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Author Topic:   Einstein is rolling over in His Grave, or Cern makes a big mistake
hooah212002
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(3)
Message 16 of 74 (634745)
09-23-2011 5:17 PM


I think creationists (the ones of the I-hate-science order) can take a lot from this, in the event they actually read even a smidgen about it. This is physics shattering stuff here, and the founders WANT someone to prove it wrong. Were the results not published until something like 6 months after the discovery? And only then were they published with the intention of having physicists the world over replicate it? This discovery speaks volumes to the nature of science.

"Why don't you call upon your God to strike me? Oh, I forgot it's because he's fake like Thor, so bite me" -Greydon Square

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Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 1041 days)
Posts: 3808
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 17 of 74 (634766)
09-23-2011 8:53 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by RAZD
09-22-2011 9:54 PM


Either way a win for science
Zen Deist writes:

It's not a major con-Cern, but I agree that the caution and the request for independent verification is the proper course to take.

We'll either learn something profoundly new about physics or something important about methodology and/or instrumentation.

Most likely, CERN made an extremely subtle mistake in one of those areas. Finding a new error is an important contribution.

I'm pleased they didn't just file it away rather than risk the embarrassment.


"If you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs, you can collect a lot of heads."

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GDR
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From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 18 of 74 (635357)
09-28-2011 8:30 PM


Here is a recent interview with a spokesman for CERN

CERN Explains The Big Fuss Over 'Neutrino' Findings

On the assumption that this proves out, which I understand is in doubt, I am wondering why it is that this would change so many things.

It doesn't change the actual speed of light so if something is 100 billion light years away that doesn't change. If we are measuring the age of the universe it is based on the speed of light so why should that change?

Is there someone who can explain this in terms that someone who took a 3 month course on Newtonian Physics in High School in 1960 can understand?


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RAZD
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From: the other end of the sidewalk
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Message 19 of 74 (635440)
09-29-2011 8:39 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by cavediver
09-23-2011 2:26 AM


so why not just change the speed of light?
Hi cavediver,

What I don't understand is why the speed of light is not adjusted to this new experimental result. All previous experiments on the speed of light have resulted in adjustments to the known value, adding greater precision: why is this different?

http://www.rferl.org/...ics_findings_neutrinos/24338924.html

quote:
... And what they appear to be measuring is that the neutrinos are arriving early. Only very slightly early -- it's a 20 part per million effect, but early nevertheless.

It would still have the neutrinos arriving earlier than photons from supernova, wouldn't it?

What does that do to current understanding?

If I had to bet on the outcome I would (a) not be surprised that this was confirmed, and (b) expect that the "answer" explanation is to adjust the speed of light.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 205 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 20 of 74 (635455)
09-29-2011 10:27 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by GDR
09-28-2011 8:30 PM


quote:

Is there someone who can explain this in terms that someone who took a 3 month course on Newtonian Physics in High School in 1960 can understand?


The problem comes when one changes reference frames through a Lorentz transformation. In different reference frames, time moves at different rates, and distances are measured differently. This is well-understood and well-verified. (E.g. muons have a 2.2 usec lifetime, but when moving near the speed of light relative to an observer, are measured to have a much longer lifetime.)

But if a particle moves faster than light, it is possible to transform to a reference frame where the particle is destroyed before it is created. An effect will occur before its cause. We would be forced to fundamentally change our understanding of relativity or of causality.


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RAZD
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Posts: 19754
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
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Message 21 of 74 (635456)
09-29-2011 10:30 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by kbertsche
09-29-2011 10:27 AM


but do you c what I c?
Hi kbertsche,

But if a particle moves faster than light, it is possible to transform to a reference frame where the particle is destroyed before it is created.

But if this new experimental result is just a refinement of the actual speed of light what happens?

Enjoy.

Edited by Zen Deist, : subtitle


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 205 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


(1)
Message 22 of 74 (635460)
09-29-2011 11:17 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by RAZD
09-29-2011 10:30 AM


Re: but do you c what I c?
quote:
But if this new experimental result is just a refinement of the actual speed of light what happens?


This would avoid the problems, but it's not possible. The speed of light has been measured to high precision in multiple experiments. It can't be in error by 2 parts in 10^5.
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caffeine
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Message 23 of 74 (635462)
09-29-2011 11:36 AM


One interesting suggestion by Ethan Siegel is that the result could be wrong simply because they're measuring a biased sample of neutrinos.

To expand a bit, it's not possible to detect each individual neutrino that they're firing through their big tunnel. Neutrinos only interact very weakly with normal matter, so the overwhelming majority of them pass harmlessly on their way, without making any noticeable impact on the detector in Italy.

In fact, the number of neutrinos detected represents approximately 0.00000000000001% of the total created. If the earliest arriving neutrinos are preferentially detected, for some reason, then your sample is biased and they appear to be travelling faster than they, in fact, are.


  
nwr
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Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


(2)
Message 24 of 74 (635467)
09-29-2011 12:06 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by RAZD
09-29-2011 8:39 AM


Re: so why not just change the speed of light?
Zen Deist writes:
What I don't understand is why the speed of light is not adjusted to this new experimental result.

Maybe that has something to do with the speed of light being the speed of light rather than the speed of neutrinos.

If the result holds up, then it may tell us more about the nature of neutrinos than about the speed of light.

On the other hand, there is nothing sacred about relativity. It is, after all, a human construct intended to fit reality. The worst that could happen, is that we might find that it doesn't fit as well as had been assumed.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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NoNukes
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 25 of 74 (635469)
09-29-2011 12:09 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by RAZD
09-29-2011 8:39 AM


Re: so why not just change the speed of light?
If I had to bet on the outcome I would (a) not be surprised that this was confirmed, and (b) expect that the "answer" explanation is to adjust the speed of light.

I would be quite surprised if this were the answer. The speed of light is known to an extremely high accuracy; the uncertainty is a few parts per billion. In fact, the meter is defined so that the speed of light is exactly 299,792,458 m/s.

Given the inherent difficulties in even detecting neutrinos, it seems very unlikely that we would be able to determine the speed of light in a vacuum more accurately by measuring the speed of neutrinos than by measuring the propagation speed of e-m waves which are extremely easy to detect.


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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1261 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 26 of 74 (635476)
09-29-2011 12:33 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by RAZD
09-29-2011 10:30 AM


Re: but do you c what I c?
But if this new experimental result is just a refinement of the actual speed of light what happens?

Then our understanding about a thousand other subjects suddenly needs to be rewritten. The reason we know c so accurately isn;t because we have super-good clocks and speedometers, it's because we can accurately measure other phenomenon than just racing photons, phenomenon like the energy released in matter-antimatter reactions. If c were wrong, those results (and thousands of others) would have shown us by now.


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1.61803
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Posts: 2817
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


(3)
Message 27 of 74 (635492)
09-29-2011 1:37 PM


two nutrinos walk into a bar....
"A bartender says, " Hey we dont serve nutrinos here."
Then two nutrinos walk into the bar.
  
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1717 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 28 of 74 (635529)
09-29-2011 3:33 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by RAZD
09-29-2011 8:39 AM


Re: so why not just change the speed of light?
hey Raz (or ZD now, I guess)

What I don't understand is why the speed of light is not adjusted to this new experimental result.

Everyone else seems to have covered this. c is just too well measured for any adjustment at this scale. The precision to which c is known is critical in the construction and operation of the LHC and all similar hardware.

It would still have the neutrinos arriving earlier than photons from supernova, wouldn't it?

Yep, by 20 parts per million. So over a journey of 168,000 years (SN1987A is 168,000 light years away), the neutrinos would arrive 3 years early, not 3 hours early as observed.


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RAZD
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Posts: 19754
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.2


Message 29 of 74 (635535)
09-29-2011 5:03 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by cavediver
09-29-2011 3:33 PM


So what is different?
Hi cavediver

RAZD is still fine.

Yep, by 20 parts per million. So over a journey of 168,000 years (SN1987A is 168,000 light years away), the neutrinos would arrive 3 years early, not 3 hours early as observed.

Good ol' SN1987A!

Everyone else seems to have covered this. c is just too well measured for any adjustment at this scale. The precision to which c is known is critical in the construction and operation of the LHC and all similar hardware.

Message 22 kbertsche: This would avoid the problems, but it's not possible. The speed of light has been measured to high precision in multiple experiments. It can't be in error by 2 parts in 10^5.

Message 25 NoNukes: I would be quite surprised if this were the answer. The speed of light is known to an extremely high accuracy; the uncertainty is a few parts per billion.

Given the inherent difficulties in even detecting neutrinos, it seems very unlikely that we would be able to determine the speed of light in a vacuum more accurately by measuring the speed of neutrinos than by measuring the propagation speed of e-m waves which are extremely easy to detect.

So if c is accurate to 2 parts in 10^9, the delta observed is like 10,000 (1x10^4) times the current uncertainty in measured c? Okaaaay.

So we have light, e-m waves and neutrinos -- what is different?

Do neutrinos travel faster inside gravity wells? Is there a slight relativistic effect due to being sent through the earth? Or is there some tunneling phenomena that is happening here?

Presumably they've checked the distance to the same accuracy.

Thanks everyone.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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AZPaul3
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From: Phoenix
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Message 30 of 74 (635540)
09-29-2011 5:18 PM


Let's Speculate
The speed of light has been measured to an exceptional degree and is not an issue with this OPERA result. The issue is how can we have measured a massive particle as traveling faster than light speed. This is a clear violation of Relativity.

We can so accurately measure the speed of light because we can generate a single photon in our generator and confidently detect that photon on the other end of the experiment. We cannot do that with neutrinos.

A neutrino is so small and light (almost, but not quite, massless) that it barely interacts with anything, ever. We cannot tell if we have generated a single neutrino and the confidence level is pretty high that at the other end we will most probably not be able to detect it. So we have to run these types of experiments using massive numbers of neutrinos generated and detected in pulses of literally millions of particles.

The way CERN generates neutrinos is by slamming millions of high energy protons into millions of atoms generating millions of masons that decay into millions of neutrinos (OK, so they are actually anti-neutrinos but that is beyond the detail level I'm working in here). The point here is that these things are generated and detected in powerful short pulses comprised of millions of particles.

Nothing in this universe is perfect. The mas (energy) of a proton has been measured at 1.672621777(74)10−27 kg (about .938 GeV). Note the (74) in this measurement. That is the error bar. Some protons may be slightly more massive, some less so, than the mean measurement. The neutrino mass is given as less than 3x10-36 kg (about 2 eV). We cannot yet be certain how much less then 2 eV in mass the various flavors of neutrino are but we can be sure that, as with everything else, it will vary across some (very small) range.

The high energy protons generated by CERN (or anywhere) will be generated over a range of masses. The masses of the resultant pulse of protons will form a bell curve with very narrow arms and a steep high peak at the mean value. Most of the generated protons would have measured mass clustered very close to the mean with a few (100,000s?) of slightly greater and slightly lesser mass within the narrow arms around the mean value.

Similarly, the timing of proton generation will vary. So we will have another bell curve where most of the protons in the pulse are generated around a specific mean time with a few (100,000s?) generated ever so slightly earlier and ever so slightly later.

Now to speculate on the OPERA results. And, yes, admittedly, with the view that Relativity is preserved.

There are three (3) speculations that may be at work here.

1. There may be a correlation between the (slightly) increased mass (energy) of a generated proton and a (slightly) increased mass (energy) of the neutrino generated by that specific proton collision.

2. There may be a correlation between (slightly) higher proton mass and its (slightly) earlier release from the proton generator.

These two (2) speculations could mean that higher energy protons would be at the leading edge of the proton pulse and thus higher energy neutrinos at the leading edge of the resulting neutrino pulse as they reach the OPERA detectors.

In 2006 MINOS/FermiLab saw a similar faster-then-'c' result, though, unlike OPERA, the MINOS error bars overlapped 'c' so the results were inconclusive.

Both the OPERA/CERN and the prior MINOS/FermiLab experiments used polystyrene scintillators as the active neutrino detectors.

3. There may be a bias in polystyrene scintillators that detect (slightly) higher energy neutrinos only (and very few of those anyway).

Again, this is all speculation. But (big) if these speculations are correct then the MINOS and OPERA results can be accounted for within the restrictions of Relativity. Considering the CERN pulses were 10,000 nanoseconds long, a 60 nanosecond differential from generated time peak (mean value) at CERN to the expected detection peak (mean value) at OPERA, is well within the scope of these speculations.

Edited by AZPaul3, : correction


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