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CERN Experiment Indicates Faster-Than-Light neutrinos


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#1
kamykazee
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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.

"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. Other 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 were 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 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.

"This would be such a sensational discovery if it were true that one has to treat it extremely carefully," said Ellis.

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#2
The_Gabe
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Neat.
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Good.

More proof of other universes.
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#4
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Neat, I was never a Physics person though.

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#5
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Link?
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#6
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Yawn, I want the experiment done again or something. Put simply, I don't believe the results, and neither do a lot of other particle/theoretical physicists.

For an explanation, see here.

#7
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#8
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Yawn, I want the experiment done again or something. Put simply, I don't believe the results, and neither do a lot of other particle/theoretical physicists.

For an explanation, see here.

This. It's hardly the first time someone has claimed to be able to debunk the relativity theory.

Although, science is an ever changing discipline. It's entirely possible that it will be debunked properly at some point.

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#9
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I think we should be careful, and wait for the other experiments to confirm this result before we go crazy over this

by my calculation it could be a miscalculation of a mere 18 meters that could cause this result, and as much as they have checked it, it wouldn't be out of the question that they might have missed something to account for that distance

If this is real, it would have massive implications, and it would easily be one of the most important results of the last 100 years, and it could completly revolutionise several branches of physics

I guess thats why I'm a bit skeptical, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and if Fermilab and the Japan experiment confirm these measurements, then that would account for extraordinary evidence in my book. But its still a bit early imo

#10
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I doubt this.

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#11
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Good, [bleep] yeah, about time light got thrown off its little pedestal of whatever. Anything's possible, suck it Einstein.
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#12
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I'm highly skeptical about this myself. Plus, the media feeds off of this kind of [cabbage]. ;)

And of course, the media has zero understanding of scientific concepts. Don't get me wrong, you can find a good article in a newspaper or on a news site about a recent scientific discovery, but you should take the articles with a grain of salt.
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Well, interesting, but I'm waiting on the confirmation experiments.

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I don't know how I feel about this at the moment. While it is exciting to think that the 'speed limit' of the universe has been broken, wouldn't that mean all that know about physics is wrong or at least flawed? I watch enough science, history, and discovery channel to know just enough of whats going on.

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#15
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Probably got the (misleading) results from a "good" margin of error. It was like 0.00025% difference.

They'll have to do it again for any credence.

#16
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So how long before this raises the dead? About a year and 2 months or something?

#17
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I don't know how I feel about this at the moment. While it is exciting to think that the 'speed limit' of the universe has been broken, wouldn't that mean all that know about physics is wrong or at least flawed? I watch enough science, history, and discovery channel to know just enough of whats going on.


I'm not familiar with all of this myself, but here's an interesting suggestions i read about this on another forums:

Person 1: i am now utterly baffled. the CERN guys surely cannot believe they have measured a non-zero mass particle travelling faster than C. any non-zero mass must be accelerated from zero velocity to move. the basic math tells you that it would take an infinite amount of energy to accelerate a neutrino to C, and a greater-than-infinite amount to accelrate it past C. to even be considering that this effect is real makes me wonder about CERN losing its mind.

Person 2:This is not strictly true. When a particle is first created in a nuclear reaction it will generally have some non-zero initial velocity. That said, regardless of the initial velocity you are correct about the energy requirements to accelerate it further, but they are not claiming faster than c, only faster than light. The implication being that light doesn't travel at c.

Person 1: So then c would be the "speed limit", and the speed of light would be something slightly less...This still doesn't explain why photons have the same speed no matter your reference point.

Person 2: It would be explained due to the fact that our measurements were not sufficiently sensitive until now. Of course, that is quite a statement and I think would require an extensive review. But that is the only way that this result could be confirmed and be compatible with previous data.

From that we might also interpret that the speed limit itself hasn't been broken, rather that light doesn't at C after all. So it wouldn't necessarily toss everything we know into the bin, rather it might be that we just need to interpret it slightly different. General Relativity has given very accurate predicitions which have been verified experimentally. So has Quantum Mechanics. But the two are incompatible so we KNOW that something must be wrong with one of them, or both. It shouldn't really come as a surprise that we're missing something, and perhaps this, if it's true, might explain what.

Now if we consider that it is indeed an experiemental error, i still believe it would have a significant implication. This group is not stupid and have had 4 years to figure this out. It seems to me that any outcome is bound to have important implications, even an experimental anomaly, since so many experiments are based on similar methodologies. Anyone here care to speculate on that end of it (since speculation is all we have today)? Comments here so far seem too focus on errors in measuring source/detector separation, equipment latencies, etc, but certainly they have gone over that ground ad nauseum.


Probably got the (misleading) results from a "good" margin of error. It was like 0.00025% difference.

They'll have to do it again for any credence.


Well, an institute such as CERN wouldn't have given this result without thoroughly testing it themselves. They were simply unable to find a flaw, and that's why they're putting the problem out in the open for others to find a flaw (if there is one) OR to interpret the result in another way. Also, read the above statement. Here is also another possibility to stirr things up:

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.”


If you're interested in a more specialised debate here's a link.

Also, i believe that today (23rd September) at 14 CET, CERN will be holding a live webcast about this. CERN Live webcast

The official published results by CERN can be found here Published CERN results

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#18
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neutrinos sounds like something you put in your pool chemicals.

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#19
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That's crazy yo. I'm still skeptical though.

#20
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Here is a picture from the live CERN webcast, showing conclusions:

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