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MSN/AP: Neutrinos clocked moving at faster-than-light speed


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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44629271/ns/technology_and_science-science/?gt1=43001

CERN scientists ask for confirmation of discovery that could rewrite laws of nature

By Frank Jordans and Seth Borenstein

updated 9/22/2011 5:40:39 PM ET

GENEVA — A pillar of physics — that nothing can go faster than the speed of light — appears to be smashed by an oddball subatomic particle that has apparently made a giant end run around Albert Einstein's theories.

Scientists at the world's largest physics lab said Thursday they have clocked neutrinos traveling faster than light. That's something that according to Einstein's 1905 special theory of relativity — the famous E (equals) mc2 equation — just doesn't happen.

"The feeling that most people have is this can't be right, this can't be real," said James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The organization, known as CERN, hosted part of the experiment, which is unrelated to the massive $10 billion Large Hadron Collider also located at the site.

Gillies told The Associated Press that the readings have so astounded researchers that they are asking others to independently verify the measurements before claiming an actual discovery.

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I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is a bit of an attention getter for the scienctific community.

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I guess the full headline was too long:

Incredibly odd and borderline unbelievable claim, featuring same general Einstein-defeating tone long associated with discredited claims in the past, awaits confirmation by someone -- anyone -- other than original discoverers who stand to gain tremendously from ostensible discovery.

I'll wait for confirmation. :)

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I'm guessing, but IF the basic measurements are good that this is a more likely scenario than they are really traveling faster than the speed of light:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/science/23speed.html

"John Learned, a neutrino astronomer at the University of Hawaii, said that if the results of the Opera researchers turned out to be true, it could be the first hint that neutrinos can take a shortcut through space, through extra dimensions. Joe Lykken of Fermilab said, “Special relativity only holds in flat space, so if there is a warped fifth dimension, it is possible that on other slices of it, the speed of light is different.” "

And I'm PRETTY sure that would be consistent with string (and other similar/related) theories.

It would still be HUGE news.

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I guess the full headline was too long:

Incredibly odd and borderline unbelievable claim, featuring same general Einstein-defeating tone long associated with discredited claims in the past, awaits confirmation by someone -- anyone -- other than original discoverers who stand to gain tremendously from ostensible discovery.

I'll wait for confirmation. :)

This is CERN, though. That's about as serious as it gets. This isn't just some random scientists with "credentials" making a ridiculous claim.

I'm guessing, but IF the basic measurements are good that this is a more likely scenario than they are really traveling faster than the speed of light:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/science/23speed.html

"John Learned, a neutrino astronomer at the University of Hawaii, said that if the results of the Opera researchers turned out to be true, it could be the first hint that neutrinos can take a shortcut through space, through extra dimensions. Joe Lykken of Fermilab said, “Special relativity only holds in flat space, so if there is a warped fifth dimension, it is possible that on other slices of it, the speed of light is different.” "

And I'm PRETTY sure that would be consistent with string (and other similar/related) theories.

It would still be HUGE news.

Interesting. Certainly a possibility, and yes, it would still be huge. In fact, I actually think it would be even bigger news than a neutrino traveling faster than light.

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Very interesting. They asked for peer review because their scale had a deviation and they were right on the cusp of that. But that's science, give up your data points and let peers review - true science is repeatable. Then honest debate.

This is awesome news and can very well be one of those things that pushes the envelope of science.

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Been reporting on this for our schools paper. Wicked awesome news for anyone who loves science, eagerly anticipating followup experiments in the US for sure. What's really interesting though is the fact that neutrinos have never been observed in this manner before, even when ejected by exploding stars

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football coach posting, so be forewarned...

What the hell is a neutrino and why is it so important that it moves a ridiculously small fraction faster than light?

And no, I'm not joking. This type of stuff has always been interesting to me, but since I don't have the brain capacity for it, I never explore it.

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What the hell is a neutrino and why is it so important that it moves a ridiculously small fraction faster than light?

It's a subatomic particle (like neutrons, electrons, protons). They are electrically neutral and have very weak interactive forces.

It's important for two reasons:

1. If they are moving faster than the speed of light, it violates Einstein's theory of special relativity which states that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. It completely changes a lot of things we know about physics to be true.

2. It is possible that it's not traveling at the speed of light, but rather taking shortcuts through other dimensions. This wouldn't violate Einstein's theory but it would be something we have never observed before.

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It's a subatomic particle (like neutrons, electrons, protons). They are electrically neutral and have very weak interactive forces.

I'm just going to smile and nod and pretend I know what "electrically neutral and have very weak interactive forces" means :ols:

2. It is possible that it's not traveling at the speed of light, but rather taking shortcuts through other dimensions. This wouldn't violate Einstein's theory but it would be something we have never observed before.

Yeah, but it's still moving faster than light, even if it's taking short cuts, isn't it?

And what types of things in physics would change? Just a few examples, I know that you can't possibly list everything.

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Yeah, but it's still moving faster than light, even if it's taking short cuts, isn't it?

If a neutrino is going through other dimensions, it's not going faster than light. Our current understanding tells us that if neutrinos have mass (which they do), they cannot travel faster than the speed of light. To travel at the speed of light, neutrino's would need to be without mass, which they are not.

And what types of things in physics would change? Just a few examples, I know that you can't possibly list everything.
"The constancy of the speed of light... underpins 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."

Read more: http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/84940,people,news,einsteins-theory-of-special-relativity-up-in-the-air#ixzz1YmLKVKut

It could also provide proof for string theory. String theory is hard to understand. This page should help:

http://www.ccmr.cornell.edu/education/ask/index.html?quid=961

Consider ants crawling on a tabletop. In their daily experience, they can explore only 2 dimensions, those of the table surface. They may see a bee up flying, or occasionally landing on the table top, but that 3rd dimension is something they can only see or imagine, not experience. Perhaps we are in an analogous situation. Instead of a tabletop, we live in a 3-dimensional space called 3-brane (a name generalizing 2-brane, i.e., membrane). For some reason, we (i.e., atoms, molecules, photons etc.) are stuck in this 3-brane, even though there are 6 additional dimensions out there. Gravity, like the bee, can go everywhere. We call this the brane world, a rather natural phenomenon in superstring theory. At the moment, physicists are working hard to understand this scenario better and to find ways to experimentally test this idea.
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