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SwordMonkey

[Merged] Neutrinos travel faster than light?

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SwordMonkey

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 few billionths of a second early.

The results will soon be online to draw closer scrutiny to a result that, if true, would upend a century of physics.

The lab's research director called it "an apparently unbelievable result".

The speed of light is the Universe's ultimate speed limit, and the entirety of modern physics - as laid out in part by Albert Einstein in his 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 Antonio Ereditato of the Orion collaboration and his colleagues have been carrying out an experiment for the last three years that seems to suggest neutrinos have done just that.

Full Article (BBC.co.uk)

If true this will be a big find, I am hoping to hear more about it soon. I looked around but never saw it posted yet, so here we go~

CERNs publicly released report >here

http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.4897

Edited by Karlis
Link to CERNs report added at OPs request

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Macroramphosis

Full Article (BBC.co.uk)

If true this will be a big find, I am hoping to hear more about it soon. I looked around but never saw it posted yet, so here we go~

This actually has pretty profound implications, indeed. Expect the UFOlogists to jump on this quicker than the speed of light.

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Taita

This actually has pretty profound implications, indeed. Expect the UFOlogists to jump on this quicker than the speed of light.

Maybe I missed the meaning of the relativity concept. Does it actually apply to neutrinos? By definition a neutrino has no mass or size and on popping out of existence neither slows down nor turns solid/massive. Perhaps they mearly exist outside the scope of what the relativity covers?

While researching this I ran across another article on "teleportation" of subatomic particles. These particles are transported between atoms a good distance apart now, several meters. The interesting thing to me is they appear simultaniously to being transported so exist what seems to be at the same time in two places. This would mean instant travel, not speed of light travel and these particles are solid so deffinitely should be covered by relativity.

Mark

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ExpandMyMind

Maybe their calculations that led them to a 'definite' speed of light are off by "a few billionths of a second"?

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ian hacktorp
GENEVA (AP) — Scientists at the world's largest physics lab say they have clocked subatomic particles traveling faster than light. If that's true, it would break — if not severely twist — a fundamental pillar of physics.

Nothing is supposed to go faster than light. But scientists say that neutrinos — one of the strangest well-known particles in physics — smashed past the cosmic speed barrier of 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers).

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, says the speeds were detected in a neutrino beam fired from Geneva to a lab 454 miles (730 kilometers) away in Italy.

arrow3.gifRead more...

Things once thought impossible are being revealed as ocurring naturally.

Then again, are scientists really the most reliable observers? :P

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Taita

Maybe their calculations that led them to a 'definite' speed of light are off by "a few billionths of a second"?

Oh right, throw out the obvious. pfft

heheheh

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booNyzarC

Things once thought impossible are being revealed as ocurring naturally.

Certainly is interesting. Thanks for posting the story.

Then again, are scientists really the most reliable observers? :P

Considering that scientists made the discovery I suppose that they are...

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SwordMonkey
Maybe I missed the meaning of the relativity concept. Does it actually apply to neutrinos? By definition a neutrino has no mass or size and on popping out of existence neither slows down nor turns solid/massive. Perhaps they mearly exist outside the scope of what the relativity covers?

I was under the impression that Neutrinos do have a mass and were previously considered of being unable to travel even at the speed-of-light. So if it's true that they have a mass and they can travel faster than the speed-of-light, it will be quite a profound find.

Maybe their calculations that led them to a 'definite' speed of light are off by "a few billionths of a second"?

Definitely possible. When things get that fast it becomes all too easy to make a mistake :V

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TheMcGuffin

Things once thought impossible are being revealed as ocurring naturally.

Then again, are scientists really the most reliable observers? :P

According to Max Planck, there are ways of going faster than the speed of light. Einstein certainly never claimed that he was always right about everything.

http://bama.ua.edu/~joshua/archive/may04/Josh%20Bell.pdf

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Space Commander Travis

There's nothing that pleases me more than a scientist being baffled.

And i'm not science-bashing, that's what scientists ought to be, finding out things that baffle them, and not being afraid to admit it and not trying to insist that they know everything and there's nothing new that science can't explain already. In fact, it should be a scientist's ambition to find soemthing that baffles them, as that means that they've found something that's genuinely new.

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Space Commander Travis

How did they fire this Neutrino beam, though? Do they have a network of Secret Tunnels all across Europe, or did they fire it through the air? That sounds a little risky, if you don't mind me saying, particularly if they're baffled by it.

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BackFromTheDead

Considering that the idea that the speed of light is immutable (in Einsteins own words)means absolutely nothing. Dont fprget Einsteins "Cosmological Constant" - " my greatest error" as he described it. The man, great as he was, was probably less than he is given credit for - most of his work is based on Newton.

No theory is sacred - it is there to be disproven (or not)and FTL particles have been theorised before Einstein, yet to be proven though.

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StarMountainKid

To TheMcGuffin: your link to the Josh Bell page is interesting to me. It's what I've been trying to say in every thread here about what time is. Nice that Mr. Bell and I agree.

As for the faster than light speed neutrinos I think we'll have to wait until the experimental results can be duplicated by other scientists.

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bison

This needs independent confirmation, of course. Given the extraordinary implications, this might not be too long in coming. It has long seemed to me that there are likely to be exceptions to the speed of light limit imposed by the theory of relativity. If this holds up, and neutrinos can exceed the speed of light under certain circumstances, a new and fascinating territory is opened up. One implication seems to be that a massless particle can be driven past the speed of light, somehow. If ordinary matter could be deprived of its mass, possibly by shielding it from Higgs bosons, which are thought to confer mass upon matter, it might also be able to exceed the speed of light.

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fandango

How did they fire this Neutrino beam, though? Do they have a network of Secret Tunnels all across Europe, or did they fire it through the air? That sounds a little risky, if you don't mind me saying, particularly if they're baffled by it.

From what I can gather neutrino's pass through normal matter as air would pass through a mesh fence due to them being so small, so technically they could fire it through the earth to any point with a detector.

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bison

This article from Reuters rather good. Explains details about the experiment. Doesn't appear to be a 'fluke'. They went over and over this for the past three years, trying to find a mistake in their techniques, measurements, etc., but could find none. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/22/science-light-idUSL5E7KM4CW20110922

Edited by bison

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badeskov

Things once thought impossible are being revealed as ocurring naturally.

...

Well, lets see once it is independently verified, if ever.

From Wired News:

Over 3 years, OPERA researchers timed the roughly 16,000 neutrinos that started at CERN and registered a hit in the detector. They found that, on average, the neutrinos made the 730-kilometer, 2.43-millisecond trip roughly 60 nanoseconds faster than expected if they were traveling at light speed. “It’s a straightforward time-of-flight measurement,” says Antonio Ereditato, a physicist at the University of Bern and spokesperson for the 160-member OPERA collaboration. “We measure the distance and we measure the time, and we take the ratio to get the velocity, just as you learned to do in high school.” Ereditato says the uncertainty in the measurement is 10 nanoseconds.

And

The big question is whether OPERA researchers have discovered particles going faster than light, or whether they have been misled by an unidentified “systematic error” in their experiment that’s making the time look artificially short. Chang Kee Jung, a neutrino physicist at Stony Brook University in New York, says he’d wager that the result is the product of a systematic error. “I wouldn’t bet my wife and kids because they’d get mad,” he says. “But I’d bet my house.” Jung, who is spokesperson for a similar experiment in Japan called T2K, says the tricky part is accurately measuring the time between when the neutrinos are born by slamming a burst of protons into a solid target and when they actually reach the detector. That timing relies on the global positioning system, and the GPS measurements can have uncertainties of tens of nanoseconds. “I would be very interested in how they got a 10-nanosecond uncertainty, because from the systematics of GPS and the electronics, I think that’s a very hard number to get.

Bolding mine. Lets wait and see what they come up with, but it sounds a bit fishy and I would wage my bet on an error in their timing as well. Another reason to be a bit skeptical of their claim is that the supposedly measured speed of the neutrinos is only a fraction about that of the speed of light. The speed of light is 299,792,458m/s or 299,792.458km/s. Thus it would take the neutrinos 730km/299,792.458km/s = 2.435ms, yet they measured a time of 2.429ms if the roughly 60ns is correct. That makes the neutrinos travel at 100%*(2.435ms/2.429ms) = 100.25% of that of the speed of light. That is a rather small margin with plenty of space for errors, especially given how they are measuring the time from the neutrinos are generated at CERN till they are detected in Italy using GPS. I would think that if scientists stumbled upon some particle that could go faster than light it would be more impressive.

I must admit, I will still lean towards Einstein and his theory of general relativity in this respect. But of course, it cannot be ruled out. As is also stated in the above article:

No previous measurements obviously rule out the result, says Kostelecky, who has spent 25 years developing a theory, called the standard model extension, that accounts for all possible types of violations of special relativity in the context of particle physics. “If you had told me that there was a claim of faster-than-light electrons, I would be a lot more skeptical,” he says. The possibilities for neutrinos are less constrained by previous measurements, he says. Still, Kostelecky repeats the old adage: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Even Ereditato says that one measurement does not extraordinary evidence make.

Bolding mine.

Cheers,

Badeskov

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None of the above

BBC: Speed-of-light experiments give baffling result at Cern

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."

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Amerix
How did they fire this Neutrino beam, though? Do they have a network of Secret Tunnels all across Europe, or did they fire it through the air? That sounds a little risky, if you don't mind me saying, particularly if they're baffled by it.

Neutrinos have no mass (or at least not a mass known to man). They can pass through solid objects.

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Taita

I was under the impression that Neutrinos do have a mass and were previously considered of being unable to travel even at the speed-of-light. So if it's true that they have a mass and they can travel faster than the speed-of-light, it will be quite a profound find.

Definitely possible. When things get that fast it becomes all too easy to make a mistake :V

I did some quick reading and the consensus is there is no consensus on the weight of a neutrino. Some feel there is a very small weight but undefined and other that there may be no definable weight and as yet can see no attraction/deflection by larger bodies(which gravitational forces would create.

I agree, if they do have mass then this would be quite a big deal and change physics in many ways.

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Lysippos

WOOOOOOOOOOOOW

If this is true............

Do you guys know what impact it would have? Mind-blowing

But not a single official institut has confirmed it. I am still skeptical :tu:

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Amerix

10$ says we never hear about this again..

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Kali74

Well, I'm not sure about independent verification, it's not like CERN is one person, I believe they have hundreds if not thousands of scientists working there...so I doubt it is just one scientist making a claim...several probably verified this. The question is, does this relate to anything or is it merely knowledge...can it be applied? If one thing is faster than light can other things be?

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badeskov

Well, I'm not sure about independent verification, it's not like CERN is one person, I believe they have hundreds if not thousands of scientists working there...so I doubt it is just one scientist making a claim...several probably verified this. The question is, does this relate to anything or is it merely knowledge...can it be applied? If one thing is faster than light can other things be?

No matter how many people is working on it, it is still only one experiment. You need other groups to do the exact same experiment using the same basic setup to eliminate systematic errors and the like. If numerous, independent groups can create the same data at different places, then you have independent verification. Not before!

Cheers,

Badeskov

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