back to article Neutrinos still FASTER THAN LIGHT in second test

The boffins who sent sub-atomic particles on a faster-than-light journey into the past have done another successful experiment that confirms the results. In the original test, 15,000 beams of neutrinos were fired over three years from CERN near Geneva 720km to Gran Sasso in Italy and the particles arrived at their destination 60 …

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Mushroom

Going back in time?

Clearly the neutrinos that arrived too fast in the first experiment were actually the ones from this second experiment going back in time.

Have they tried reversing the polarity of the neutrino flow?

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Don't!

You will attract Lybian terrorists!

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Alert

Do you want fries with that?

From the beeb article after the first experiment:

"The scientists are right to be extremely cautious about interpreting these findings," said Jim Al-Khalili, a physicist from the University of Surrey, who suggested that a simple error in the measurement is probably the source of all the fuss.

But he has gone further.

"So let me put my money where my mouth is: if the Cern experiment proves to be correct and neutrinos have broken the speed of light, I will eat my boxer shorts on live TV."

Time to break out the popcorn. I hope he washes them first…

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Stop

proof

this is not. one of the possible alternative explanations has been invalidated, probably. Others remain.

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Anonymous Coward

Radio 4 just covered this and trotted out another "physicist" whose name I managed top miss.

According to this authority on the subject light travels at 186,000 miles an hour. something he repeated twice.

Well done the beeb, it takes some doing to be less accurate than Wikipedia.

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Excellent

Soon we'll be proving that we are all holographic representations of things happening at the edge of the universe!!

Seriously, looks as though there may be a need for some serious rethinking of the "Standard Model" if the other possible errors are eliminated as well

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Don't count your neutrinos 'til they're published

The paper has been submitted, but hasn't yet been peer reviewed or published, and you can bet that the scrutiny this experiment gets will be greater than pretty much anything that's gone before.

I'm happy to wait until it appears with the name of a prestigious journal to add credibility. I'll be even happier when someone comes up with a theoretical or (better) practical explanation. Until then, we've got nothing.

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Happy

Nothing?

Well, we may not have the final answer, but that doesn't mean we have nothing. We have a question and a possible path we can follow to answer it. Maybe the answer is mundane, such as systematic experimental error, or maybe it's something new an amazing that we never knew existed before. Either way, isn't science about the journey at least as much as the destination?

In this particular case, the journey is even more interesting because the journey is being shared among so many people, including both experts and El Regers. Of course I look forward to hearing what they find, but I also enjoy hearing about the entire process. Or to put it another way: http://xkcd.com/54/

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FAIL

Jacques Martino, director of France's National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (CNRS), said another possible error of the experiment, that the clocks at CERN and Gran Sasso were on an ever so slightly different time due to gravitational time dilation, could also going to be looked into soon.

could also going to be looked into soon? seriously?

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Facepalm

Send Light Too?

I'm no scientificationist but why don't they just send light and neutrinos down the same pipe at the same time and see if they arrive together?

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Y'know, I'm sure by the time I finish typing this there will be roughly a hundred other comments explaining your mistake, so I won't add to them. It is funny to note, though, that the (former) Italian minister of education made the same mistake back when the first result was announced.

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Because

a) The Neutrino detector and emitter are big and heavy and expensive.

b) Because of (a) above there are only a few places on earth where the experiment can be done

c) There is no tunnel between the emitter and the detector, the neutrinos are fired through solid rock, which to a neutrino has all the stopping power of a wet tissue trying to stop a high speed train at maximum velocity.

d) Because of (a) and (c) we can't send light at the same time as the neutrinos

e) Even if we didn't have the problem of (d) because of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle we can't be sure of exactly when the neutrinos left the emitter and arrived at the detector, which is why they use pulses of neutrinos and a lot of Boffin Class Maths to work out the result.

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Simples.

Because there isn't a physical link between the two sites. Neutrinos have almost zero mass, no charge and pass through pretty much any material as if it wasn't there.

The beams are being fired at a detector that interleaves lead plates with emulsion films to detect the neutrinos. IIRC the detector weighs something like 1300 tonnes (not really relevant, but gives you an idea of it's size).

By having synchronised clocks you know that the "beam start time" and "beam detection time" are effectively being recorded by the same clock without having to do any calculations or measurements for lag caused by stuff like wiring and distance.

At the moment it seems like the most likely reason for the current measurements are the clocks being slightly out of sync; I'm a bit mystified as to why this hasn't been checked already as they've had the discrepancy for months now.

(Of course, I have no idea how difficult that particular task is.)

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Simple

The neutrinos are passing through solid rock between CERN and the observatory.

Light has issues with this.

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You know... I was have this exact same thought.

Why not get all the calculations and corrections out of the way and send both down the same pipe... Can't get more empirical than that!

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Boffin

Since no one has answered yet...

Because there is no pipe. Unlike light neutrinos are quite happy to travel straight through a mountain or two.

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Because there isn't a pipe.

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Anonymous Coward

There is no pipe

These neutrinos aren't being beamed down a pipe, but rather through the earth, which is just as good as a vacuum filled pipe to a neutrino.

However, since light, unlike neutrinos, does interact significantly with things like rock, you cannot just fire a laser along the same path.

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Headmaster

Pipes? Wot pipes?

There are *no* pipes between CERN (on French/Swiss border) and Gran Sasso! Neutrinos have the disconcerting ability to pass completely through most solids. That's why they are so hard to detect. All the detectors (like the one at Boulby Potash mine in Cleveland UK) are deep underground to screen out background cosmic radiation. They are also made of very dense materials - Gran Sasso is made up of a number of lead/photgraphic film bricks weighing a total of 1250 tonnes - to maximise the chance of a neutrino hitting an atomic nucleus and crating a "spark" of sub-atomic particles that can be detected.

Hope that helps.

<end of particle detector 101>

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Linux

Good idea

They could branch off from an existing fiber link and add their own extensions to it to calculate from or just lay the fiber shallow and use it as an experimental approach while recouping the cost later on costing a large amount of cash but not a huge amount about $9 Million or so.

I'm guessing $20K a mile for the fiber link, they'd also have some valuable dark fiber for future experiments or just peering links for their existing costs.

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Boffin

The neutrinos haven't been sent into the past, they've been sent into the near future, just more nearerer than predicted with current models.

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Alien

wrong way round?

I reckon that as the neutrinos are fired everything else slows down a wee bit.

It's the only way Jim can stop from hearing those harrowing words --- "Cooking doesn't come tougher than this!"

It's all quantum, innit.

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Sir

Would this work..

Simultaneously send a neutrino beam and light beam as an initial marker, then exactly 60 seconds later, send them both again, then again and so on.

It wouldn't matter if the clocks weren't exactly in synch then, as long as they could measure accurately enough.

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Unhappy

sounds reasonable

I would hope they are already doing something akin to this to account for timing variance.

Still contend that there is no such thing as time, its purely a human construct, an observation of movements in reference to another. Time cant move different because its not something that is there... matter can move differently due to gravity, but time doesn't enter into it.

I respect Einstein, and believe that the general theory of relativity is mostly correct, but I am afraid it has become religious for scientists. I find it much more plausible that there aspects he didn't understand, and things we have yet to learn, that will correct and refine his original theories.

imagine if Psychology just decided that Freud must have gotten everything right, and spent all there time trying to prove why his theories were correct. I am sure if he were still alive, and had access to modern information even Einstein would not agree with his old conjectures completely.

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Of course there's such a thing as time

Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once. Space is what prevents everything from happening to me. - John Archibald Wheeler (1911-2008)

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Not very practical, and not much point in doing it. The speed of light in a vacuum is not being questioned by this experiment - the speed of neutrinos is. Since they know how far apart CERN and Gran Sasso are (d), there's not much point in measuring how long light takes to get there - it's d/c.

Drilling a hole 700Km long and firing a laser down it is probably not the easiest way to eliminate errors in the measurement of the distance between neutrino source and detector.

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Sure he would

He never got comfortable with the idea of quantum, remember? "God does not play dice with the universe" and all that.

As for the rest, why should anyone take you seriously for a minute? You can't even get your punctuation straight, and that's before the point where, in the same breath, you talk about how relativity's become a religion for scientists, and how you "believe that [it] is mostly correct". You're almost as bad as the twat who was pissing at me here a few months ago about being dismissive of anarchists like him, and who immediately thereafter spent several paragraphs fondling the EU's tumescent genitalia as though that were anything remotely sensible or consistent for a fervently self-declared anti-statist to do.

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Anonymous Coward

No

There is no pipe to send a light beam through. The neutrio beam passes directly through the earths crust.

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Stop

oh jeez!

I heard Galileo had the same problem with his punctuation and they put him under house arrest for it.

This is petty point scoring which attempts to destroy another serious argument with less than intelligent ad hominem attacks. How can a point of view be taken seriously when it's self-justification is based on insults? Get your mind out of the playground and try some real scientific debate,

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Holmes

duh!

At last some common sense, Knowledge has no finality. It is an illogical view based on faith that Einstein's word is the last. That attitude reminds me of the Warmageddonites.

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Oh for God's sake

I'm fairly sure no one who spends time commenting on Reg articles is the equal of Galileo, for a start. And if this is what you call "serious argument" and "real scientific debate", then you'd do well to take your own advice about the playground.

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Holmes

Let me explain the concept of Science to you...

Like most serious science, Einstein's theories and formulae have earned great respect because they have proven to be tremendously useful and accurate in modeling a great number of experiments and observations. That's real science, kids. It attempts to describe how things happen and allows you to predict the outcome of experiments. As more and more experiments and measurements turn out to give exactly the results predicted by the theory, the theory gains credibility. Consider as an example the theories and formulas that allow boffins to predict when the moon will be full, or when So-and-So's comet will pass the earth.

If this neutrino mess proves that some part of relativity theory is incorrect by producing verified results that are inconsistent with the predicted or expected results, then somebody needs to come up with new theories or formulas that match the success of all other aspects of relativity, but also accurately describe this neutrino observation. That will be tricky, but it will be exciting for fans of real science.

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Sir

Blimey, last time I ask a question round here.

Everyone seems to be getting a bit shitty on these forums these days, no salt of pinch like proportions even.

I was once told that the only stupid question is the one that never got asked. They were obviously wrong.

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Take That, Brid-Aine Parnell

Einstein said that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light which he defined as c. As far as I can remember I don't think he ever said what the particular numerical value c takes. It varies with the medium in which it travels e.g water, atmosphere, vacuum, void space etc.

The people at Opera can bang on about their measurements like veritable pilgrims but the ultimate clash at demonhead won't occur until they measure the unimpeded speed of light in void space and until then the register should not let them get away scot free with their claims!

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why hang on to this assumption

Just because in Einstein's time we were not aware of a more pure form of energy does mean we should hold to his observation like a religion....it is completely possible that other forms of energy are more "pure" than light, and therefore could move faster...Einstein just wasn't aware of them, so he assumed light was the fastest. He also thought time was a medium, and not a human construct...

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c?

It varies with the medium in which it travels e.g water, atmosphere, vacuum, void space etc.

Er ... no.

c does not vary, the speed of light in those medium does.

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"Void space"

That you, Doc Smith?

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@AlgernonFlowers4

c is the speed of light in a vacuum. It was specified.

However, I do wonder if Einstein would have presented a different theory had he known about the speed these neutrinos travel at. After all, he presented a THEORY based on what was known and conjecture at that time. We now know a lot more, and science has moved on.

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The Empty Set contains nothing (ie 0), So it is Not Empty!

Einstein defined things in mathematical terms and whilst a mathematically defined vacuum is truly empty, a physical vacuum is not as it contains quantum particles popping in and out of existence.

Einstein based his theory on equations that work beautifully in accordance with the underlying mathematical assumptions and until the Opera people can physically conduct their experiments within that mathematical framework or break one his underlying assumptions, I'd say Einstein wins!

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I understood that the GPS system allowed for time dilation. And that all the possible errors fell well short of 60 nanoseconds.

This plus recent reports about how some anti-matter particles decay. Exciting times!

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"hat all the possible errors fell well short of 60 nanoseconds."

All the random errors. Doesn't say anything about systematic errors like the clocks and distances.

This latest experiment suggests that one possible systematic error is not the reason for the observed 'speed'

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FAIL

Into the past?

"The boffins who sent sub-atomic particles on a faster-than-light journey into the past have done another successful experiment that confirms the results."

Sensational but not true. The particles arrived sooner than they would have had they travelled at the speed of light, but still *after* they were transmitted. They did not arrive before they set off, they did not 'journey into the past'.

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@Into the past?

They arrived at the detector before it should have been possible to know they had been sent

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_cone

Even if faster-than-light travel is never possible, tachyon communications would be nice...

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Awesome

I'm rooting for a combination of space/time dialation at and inbetween the two sites.

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Paris Hilton

than Light. Faster

I don't see how getting rid of one source of error is enough for a press release. Surely they should wait until they've eliminated all sources of error? After all, science isn't a desperate attempt to grab headlines with iffy results.

No, wait, it is.

[Paris, because she's a desperate attempt to grab headlines]

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Happy

I can't understand this....

Surely the science is settled? Isn't anyone who doubts this a 'denier'?

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Yes, but what if their science is flawed? What if they cut up wood to make tables when they have perfectly good tummies to eat off?

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Facepalm

you're in the wrong room, mate

You want the global warming room down the hall.

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Headmaster

Eventually...

In case anybody is wondering, when Jacques Martino said "eventual systematic errors" he meant "possible systematic errors". It's a very common mistake when native French speakers speak English as a second language because the French word is "éventuel" (the French call words like that "faux amis" -- false friends).

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Happy

not so relevant to neutrino topic...

...but be careful if you ever feel embarassed in Spain and feel the urge to communicate this in Spanish.

embarazada = pregnant

On the neutrino topic - this is something that has the potential for a paradigm shift in physics, even IF (big if) it's true, it won't be confirmed for years (they'd have to repeat the experiment with consistent results in 2 or 3 other locations), and it won't be for many, many years until it is fully accepted or understood.

Science works the same as society - new ideas aren't just accepted by everyone immediately, it's just that the old people with the old paradigm eventually die and the new generations accept as normal the findings that were revolutionary to their elders.

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