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#1 Sep 23 2011 at 2:22 AM Rating: Good
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AP wrote:
GENEVA (AP) -- A startling find at one of the world's foremost laboratories that a subatomic particle seemed to move faster than the speed of light has scientists around the world rethinking Albert Einstein and one of the foundations of physics.

Rest of the article.



Well, this certainly is interesting given how important the theory of relativity is to physics.

Edited, Sep 23rd 2011 10:23am by Aethien
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#2 Sep 23 2011 at 4:07 AM Rating: Decent
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thats neat, as long as I don't need to go back to college to upgrade my physics courses when the science changes.
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#3 Sep 23 2011 at 4:11 AM Rating: Excellent
It is interesting, if it proves to be true. However, Quantum Physics have always been "weird" in relation to "general" physics & I don't expect that to change anytime soon.
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#4 Sep 23 2011 at 5:21 AM Rating: Good
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Exciting stuff. What I love about this is, it's less than two months after a set of experiments which were deliberately trying to find something that travels faster than light. Failure to detect anything of that nature is what lead to time travel being ruled out as being impossible.

I love that really exciting breakthroughs are happening this year, many of them by accident.
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#5 Sep 23 2011 at 7:37 AM Rating: Excellent
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Here's the actual paper, if anyone's interested. Science journalism is usually not very good, so I might try to slog through it until I get too lost to continue.
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#6 Sep 23 2011 at 8:08 AM Rating: Good
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Newtons Universal Law of Gravitation << Einsteins Theory of Relativity << ?????????????????????????????.






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#7 Sep 23 2011 at 8:20 AM Rating: Good
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Thanks Sweetums. Smiley: thumbsup
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#8 Sep 23 2011 at 8:58 AM Rating: Decent
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It shouldn't be an issue of the mass is negative, and the local forces are balanced, right?

Checked. Neutrinos are positive, so no.

What if they obey the limit but travel across alternate brane routes?

Edited, Sep 23rd 2011 11:04am by Timelordwho
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#9 Sep 23 2011 at 8:59 AM Rating: Good
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This'll be on a future episode of Big Bang Theory, won't it?
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#10 Sep 23 2011 at 9:08 AM Rating: Excellent
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My partner is a programmer, so thinks in terms of "error bars". As he said, this wasn't a one step set-up, even if the neutrino beam itself is a fairly simple thing, whose speed could be read with good accuracy at 60 nanoseconds faster than light. With a multiple step experiment, each step having an error bar as large as it is described in the paper, the cumulative margin of error means that it is very possible, even likely, that the result is a false positive for the particle travelling faster than the speed of light. The result simply falls within the margin of error for the experiment as a whole.

There is no need to speculate that there was some sort of human error in running and compiling the experiment.

He wants to see the experiment reproduced with the margin of error for each step reduced to 1 tenth its present size, before he'll get excited about faster than light travel of neutrinos. On the other hand, the returned result is intriguing, so even if it's a false positive, there's no harm in it being released. It's the ditzy public and presses' fault if people are going to go around now thinking Einstein's E=mc2, or whole body of work, is now disproven.

Edited, Sep 23rd 2011 11:25am by Aripyanfar
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#11 Sep 23 2011 at 9:32 AM Rating: Good
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These aren't exactly amateurs we're talking about performing this experiment. They've well considered their margin of error for the experiment.
#12 Sep 23 2011 at 9:33 AM Rating: Good
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Timelordwho wrote:
It shouldn't be an issue of the mass is negative, and the local forces are balanced, right?

Checked. Neutrinos are positive, so no.

What if they obey the limit but travel across alternate brane routes?

Oooh, I like it. Brane theory is intriguing.

Hawking radiation is fascinating too. I like the idea of a fizz of paricles and anti-particles constantly being generated and destroyed all over the place, all the time. It's an idea I can easily understand, while not having enough maths and physics to know why you'd posit something so non Occam's Razorish. Unless this creation-destruction fizz IS the Occam's Razor answer to parallel metal plates placed at tiny distances in a vacuum being pushed apart by no apparent force.
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#13 Sep 23 2011 at 9:40 AM Rating: Good
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Majivo wrote:
These aren't exactly amateurs we're talking about performing this experiment. They've well considered their margin of error for the experiment.

They're professional scientists, but that doesn't mean they're not human. Even the best of scientists have been known to let their excitement run away with them, which is why double blind experiments are SO important whenever they can be arranged. I'm sure they have carefully considered their margin of error, and that this result falls within it, and published anyway, because the result is such a startling one, and IF correct, IS revolutionary. It's worth risking this publication dropping away into the annals of erroneous results, in exchange for the chance to be first out with a correct result of this type.
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#14 Sep 23 2011 at 10:05 AM Rating: Good
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I wish my knowledge of physics was enough to comprehend everything in there, as t is I'll likely try and fail at some point.

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This'll be on a future episode of Big Bang Theory, won't it?
I certainly hope so.
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#15 Sep 23 2011 at 10:16 AM Rating: Good
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Smiley: confused
#16 Sep 23 2011 at 12:49 PM Rating: Decent
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I was scored with a "scientific journal" reading level in the third grade, so I might give this a scan.

Though, scientific journal *understanding* level is quite a different matter...
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#17 Sep 23 2011 at 1:10 PM Rating: Good
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To be fair, aren't neutrinos particles that we essentially know ********* about? They are so weakly interacting that they can easily pass right through the Earth (they are neutral, so they don't interact electromagnetically, and are at most extremely low-mass, which makes gravitational interaction minor).

****, the first actual evidence we have of them possibly having mass wasn't seen until 2010. Our mathematical models predict that they probably have an extremely small amount (on the level of electrons). But that's not nearly established enough that it couldn't be disproven.

If they don't have any mass at all, then it might be theoretically possible for them to surpass the speed of light. The bigger problem, of course, is that it becomes extremely unclear how to think of energy in that sort of case scenario...

And, let's all remember that electrons have mass, but might be able to relocate themselves in spacetime without traveling through it. If that is the case, then it is feasible that neutrinos (which are predicted to be similar in size) might be able to as well. This wouldn't be a case of exceeding the speed of light, since they don't actually make the movement within spacetime, which speed is directly related to.
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#18 Sep 23 2011 at 1:39 PM Rating: Good
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Oh god dammit. The LHC End-of-the-Worlders were right. We've already broken physics now. Next then you know we'll be swallowed up by a black hole.

THANKS CERN Smiley: bah
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#19 Sep 23 2011 at 1:43 PM Rating: Good
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Speaking of Einstein, check out the successful trolling.

Edited, Sep 23rd 2011 3:51pm by lolgaxe
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#20 Sep 23 2011 at 1:51 PM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
Speaking of Einstein, check out the successful trolling.


My favorite was Darkwing Duck Launchpad.


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#21 Sep 23 2011 at 2:46 PM Rating: Decent
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It said 2063 its getting pretty close. thats only 52 more years!!!!
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#22 Sep 23 2011 at 3:01 PM Rating: Decent
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It's a very interesting result and duplicates some less accurate results seen previously. I suspect that the issue is that we're measuring the relative speed of two particles, both of which we're not 100% sure are massless and comparing to an hypothetical maximum speed at which massless particles will travel (and which we've pegged to the speed at which one of those particles travels). Assuming their measurements are correct, the most likely (and interesting) solution is that photons have mass and we've slightly underestimated the actual "speed of light" (which I suppose we'd have to rename) all along.

The alternative would be somehow explaining how something (massless or otherwise) could travel faster than the presumed maximum speed. While we can certainly speculate about brane shortcuts and whatnot, it wouldn't be my first guess.
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#23 Sep 23 2011 at 3:25 PM Rating: Good
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299,792,458 meters per second is quite the estimate.
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#24 Sep 23 2011 at 3:36 PM Rating: Decent
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Sweetums wrote:
299,792,458 meters per second is quite the estimate.


It's the measured speed of a photon in a vacuum. Which since we assume that a photon is massless must therefore be the maximum speed at which an electromagnetic particle can travel. But if we're wrong, and photons do have mass (presumably incredibly small mass), then the true maximum speed would be just a tiny bit higher. A mass small enough that we haven't detected it yet would result in a discrepancy in that speed that is also small enough to fall within the margin of error of other tests we've performed, yes?
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#25 Sep 23 2011 at 4:19 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Sweetums wrote:
299,792,458 meters per second is quite the estimate.


It's the measured speed of a photon in a vacuum. Which since we assume that a photon is massless must therefore be the maximum speed at which an electromagnetic particle can travel. But if we're wrong, and photons do have mass (presumably incredibly small mass), then the true maximum speed would be just a tiny bit higher. A mass small enough that we haven't detected it yet would result in a discrepancy in that speed that is also small enough to fall within the margin of error of other tests we've performed, yes?
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#26 Sep 23 2011 at 4:23 PM Rating: Decent
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Yes. You're restating information I already know. I'm still not sure what your point is. We measure the speed of light in a vacuum. We assume that photons are massless and therefore that this is the fastest speed an electromagnetic particle can travel. But if we're wrong, and photons do have a tiny mass, then the measured speed of light isn't really the maximum speed. It's slightly slower than the maximum speed.

And if that is true, then measuring a neutrino traveling faster than the speed of lightphotons doesn't break any rules at all. I've explained this three times to you now.

Edited, Sep 23rd 2011 3:23pm by gbaji
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