It turns out that Einstein was a bit slow after all. Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has made a subatomic particle go faster than the speed of light for the first time — something that shattered one assumption of Einstein’s theories. The scientists used neutrinos, which were observed smashing past the cosmic speed barrier of 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second).
The scientists fired a neutrino beam from a particle accelerator near Geneva to a lab 454 miles (730 kilometers) away in Italy traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light.
According to Einstein’s special theory of relativity – the E=mc2 equation – this should not happen but it did at CERN. Scientists at the Fermilab in Chicago are now working on the same experiment to see if they could replicate it. While the Chicago team previously showed a faster-than-light result in 2007, there was a margin of error that left questions.
Chicago’s instruments would be better in measuring the results. At issue is the most fundamental assumption of the laws of nature.
What I do not understand is how the Europeans can make a particle move faster than light in Geneva but it takes three hours to get a waiter to bring you a check in Paris.
45 thoughts on “Fast Little Neutrino: Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity Challenged By Test Showing Particle Traveling Faster Than Speed of Light”
Er,,,,ran across this by accident. Guess ya’ haven’t heard yet, but it turned out that Einstein is still safe! Apparently the alleged faster than light speed was the result of some sort of equipment artifact,
Q:-it is practical speed what’s about theoritical speed? 2) what is the rest momentum of neutrino?
3) neutrino is a particle or not?
4) can electrino do thesame if exists?
@Slart: I think you have the causality backward; I argue against you because I think you are wrong, and that has nothing to do with my like or dislike of you, which is an emotional reaction.
I am not “digging myself in deeper,” I am standing by my conclusions, in the face of your ridicule. Also, I wouldn’t say my reaction to you rises to the level of dislike; I’d say I regard you as an over-emotional, needy individual that has too much reverence for dogma and reinterprets the facts of history a little loosely to justify your pre-conceived notions. As such, you are not much different than about 90% of our colleagues, so to clarify my reaction to you, as little as I know about you, I’d say I respect you in your niche but, in my opinion, the further you stray from that the more skeptical I am of your reasoning.
I will of course concede that my inference of your state of mind can be far off the mark, that is true of anybody. But I do not think I misread, or misremembered, or misunderstood either Hofstadter or the argument about the neutrino. You have your interpretation, I have my interpretation that I think produces a less cosmic implication than your interpretation, and I stand by mine. Yours is not superior to mine.
As for a tirade, I am at a loss to how you gathered that; I was agreeing with Elaine and explaining how my professional experience led me to fail to recognize her stopwatch joke as a joke, it had nothing to do with “my lawn” except that “my lawn” tricked me into an error.
I do not believe gravity is implicitly faster than light; I certainly haven’t seen anything to that effect, so please point at a paper if you have the time. Einstein’s formulation, I recall, was specifically that gravitational attraction could not travel faster than light.
I won’t respond to the rest, I have a conference next week and I have details to which I must attend.
Tony C said:
@Slart: You are right, I do not get it, because I think we can perfectly describe an electron, or a top quark, and their interactions. I believe we can perfectly describe a photon, or a neutrino. (the word “can” used in the sense that I believe it is possible.)
You’re telling me that the map is perfect because it’s got accurate depths for the whole harbor while ignoring the huge expanse marked “Hyre thar bee Dragyns” just outside. What are quarks made of? Where is a theory that will explain all four fundamental forces? How about a theory to explain why you seem so obtuse? A perfect map would answer all of those questions about the territory, our current map does not.
I find appealing to the heroic fame of Hofstadter and waving your hands about how “the map is not perfect in the first place” unconvincing.
I “appealed” to Hofsteadter because he does a much better job of explaining the metaphor that I can – after all, he came up with it, I didn’t. I don’t feel that invoking Dr. H (tired of trying to spell it…) as someone who agrees with his own metaphor is in any way inappropriate – what, exactly, do you think I did wrong?
I have read GEB, I have followed the math in Godel’s Incompleteness theorem. It’s been twenty years, but I guess I do not get out of those what you get.
Might I suggest that either you didn’t understand it then or you’ve forgotten (see below for details). I have a feeling that what I “get” out of the book is much closer to what the author intended people to get.
When you say hard science cannot perfectly describe every aspect of the universe, I understand you are making an appeal to Godel’s Incomplete theorem. Fine, I agree with that.
No, I wasn’t. I make a very strong distinction between mathematics and science. Godel’s theorem applies to axiomatic systems – which are mathematical objects, not physical ones. In this case, Godel’s theorem applies to the “language”, if you will, that the map is written in (and what it says is not quite what you imply either – your implication assumes that the theorems Godel refers to (the unprovable true ones) have some physical significance, something not a priori true). I’m just saying that science is about making a map of the universe – in fact that is all that science has ever done or ever will do. Science is a way (the most effective currently known) to make an ever-improving guide to understanding the universe – what about this is so nonsensical to you?
But I do not see that it makes any difference, because perfectly describing every aspect of the universe is not the goal. Incompleteness does not imply that nothing is provable; or you might be out of a job!
What is the goal of science if not describing the physical universe? And where did I say anything about anything being provable? Science is not about proving things – the only thing you can possibly PROVE in a scientific experiment is that your hypothesis is wrong. As a scientist yourself, how can you fail to understand that?
Further, Godel proved there MAY[sic – emphasis mine (Slartibartfast)] be statements that are true but cannot be proven, and that includes statements of the form “statement X cannot be proven or disproven.”
NO. Godel proved that in any axiomatic system (all the good ones, anyway) THERE EXIST true propositions which cannot be proven (and, as a corollary, that no axiomatic system can be used to demonstrate its own consistency). What you said is a completely useless pansy-ass statement not worthy of being called a lemma, let alone a theorem, as opposed to what Godel said, which profoundly altered our understanding of mathematics.
So we don’t know whether any particular true statement can be proven or not, until it is proven.
My god, you are completely talking out of your ass. We don’t KNOW if a statement is true or false until it is proven (or disproven) – hence the problem with a true proposition which can’t be proven. Thank you for the banal tautology
However, the question before us in this thread is not whether science can perfectly describe “every aspect of the universe,” but whether it can perfectly describe a very specific and tiny aspect of the universe, an upper bound on the speed of particles with mass.
To “describe” what you speak of requires that all of the English terms you used be translated into a consistent mathematical framework (remember that you can’t use the framework to demonstrate its own consistency, by the way…) so that a predictive model can be built – in other words, to make a “map” of the “territory” of “how things move in relation to each other”.
To do that we would need a mathematical model of the particles with mass and how they move or can be induced to move. But it also does not have to describe every aspect of the universe.
I’m talking about the goal of the enterprise of science, not individual scientists or experiments – hence my statement that “science is a mapmaker” (rather than “scientists are mapmakers”). For the map (the scientific worldview) to be perfect, it must describe the either universe accurately – or do you have some other definition of “perfect” that we don’t know about?
The model is the description of primitive particles with near-zero features, and I do not think it is impossible to capture every feature of these particles. Godel’s Incompleteness theorem, cool as it is, does not apply to anything, it is like a warning sign to theorists: Beware! A subset of statements are true but unprovable, and there is no way to tell if your statement is one of them, except by affirmatively removing it from the subset by proving it true or false.
Yes, just like number theory, Godel’s theroem is beautiful mathematics with no application to anything in the real world… wait a sec… no… you’re an idiot. Just like number theory forms the foundation of cryptography, Godel’s theorem is fundamental to the study (and creation) of artificial intelligence (which was what GEB was about, by the way…).
So as a person trained to be a scientist, I agree with your cartoon, my feeling and intuition is that the superluminal neutrino won’t hold up, but that is human emotion talking, much like Einstein’s claim that “God doesn’t play dice.”
Actually, my intuition is that it will hold up – I’m aware that there are effects which are implicitly faster than light – gravity, for instance* – so a FTL neutrino doesn’t strain my credulity. Also, given my understanding that quantum mechanics is a map and not the territory, I have no problem answering “No.” to the metaphysical question, “Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster play dice?” while accepting quantum mechanics as an accurate map (of only a portion of the territory). But that’s for another time…
* The Earth is attracted to where the sun IS not where the sun APPEARS to be, therefore gravitons, if they exist, must be superluminal.
As a dispassionate scientist, I say the fact that this data has been reviewed for months and was still published makes me suspect there is something non-trivial to be explained here and reconciled with other experiments,
And I agree, the problem is…
and it should not be dismissed emotionally or on the grounds of undesirable ramifications.
NO ONE IS ARGUING THAT IT SHOULD BE! Elaine made a joke – which she pointed out and you acknowledged – and then you seemed to descend into some tirade about how some (unnamed) kids should stay off of your lawn. I get that you picked a fight with me because you don’t like me, but, in your haste to try to somehow make me look foolish, you’ve made yourself look foolish instead (at least to me). So now the choice is yours – will you listen to the confirmation bias that is probably telling you that I must be wrong because you don’t like me and dig yourself in deeper or can you admit (even just to yourself) that you misread, misremembered, or misunderstood?
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