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Roll Over Einstein: Particle Discovery Challenges Einstein Law


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#1 zemaire

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 04:34 PM

Particle discovery challenges Einstein law

http://www.abc.net.a.../23/3324086.htm

Physicists report that sub-atomic particles called neutrinos can travel faster than light, a finding that, if verified, would blast a hole in Einstein's theory of relativity.

In experiments conducted between the in Switzerland and a laboratory in Italy, the tiny particles were clocked at six kilometres per second faster than the speed of light, say the researchers.

"This result comes as a complete surprise," says physicist Antonio Ereditato, spokesman for the experiment, known as OPERA. "We wanted to measure the speed of neutrinos, but we didn't expect to find anything special."

Scientists spent nearly six months "checking, testing, controlling and rechecking everything" before making an announcement, he says.

Researchers involved in the experiments are cautious in describing its implications, and call on physicists around the world to scrutinise their data.

But they say the findings could potentially reshape our understanding of the physical world.

"If this measurement is confirmed, it might change our view of physics," says CERN research director Sergio Bertolucci.

In the experiments, scientists blasted a beam producing billions upon billions of neutrinos from CERN, which straddles the French-Swiss border near Geneva, to the Gran Sasso Laboratory 730 kilometres away in Italy.

Neutrinos are electrically neutral particles so small that only recently were they found to have mass.

"The neutrinos arrived 60 nanoseconds earlier that the 2.3 milliseconds taken by light," says Ereditato.

Under Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity, however, a physical object cannot travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.



Revolutionary if true

The fact that the neutrinos were moving through matter — including a slice of Earth's crust — could not have caused them to accelerate, says French physicist Pierre Binetruy, who was not involved in the experiment but has reviewed the data.

"It might have slowed them down, but it certainly didn't make them go faster than the speed of light," he says.

Binetruy described the results "altogether revolutionary," and says they will, if backed up, force physicists to go back to the blackboard.

"The theory of general relativity, the theory of special relativity — both are called into question," he says.

Alfons Weber, a neutrino expert who participated in a similar experiment in 2007 at the US Fermilab, agrees that the faster-than-light neutrinos could not be reconciled with current theories, but says the results needed to be duplicated elsewhere.

"There is still the possibility of a measurement error," he says. "It would be too exciting to be true. That's why I'm cautious."

The earlier test, conducted over the same distance, also gave a slight edge to neutrinos in the race against light, but the results were within the experiment's margin of error, says Weber.

The CERN announcement was likely to prompt another round of more accurate tests in the US, he adds.

Even if verified, however, he says the new findings would not entirely invalidate Einstein's brilliant insights, which has held sway for more than a century.

"The theory of special relativity will still be a good theory if you apply it where it is valid, but there will have to be some extensions or modifications."

Newton's theory of gravity, he notes, still explains the movement of planets well enough to send missions into space, even if Einstein's theories proved that it was not quite correct.\




CERN physicists break the universal speed limit

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Leading scientists in Europe say they've made a discovery that could tip our understanding of physics on its head. The scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, say sub-atomic particles called neutrinos can travel faster than light.




According to Einstein's theory of relativity that should be impossible.

Timothy McDonald reports.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: A team of physicists at CERN made tiny particles called neutrinos travel at 300,006 per second which is just slightly faster than the speed of light.

It's a baffling finding and even the team that made the discovery can scarcely believe it. That's because it should be impossible.

Professor Geoffrey Taylor from the University of Melbourne's School of Physics explains.

GEOFFREY TAYLOR: As you try and push faster and faster the usual laws that we're used to, with putting the accelerator down on the car to make it go faster, the law has changed. That's an approximation that we see in our everyday life. And the more energy you push into a particle, it doesn't go any faster at some point. It just asymptotes to the speed of light.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: And is it possible that we've got the speed of light wrong? Is it possibly another speed?

GEOFFREY TAYLOR: No, no the speed of light is well measured and well understood.

And there are all sorts of implications, astrophysical as well as measurements on earth. So that's pretty much not in dispute at all.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: Now assuming for just a moment that what they've done turns out to be correct, what would it mean for physics as we know it?

GEOFFREY TAYLOR: Oh it would turn things completely upside down. That's probably why I'm so sceptical. (Laughs)

We don't have any, in the standard model of everything that we understand, particles just can't go faster than the speed of light in this universe that we're part of.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: So do you think that they've got it wrong?

GEOFFREY TAYLOR: Yes it's a big experiment and it's very sophisticated. It's hard to imagine exactly where such a big error could have come from, 60 nanoseconds. Sounds like a tiny amount but it's well within the precision of measurement.

So we talk about systematic errors where there's some mistake being made, not in a precision but in the way the measurements have been carried out.

So my guess is that something will show up in the experimental side that has not been thought about.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: It really would cause us to re-think just about everything, wouldn't it, being that it's the constant under which other ideas about the universe hang? This is the anchor, so to speak.

GEOFFREY TAYLOR: That's right. It really is a definition of our understanding of space time so in some sense it comes out of that. And so that relationship is absolutely key to the way we build our understanding, absolutely.

It would turn things completely upside down. But that's why also why I'm so sceptical.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: Jon Butterworth is a physics professor at University College London. He says if the discovery turns out to be true it could have a major impact on our daily lives.

JON BUTTERWORTH: This is one of those things where it's so big if it's true that it's impossible to imagine the practical applications.

I mean when Einstein came up with relativity, I mean you wouldn't have thought of GPS and mobile phones and things.

And really with fundamental physics what we do is we're looking at how the universe works. When we find out how it works we normally find a way to use that information.

We've found Earth-like planets recently somewhere else. You know maybe this will help us get there quicker but I wouldn't bet on it.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: Of course even the people who made the discovery are a little bit sceptical.

CERN is due to publish its results soon. That will allow other labs to try to replicate their findings, which should give some indication if the findings are a major discovery or a mere error.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Timothy McDonald.
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#2 Event Horizon

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:45 PM

Fascinating.

Cheers,

EH
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#3 muslimgamer

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:46 PM

I always find it strange when theories are shattered and people are surprised. When NASA looks for life on other planets the main theory they go off is that if there is water then life can be found. What if there is life that does not rely on water but another element? Every time under water expeditions are made they find new forms of life, some which live in temperatures or acidity levels that scientists thought could not sustain life. Subhanallah, the amount and type of creations on Earth are just amazing.
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#4 Othman

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 03:35 PM

Fascinating indeed. Also instructive of why scientific conclusions should not, expressly and implicitly, be taken as gospel. The vast majority of them are inductively deduced and it only takes a few new discoveries to significantly qualify them, if not render them incorrect outright.
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#5 tr3x

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 06:03 PM

Fascinating indeed. Also instructive of why scientific conclusions should not, expressly and implicitly, be taken as gospel. The vast majority of them are inductively deduced and it only takes a few new discoveries to significantly qualify them, if not render them incorrect outright.


The problem is Othman, the scientific community is renowned for turning on people who think outside the square and don't leave the multitude of mainstream theories unchallenged.

Scientists who've spoken about the speed of light being variable have been condemned as heretics etc by their own scientific community, despite the fact that theories like Einsteins theory of general relativity and the theories of quantum mechanics producing nonsensical results when applied to things like black holes.
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#6 Event Horizon

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 07:48 AM

Fascinating indeed. Also instructive of why scientific conclusions should not, expressly and implicitly, be taken as gospel.


Quite right. But this is a straw man, for no one takes science 'as gospel', it simply does not work that way.

Any science can be disproven by new evidence, that it at once it's strength and it's weakness. This is a feature, not a flaw.

Science is sometimes wrong on a matter, but it has a self-correcting tendency that is plain to see.

The vast majority of them are inductively deduced and it only takes a few new discoveries to significantly qualify them, if not render them incorrect outright.


I look forward to hearing about the new discoveries of the last 10 years that have rendered old science incorrect outright.

Let's look at what is likely to happen with this new discovery.

a) It will prove impossible to replicate. The anomaly will be dismissed as a measurement problem.

- or -

b) It will be replicated. Einstein's insights get refined and we all benefit. Just as Einsein refined Newton's towering scientific insights, so these new insights would extend what we know, but would not (in all likelihood) overturn most of what Einstein discovered.

Cheers,

EH
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#7 tr3x

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 09:25 AM


Quite right. But this is a straw man, for no one takes science 'as gospel', it simply does not work that way.

Any science can be disproven by new evidence, that it at once it's strength and it's weakness. This is a feature, not a flaw.

Science is sometimes wrong on a matter, but it has a self-correcting tendency that is plain to see.


"Science" may work that way but the scientific community doesn't.

Many brilliant scientists have had their reputations trashed or their careers ended for daring to challenge certain scientific "gospels".

I think you are being either naive or deliberately distorting the truth behind the scientific community and just how open they are to anyone challenging their established theories.
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#8 Event Horizon

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 02:50 PM


"Science" may work that way but the scientific community doesn't.

Many brilliant scientists have had their reputations trashed or their careers ended for daring to challenge certain scientific "gospels".

I think you are being either naive or deliberately distorting the truth behind the scientific community and just how open they are to anyone challenging their established theories.


I hear this charge a lot from creationsists, but I'm a little surprised to hear it from you.

As the late Carl Sagan said (in "The Demon-Haunted World"):

There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be probed, no sacred truths.



There are scientists who practice fraud. There are scientists who pigheadedly defend ideas that are past their prime. Despite all this, the process of science is self-correcting because it is evidence based.

Cheers,

EH
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#9 tr3x

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 03:27 PM


I hear this charge a lot from creationsists, but I'm a little surprised to hear it from you.

As the late Carl Sagan said (in "The Demon-Haunted World"):




There are scientists who practice fraud. There are scientists who pigheadedly defend ideas that are past their prime. Despite all this, the process of science is self-correcting because it is evidence based.

Cheers,

EH


EH there are plenty of stories of scientists being attacked by the mainstream community because they dared challenge the status quo. Carl Sagans quote is a utopian view of science, the reality is much different.

My post isn't a criticism of science per se, it is a criticism of the idea that all in the scientific community are open to having their theories challenged- because many good scientists have been trashed for daring to challenge.
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#10 roobarb

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 09:29 PM

I think it's just a case of ego overriding rational thought at times. Regardless of those situations, I still have a naive belief that even those with massive ego's will recant beliefs when given definitive evidence.
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#11 tr3x

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 10:39 PM

I think it's just a case of ego overriding rational thought at times. Regardless of those situations, I still have a naive belief that even those with massive ego's will recant beliefs when given definitive evidence.


Climate change is a case in point...the vitriol from some scientists on both sides of the fence is disgusting.
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#12 Othman

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 12:52 PM

Quite right. But this is a straw man, for no one takes science 'as gospel', it simply does not work that way.

It is taken as gospel though, implicitly, when it is presumed that a given theory or conclusion, like human evolution, are definitively correct, a presumption which is clear when such a theory is challenged by other opinions.
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#13 roobarb

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 01:27 PM

It is taken as gospel though, implicitly, when it is presumed that a given theory or conclusion, like human evolution, are definitively correct, a presumption which is clear when such a theory is challenged by other opinions.


I think it depends on your circle. In the wider media driven community, theories are often portrayed as the gospel truth. When I did some science courses at uni, most lecturers really pushed the idea that a widely accepted theory was just the current best explanation.
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#14 Othman

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 08:02 PM

http://www.newcivili...nds-same-result
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"On the Day of Judgment there will be a flag for every person guilty of treachery. It will be raised in proportion to the extent of his guilt; and there is no guilt of treachery more serious than the one committed by the ruler of men" [Muslim]

#15 Philip

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 09:37 PM

http://www.newcivili...nds-same-result

Excellent.
Science at work.
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#16 furry_animal

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 10:46 PM

http://www.newcivili...nds-same-result


Good to see (I assume) that you endorse the changing of beliefs, based upon the receipt of new observations, Othman.
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#17 furry_animal

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:00 PM

Mebbe a cable wasn't plugged in properly or somethink like that??

Flaw found in faster-than-light experiment

http://www.theaustra...y-1226279704745

RESEARCHERS have found a flaw in the technical set-up of an experiment that startled the science world last year by appearing to show particles travelling faster than light.

The problem may have affected measurements that clocked subatomic neutrino particles breaking what Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein considered the ultimate speed barrier.

Two separate issues were identified with the GPS system that was used to time the arrival of neutrinos at an underground lab in Italy, James Gillies, spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, said Wednesday.

One could have caused the speed to be overestimated, the other could have caused it to be underestimated, he said.

"The bottom line is that we will not know until more measurements are done later this year," Gillies told The Associated Press.

The results of the experiment were received with great scepticism by scientists when they were published last September because they seemed to contradict Einstein's theory that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.

That rule is fundamental to modern physics, and breaking it is seen as a step into the realms of science fiction where time travel and warp speed engines exist.

Even researchers involved in the experiment cautioned at the time that the measurements would need to be independently verified by other scientists before a genuine finding could be declared.

The experiment involved neutrinos being fired from CERN's site on the Swiss-French border to a vast underground laboratory 730 kilometres away at Gran Sasso in Italy.

Researchers found that the neutrinos appeared to arrive 60 nanoseconds sooner than if they had been travelling at light's speed of 299,792 kilometres per second).

The experiment's margin of error allowed for just 10 nanoseconds. A nanosecond is one-billionth of a second.
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#18 furry_animal

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 01:04 AM

Well, 0.000564 of %$#* me...


Faster-than-light claim scientist quits

http://www.theaustra...y-1226314977542

AN Italian physicist at the head of a team that made a cautious but hugely controversial claim that neutrinos may travel faster than the speed of light has resigned following calls for his dismissal.


Antonio Ereditato submitted his resignation before a vote on a motion by some members of his OPERA team that he be removed after tests this month contradicted the claim that the universe's speed limit had been broken.


"I hope OPERA will find new unity and a new leadership to pursue its main target of observing the appearance of a new type of neutrinos," said Antonio Masiero, the deputy head of the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics.


Masiero said another test on the speed of neutrinos, a type of sub-atomic particle, would still be carried out later this year to check OPERA's findings.


OPERA is part of the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) and carried out its experiment at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in central Italy.


A headline in Corriere della Sera called Ereditato "the physicist of flop."

Ereditato's team last September announced that neutrinos appeared to have travelled faster than the speed of light, a claim that would have upended Albert Einstein's theory of relativity - a cornerstone of modern physics.

The neutrinos were timed at their departure from CERN's giant underground lab near Geneva and again, after travelling 732km through the Earth's crust, at their arrival at Gran Sasso in the Apennine Mountains.

To do the trip, the neutrinos should have taken 0.0024 seconds.

Instead, the particles were recorded as hitting the detectors in Italy 0.00000006 seconds sooner than expected.

Knowing their findings would stir a storm, the OPERA team urged physicists to carry out their own checks to corroborate or refute what had been seen.

CERN said technical hitches may have skewed the initial measurements, something that critics of the findings said they had always suspected.
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