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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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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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#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 jack-sh*t 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).

Hell, 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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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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of (60.7 ± 6.9 (stat.) ± 7.4 (sys.)) ns was measured.
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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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#27 Sep 23 2011 at 5:38 PM Rating: Default
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Or it could be that we used photons as the base, IE. 0. And built from there. We could have just been oblivious to the fact that there could be something lighter that would move faster. Hence why it is called a theory, not a law.
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#28 Sep 23 2011 at 5:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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rdmcandie wrote:
Or it could be that we used photons as the base, IE. 0. And built from there. We could have just been oblivious to the fact that there could be something lighter that would move faster. Hence why it is called a theory, not a law.
Smiley: motz The difference between a law and a theory is that the law doesn't explain the phenomenon, not that one is necessarily stronger than the other. Theories will always be theories, laws will always be laws.

theoretical != hypothetical
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#29 Sep 23 2011 at 6:01 PM Rating: Decent
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Tomato, Tomahto. Smiley: wink

I think the point here is that it's entirely possible that some factor (like a slight mass to photons) means that the measured speed of light in a vacuum is not actually the fastest speed a particle can travel. It's so close that for every purpose we've run into so far we can safely consider them identical, but this suggests a case where that isn't sufficient.

There's also another possibility besides a massive photon (probably more as well). It could be that we're not properly taking into account that vacuum isn't empty of electromagnetic effects. The whole "particles and anti-particles creating and destroying each other" that causes Hawking radiation could be just enough to slow down the travel speed of a photon through a vacuum to account for this. While neutrinos, with no charge, aren't affected by anything but the weak force within atoms (which they hit very very very very very (times a billion) rarely.

In any case, the best bet (aside from measurement error) is that the true "speed of light" is actually just a bit faster than what we measure under any conditions which we can measure them. It's at the very least the most direct and simple explanation. As you well know, that doesn't guarantee that it's correct, and we should definitely look into it more, but it does explain exactly what we're seeing without requiring any really radical changes to the model itself. We already know that photons can travel slower based on ambient conditions, so there's no danger of unraveling the laws of physics as we know them.
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#30 Sep 23 2011 at 6:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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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?

Holy shit, I guess we can add Physics to the very long list of things you know nothing about.

Let's start with what I "think" you mean. When you say "have mass" do you actually mean "are matter"? I started to type a basic explanation of quantum electrodynamics, then I realized who I was replying to, and regained my senses.

Anyway, that aside, could you explain why if Photons had "mass", and for the sake of sanity, let's set "mass" to mean what's it mean for the last 70 years of physics before you answer: invariant non relativistic mass, why this would allow neutrinos to exceed C? While we're here, neutrinos have mass, they have to, they oscillate, so let's short circuit any crazy ideas about photons somehow having "more mass" than neutrinos. They don't.

I keep putting "mass" quotes, incidentally, because photons, essentially by definition. If they did, they'd be something else, not photons, and light would work entirely differently (and a lot differently) than has ever been observed. A LOT DIFFERENTLY. The idea that photons have mass, and this is in no way an exaggeration, is similar to the idea that moon does contain a green cheese core.

This is in interesting anomaly. It'd be fascinating if it could be replicated, and that would drastically change physics as we know it. I'd really enjoy that.

Sadly, I think it's more likely I'll get to ride my pet unicorn than that happening.

Let's wait for the PR before we get too lathered up.
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#31 Sep 23 2011 at 7:05 PM Rating: Good
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#32 Sep 23 2011 at 7:14 PM Rating: Decent
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Smasharoo wrote:

Anyway, that aside, could you explain why if Photons had "mass", and for the sake of sanity, let's set "mass" to mean what's it mean for the last 70 years of physics before you answer: invariant non relativistic mass, why this would allow neutrinos to exceed C?


It doesn't. It means that C is slightly faster than we think it is. Or did you miss that the last handful of times I explained it in clear English simple enough for a 5th grader to understand?

Quote:
While we're here, neutrinos have mass, they have to, they oscillate


And yet, amazingly, people who actually work in the field aren't 100% sure. Similarly, while they assume that photons have no mass, and have set an upper limit on what the mass of a photon could be without violating observed behavior, they don't actually know that for sure either.

Quote:
...so let's short circuit any crazy ideas about photons somehow having "more mass" than neutrinos. They don't.


You declaring it so (in bold nonetheless) doesn't actually make it true. I know your ego is larger than the state of New Hampshire, but that just means you're more likely to be self deluded than anything else.

Quote:
I keep putting "mass" quotes, incidentally, because photons, essentially by definition (are massless?).


Only the parts of the definition of a photon that are completely circular and dependent on the assumption that photons are massless and thus the speed they travel at is the speed that massless particles travel at and is thus the fastest speed a particle can travel and is thus the basis point from which we calculate all other relative particle speeds is dependent on photons having no mass.

You do get that we use the photon for this pretty much only because it's super easy to detect, right? It's pretty much arbitrary. We picked it because it appeared to be the fastest moving thing we could detect. So we declare it the fastest, assume it's massless (because we can't find anything faster) and move on. Please tell me you can grasp how finding something that appears to move faster than light, changes the very assumptions you base your argument on

If neutrinos were easy to detect instead of ridiculously hard, can you explain any reason why we wouldn't use them as the basis for determining C? Think really hard about that before answering because it's a biggie.

Quote:
If they did, they'd be something else, not photons, and light would work entirely differently (and a lot differently) than has ever been observed.


Nope. You're grossly over-exaggerating things. It doesn't change anything at all except that C is really just slightly faster than we thought (and we're talking like .0000001% faster, so an amount that we can barely even measure, but into which the measured speed of a neutrino can fit). As I stated earlier, we already know that ambient conditions can cause a photon to move slower than the "speed of light" (even a hell of a lot slower in some cases). We do experiments in which we slow photons down all the time. Amazingly, the laws of physics don't fall apart at all.

Aside from insisting that it would make things work "a lot differently", can you actually name any way in which it would make things work differently? Again, you insisting it must be true doesn't make it true. There's a whole set of physics thought experiments which ask specifically what would happen if photons actually had a very very small mass. The answer is pretty much "not much".

Quote:
A LOT DIFFERENTLY. The idea that photons have mass, and this is in no way an exaggeration, is similar to the idea that moon does contain a green cheese core.


Yeah. It's an exaggeration. But it's what you do best, so keep at it! Smiley: lol

Quote:
This is in interesting anomaly. It'd be fascinating if it could be replicated, and that would drastically change physics as we know it. I'd really enjoy that.


More or less drastically than the possibility that photons actually do have a tiny mass?

What's funny is that I'm applying Occam's Razor here. Assuming the measurements are correct, then assuming that the current measured speed of photos in a vacuum is *not* actually the fastest speed a particle can travel (That's "C" btw, which works in the equations regardless what we use to measure it) is the simplest explanation. Assigning a very very small mass to photons is honestly the least disruptive way to allow for that finding. There are others as well, which require assuming ambient conditions in the vacuum which we have previously assumed don't slow down photons at all (which I explained in an earlier post as well).

Barring that, you kinda have to re-write whole sections of our understanding of physics. At it's most basic Smash, if neutrinos really are traveling faster than the measured speed of light, then the measured speed of light cannot actually be C, without tossing out the entire meaning of the value of C in physics.

Edited, Sep 23rd 2011 6:25pm by gbaji
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#33 Sep 23 2011 at 8:07 PM Rating: Decent
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gbaji wrote:
You do get that we use the photon for this pretty much only because it's super easy to detect, right? It's pretty much arbitrary. We picked it because it appeared to be the fastest moving thing we could detect. So we declare it the fastest, assume it's massless (because we can't find anything faster) and move on.

You're joking, right? You're seriously, honestly joking and just trying to make Smash have a heart attack so you never have to read his posts again. You can't truthfully believe this.

gbaji wrote:
If neutrinos were easy to detect instead of ridiculously hard, can you explain any reason why we wouldn't use them as the basis for determining C? Think really hard about that before answering because it's a biggie.

Does the Lorentz factor mean anything to you? c isn't some number we just pulled because, hey, photons happen to move at this speed. There are fundamental reasons why it works the way that it does.
#34 Sep 23 2011 at 8:18 PM Rating: Good
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Majivo wrote:
gbaji wrote:
You do get that we use the photon for this pretty much only because it's super easy to detect, right? It's pretty much arbitrary. We picked it because it appeared to be the fastest moving thing we could detect. So we declare it the fastest, assume it's massless (because we can't find anything faster) and move on.

You're joking, right? You're seriously, honestly joking and just trying to make Smash have a heart attack so you never have to read his posts again. You can't truthfully believe this.


No. I'm not joking. And if you stop and step back for a second, you'll realize that I'm correct. How the hell do you think we measured C? We started with the assumption that light was the fastest particle and measured the speed of photons. All of the equations we use in general relativity rely on that value, but if the value is very very very slightly off, it doesn't change a damn thing. It's a constant in the equations. You could plug 5 in there and the equations would work. They wouldn't match the world we see around us, but the equations themselves would still be correct. That's the very nature of a constant.

A value of C that is nearly imperceptibly higher than what we've previously assumed it to be does not change a damn thing in physics.

Quote:
gbaji wrote:
If neutrinos were easy to detect instead of ridiculously hard, can you explain any reason why we wouldn't use them as the basis for determining C? Think really hard about that before answering because it's a biggie.

Does the Lorentz factor mean anything to you? c isn't some number we just pulled because, hey, photons happen to move at this speed. There are fundamental reasons why it works the way that it does.


No. C has a very specific meaning in physics. But the value we assign to C is based solely on measuring the speed of photons because... wait for it... photos are/were the fastest particles we'd ever measured. Based on that, we assume they are massless (but it's not necessary for the model to work), and that nothing can go faster than "the speed of light". But it's really C that nothing can go faster than. We can't measure C. We can only measure particles which we think are traveling at C.


Once you get past the assumption that C must be the same exact value as the speed of light in a vacuum, you realize that it doesn't break anything for C to be slightly faster than light. The Lorentz factor (and a whole bunch of other stuff btw) is not defined relative to the speed of a photon. It's defined relative to C. The value of C is simply assumed to be the same as the speed of a photon in a vacuum. If it's slightly higher, it doesn't break anything at all. Why do you assume it would?


You're literally getting caught up in a label.
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#35 Sep 23 2011 at 8:23 PM Rating: Decent
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Let me restate a point I made earlier, which you seem to have missed.

If the measurements of neutrinos traveling faster than the measured speed of photons in a vacuum (the speed of light) are true, then there really are only two possibilities:

1. Photons in a vacuum travel slower than C.

2. We chuck out large portions of relativity because C no longer has the meaning it's assumed to in any of the equations.


That's it. Those are your two choices. Pick one.
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#36 Sep 23 2011 at 8:28 PM Rating: Decent
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False dilemma? Really? There are vastly more possibilities than what you're allowing here.

And please, don't presume to lecture me on the origins and significance of c. I'm somewhat doubting if you even knew what a neutrino was before coming into this thread now.
#37 Sep 23 2011 at 8:28 PM Rating: Good
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It doesn't. It means that C is slightly faster than we think it is. Or did you miss that the last handful of times I explained it in clear English simple enough for a 5th grader to understand?


Wow, no, I missed that. Here's the thing. There is no "faster"...it's a constant. That's why the abbreviation is "C". There's nothing for it to be "faster" than. Relativity? The relative part? That's what it's about.


And yet, amazingly, people who actually work in the field aren't 100% sure. Similarly, while they assume that photons have no mass, and have set an upper limit on what the mass of a photon could be without violating observed behavior, they don't actually know that for sure either.


Yeah, no to both of those. Neutrinos have mass, experimentally proven, reviewed, established fact, not in any way open to debate given the current evidence. Photons have no mass, again, proven numerous times. I'm not sure what 100% sure means. Nothing is 100% sure. Existence isn't 100% sure. Certainty is human construct, we can only know what's been observed. If what we observe changes, what we know changes, etc.


You declaring it so (in bold nonetheless) doesn't actually make it true. I know your ego is larger than the state of New Hampshire, but that just means you're more likely to be self deluded than anything else.


Great. Believe it or not, there's a huge body of published research in experimental physics freely available (I know! Why knew?!) that establishes that photons don't have mass, because, criteria exist for a particle having mass, and they don't meet any of them. Don't take my word for it. Go find some experiments that show that photons might have mass. Let me know how that works out.


Only the parts of the definition of a photon that are completely circular and dependent on the assumption that photons are massless and thus the speed they travel at is the speed that massless particles travel at and is thus the fastest speed a particle can travel and is thus the basis point from which we calculate all other relative particle speeds is dependent on photons having no mass.


Yeah, not circular. "Photon" was a word made up to describe observed behavior, not the other way around.


You do get that we use the photon for this pretty much only because it's super easy to detect, right? It's pretty much arbitrary. We picked it because it appeared to be the fastest moving thing we could detect. So we declare it the fastest, assume it's massless (because we can't find anything faster) and move on. Please tell me you can grasp how finding something that appears to move faster than light, changes the very assumptions you base your argument on


Haha, no, of course it's not arbitrary. I'm sure this probably appears like I'm asking you take things on faith, but really, I can't begin to respond to such a fundamental misunderstanding of what light is.


If neutrinos were easy to detect instead of ridiculously hard, can you explain any reason why we wouldn't use them as the basis for determining C? Think really hard about that before answering because it's a biggie.


Yeah, it's not a "biggie" it's an idiotic question. If we'd name the term for the particle properties of light "neutrino" instead of "photon" would we use them to define C? Probably!


Nope. You're grossly over-exaggerating things. It doesn't change anything at all except that C is really just slightly faster than we thought (and we're talking like .0000001% faster, so an amount that we can barely even measure, but into which the measured speed of a neutrino can fit). As I stated earlier, we already know that ambient conditions can cause a photon to move slower than the "speed of light" (even a hell of a lot slower in some cases). We do experiments in which we slow photons down all the time. Amazingly, the laws of physics don't fall apart at all.

Aside from insisting that it would make things work "a lot differently", can you actually name any way in which it would make things work differently? Again, you insisting it must be true doesn't make it true. There's a whole set of physics thought experiments which ask specifically what would happen if photons actually had a very very small mass. The answer is pretty much "not much".


Not much other the time, space, causality, and existence. Cite something, will you, I'm bored with "you think you know everything, but you don't!"


More or less drastically than the possibility that photons actually do have a tiny mass?


Far, far, far less drastically. Because it would be possible.


What's funny is that I'm applying Occam's Razor here. Assuming the measurements are correct, then assuming that the current measured speed of photos in a vacuum is *not* actually the fastest speed a particle can travel (That's "C" btw, which works in the equations regardless what we use to measure it) is the simplest explanation. Assigning a very very small mass to photons is honestly the least disruptive way to allow for that finding. There are others as well, which require assuming ambient conditions in the vacuum which we have previously assumed don't slow down photons at all (which I explained in an earlier post as well).

Barring that, you kinda have to re-write whole sections of our understanding of physics. At it's most basic Smash, if neutrinos really are traveling faster than the measured speed of light, then the measured speed of light cannot actually be C, without tossing out the entire meaning of the value of C in physics.


It's usually understood that you apply Occam's Razor AFTER understanding all of the available evidence. Not INSTEAD of understanding all of the available evidence.

Let's see, what do I know nothing about....okrah? I know nothing about it. People eat it, though, and they also eat meat, so Occam's Razor....

Get the picture?

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#38 Sep 23 2011 at 8:33 PM Rating: Decent
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Majivo wrote:
False dilemma? Really? There are vastly more possibilities than what you're allowing here.


Name one. As you yourself pointed out, the significance of C as the presumed fastest speed that an electromagnetic particle can travel is critical to relativity as whole.

The exact value of that speed is *not*.

We can either assume that we got the value slightly wrong *or* assume that other particles can travel faster than C. It's not a false dilemma. These are the only two possibilities. Surely you see that. It's two sets that make up the whole here. Either C is the fastest speed of a particle, in which case the neutrino can't go faster than it, or it's not. If it's not, then large portions of relativity break down. If it is, and neutrinos are faster than photons, then C must be faster than photons as well.

You don't need to understand an ounce of physics to follow this argument. It's simple logic.

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And please, don't presume to lecture me on the origins and significance of c. I'm somewhat doubting if you even knew what a neutrino was before coming into this thread now.


And yet, you seem unable to really grasp what I'm talking about in anything other than a "regurgitated from a textbook" way. It's shocking that people with educations can't follow such a simple logical argument.


And for the record, let me repeat that we're assuming that the speed of neutrinos are in fact exceeding that of photons here and it's not a measuring error, or some other factor that just makes it appear like they are.

Edited, Sep 23rd 2011 7:36pm by gbaji
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#39 Sep 23 2011 at 8:44 PM Rating: Good
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It doesn't. It means that C is slightly faster than we think it is. Or did you miss that the last handful of times I explained it in clear English simple enough for a 5th grader to understand?


Wow, no, I missed that. Here's the thing. There is no "faster"...it's a constant. That's why the abbreviation is "C". There's nothing for it to be "faster" than. Relativity? The relative part? That's what it's about.


I got to this point and realized you don't really understand what I'm talking about. The importance of C isn't based on the value it has, but its relation to other factors in physics. Specifically, it's a symbol that represents "the fastest speed a particle can travel". That's why it's important.

But, at the risk of explaining this again. We can't measure "C". We can only measure something we think travels at C. Which is the photon. But if we're wrong about that, none of the equations which use C are wrong. And in fact, if we're just off by a tiny and nearly immeasurable amount, none of the experiments and calculations we've made by using the speed of a photon as C are affected either (well, they're affected, but to a nearly immeasurable degree that doesn't have any real world effect on anything at all).


How the hell did you get through any sort of math or science class without understanding how constants work? I'll say it again: Constants in equations have nothing to do with the value of the constant itself. It has to do with the relationship between that factor and other factors which the equation represents. That's the whole damn point. We call them constants only because their value doesn't change. But that doesn't mean that the value we assign to a constant is actually correct. Shocking that you don't understand this.
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#40 Sep 23 2011 at 8:45 PM Rating: Good
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And for the record, let me repeat that we're assuming that the speed of neutrinos are in fact exceeding that of photons here and it's not a measuring error, or some other factor that just makes it appear like they are.


We understand. Neutrinos move faster than photons because photons have some small mass that's greater than the mass of neutrinos, so it isn't that anything moves faster than C, because photons move slower than C because of their mass.

Not confusing, just mathematically impossible and idiotic.
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#41 Sep 23 2011 at 8:46 PM Rating: Good
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I got to this point and realized you don't really understand what I'm talking about.


Wrong.
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#42 Sep 23 2011 at 8:55 PM Rating: Default
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Smasharoo wrote:

And for the record, let me repeat that we're assuming that the speed of neutrinos are in fact exceeding that of photons here and it's not a measuring error, or some other factor that just makes it appear like they are.


We understand. Neutrinos move faster than photons...


Stop right there. This is the assumed case right? Let's ignore the "why" for the moment and just look at the "what":

C is the fastest speed that particles can travel.
Neutrinos travel faster than photons.
Both neutrinos and photons are particles.

Therefore C must be faster than the speed of photons.


This incredibly simple logical formulation encapsulates the entire question we're discussing. That's really all there is here.


Either that conclusion is true, or one of the other two assumptions are incorrect. Which means either that C isn't actually the fastest speed the particles can travel *or* that neutrinos and photons are not both particles (specifically, neutrinos would have to not be particles). To change either assumption would require massive re-writing of our understanding of physics.

Occam's razor says that C is faster than the speed of a photon in a vacuum. Doesn't mean it's true, but it's the most reasonable starting assumption to make (outside of the obvious measurement error of course!). I've presented a couple possible explanations for why photons might move slightly slower than C. Having a tiny mass is only one. Heck, there could be dozens. But no matter what that reason is doesn't change the basic logical conclusion I wrote above.


You really can't see this? Amazing!

Edited, Sep 23rd 2011 8:00pm by gbaji
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#43 Sep 23 2011 at 9:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Majivo wrote:
False dilemma? Really? There are vastly more possibilities than what you're allowing here.


Name one.

That the neutrinos are following an alternate path than the one we're measuring, nitwit. That is the scenario that is actually most likely, rather than your "the last 100 years of physics were all wrong" ideas based on what little science you managed to glean from Wikipedia between the thick smudges of caked-on semen which cloud your screen as you furiously argue against anything and everything, regardless of your actual knowledge on the topic.
#44 Sep 23 2011 at 9:13 PM Rating: Good
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C is the fastest speed that particles can travel.
Neutrinos travel faster than photons.
Both neutrinos and photons are particles.

Therefore C must be faster than the speed of photons.


This incredibly simple logical formulation encapsulates the entire question we're discussing. That's really all there is here.


Yes, tautologies are tautologies.

No, if the results of this experiment are confirmed, there's not an incredibly simple explanation. There's a mindbogglingly complex problem that may result in some sort of elegant solution in no way related to changing the "speed" of C.



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#45 Sep 24 2011 at 2:25 AM Rating: Good
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rdmcandie wrote:
Or it could be that we used photons as the base, IE. 0. And built from there. We could have just been oblivious to the fact that there could be something lighter that would move faster. Hence why it is called a theory, not a law.

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#46 Sep 24 2011 at 9:35 AM Rating: Excellent
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Lots of magical science in this thread.
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#47 Sep 24 2011 at 10:11 AM Rating: Good
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Lots of magical science in this thread.
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#48 Sep 24 2011 at 11:36 AM Rating: Good
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Has no one posted this yet? Really?

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