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CERN claims faster-than-light particle measured
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 6311
Location: airstrip one
CERN claims faster-than-light particle measured  Reply with quote  


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GENEVA (AP) A fundamental 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, or CERN, outside the Swiss city of Geneva.
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.
"They are inviting the broader physics community to look at what they've done and really scrutinize it in great detail, and ideally for someone elsewhere in the world to repeat the measurements," he said Thursday.
Scientists at the competing Fermilab in Chicago have promised to start such work immediately.
"It's a shock," said Fermilab head theoretician Stephen Parke, who was not part of the research in Geneva. "It's going to cause us problems, no doubt about that - if it's true."
The Chicago team had similar faster-than-light results in 2007, but those came with a giant margin of error that undercut its scientific significance.
Outside scientists expressed skepticism at CERN's claim that the neutrinos one of the strangest well-known particles in physics were observed smashing past the cosmic speed barrier of 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second).
University of Maryland physics department chairman Drew Baden called it "a flying carpet," something that was too fantastic to be believable.
CERN says a neutrino beam fired from a particle accelerator near Geneva to a lab 454 miles (730 kilometers) away in Italy traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light. Scientists calculated the margin of error at just 10 nanoseconds, making the difference statistically significant. But given the enormous implications of the find, they still spent months checking and rechecking their results to make sure there was no flaws in the experiment.
"We have not found any instrumental effect that could explain the result of the measurement," said Antonio Ereditato, a physicist at the University of Bern, Switzerland, who was involved in the experiment known as OPERA.
The CERN researchers are now looking to the United States and Japan to confirm the results.
A similar neutrino experiment at Fermilab near Chicago would be capable of running the tests, said Stavros Katsanevas, the deputy director of France's National Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics Research. The institute collaborated with Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory for the experiment at CERN.
Katsanevas said help could also come from the T2K experiment in Japan, though that is currently on hold after the country's devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Scientists agree if the results are confirmed, that it would force a fundamental rethink of the laws of nature.
Einstein's special relativity theory that says energy equals mass times the speed of light squared underlies "pretty much everything in modern physics," said John Ellis, a theoretical physicist at CERN who was not involved in the experiment. "It has worked perfectly up until now."
He cautioned that the neutrino researchers would have to explain why similar results weren't detected before, such as when an exploding star or supernova was observed in 1987.
"This would be such a sensational discovery if it were true that one has to treat it extremely carefully," said Ellis.


Neutrinos faster than the speed of light. Science presses forward. If only the socio-economic sector could keep up.
Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:48 pm
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Charlie Foxtrot



Joined: 23 Jan 2008
Posts: 1379
Location: Rochester, NY
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Oh fuck. Now I'll understand even less about physics.
Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:55 pm
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OM3N



Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 1297
Location: Thailand
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I had a weird dream the other night where all the greatest scientific minds were gathered at CERN and a catastrophic event happened, it then jumped to a big fire burning thousands of books.

I can only assume these are two parts of my curious brain somehow colliding in my subconscious. I was always obsessed with Sagan and he was always bringing up the burning of the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, which was basically the most destructive event in relation to the development of human understanding. Which was my feeling during the CERN catastrophe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria

My dreams are strange but almost the only thing that keep me intellectually stimulated these days.

goddamn I sound insane.
Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:22 pm
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breakreep
homophobic yet curious


Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 6627
Location: Fifth Jerusalem
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Watch, it's going to turn out CERN was flooded during the experiment and the researchers just don't want to tell anybody.

"Hey man remember that time we told 'em neutrinos go faster than light, man that was some good shit. Had the DoD funding our breakfast donut runs for the next 10 years straight."
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:56 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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Let's say that these neutrinos really are faster than light. Could it be argued somehow that neutrinos are actually some sort of physical manifestation of light itself? Seem's like a big stretch, but I'm wondering. Also, long term, what does identifying something faster than the speed of light signify? Does time travel become theoretically possible?
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:03 am
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Flawed Logic



Joined: 16 Nov 2010
Posts: 349
Location: Austin, TX - Albuquerque, NM - Kalamazoo, MI - Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
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This is very interesting. Before this theory is proven by physicist they will need to figure out ways of showing it work in scientific study's. The main problem right now is no one knows how to conduct any study's to show this theory at work. It's all uncharted territory.
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:19 am
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mancabbage



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
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Location: london
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Eat a curry stick a marble up your arse and measure the speed that fucker flies out at when ya fart.

Fuckin easy
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:43 am
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Z-0



Joined: 28 Sep 2004
Posts: 700
Location: Sydney
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Captiv8 wrote:
Does time travel become theoretically possible?


i thought time travel was already theoretically possible as time slows for matter approaching the speed of light. wasnt that one of the observed laws once proven at CERN?

well, up until this latest discovery.
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:03 am
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


Joined: 03 Feb 2006
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Location: airstrip one
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I think the issue is, the theory says that when an event happens, light travels, we see the light. If neutrinos can go faster than light, it means that we can register an event prior to "seeing" it. Really really non-scientific terms there, but a gun is fired, you know it is fired before the light reaches you. Right now, by our definition, that is impossible. Not anymore if this data is valid, blows the whole theory of relativity out of the water.
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:53 am
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2019
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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Captiv8 wrote:
Also, long term, what does identifying something faster than the speed of light signify?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ansible
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:16 am
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GrantherBirdly
D&D addict


Joined: 05 Jun 2004
Posts: 3145
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Z-0 wrote:
Captiv8 wrote:
Does time travel become theoretically possible?


i thought time travel was already theoretically possible as time slows for matter approaching the speed of light. wasnt that one of the observed laws once proven at CERN?

well, up until this latest discovery.


I think the question was time travel as in traveling backwards in time, rather than just slowing it down. My (amateur) understanding is that yes, if something travels faster than light then when you stop traveling, you would arrive at a time that was earlier than when you set out.

To my mind the craziest outcome of this theory proving true would be that the law of causality becomes totally squelched, since the light-speed limit is like a cosmic enforcer that prevents all manner of mind-numbing paradoxes from actually occurring.
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:35 am
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squirtisblow



Joined: 12 Mar 2003
Posts: 1587
Location: SFV
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Mark in Minnesota wrote:
Captiv8 wrote:
Also, long term, what does identifying something faster than the speed of light signify?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ansible


Just like in Ender's Game! awesome!
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:38 am
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2019
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Well, no, probably not. Just common vocabulary to describe a possible resulting technology.
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:44 am
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Raoul DeGroot



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
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No No mark.. You said Ender's Game. You diiid. You said it.
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:51 am
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Szechwan



Joined: 19 Mar 2007
Posts: 587
Location: Vancouver Island
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Captiv8 wrote:
Let's say that these neutrinos really are faster than light. Could it be argued somehow that neutrinos are actually some sort of physical manifestation of light itself? Seem's like a big stretch, but I'm wondering. Also, long term, what does identifying something faster than the speed of light signify? Does time travel become theoretically possible?


It is my understanding that a neutrino and a photon are quite different, and really the only reason light is even in the conversation is because it's speed is the upper limit as far as we know (until now). Neutrinos on the other hand are a byproduct of radioactive decay/nuclear reactions; At any given moment, trillions of neutrinos are flying right through your body as a result of the the nuclear fusion happening in the Sun. They'll continue straight on through the Earth and out the other side because they barely interact with matter. This is why neutrino detectors are built deep underground; they're protected from detecting other particles by the thick bedrock, but their target particles will pass right through that and into their facility.

GrantherBirdly wrote:
Z-0 wrote:
Captiv8 wrote:
Does time travel become theoretically possible?


i thought time travel was already theoretically possible as time slows for matter approaching the speed of light. wasnt that one of the observed laws once proven at CERN?

well, up until this latest discovery.


I think the question was time travel as in traveling backwards in time, rather than just slowing it down. My (amateur) understanding is that yes, if something travels faster than light then when you stop traveling, you would arrive at a time that was earlier than when you set out.



You bet. The "slowing" of time is a phenomenon referred to as time dialation, which essentially posits that for an object that is either moving extremely fast, or close to a large gravitational mass time will slow.

Atomic clocks aboard GPS satellites flying around the earth at ridiculous speeds (and at a different distance from the the earth's gravitational mass) tick about 7,200 ns/day slower than one stationed on earth, and thus are programmed already to correct for this difference. If they didn't, you'd be driving your car off a cliff.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dialation
Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:27 pm
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