Scientists from the CERN laboratory in Switzerland say they have been able to observe small particles called neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. If so, this would contradict perhaps the most fundamental hypothesis of micro and macro physics. It would in fact debunk the Theory of Relativity.

 

Per the 1st article:


Realizing full well how scandalous the results will be if they are borne out, the scientists behind OPERA, led by Antonio Ereditato of the University of Bern, have decided to make their data public, in hopes of inviting scrutiny that could make sense of such radical findings.

 

Per the 2nd article:

 

If MINOS were to confirm OPERA's find, the consequences would be enormous. "If you give up the speed of light, then the construction of special relativity falls down," says  Antonino Zichichi , a theoretical physicist and emeritus professor at the University of Bologna, Italy. Zichichi speculates that the "superluminal" neutrinos detected by OPERA could be slipping through extra dimensions in space, as predicted by theories such as string theory.

 

Per the 3ird article:

 

At least one other experiment has seen a similar effect before, albeit with a much lower confidence level. In 2007, the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS) experiment in Minnesota saw neutrinos from the particle-physics facility Fermilab in Illinois arriving slightly ahead of schedule.

 

Per the 5th article:

 

Even this small deviation would open up the possibility of time travel and play havoc with longstanding notions of cause and effect. Einstein himself — author of modern physics — said that if you could send a message faster than light, "You could send a telegram to the past."

 

Attempts at further verifying the finding certainly seem to be in order. A preprint of the results will be published Friday (Sept. 23) on the physics website www.ArXiv.org.


http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/09/22/strange-particles-may-tra... 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=particles-found-to... 

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110922/full/news.2011.554.html 

http://news.yahoo.com/strange-particles-may-travel-faster-light-bre... 

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2016290580_speed2...

 

Update 1: A second more refined experiment at CERN has confirmed the results of the first. More experimentation is nonetheless necessary to resolve questions pertaining to the synchronization of the clocks used in the experiments. Per the article below:

 

Per the 1st article below:

 

Not only has the beam precision been improved, she says, but the statistical analysis is also more robust and has been replicated by groups within OPERA besides the original team.


Per the 2nd article below:

 

Wiseman says that the difficulty of the experiment and a lack of detail about clock synchronization in the initial OPERA paper may explain why so few critiques of the experiment methodology have been published so far, although more are probably on the way. 

 

http://www.nature.com/news/neutrino-experiment-replicates-faster-th...

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111005/full/news.2011.575.html 

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-contested-faster-than-light-yie...

 

Update 2: The OPERA collaboration now says that the faster than light travel of neutrinos suggested by its experiments may have been an erroneous result of faulty GPS synchronization of the atomic clocks used in them.

 

But according to a statement OPERA began circulating today, two possible problems have now been found with its set-up. As many physicists had speculated might be the case, both are related to the experiment’s pioneering use of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals to synchronize atomic clocks at each end of its neutrino beam....An anonymously sourced account on Science Insider today broke the news that OPERA may have made a mistake . That report says the faulty connection can account exactly for the 60 nanosecond effect. OPERA’s official statement stops short of that, saying instead that its two possible sources of error point in opposite directions and it is still working things out.

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/02/faster-than-light-neutrino-mea...

 

Update 3: An independent experiment called ICARUS contradicts the faster than light travel of neutrinos supposedly detected by the OPERA experiment. Per the article:

 

"Our results are in agreement with what Einstein would like to have," says Carlo Rubbia, the spokesperson for ICARUS and a Nobel prizewinning physicist at CERN. Neutrinos measured by the experiment arrived within just 4 nanoseconds of the time that light travelling through a vacuum would take to cover the distance, well within the experimental margin of error.

 

http://www.nature.com/news/neutrinos-not-faster-than-light-1.10249

 

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v484/n7394/full/484287b.html

 

Tags: Jubinsky, Light, Neutrinos, Relativity, Speed, Time, Travel

Views: 869

Replies to This Discussion

"CERN isn't behind this Kir, it's a team at CERN"

 

what?

 

are u making a distinction between an organization and a group of people? i'll grant u that, i just wasn't bothering to make that distinction so explicit as u r ... 

 

given that sr and gr have been tested, oh, about 10 to 9 times by now, i'd say ur later comments are spot-on.

 

The reason I was explicit about the team is that the ICARUS team is also at CERN and (so far) its findings run contrary to those of OPERA. Science writing was my profession so getting details as accurate as possible stays with me even today (although I frequently make mistakes without the safety net of a great editor).

 

I'd love to think that a breakthrough has been made - but my experience tells me otherwise. Either way, everyone learns and that's a good thing.

oh, ok. 

...the ICARUS team is also at CERN and (so far) its findings run contrary to those of OPERA.

 

Are you saying that the ICARUS team performed the experiment and observed a STL result?

The OPERA collaboration now says that the faster than light travel of neutrinos suggested by its experiments may have been an erroneous result of faulty GPS synchronization of the atomic clocks used in it. Per the article below:

 

But according to a statement OPERA began circulating today, two possible problems have now been found with its set-up. As many physicists had speculated might be the case, both are related to the experiment’s pioneering use of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals to synchronize atomic clocks at each end of its neutrino beam....An anonymously sourced account on Science Insider today broke the news that OPERA may have made a mistake . That report says the faulty connection can account exactly for the 60 nanosecond effect. OPERA’s official statement stops short of that, saying instead that its two possible sources of error point in opposite directions and it is still working things out.

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/02/faster-than-light-neutrino-mea...

I would doubt for two reasons:

Independent verification

When did we develop faster than light particle detection equipment? Seems Gordian to me.

The status of the situation now is that we are supposed to have the technology to measure faster than light travel of neutrinos but it was not set up appropriately in the OPERA experiments that suggested FTL travel of those particles. OPERA is admitting that its experiments were flawed. Given this and all of the experimental verification of the theory of relativity the FTL travel of neutrinos suggested by the OPERA experiments is almost certainly erroneous.

Thanks John. We have to admire scientists who admit their mistakes - and even look for them.

Although parsimony appears to have triumphed again, this should (but won't) serve as a message to the religious who hold that what was once true, is always so.

I want to ask a layman's question:

That nothing can travel faster than the speed of light is an inference drawn from Einstein's mathematics of relaivity. Should it not be necessary to first make a mathematical statement proving that a thing can indeed travel faster than light and only then seek an experimental confirmation?

Not really.  It works the other way around.  You run experiments and make observations.  You then develop a mathematical model that describes what was observed.

The mathematical models that we have are based upon earlier observations, predicting what we expect to find in future experiments and observations.  If the future observations do not match the existing mathematical model, then the model needs to be adjusted to account for the new data.

 

Also, you should be careful using the word prove.  There's such a thing as mathematical proofs, but science doesn't deal in that sort of certainty.  It merely stacks up evidence in support of theories and tells us which theory is most likely accurate.

It's just a semantic quibble, but it can be an important one, when talking to religious types.

Uhh, yeah, that's what my first paragraph said.  :-P

No problem. It's still early in the morning. Go get more coffee. ^.^

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