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  1. #1

    E =/= MC^2 anymore?


    Quote Originally Posted by CERN claims faster-than-light particle measured

    (AP) GENEVA — 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.
    One step closer to CONQUEST OF THE GALAXY!

    Or, yeah, they ****ed up the experiment. Whichever is more fun.

  2. #2
    GWOnline.Net Member Skyy High's Avatar

    Considering how complicated it is to even detect neutrinos, I'm going with "instrument error", just by Occam's Razor.

  3. #3
    GWOnline.Net Member Achievements:
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    It is 2.43 vs 2.37 ms with the uncertainty of 0.01.
    They better check and recheck. But if you believe the article, it's a fairly precise measurement.

    We need a particle physicist to chime in.
    Last edited by nabbed; 23-09-2011 at 14:25.

  4. #4
    10 PostsVeteranBlogger1,000 Posts5000 Experience Points
    Karuro's Avatar

    Memento Vivere, Mystic Spiral

    CERN's dystopia is upon us.
    Stock up on Dr Pepper and secure a phone microwave.
    You know what to do.

    El Psy Congroo.

  5. #5
    Administrator Achievements:
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    RD's Avatar


    Dii, TRUE

    I have no idea what most of the words in this thread mean.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by nabbed View Post
    It is 2.43 vs 2.49 ms with the uncertainty of 0.01.
    They better check and recheck. But if you believe the article, it's a fairly precise measurement.

    We need a particle physicist to chime in.
    Oh yeah, we have plenty of those here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Karuro View Post
    CERN's dystopia is upon us.
    Stock up on Dr Pepper and secure a phone microwave.
    You know what to do.

    El Psy Congroo.
    Cursed CERN...Better stock up on Jelly bananas too.
    Last edited by Sir Jack; 23-09-2011 at 00:49.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by nabbed View Post
    They better check and recheck.
    They did check and recheck it. Around 15000 times. The problem is that no matter how often they do it, if their equipment systematically gives a wrong value (for example, always 0.06ms smaller than it actually was), the results are still going to be skewed. This is why they need others to test it with different equipment.

    Not going anywhere yet, but yea, instrument error is the most likely explanation unless someone else gets the same results.

  8. #8
    GWOnline.Net Member Skyy High's Avatar

    Wondering how the hell they're measuring neutrinos so precisely?

    Their website.

    No, this will not be helpful to anyone not already somewhat familiar with the subject.

    Anyone got a link to the paper/report? I searched for papers by Antonio Ereditato and I don't see anything regarding this, unless it's buried in some other paper.

    [edit]Searched the CERN website for a while, couldn't find anything, though there were a lot of studies going back to 1996 at least postulating neutrinos being theoretically able to do this...which leads me to believe that this isn't as far-out as the press is making it seem, for some theoretical physicists at least.
    Last edited by Skyy High; 23-09-2011 at 03:17.

  9. #9
    Social10 PostsVeteran10K Posts1,000 Posts
    Mehtis's Avatar



    That's some interesting news.

    Next up: the promised black holes that consume Earth?

  10. #10
    Double check it, recheck it yet again. Do it again a few dozen times and make sure the result is still the same. Then post the finding.

    Then we wait a month for Stephen Hawking to blink out it his reply to it.

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