FTL Neutrinos?

Discussion in 'Physics' started by nsaspook, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. nsaspook

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    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/09/neutrinos-travel-faster-than-lig.html

    http://profmattstrassler.com/2011/09/20/supernovas-and-neutrinos/
     
  2. mik3

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    A very interesting observation but I am wondering how they measure the time and how they know the exact instance the neutrinos leave CERN.
     
  3. someonesdad

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    If someone can verify the results, it will indeed be a foundation-rocking discovery. Alas, there are only a few places in the world that can make such measurements.

    No doubt the CERN scientists were very thorough in analyzing their results and probably involved lots of people and effort before publishing the results -- they know how the results go against canonical thinking. However, they wouldn't be doing good science by covering things up. From what I've read, they're asking for verification because they know how revolutionary it would be to have to reject or modify the axiom of the constancy of the speed of light.

    If it can be verified, it will be one of those events that rocks physics every century or so. However, my guess is they've not analyzed the errors correctly and it will eventually be found to be as per the canonical thought. However, if it is verified, it will be very exciting -- it may be an indication that the neutrinos are e.g. taking a shortcut through an unseen dimension -- and that could be some needed experimental information for string theory.
     
  4. beenthere

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    If true, the really interesting question would be why one particle having mass can exceed light speed but no other.
     
  5. nsaspook

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    If you look at what they are really saying it's not that they move faster than 'c' (the speed limit of a mass-less particle) it's that light travels a little slower than 'c' and a neutrino is a little closer to 'c' speed than light. This would mean that a photon has mass at rest but photons do gain mass as their energy is increased so it's possible at least in theory to have a black-hole made only of photons.
     
  6. nsaspook

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    http://static.arxiv.org/pdf/1109.4897.pdf

    After reading this paper, it's not just a matter of photon mass and energy. What they are seeing breaks the rules of SR/GR as the results are faster than 'c' and the difference is not minor. The best counter to this so far is the supernova light/neutrino measurements.
    [​IMG]

    But, I won't do this if I'm wrong.
    http://twitter.com/#!/jimalkhalili/status/117160630527594496
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  7. magnet18

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    one theory was that the neutrino slipped into a different dimension for a little bit, allowing it to appear to go faster than light.
    Which would still be awesome.

    [EDIT]
    Whoops, someonesdad already mentioned this :p
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  8. Profchuck

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    I have read through the paper very carefully and it appears that the researchers have been quite thorough and have seriously examined all of the potential sources of error. Clearly this must be verified independently.

    If you grind through the math one possible explanation emerges (however, I seriously doubt it). If the detected neutrinos have small and negative mass the SR and GR equations work. Very strange and I suspect that something else is going on. If the results hold up then relativistic causality may need to be re-examined.
     
  9. MrChips

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    When supernova SN 1987A was observed, neutrinos appeared to arrive three hours before the visible light.
     
  10. Profchuck

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    This is to be expected. Even intergalactic space is not a perfect vacuum. A few hundred hydrogen atoms per cubic kilometer can introduce minute refraction and when you consider the distances involved between the solar system and the Magellanic clouds this refraction will introduce observable time dispersion to visible light photons. According to current theory neutrinos do not undergo time dispersion because the concept of refractive index does not apply to them. As a result visible light photons will travel at a velocity slightly less than c while, presumably, the neutrinos travel at c resulting in early neutrino arrival even if they and the photons started out at the same time. One of the objectives of the OPERA detector experiment was to infer the mass of the various flavors of neutrino. Again current theory holds that if neutrinos are truly mass-less they will propagate at c if they have a small but finite mass their propagation velocity will be correspondingly less than c. This is consistent with both special and general relativity. In an earlier post I observed that if you assume a small but finite negative mass the solution to the equations suggest a propagation velocity slightly greater than c. I don't think this is what is happening here but it is interesting that the solutions of the equations permit that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  11. steveb

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    Which clearly contradicts the CERN results since supernova photons would arrive many years delayed if neutrinos were FTL to the degree indicated.

    This is really interesting because it means that in order for their result that FTL neutrinos exist to be true, they have to have done two of the most difficult things in physics, both at the same time. They, will have discovered a new particle (namely a new neutrino variation that behaves differently than stellar neutrinos), and will have disproved a major cornerstone of all existing physics theory (namely Lorentz invariance).

    In other words, the laws of probability are working against them.

    However, I think the end result will be useful either way, although on very difference scale levels. Either they have discovered new physics which will revolutionize all physics theory, or they have uncovered a flaw in the GPS system, or at least a flaw in the interpretation of the GPS data.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  12. Profchuck

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    I agree with Steveb. The most likely explanation is a mundane one. As revealed in the OPERA paper these are very difficult measurements to make. The researchers have obviously taken great effort to identify and adjust for potential sources of error but there could still be hidden assumptions that are responsible for the findings. I would love for this to be the harbinger of new physics but we probably are not that lucky.
     
  13. nsaspook

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    I'm hearing/reading the timing difference is starting to look like a GPS error with the rotation of the earth maybe being misfactored somewhere in the software/hardware timing chain, possibly in the embedded software in the GPS receivers.

    http://www.phys.lsu.edu/mog/mog9/node9.html
    http://areeweb.polito.it/ricerca/relgrav/solciclos/ashby_d.pdf

    Timing something (neutrinos) that is not moving on the same Inertial time frame as the GPS receivers or the satellites is way over my head.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  14. Profchuck

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    Remember, GPS goes to great lengths to remove relativistic effects from the tracking process. Is this a good place to start looking for timing and distance errors?
     
  15. nsaspook

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    Another paper about possible timing problems due loss of synchronization of the atomic clocks when they were moved.
    http://xxx.lanl.gov/pdf/1109.6160v2

    Or maybe it's something else (simple). http://arxiv.org/pdf/1110.0239v1

     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  16. MrChips

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    The bartender says, "Sorry, I cannot serve FTL".

    A FTL neutrino walks into a bar.
     
    steveb and Sparky49 like this.
  17. Sparky49

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    [​IMG]

    Best joke ever.:)

    What?
     
  18. BillO

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    Nov 24, 2008
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    Sorry to be a buzz kill, but a FLT neutrino would travel into the past, not the future.

    It's a hell of a thing to get your head around, but you can if you try.
     
  19. steveb

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    :p I think the gist of it is that the neutrinos are not really FTL. So, just as the experiment put the arrival of neutrino's into the wrong time slot, the joke has the punch line in the wrong time slot.
     
  20. BillO

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    Well, perhaps.
     
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