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 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 2
light speed results baffle Cern Page 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
The bbc article is much more sensationalistic than the actual article from the experiment:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.4897

The experimental collaboration makes no such claims and leaves their conclusions to essentially be: ``requires further study'' while explicitly declining to speculate on any theoretical of phenomenological conclusion.'' If you read the paper, you'll see that the measurement actually involves no direct time of flight measurement and relies on some rather novel methods of inferring the velocity.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 4
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light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 9/23/2011 12:26:36 PM
I suspected something to that effect when I saw the NEWS chat online. Until we have a stopwatch that CAN directly measure neutrino speed, I suspect we'll have anomalies to peruse. I expect fully that the result of the further study will be to refine the test method and data analysis, such that the apparent result is proven to be either an artifact of the flaws or limits of the method, or an outright error of some sort.

A more interesting result, would be that some sort of distortion in the measurements was CAUSED by the neutrino's speed, and that the apparent law-breaking by Mister N was the illusion that distortion caused.

We'll see.
 hungry_joe
Joined: 6/24/2006
Msg: 5
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light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 9/23/2011 5:59:51 PM
Quick thought on the subject. We've known for sometime that light cannot escape a black hole...one of the mystery's of the universe still yet to be full explained. We further believe, using Relativity in theory if not physically we could move through space time at a point faster then light in a worm hole. So wouldn't it sand to reason that could be something faster then light. Therefore consistant with physics. The real question is what applications could this inspire, or build upon?
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 7
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 9/24/2011 5:55:47 PM
"If my understanding of the relativity theory is correct, then speeds higher than the speed of light are just as possible as speeds lower than the speed of light.

The impossibility, according the theory, is for a mass to reach the speed of light and cross it. Either direction."

There are some slight complications having to do with imaginary mass, but this is correct. Taken at face value the experiments perhaps indicate that neutrinos don't simply change flavor but rather a neutrino is destroyed while a neutrino of a different flavor is created but at a speed greater than c. I don't expect that these results, if vindicated, will have any effect on SR. They might be a problem from the Standard Model, however.

"Now you can conclude that the relativity theory maybe werks with a different absolute speed, or with an infinitely large absolute speed. If you can work the math around that, I grant you the Nobel Prize in Physics."

Well if the absolute speed is different from c, all you'd have to do is take the same formulas already in use but replace c with the new absolute speed. Okay, that's a bit of a simplification but it's essentially what you'd do. If the absolute speed were close to c then the difference might not even be noticeable. One significant change, however, is that the photon could no longer be massless. That has a couple interesting results. First, light would have 3 polarization states rather than 2 (there'd be photons with spin 0 in addition to those with spin +1 and -1). Second, the strength of an electrostatic field would no longer be inverse square (I don't recall the exact form but it involves exponential functions).

I'll take that Nobel now.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 10
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 9/27/2011 11:08:41 AM

I wouldn't say understanding relativity theory so much as a small part of the lorentz contractions. Above c. the values are negative in math which means theoretical postulates.

The constant ``c'' is only a constant that converts meters to seconds and has no physical significance apart from being finite (as opposed to Galilean relativity which is the c-> infinity limit of special relativity). If one measures space and time using the same units, (e.g., meters), then the measurement of distance in special relativity (the equivalent of the ``pythagorean theorem") which is indepentdent of any frame of reference is,

ds^2 = dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2

and the constant c is equal to 1. There's nothing arbitrary about that. It's just geometry, the same way the circumference of a circle is related to its diameter by pi. The only arbitrariness is in the units humans choose to measure things. I could choose to measure distances in one direction in cm and in another direction in inches, but there's nothing magic about the constant 2.54 cm/in.

When ds^2 is negative, the seperation between points is called spacelike and no causal influence can propagate between those two points. Two points which are seperated by a spacelike interval have no intrinsic time ordering. When ds^2 = 0, the interval is called null (or lightlike). When it's positive, the interval is called timelike and points may be time ordered so that causes precede their effects.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 11
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 9/27/2011 6:41:09 PM
Phil Plait has a new column on these results and one of the most important points in this he makes - other than the fact that the 'devil' is in the details - is about Supernova 1987A:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/09/22/faster-than-light-travel-discovered-slow-down-folks/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+DiscoverTopStories+(Discover+Top+Stories)


The distance from the detector in Italy to the source in Geneva is about 730 km. The travel time at the speed of light is about 2.43 milliseconds, and the neutrinos appear to have outraced that speed by 60 nanoseconds. If true, that means they were traveling just a scosh faster than light, by about 1 part in 40,000. The neutrinos from SN1987A traveled so far that had they been moving that much faster than light, they would’ve arrived here almost four years before the light did. However, we saw the light from the supernova at roughly the same time as the neutrinos (actually the light did get here later, but it takes a little while for the explosion to eat its way out of the star’s core to its surface, and that delay completely accounts for the lag seen).


With a caution, of course:


But I wouldn’t use that argument too strongly; perhaps this experiment creates neutrinos in a different way, or the neutrinos from this new experiment have different energies than ones created in the cores of supernovae (a good bet). Still, it’s enough to make me even more skeptical of this FTL claim.


So stay tuned.
 Professoro
Joined: 8/1/2011
Msg: 13
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 9/28/2011 4:21:11 AM
Error bars for measurements can be tough to estimate, just ask Fleischmann and Pons.
cheers, O
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 15
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 9/28/2011 10:08:37 AM

I love all the doubt... "We 'think'" and "We are not sure"...


Because there's still room for doubt that the "results" from the experiment truly mean what it appears to mean. That's how science works. Only religion deals in absolute interpretations.


I think when you step up to the plate using the most technically advanced machine in the history of Mankind, you should own the confidence to step up to the plate and state proudly new findings.


Remember ALH 84001? Or 'cold fusion?' Yeah...Not-so-proud moments in science, those. Results are cool. Independent confirmation is cooler.


Regardless if the measuring system is wrong, or light speed was broken, or some alternate plane was reached effecting in short cuts that appear light speed breaking, the news is truly revolutionary. People should be a little more "Were awesome" and a little less "Were scared of what your going to say"


Except that the moment you announce findings that appear to be an exception to the established laws of physics, then you get all manner off "Woo" from the "Aliens ate my baby" and "God IS the Higgs Boson" crowd! What a headache! And, if you're proven wrong, weeeelllll...let's just say the anti-science crowd is obnoxious enough. Let's not give 'em fuel for their burning torches, eh!?


I still believe there are more un answered questions about the universe and it's laws then we think we already know.


That is VERY LIKELY true. However, that's no reason to start jumping to erroneous and silly conclusions to fill the gaps. Again...that's how religions start.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 16
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 9/28/2011 10:23:20 AM

I love all the doubt... "We 'think'" and "We are not sure"... I think when you step up to the plate using the most technically advanced machine in the history of Mankind, you should own the confidence to step up to the plate and state proudly new findings.

They did. I provided a link to the article on arxiv.org. Read it for yourself.

Regardless if the measuring system is wrong, or light speed was broken, or some alternate plane was reached effecting in short cuts that appear light speed breaking, the news is truly revolutionary.

The article describes the measurement and data analysis. I'm sure they would appreciate your help if you could cut right through the experimental difficulties and tell them how to get a definitive result from ll of that messy data.
 arwen52
Joined: 3/13/2008
Msg: 18
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light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/2/2011 8:51:11 PM

I love all the doubt... "We 'think'" and "We are not sure"... I think when you step up to the plate using the most technically advanced machine in the history of Mankind, you should own the confidence to step up to the plate and state proudly new findings.


It's because they don't know for sure. I don't think they're being humble. They are being scrupulously honest and meticulous and, unlike most people in life, not jumping to conclusions. They are inviting other scientists to test themselves. I admire them for this. For them, it's just how they operate.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 21
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light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/5/2011 6:09:41 AM

So what will this ultimately mean to physics, if it turns out to be verified ?
It made the headlines in the UK. Scientists were interviewed for BBC news. It could mean that relativity has to be thrown out. Mind you, considering that the lack of discovery of the Higgs Boson has been reported by scientists that it could require throwing out the Standard Model, it's not exactly new to say that physicists will have to go back to scratch on some aspects of understanding reality.

But no-one is rushing to give an answer right now. It might be a false result, as experiments aren't nearly as exactingly accurate as people are given the impression. Even if it can be repeated again and again, science can be very slow. Taking decades to figure out something can be rather fast for physics. So you might have to wait 50 years before seeing an answer. If it turns out to be as difficult as Heliocentrism, you might not see the answer in your lifetime.


is time travel now a possibility ?
I don't know. Maybe if you're a neutron.


how come neutrinos ? why are they the particle that does it ?
Uhhh...because that's what the experiment happened to reveal went faster than light. If it has been electrons instead of neutrinos, the question would be: "how come electrons?"
 Divisionbyzer0
Joined: 12/21/2010
Msg: 22
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/9/2011 1:54:55 AM
It could be that the constants, are not constant. The speed of light has shown variation between successive established values, and sometimes quite anomalous variations.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 25
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/9/2011 7:52:19 PM

And perhaps almost as noteworthy, Abelian has a new pic!


He's on a bike!

Okay, not the same impact as saying "He's on a horse!" but you get the idea.

*cue Old Spice theme music*
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 28
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/12/2011 9:39:49 AM
What happens when Cern sends neutrinos to a double slit experiment in Italy?

Will the neutrinos behave like a wave or like a particle?

A double slit like experiment neutrinos would be impractical, however, you don't need to do that to show the quantum mechanical wave nature of neutrinos. Neutrino oscillations show that conclusively.

There was an article about it some time ago on physorg.com

However, those articles are about experients that support what everyone already expected based on quantum theory, except perhaps Nicolas Gisin, several of his colleagues and a few other physicists scattered around the world who are, let's say reluctant, to let go of their classical picture of the universe and intent on explaining quantum mechanics in classical terms.

Nicola Gisin has done experiments for a long time to try to find some evidence for the alternatives to quantum mechanics that he's devised to ``explain'' quantum mechanics. They've actually been extremely good experiments, even impressive, which unfortunately for him, have excluded his attempts to explain quantum mechanics the way he'd like to explain it and just re-affirmed standard quantum theory. In one paper of his I read, he even notes what quantum mechanics is suggesting, but apparently he doesn't want to accept it. There is no violation of special relativity in quantum theory. There is no communication that takes place between entangled particles, so there is no need to consider faster than light communication to explain anything. People who think that entangled particles somehow communicate are confusing correlation with causation.
 CrazyCanuckz
Joined: 10/8/2011
Msg: 29
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/12/2011 12:53:55 PM
According to hologram theory it states,


Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart. Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light. Since traveling faster than the speed of light is tantamount to breaking the time barrier, this daunting prospect has caused some physicists to try to come up with elaborate ways to explain away Aspect's findings. But it has inspired others to offer even more radical explanations.


http://twm.co.nz/hologram.html

Maybe distance is an illusion?
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 30
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/12/2011 7:49:07 PM

http://twm.co.nz/hologram.html

Maybe distance is an illusion?

No, it's more like the person who wrote that didn't understand the difference between correlation and causation either.
 AaronPaloAlto
Joined: 7/24/2011
Msg: 31
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/14/2011 8:02:12 PM
Assuming that there were no errors in measurements, the observed speed is only ~25 parts per million faster than light. How do they know "exactly" how far the neutrino is traveling when it is going through rock? It doesn't seem they can actually use light to calibrate their distance, or maybe I'm missing that part. 25 parts per million over the distance they think it is traveling would be ~18 meters.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 32
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light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/16/2011 7:04:36 AM
People who think that entangled particles somehow communicate are confusing correlation with causation.


That statement alone, is confusing to me. It would seem to me, that "communication," in the sense of a state of 'connectedness,' is a part of causation, as well as of correlation, unless one wishes to say that correlation occurs by coincidence only, 100% of the time, in the case of wave-particle behavior. I'm thinking here, of what I've read about waves and particles collapsing simultaneously, despite being separated. No doubt yet ANOTHER aspect of my inability to grasp modern quantum physics theory.
 MikeWM
Joined: 2/7/2011
Msg: 33
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light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/16/2011 12:50:36 PM
I think considering how little real knowledge of the universe we actually have I find it kind of comical that people still arrogantly cling so tightly to theories in the same way the scientific orthodoxy clung to the idea that the stars revolved around the sun

Probably 90% of what we accept as "fact" now will probably be a historic academic joke to people in a few hundred years, which has pretty much been the case to practically all scientific theory throughout history thus far

Much of what we do infact class as "fact" is merely layer upon layer of postulated theories and conclusions seen as proof of those theories tends to be ones drawn from first assuming the theory was correct anyway which tends to cloud objectivity

So I'd be very surprised if light speed was still classed as an absolute on any level for the remaining duration of just my own lifetime
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 34
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/18/2011 1:22:05 AM

That statement alone, is confusing to me. It would seem to me, that "communication," in the sense of a state of 'connectedness,' is a part of causation, as well as of correlation, unless one wishes to say that correlation occurs by coincidence only, 100% of the time, in the case of wave-particle behavior. I'm thinking here, of what I've read about waves and particles collapsing simultaneously, despite being separated. No doubt yet ANOTHER aspect of my inability to grasp modern quantum physics theory.

You're trying to make this more difficult that it is. Here's a simple example. Put a red marble and blue marble in a bag. You and friend each reach into the bag and take one of the marbles. You check and you discover that yours is red. Your friend checks and discovers that his is blue. However, when you see that yours is red, you know his must be blue, yet you did not have to communicate with him to know that. That isn't at all mysterious and it certainly doesn't require any instantaneous cummincation between the marbles for that to happen. There's no causation involved, but there is a correlation. You know if your marble is red, then his must be blue.

The quantum mechanical case is a little more trricky, but the basic idea is the same.
 MikeWM
Joined: 2/7/2011
Msg: 35
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light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/18/2011 9:31:50 AM
Isnt the problem with some aspects of quantam mechanics though a bit more along the lines of

You look at your marble and its blue, and for the duration youre looking at it so is theirs

When they look at theirs and you arent looking, both marbles are then read

Quantum entanglement kind of clouds the two marble scenario a tad
 arwen52
Joined: 3/13/2008
Msg: 37
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light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/19/2011 5:14:28 PM
"Blunder is the number one cause for why researchers get physics results that conflict with decades (in this case a century) of theory and experiments." Neil DeGrasse Tyson

It turns out the explanation for the results of the experiment were pretty mundane:

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/27260/

It's now been three weeks since the extraordinary news that neutrinos travelling between France and Italy had been clocked moving faster than light. The experiment, known as OPERA, found that the particles produced at CERN near Geneva arrived at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy some 60 nanoseconds earlier than the speed of light allows.

The result has sent a ripple of excitement through the physics community. Since then, more than 80 papers have appeared on the arXiv attempting to debunk or explain the effect. It's fair to say, however, that the general feeling is that the OPERA team must have overlooked something.

Today, Ronald van Elburg at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands makes a convincing argument that he has found the error.

First, let's review the experiment, which is simple in concept: a measurement of distance and time.

The distance is straightforward. The location of neutrino production at CERN is fairly easy to measure using GPS. The position of the Gran Sasso Laboratory is harder to pin down because it sits under a kilometre-high mountain. Nevertheless, the OPERA team says it has nailed the distance of 730 km to within 20 cm or so.

The time of neutrino flight is harder to measure. The OPERA team says it can accurately gauge the instant when the neutrinos are created and the instant they are detected using clocks at each end.

But the tricky part is keeping the clocks at either end exactly synchronised. The team does this using GPS satellites, which each broadcast a highly accurate time signal from orbit some 20,000km overhead. That introduces a number of extra complications which the team has to take into account, such as the time of travel of the GPS signals to the ground.

But van Elburg says there is one effect that the OPERA team seems to have overlooked: the relativistic motion of the GPS clocks.

It's easy to think that the motion of the satellites is irrelevant. After all, the radio waves carrying the time signal must travel at the speed of light, regardless of the satellites' speed.

But there is an additional subtlety. Although the speed of light is does not depend on the the frame of reference, the time of flight does. In this case, there are two frames of reference: the experiment on the ground and the clocks in orbit. If these are moving relative to each other, then this needs to be factored in.

So what is the satellites' motion with respect to the OPERA experiment? These probes orbit from West to East in a plane inclined at 55 degrees to the equator. Significantly, that's roughly in line with the neutrino flight path. Their relative motion is then easy to calculate.

So from the point of view of a clock on board a GPS satellite, the positions of the neutrino source and detector are changing. "From the perspective of the clock, the detector is moving towards the source and consequently the distance travelled by the particles as observed from the clock is shorter," says van Elburg.

By this he means shorter than the distance measured in the reference frame on the ground.

The OPERA team overlooks this because it thinks of the clocks as on the ground not in orbit.

How big is this effect? Van Elburg calculates that it should cause the neutrinos to arrive 32 nanoseconds early. But this must be doubled because the same error occurs at each end of the experiment. So the total correction is 64 nanoseconds, almost exactly what the OPERA team observes.

That's impressive but it's not to say the problem is done and dusted. Peer review is an essential part of the scientific process and this argument must hold its own under scrutiny from the community at large and the OPERA team in particular.

If it stands up, this episode will be laden with irony. Far from breaking Einstein's theory of relatively, the faster-than-light measurement will turn out to be another confirmation of it.
 MikeWM
Joined: 2/7/2011
Msg: 38
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light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/19/2011 5:27:18 PM
That'll teach them not to rely on manually operated stopwatches being co-ordinated via text message wont it lol :)
 Professoro
Joined: 8/1/2011
Msg: 39
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/19/2011 7:24:53 PM

Error bars for measurements can be tough to estimate, just ask Fleischmann and Pons. cheers, O


No big surprise, I suggested this three weeks ago.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 40
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/19/2011 10:41:35 PM

Now what would happen if you sent a photon from Cern to a double slit 500km away in Italy with the detector switched OFF and then simultaneously sent a neutrino to Italy to switch the detector ON.
Would the experiment change?

I'm going to post a longer explanation to address a previous question, but the answer in a relativistically correct picture is that the question really makes no sense. Simultaneity is observer dependent. If you pick a frame in which two events, A and B, are simultaneous, it's possible to perform Lorentz transformations to find other reference frames in which A occurs before B and in which B occurs before A. The fact that quantum mechanics predicts correlations between measurements allows the measurements of events A and B to be consistent without being causally connected. In other words, the correlations exist regardless of which frame you choose, but the lack of a causal connection means quantum mechaics is also consistent with relativity.
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