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Neutrinos faster than light confirmed?!

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by Loppan Torkel, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Loppan Torkel

    Loppan Torkel Deity

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    Not confirmed exactly, but there's now more support for it...
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15791236

    Why must specifically light be the fastest thing in the universe? I never understood that.
     
  2. peter grimes

    peter grimes ...

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    Here's a link to a series of blog entries that discuss the intial OPERA results:
    http://blog.case.edu/singham/relativity/index

    It's in reverse chronological order, so start at the bottom.

    Here's how he might answer your question about the cosmic speed limit:
    and also:

    This is one of the things that I hate about the way science headlines are written. It's misleading sensationalism that leads too many people to think that science has no idea what it's doing, and things understood to be X one day are thrown out and thought to be Y the next.

    I recommend reading the whole series, as he goes into some of the details that are left out in mainstream reporting.

    Also good reading on this topic is Ethan Seigel's blog Starts With A Bang.
     
  3. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    Confirmed is a much too strong word. Instead of taking all neutrinos and doing statistics on those, they now measured the timing of single neutrinos. The result is the same, so this confirms their statistical method.

    But if there is an error, it would be much more likely to be systematic. That means that the error would be intrinsic to the experiment and could not be ruled out by the experiment itself. For example the OPERA experiment runs on a 20MHz clock, so if the clock was off by just one tick, the result would be off by 50ns and the effect could vanish (or almost double). But such an error would not be ruled out in any way by the new measurement.

    For a real confirmation, a second experiment would have to measure the same result.


    And science reporting in mainstream media is abysmal, but that is hardly new.
     
  4. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I'll hopefully put a thought-worm into people's minds.

    If we find that neutrinos can go FTL, this information does NOT change the absolute value of all the other types of research we do. We're currently investing in a lot of different areas, and each are getting us bang-for-the-buck in their own unique ways. That said, the absolute value of 'neutrino research/FTL research' would obviously change. What this means is that more science funding is justified and not merely a redistribution. If research on bumblebee color vision was a good question today, it's still a good question tomorrow. In other words, a proper verification of this finding would justify making the science pie bigger and not necessarily sliced differently.
     
  5. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    Ideally, that is how it should work. But in reality there is a limited amount of funding and if one area becomes more interesting, the funding is very likely to come at the expense of other projects.
     
  6. peter grimes

    peter grimes ...

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    And this is why I'd be happy to pay more taxes!

    I like to pretend that all the money taken out of my paycheck goes to NIH, NASA, NSF, and such.

    In reality I know that's not true, that the DOD takes my money and converts it into dead civilians and rampant anti-US hostility. But we all have to sleep at night :)
     
  7. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    That's not a great way of thinking about it, non-scientifically.

    A better way is to realize that there is a maximum speed, and light happens to travel at this speed.
     
  8. Trev

    Trev Prince

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    Rather than neutrinos travvelling faster than the max speed of the universe represented by c, could this experiment be showing that some property of space is reducing the speed of light slightly below its theoritical maximum rather than neutrinos being above the theoretical maximum speed of light c
     
  9. Loppan Torkel

    Loppan Torkel Deity

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    Ok, so it's not really the speed of light "c" represents and if speed of light is lower than "c", photons just gained some weight?!
     
  10. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

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    Yes, except that photons can't gain waight.

    Also, when photons through something they seem to travel slower, but this is attributed to them not taking a direct path, or getting obsorbed and reemited along the way.
     
  11. Trev

    Trev Prince

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    And in their experiment can they prove that this did not happen to the light?
     
  12. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

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    You mean like light in empty space interacting with some omnipresent medium? I can't off hand think of a way to rule that out, but I suspect that it's not a possibility. If it is, it's a pretty radical idea that would need more proof.
     
  13. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    Although the picture of light being slowed down by absorption and reemission is a bit too simple, it does convey one important point: Refractive index and absorption are related. With the Kramers-Kronig-relations, the absorption can be calculated from the refractive index.

    So if there was an omnipresent medium that slowed light down by interacting with it, there has to be absorption associated with it, which we should be able to measure. As far as I know, nobody has ever seen such a thing, so it is unlikely to be true.
     
  14. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    Just saw this today:

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news...t-apparently-a-mistake-due-to-loose-cable.ars

    The atomic clock had "loose" timing?
     
  15. peter grimes

    peter grimes ...

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    A timing issue seems consistent with the results of the follow-up. Hopefully loose-wire-gate will be confirmed to be the source of the discrepancy.
     
  16. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

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    That's nice and all, but I want it to be true!
     
  17. peter grimes

    peter grimes ...

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    That's nice and all, but the universe doesn't care about what you want!
     
  18. wilycoyote

    wilycoyote King

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    When will you all learn that the law is the law. You can't travel faster than light, especially when you have a finite mass.
     
  19. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    This line of reasoning is why people think science is a pseudo-religion worshipped by closed-minded people :rolleyes:
     
  20. ParadigmShifter

    ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator

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    You can't even travel faster than light with infinite mass.

    You need imaginary mass.
     

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