SmearglePaints View Post
    Not really. It was just a theory that we held onto for far too long. Did anyone even bother to explain why light needs to be the fasted thing in the universe? It doesn't matter as long as something is fastest.
    When every experiment up until now has indeed shown that nothing can go faster than the speed of light, saying that there was no merit in Einstein's special theory of relativity is just wrong, even if it's not valid anymore. I think physicists have asked the question you do here, and they tried to answer it.

    It's not like our entire understanding of the universe was just rocked. We did perfectly fine without it for thousands of years
    Yeah, but when our "understanding" of physics was that starts was ancient gods or whatnot, and that the world consisted of four elements isn't really a valid comparison. Modern physics have changed our ways pretty drastically. Sure, we did fine without the discovery of electromagnetic induction, but can you imagine our modern society without it? Just because you can't see any use of a discovery doesn't mean there's not a benefit to it...


    The experiment seems well documented, but I'll hold on to relativity a bit longer. It will take some time to confirm this.

    But this is science, things CHANGE. Our understanding CHANGES, it doesn't mean that everything we have hold dear in our lives will change.
    True enough, but changes to our understanding of nature can certainly directly affect our lives in a variety of ways.

  12. #12
    The Creeping Darkness Tsuness's Avatar
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    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    It will be interesting to see how things change with regards to physics because of relativity being based off of the idea that the speed of light is the ultimate speed limit. No real change to how we live our lives, but interesting to see if it changes how we perceive the universe as a whole.

    Then again, I think it was a scientific error of some kind, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong by retrials.
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    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    It's impossible to travel faster than speed of light. But those neutrinos DID appear before the photons simply because single particles sometimes can disappear and return before they went missing. So what I believe is that they 'took a shortcut' by traveling back in time.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    Quote Originally Posted by SmearglePaints View Post
    Having read that article already I can see no indication within about the doubt changing "EVERYTHING."
    Just straight from my head, this discovery could put us on a route to developing ways to transfer messages FTL. No more waiting twenty minutes to find out if the multimillion dollar Mars Rover drove off a cliff.

    Quote Originally Posted by SmearglePaints View Post
    There is, however, some gibberish about effect happening before cause, which is impossible.
    Just because YOU don't understand it, doesn't mean that it's "gibberish".
    Quote Originally Posted by SmearglePaints View Post
    Yes, really. That section fails to mention Henri Poincaré, whom Einstein plagiarized much of his findings on relativity from.
    Not at all:
    Henri Poincaré - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Poincaré's work in the development of special relativity is well recognised,[20] though most historians stress that despite many similarities with Einstein's work, the two had very different research agendas and interpretations of the work.[24] Poincaré developed a similar physical interpretation of local time and noticed the connection to signal velocity, but contrary to Einstein he continued to use the ether-concept in his papers and argued that clocks in the ether show the "true" time, and moving clocks show the local time. So Poincaré tried to keep the relativity principle in accordance with classical concepts, while Einstein developed a mathematically equivalent kinematics based on the new physical concepts of the relativity of space and time.[25][26][27][28][29]
    Last edited by Jean Meslier; 23rd September 2011 at 04:06 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Particles measured faster than the speed of light

    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest370 View Post
    Just because YOU don't understand it, doesn't mean that it's "gibberish".
    It is gibberish. Do YOU understand it? Is there any logical way for effect to happen outside of effect, other than time travel? No. It's gibberish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest370 View Post
    Not at all:
    Henri Poincaré - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Poincaré's work in the development of special relativity is well recognised,[20] though most historians stress that despite many similarities with Einstein's work, the two had very different research agendas and interpretations of the work.[24] Poincaré developed a similar physical interpretation of local time and noticed the connection to signal velocity, but contrary to Einstein he continued to use the ether-concept in his papers and argued that clocks in the ether show the "true" time, and moving clocks show the local time. So Poincaré tried to keep the relativity principle in accordance with classical concepts, while Einstein developed a mathematically equivalent kinematics based on the new physical concepts of the relativity of space and time.[25][26][27][28][29]
    That says nothing about the plagiarism. Just because Einstein had a different interpretation of a work conceived by SOMEONE ELSE doesn't negate the fact that he plagiarized it.
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