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back to article Not so fast: Italian boffins say neutrinos not faster than light

A team of 68 scientists led by the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy claims to have refuted the OPERA faster-than-light neutrino result, even as the OPERA researchers are generating a new buzz by releasing their newer, more-finely-calibrated short-pulse tests that seem to confirm their original statement. Over the weekend …

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Anonymous Coward

conspiracy theory

what if the the US military spoofed the GPS atomic clock to stop other people deploying precsion guided bombs and the scientist have inadvertantly found them out?

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Headmaster

Because then the measurement of the position of the other end (CERN) would be wrong as well.

Good question though.

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Anonymous Coward

Commercially available GPS receivers won't work for "precision guided bombs" They all have an altitude limit (18 km) and / or a speed limit (500 km/hr) such that they stop outputting position information (even though it is still technically possible to receive them)

Some implementations use 'or' , some use 'and' For instance in high altitude ballooning you need something that works at more than 18km but speed is low so 'or' logic is required. Unfortunately some GPS manufacturers don't make it obvious or even publicise what they use.

Also GPS blocking is routinely tested. The UK / NATO were doing tests off the North of Scotland earlier this year.

I'm betting on them measuring the distance wrong. They should get a long tape measure made, find a flat bit of land to do their experiment, and measure it for real :)

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Happy

Just out of interest

1st Question : How do you mesure 1/60 000 000 os a second ? Do Casio make such a watch..

2nd Question : How do you mesure that accuracy of your fine piece of horlogerie in question 1 ( No, not the Casio).

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Anonymous Coward

RTFP

Read the fucking paper

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Anonymous Coward

There's a joke in there somewhere

About the irony of Italians, measurement of speed, tanks and 5 reverse gears but I'll be damned if I can see it so early in the morning.

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Anonymous Coward

What coordinate system do they use?

If the universe is expanding and the speed of light is a constant then all measurements should be relative to the stationary spot at the centre of the universe. (Assuming the centre of the universe is stationary of course, and on re-reading this response before posting I realize that I have no way of proving that it is).

At the time of the experiment Gran Sasso will be moving towards Geneva at some velocity (which may be negative), and 12 hours later Gran Sasso will be moving away from Geneva at approximately the same velocity (All measurements taken relative to the centre of the universe)

That being the case I would expect that if neutrinos travelled at a fixed absolute speed which is close to c and the measuring equipment was accurate enough they would get consistently different results depending on time of day.

Does anyone know if they have done this?

Or am I being too Newtonian?

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Re: What coordinate system do they use?

Except that relativity implies there is no stationary point, or at least that there's nowhere to tell where it is. That's kind of the point of having no special frame of reference.

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Imagine a balloon

With lots of galaxies and stuff floating around on the skin of it, in a 2d layer, and call that layer a "universe".

Now consider the expansion of the "universe" is caused by the balloon getting inflated,

Where is the "center" of the universe that lies on the skin of the balloon, and how would a 2d "skin dweller" get there?

Now just add a dimension (or 7, or 9, or however many extra small ones they need atm) to approximate that question in our 3d-ish universe.

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Alert

uh..

guys, this news is over a month old. The ICARUS study was published on the 17th October.

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Holmes

Yeah, I was thinking the same myself. Deja-news all over again. This paper hit the news quite a while back, and for some reason has suddenly hit the news again. My bet would be that someone sent out a press-release.

It's 99% certain that the OPERA result will turn out to be an artifact of some sort - and I'm sure that virtually everyone involved at OPERA think the same thing. It's just that they don't know what that artifact actually is, and they want to find out. My bet would be that it'll turn out to be a problem with synchronising the time between the two locations.

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Anonymous Coward

On the other hand.....

This is one of those situations where you have to throw the rule book out of the window: it seems rather naive for the italians to expect these neutrinos to behave according to the other classical rules of physics, when allegedly they have already broken a very fundamental one!

And we await, with baited breath, a second team of scientists, in another centre around the world, to confirm or refute these results in a second, indipendent, experiment.

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Anonymous Coward

And we await, with baited breath,

Is it mostly the laymen that are waiting with baited breath, because they have been caught up in the media nonsense, and expect that the neutrinos are actually travelling faster than light.

Anyone who has paid any attention to all the previous experiments that these results contradict is only really waiting to see in what way the Italians have made an error.

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Re: baited breath

Dont' hold that baited breath. The yanks switched off Fermilab the other day so CERN is probably the only place where (one end of) the experiment can be hosted.

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Paris Hilton

It's all well and good...

...but where's my damn flying car !!! You promised !!

Paris, because she promises more than she delivers, too.

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But the still dont actually KNOW when they left.

Their assumption that the neutrinos are generated in their machinery when they think they are seems pretty sound but it is not proven.

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Joke

At least this is all good for something...

I really feel like having Lasagna or Spaghetti this evening :-)

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TRT
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Are they sure...

they are exactly the same neutrinos and not new ones in a kind of knock on effect? I mean, we have recently seen virtual photons materialise out of thin air... and sound can travel faster in a solid than in air, and electrons move in a kind of Newtons Cradle shuffling of energy... I dunno. All very weird.

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Windows

Lorentz

The Lorentz Transformation, 1/SQRT(1 - v*v/c*c) is what makes it tricky to get objects with mass near the speed of light. Plug v=c into that formula and you get 1 divided by zero, which throws a real spanner in the works. Infinite energy required to get there etc.

However, if v > c, you are faced with the square root of a negative number; what mathematicians call an imaginary number.

The thing is, imaginary numbers - despite their name - abound in quantum mechanics. Most of quantum physics wouldn't work unless imaginary numbers had real relevance.

Maybe that has something to do with it. I don't know.

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Anonymous Coward

How about

"If there’s a better grand show than watching gold-standard peer-review play out in public, The Register would have trouble nominating what it could be."

The reaction by Evolution Believers to indisputable scientific findings made by Biblical Creationists. (Awaits cries of "but that isn't science")

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Questionable accuracy of prior experiments?

If the Gran Sasso boffins are right, and the OPERA data is a bust, what does that mean for other experiments made in these rather expensive facilities; past, present and future?

I mean really, they've been caught out with potentially dodgy results only because they should be impossible. How many previous results have been taken as correct, simply because they *weren't* "impossible"?

How much bad science comes from mistakes that aren't seen to be mistakes?

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Anonymous Coward

not many

most experiments don't involve receiving data through the rock walls from another lab, so not many.

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Happy

Very seasonal I thought.

"Oh no they didn't !!!"

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Silver badge

Incidently...

I've just looked at the detector web-site. The detector stack is 25 m long ! so the transit time for a light speed particle would be about 80nS

I assume the detection events are found over the entire length and then averaged in some way

http://www-opera.desy.de/pics/detector2.jpg

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Headmaster

Richard Chergwin

Richard wants the Faster Than Light story not to be true, so badly it hurts.

First he said it can't be true.

Then he said it musn't be true.

Can we get back to proper science reporting please?

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shortcut

It may be that the latest interpretation of the OPERA results, e.g., no superluminal neutrino velocity because no change in frequency misses the possibility of an interdimensional "shortcut", which may be related to neutrino oscillations as well. If so, then even before the LHC is generating sufficient collisions indicating extra-dimensions, the "walk across the Alps" will do the same. Randall, et al, will be pleased.

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