Neutrinos Seem to Travel Faster Than Light in Second Experiment

Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by MelT, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Neutrino experiment repeat at Cern finds same result

    \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t \t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\tBy Jason Palmer \t\t\t\tScience and technology reporter, BBC News

    The team which found that neutrinos may travel faster than light has carried out an improved version of their experiment - and confirmed the result. If confirmed by other experiments, the find could undermine one of the basic principles of modern physics.


    Critics of the first report in September had said that the long bunches of neutrinos (tiny particles) used could introduce an error into the test. The new work used much shorter bunches. It has been posted to the Arxiv repository and submitted to the Journal of High Energy Physics, but has not yet been reviewed by the scientific community.


    The experiments have been carried out by the Opera collaboration - short for Oscillation Project with Emulsion (T)racking Apparatus. It hinges on sending bunches of neutrinos created at the Cern facility (actually produced as decays within a long bunch of protons produced at Cern) through 730km (454 miles) of rock to a giant detector at the INFN-Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy. The initial series of experiments, comprising 15,000 separate measurements spread out over three years, found that the neutrinos arrived 60 billionths of a second faster than light would have, travelling unimpeded over the same distance.



    The idea that nothing can exceed the speed of light in a vacuum forms a cornerstone in physics - first laid out by James Clerk Maxwell and later incorporated into Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity.


    Timing is everything \t Initial analysis of the work by the wider scientific community argued that the relatively long-lasting bunches of neutrinos could introduce a significant error into the measurement. Those bunches lasted 10 millionths of a second - 160 times longer than the discrepancy the team initially reported in the neutrinos' travel time.


    To address that, scientists at Cern adjusted the way in which the proton beams were produced, resulting in bunches just three billionths of a second long.When the Opera team ran the improved experiment 20 times, they found almost exactly the same result.


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    "This is reinforcing the previous finding and ruling out some possible systematic errors which could have in principle been affecting it," said Antonio Ereditato of the Opera collaboration.


    "We didn't think they were, and now we have the proof," he told BBC News. "This is reassuring that it's not the end of the story."


    The first announcement of evidently faster-than-light neutrinos caused a stir worldwide; the Opera collaboration is very aware of its implications if eventually proved correct.


    The error in the length of the bunches, however, is just the largest among several potential sources of uncertainty in the measurement, which must all now be addressed in turn; these mostly centre on the precise departure and arrival times of the bunches.


    "So far no arguments have been put forward that rule out our effect," Dr Ereditato said.



    "This additional test we made is confirming our original finding, but still we have to be very prudent, still we have to look forward to independent confirmation. But this is a positive result."


    That confirmation may be much longer in coming, as only a few facilities worldwide have the detectors needed to catch the notoriously flighty neutrinos - which interact with matter so rarely as to have earned the nickname "ghost particles".


    Next year, teams working on two other experiments at Gran Sasso experiments - Borexino and Icarus - will begin independent cross-checks of Opera's results.
    The US Minos experiment and Japan's T2K experiment will also test the observations. It is likely to be several months before they report back.
     
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  2. Wild stuff. Warp speed next!
     
  3. Seems like Einstein, being the super smart person he was, wouldn't have put a finite limit on anything....
     
  4. If this is true, it will have huge implications for physics. It may be that only neutrinos or certain other small particles can exceed c, but imagine if this was the first moment in the development of macroscopic FTL travel.
     
  5. Time to be welcomed into the Galactic Federation of Planets.

    For real though, if time slows down as you approach light speed, and stops at light speed, would you go backwards in time if you go faster than the speed of light?
     
  6. or we are just wrong about what the c=
     
  7. I'm still skeptical. All my physics professors think it's a crock of shit, so it's hard to start a decent discussion with them about it.
     
  8. whats their reasoning for calling bullshit
     
  9. [quote name='"TesseLated"']

    whats their reasoning for calling bullshit[/quote]

    Probably that they have been taught and have taught its impossible to travel faster than the speed of light..Same as the government...they have told us all this time marijuana is bad for you, if they turn around their voice and legalize it, it makes them look stupid.
     

  10. One said that it's very hard to measure the EXACT distance between the source and the detector. He thinks the measurements are off.

    Another says that they used GPS satellites in part of their measurements (I don't know which part), and the satellites only account for General Relativity and not Special Relativity. He said it was kind of funny that Special Relativity is what's keeping these results from violating Special Relativity.
     
  11. Theres still much to be talked about with this experiment. This repeat experiment still makes me skeptical. For this to be true, has to violate years and years of precisely confirmed results from special and general relativity
     
  12. As I've understood it, a major condender for falsifying the FTL result, have its roots in a slight distance measurement error, due to inherent inaccuracies of GPS.

    The short of it beeing, that they've used GPS to measure the position of the transmitter and the receiver. Even a small cummulative distance error of a few meters could skew the result so that such a miniscule apparant faster than light effect would be measured.

    At any rate, I'm still somewhat skeptical. The new tests have ruled out some potential pitfalls. But as the team behind the experiment say themselves, they've only ruled out _some_ potential systematic errors. Not all of them.

    Time will tell if this is actual FTL or not. A positive result would surely be exciting news, and will cause a lot of headscratching amongst physicists. :)
     
  13. I think that light wants to travel instantly but cannot because photons create drag? I still think photons have weight even tho physics says it doesn't.
     
  14. #14 riejgndtueodtrd, Nov 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2011
    No. The force of drag is also known as air resistance, or the friction between a moving object and the air it's traveling through. Photons are MUCH smaller than particles of air, therefore there can't really be any friction between them.

    Edit:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011...ed:+reuters/scienceNews+(News+/+US+/+Science)
     

  15. I read the article and this stuck out:



    Sounds to me like this "debunking" is based on yet another "belief" by physicists, which may or may not be true (that traveling FTL causes particles to lose energy). False premise maybe? I'm not a physicist though..
     
  16. I, too, noticed the use of the word "believe" but I just took it for granted since the physicists are much more educated on the subject than I am. I didn't come here to debate, just to relay new information:wave: I'll leave the interpretations of the data and findings up to the others in this thread, and I can just continue to lurk and wallow in amazement
     

  17. Wasn't attempting to start a debate, just pointing it out since I don't believe "authorities" on subjects can really be trusted, especially in science because science is all about investigating, experimenting and reforming hypotheses based on results of experiments, not skewing results to fit a particular belief or agenda. Just looking for the truth, here. :smoke:

    Learn on, brother.
     

  18. Cherenkov radiation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I "believe" that's a picture of the process happening right there. ;)
     
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