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Thread: Speed-of-light experiments give baffling result at Cern

  1. #1
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    Speed-of-light experiments give baffling result at Cern

    Speed-of-light experiments give baffling result at Cern



    Puzzling results from Cern, home of the LHC, have confounded physicists - because it appears subatomic particles have exceeded the speed of light.

    Neutrinos sent through the ground from Cern toward the Gran Sasso laboratory 732km away seemed to show up a tiny fraction of a second early.

    The result - which threatens to upend a century of physics - will be put online for scrutiny by other scientists.

    In the meantime, the group says it is being very cautious about its claims.

    "We tried to find all possible explanations for this," said report author Antonio Ereditato of the Opera collaboration.

    "We wanted to find a mistake - trivial mistakes, more complicated mistakes, or nasty effects - and we didn't," he told BBC News.

    "When you don't find anything, then you say 'Well, now I'm forced to go out and ask the community to scrutinise this.'"
    Caught speeding?

    The speed of light is the Universe's ultimate speed limit, and much of modern physics - as laid out in part by Albert Einstein in his special theory of relativity - depends on the idea that nothing can exceed it.

    Thousands of experiments have been undertaken to measure it ever more precisely, and no result has ever spotted a particle breaking the limit.

    But Dr Ereditato and his colleagues have been carrying out an experiment for the last three years that seems to suggest neutrinos have done just that.

    Neutrinos come in a number of types, and have recently been seen to switch spontaneously from one type to another.

    The team prepares a beam of just one type, muon neutrinos, sending them from Cern to an underground laboratory at Gran Sasso in Italy to see how many show up as a different type, tau neutrinos.

    In the course of doing the experiments, the researchers noticed that the particles showed up a few billionths of a second sooner than light would over the same distance.

    The team measured the travel times of neutrino bunches some 15,000 times, and have reached a level of statistical significance that in scientific circles would count as a formal discovery.

    But the group understands that what are known as "systematic errors" could easily make an erroneous result look like a breaking of the ultimate speed limit, and that has motivated them to publish their measurements.

    "My dream would be that another, independent experiment finds the same thing - then I would be relieved," Dr Ereditato said.

    But for now, he explained, "we are not claiming things, we want just to be helped by the community in understanding our crazy result - because it is crazy".

    "And of course the consequences can be very serious."

  2. #2
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    Very interesting, I believe we have yet to begin to understand the possibilities that await us...
    On the lighter side I have known this phenomenon has existed for quite some time. Proof shows every time I'm out shopping alone and about to pull the trigger on a new tool purchase, I can hear my wife's screaming no matter what area of the country she's in.

    Quote: "And of course the consequences can be very serious." ...how true how true

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    I thought this was possible with quantum stuff and other dimensions (string theory type of stuff), as I read an article trying to describe something similar a few years back (they were trying to understand it).

    Of course, the simplest explanation, is usually the correct one. So this means:

    1. We know less then our ego tells us we know
    2. We don't know what the speed of dark is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Soby View Post
    "My dream would be that another, independent experiment finds the same thing - then I would be relieved," Dr Ereditato said.
    Um, yeah. The problem: there's only one machine in the world that can measure this stuff. The one they're using!

    Thanks,

    Bill

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    But if it's true, would it enable us to finally develop those faster than light drive spaceships I've seen in all of the movies!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    Um, yeah. The problem: there's only one machine in the world that can measure this stuff. The one they're using!

    Thanks,

    Bill
    The story I saw said there were two other facilities that would be able to repeat the experiment. One is in Japan and is shut down presently because of the tsunami but is expected to start up fairly soon.

    Mike
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    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

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    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


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    Interesting stuff, Rich. I'm still amazed that people are able to do research at a subatomic level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Soby View Post
    ...the researchers noticed that the particles showed up a few billionths of a second sooner than light would over the same distance...
    Man, that guy running the stopwatch much have one heck of a trigger finger.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


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