Faster than Light?

Faster than light?

CERN findings bewilder scientists

Physicists at the lab near Geneva say they’ve observed subatomic particles moving faster than the speed of light. If confirmed, it would defy Einstein — and upend our understanding of physics.

Albert Einstein had the idea. A century of observations have backed it up. It’s one of the cornerstones of physics: Nothing travels faster than the speed of light.

But now a team of experimental physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, says that one exotic particle possibly can.

The scientists reached their conclusion after sending streams of tiny, subatomic particles called neutrinos hurtling from an accelerator at CERN outside Geneva to a detector at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, about 450 miles away.

The neutrinos seemed to get there too soon — 60 nanoseconds too soon, give or take — than they should if they’d been traveling at the speed of light.

That slight edge, if it holds up under scrutiny, has enormous implications for our understanding of the laws of nature, physicists said.

“Basically, all of special relativity would be wrong,” said Drexel University physics professor Dave Goldberg, referring to Einstein’s 1905 theory establishing that light travels at a constant speed, regardless of how fast an observer is traveling, and that nothing in the universe can go faster than it.

“If you have particles traveling faster than the speed of light, you can in principle go back in time. So you can be your own grandmother. As you can imagine, that causes some problems,” said Stephen Parke, a theoretical particle physicist at Fermilab in Batavia, Ill.

The operative word is “if.”

“I’m fairly skeptical. I expect most people are,” Goldberg said.

The physicists responsible for the work said they’d checked their findings stringently.

“We wanted to find all possible explanations for this. We wanted to find a mistake, but we didn’t,” said physicist Antonio Ereditato, spokesman for the so-called OPERA experiment, in an interview with the BBC on Thursday.

Because it was such “a crazy result,” the team was releasing its data, based on three years of measurements, so that others in the scientific community could confirm or refute the findings, he added.

The researchers posted the paper online Thursday evening and planned a seminar at CERN to discuss the findings Friday.

But even before the paper was available, scientists with the capability to generate and measure the speed of neutrinos were gearing up to try to duplicate the results.

“As you can imagine, something like this is so revolutionary that everyone who can weigh in will be attempting to do so,” said particle physicist Rob Plunkett, co-spokesperson for the MINOS experiment at Fermilab.

In 2007, MINOS scientists also clocked neutrinos apparently moving faster than the speed of light, but the margin of error for that experiment was far greater than what was reported at CERN.

“It was not enough to make a scientific claim,” Plunkett said.

MINOS scientists may perform experiments of their own in as soon as six months, said particle physicist and MINOS co-spokesperson Jenny Thomas.

Plans to test the CERN results in Japan’s multinational T2K (Tokai-to-Kamioka) experiment are in the works, said neutrino physicist and T2K spokesman Chang Kee Jung.

Noodling the ramifications — should the findings be confirmed — gave physicists pause. There are just too many things in nature that special relativity explains.

“What does it mean? I don’t know,” Goldberg said. “The list of things we believe we understand still have to be true. You’d have to have another theory that makes them all work, but also accounts for this.”

Parke, a fellow skeptic, said the findings could be explained without tossing out special relativity. For one thing, he said, it’s possible the neutrinos’ passage hadn’t been timed accurately.

Or maybe the neutrinos were traveling through different dimensions, taking shortcuts from Geneva to Gran Sasso.

“The jury’s still out,” Plunkett said. “It’s revolutionary in principle. One has to approach it with healthy skepticism.”

 

September 23, 2011
By Eryn Brown and Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times

 

Article Source:
http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-0923-speed-of-light-20110923,0,497738.story

 

PS  The Large Hadron Collider built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It is expected to address some of the most fundamental questions of physics, advancing the understanding of the deepest laws of nature. The LHC lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres (17 mi) in circumference, as deep as 175 metres (574 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.

This synchrotron is designed to collide opposing particle beams of either protons at an energy of 7 teraelectronvolts (7 TeV or 1.12 microjoules) per particle, or lead nuclei at an energy of 574 TeV (92.0 µJ) per nucleus. The term hadron refers to particles composed of quarks.
The Large Hadron Collider was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) with the intention of testing various predictions of high-energy physics, including testing for the existence of the hypothesized Higgs boson and of the large family of new particles predicted by supersymmetry. It was built in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries, as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.  [ Note: Perhaps this is the best modern example of the Tower of Babel??? ]

 

Our understanding of the Universe is about to change…

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.


In order for technicians to get around the 27-km tunnel that houses the LHC various methods of transportation must be employed. © 2005 CERN

The YE+1 section of CMS, weighing 1,270 tonnes was lowered on the 9th of January as planned. © 2005 CERN


Compact Muon Solenoid detector for LHC. © 2005 CERN

Two beams of subatomic particles called ‘hadrons’ – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.

Comments

  1. himanshu says

    @mo thts a good idea,but if that ws so,shdnt all the neutrinos be travelling at the original/faster thn light speed at all points in the universe.we dont know much bout neutrinos to begin with,such as,if they are traveling at such high velocities y do they pass through objects,which would sugest they are wimps nd have low enrgy.at ny case they shldnt be travelling at the speed of light anyway,seeing they have a miniscule but very much present rest mass.

  2. Mo says

    All the talks circulate around ‘if’. What if the observable light that we see today is actually decaying and its speed reducing over the billions of years? To such an extent that CERN has simulated the ‘original’ speed of light? That is to say, the experimental particles actually travelled at the true speed of light as compared to today’s speed of light? Just a thought…

  3. Ab Asaff says

    The speed of light may be the highest rate of speed in the our 3 dimensional perception but not necessarly in the higher dmensions where time and space colapse. The notion of travelling through great distances in space via wormholes in seconds would be transcending this 3rd dimension reality and the speed of light. I believe that is how the hyper dimensional UFO’s do it.

    As well, on a metaphyiscal level, the Ancient Spiritualists have said that the energy known as the human spirit travels faster than light as it does not conform to our physcial 3D reality or the confines of our view of space and time. Our conception of this as Einsten might have postulated, it is all relative.

  4. kenneth lunkins says

    did make a observation or not? did they see the faster then light? an w
    why does Eisenstein , ideas have to be correct. people today seem to be disproving his theories every day now

  5. says

    To all, mainly those who are working in the field of SCIENCE please.
    What is true ? The experimental results which we are finding, is it true ? In our normal sense, all these are true. But there are lot of hazard thinks are there in our modern science which we don’t know. The neutrino or new other particles may run fast than speed of light, experiment may show, may we established it, but is it true ? The experimental machines, setup etc stands on our modern very hard mathematics. We established this math, the particles thus the universe really follows this math ? On the other hand we don’t know the followings as —-
    Need to know first.
    1) Accurate mass of a photon, 2) mass of a graviton, 3) Structure of an electron, 4) structure of electromagnetic radiations, 5) quantum circulations of a black hole, 6) we are using the value of “Pi” as almost constant in every case in science, but at excited state why we will use this value ? 7) what is the internal functions of matter m during emission of energy as from E = mc2 ? Is this equation is final equation ? 8) what is the internal function to determine the unknown weight of Radio-active elements, how populated photons are acting in this reactions ? 9) In what way a photon is acting during photosynthesis of plant ? 10) what is the max. Mass of the Universe ?

    Lot of questions is there in my book “Complete Unified Theory “( Page- 424, 1998,ISBN : 81-7643-000-5, you may get it from the Berlin International Library, Berlin) and solved it properly. You can get all answers in this book. There is no difference of calculated & experimental results done by the scientists in different times. Actually complete unified theory is single theory. This theory is a dream of science which the scientists are trying since 1873.

    At first need to know, what is true ? Another true always is playing in side the known true. Now time is knocking at the door to rectify all. After we can come to the point that what is wrong or true. Otherwise no need to do funny experiments in any fields.

    Nirmalendu Das.
    MUKUL DEEP , 74/48- Meghlal Roy Road, Sarat pally, W.No. – 40, Haider para , Siliguri – 734006, P.S. – Bhakti Nagar. District : Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, INDIA. Mob : India – 9475089337. Dated : 26-09-2011.
    Email : [email protected] , [email protected]

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