Neutrinos, faster than light?

This video is called Faster than light measurement shocks physicists.

From the Washington Post in the USA:

Posted at 03:59 PM ET, 09/22/2011

CERN neutrinos faster than light?

By Joel Achenbach

The wires — AP and Reuterssay that CERN has detected neutrinos moving at superluminal speed. Which isn’t supposed to be possible. In fact, it’s against the law, physics-wise. Nothing goes faster than light. Light has zero rest mass, and for something to go faster than that it would have to have less than zero rest mass, and now you’re talking science fiction. A neutrino is a particle and it should be subject to the speed limit like everything else.

But at CERN, they’re seeing neutrinos zipping along with the top down, with the drivers drinking roadies and tossing the empties into ditches.

Einstein’s worst nightmare.

Let me weigh in on this, stipulating that a) I have no actual information or insight, and b) I am not a credible source on particle physics or really anything else, other than, lately, that crashing satellite.

First, if the finding is verified, we could be entering a phase of new physics. CERN is a smart outfit with elite instrumentation. They wouldn’t go public with this on a whim. So this is clearly a story, if one that has to be framed as fraught with provisional conclusions.

The Sagan Rule clearly applies: This is an extraordinary claim, and it will require extraordinary evidence. Saying, “We checked our instruments and we can’t find anything that would throw off the measurement by 60 nanonseconds” isn’t extraordinary evidence.

Parsimonious interpretation: They need to recalibrate.

Moreover, Einstein’s theory (Special Relativity, 1905) isn’t based primarily on measurements (though the Michelson-Morley experiment played a role in his thinking). Einstein’s theory emerged from thought experiments. It was a deep insight into the nature of the universe. Subsequent experiments for more than a century have verified that he was right.

For the new finding to carry a lot of weight, it would need more than an instrumental measurement. It would need a theoretical foundation. Otherwise you have something that is enigmatic rather than revolutionary.

So I’m sticking with Einstein, for now.

See also here.

Superluminal muon-neutrinos? Don’t get your hopes up: here.

Tentative evidence of particles travelling faster than light: here.

One of world’s largest atom smashers faces the axe: here.

Expanding universe theory wins Nobel Prize. Three scientists share the Nobel Prize for Physics after discovering that the universe is expanding: here.

TWO WIN NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS Japanese scientist Takaaki Kajita and Canadian scientist Arthur B. McDonald took home the honor “for their discovery of neutrino oscillations, ‘which shows that neutrinos have mass.'” [Jade Walker, HuffPost]

Neutrino researchers admit Einstein was right about speed of light: here.

Marie Sklodowska Curie. The Greatest Woman Scientist, Twice Recipient of the Nobel Prize: here.

3 thoughts on “Neutrinos, faster than light?

  1. Pingback: Higgs boson particle discovered? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: ‘Einstein was wrong’, new research claims | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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