Physics breakthru? Cern measures neutrino faster than light.

#1
Could be the physics breakthru of our lifetime.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15017484

"Puzzling results from Cern, home of the LHC, have confounded physicists - because it appears subatomic particles have exceeded the speed of light."

"We wanted to find a mistake - trivial mistakes, more complicated mistakes, or nasty effects - and we didn't," he told BBC News.

"When you don't find anything, then you say 'Well, now I'm forced to go out and ask the community to scrutinise this.'"
 
#3
Orange Krush Class of 2013
Stanford, CA
I read that today, pretty incredible if it turns out to be true...
 
#4
Stuff like this needs to be replicated by someone else before it appears on the front pages of newspapers. It's always possible that there's something there, but it's also highly likely that the experimenters made a mistake.
 
#5
Savoy, IL
Stuff like this needs to be replicated by someone else before it appears on the front pages of newspapers. It's always possible that there's something there, but it's also highly likely that the experimenters made a mistake.
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/09/22/strange-particles-may-travel-faster-than-light/?test=faces

Realizing full well how scandalous the results will be if they are borne out, the scientists behind OPERA, led by Antonio Ereditato of the University of Bern, have decided to make their data public, in hopes of inviting scrutiny that could make sense of such radical findings. The scientists also intend to gather more data and further analyze their measurements in order to establish them more fully, or refute them. Their results will be published Friday (Sept. 23) on the physics preprint site ArXiv.
 
#6
Stuff like this needs to be replicated by someone else before it appears on the front pages of newspapers. It's always possible that there's something there, but it's also highly likely that the experimenters made a mistake.
From Nature

Ereditato says that he is confident enough in the new result to make it public. The researchers claim to have measured the 730-kilometre trip between CERN and its detector to within 20 centimetres. They can measure the time of the trip to within 10 nanoseconds, and they have seen the effect in more than 16,000 events measured over the past two years. Given all this, they believe the result has a significance of six-sigma — the physicists' way of saying it is certainly correct. The group will present their results tomorrow at CERN, and a preprint of their results will be posted on the physics website ArXiv.org.
At least one other experiment has seen a similar effect before, albeit with a much lower confidence level. In 2007, the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS) experiment in Minnesota saw neutrinos from the particle-physics facility Fermilab in Illinois arriving slightly ahead of schedule. At the time, the MINOS team downplayed the result, in part because there was too much uncertainty in the detector's exact position to be sure of its significance, says Jenny Thomas, a spokeswoman for the experiment. Thomas says that MINOS was already planning more accurate follow-up experiments before the latest OPERA result. "I'm hoping that we could get that going and make a measurement in a year or two," she says.
I think there is more to be done obviously, but this is interesting. However, that difference in speed is very minimal despite the high statistical significance. A slight, very slight, error in each measurement could produce this. I suspect we'll here more about this in the coming years.
 
#7
The difference between the surprise result and the expected result (60 nanoseconds) is still of the same order of magnitude as the claimed experimental error (10 nanoseconds) and these kinds of experiments involve a lot of moving parts, so your Bayesian prior conditional on the neutrinos traveling no faster than the speed of light would give low but reasonable odds to finding a result like this.

A 60 nanosecond discrepancy represents an exceptionally small difference in speeds relative to the size of those speeds, so, conditional on there being a discrepancy in the speed of light and the speed of these neutrinos, the Bayesian prior of the discrepancy being this small would assign very low odds.

Finally, other data (such as measurements of supernovae) and the long history of findings supporting the existing version of special relativity suggest we should have a strong prior against neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light.

In short, I think there should be a strong presumption that this is an experimental error.
 
#8
The difference between the surprise result and the expected result (60 nanoseconds) is still of the same order of magnitude as the claimed experimental error (10 nanoseconds) and these kinds of experiments involve a lot of moving parts, so your Bayesian prior conditional on the neutrinos traveling no faster than the speed of light would give low but reasonable odds to finding a result like this.

A 60 nanosecond discrepancy represents an exceptionally small difference in speeds relative to the size of those speeds, so, conditional on there being a discrepancy in the speed of light and the speed of these neutrinos, the Bayesian prior of the discrepancy being this small would assign very low odds.

Finally, other data (such as measurements of supernovae) and the long history of findings supporting the existing version of special relativity suggest we should have a strong prior against neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light.

In short, I think there should be a strong presumption that this is an experimental error.
I tend to agree, but I'm not sure that we should "strongly" presume error. There is quite a bit of debate taking place on Nature today and there are many ideas to (light interactions with "vacuums", effects of earth's gravitation/magnetic field, effects of earth's rotation, etc., etc) explain the result. I'd say the physicists are relatively split on whether they think this is real which means there will be many experiments and we should get to the bottom of this in the coming years.
 
#9
Savoy, IL
I tend to agree, but I'm not sure that we should "strongly" presume error. There is quite a bit of debate taking place on Nature today and there are many ideas to (light interactions with "vacuums", effects of earth's gravitation/magnetic field, effects of earth's rotation, etc., etc) explain the result. I'd say the physicists are relatively split on whether they think this is real which means there will be many experiments and we should get to the bottom of this in the coming years.
This. Odds are that it's error, but to completely rule it out is probably not wise, either. There is so little actual science taking place in this field that we really don't know what happens. All based on theory as far as I can tell.
 
#10
The camera never lies
Champaign
For us common folk, can someone put it terms that I would understand!:laugh: Not an essay, just an analogy will do.
 
#11
Savoy, IL
For us common folk, can someone put it terms that I would understand!:laugh: Not an essay, just an analogy will do.
Let's say a Ford Mustang has a chip in it that shuts it off at 168 mph (because Chevys can't go that fast :)). It is IMPOSSIBLE for the car to go faster than 168. Just assume it can never happen.

You get pulled over by a cop who's radar gun clocked you at 169 mph.

Bout the best I got. I was going to say it's like Illinois winning the BCS Championship, but decided not to...
 
#12
For us common folk, can someone put it terms that I would understand!:laugh: Not an essay, just an analogy will do.
[ANALOGY]Some folks in Europe found somebody faster than Usain Bolt. Waiting for someone else with a really good stopwatch to validate.[/ANALOGY]
 
#14
Central IL
Waiting for someone else with a really good stopwatch to validate.
The Japanese and Fermi Lab say they will test the idea, with Argonne Nat. Labs out of the running-

BBC: Argonne atom smasher shuts down today, after more than 25 years


not an essay, just an analogy will do.
I like snipe hunting in a welding helmet.

And just for asking you get a short bonus essay-
Particles are super light therefore super hard to measure. They form in nuclear reactions within the sun and stars. A decade ago no experiment could detect the number that had been predicted, only ~ one-fourth to one-half that level. So one physicist theorized the sun had gone dead, we just didn't know it. [If so it would continue to give light for several thousand years as heat poured from the dead core. (Scientists like to cover all their bases) ] Not to worry, a recent 'seismic' wave measuring satellite ruled that out.

Meanwhile someone solved the missing neutrino mystery by theorizing 3 types of neutrinos. And only one flavor was being detected.

Neutrinos pass through all matter in huge numbers without interacting. For the average man (realizing no Illini reading this could be average), hundreds of billions zip through the body each second. But they don't interact or stick around.

CERN generates billions of one type neutrino and shoots them at Italy and into (as best they can aim the beam) a huge lead (Pb) catcher's mitt/detector.

Since 'Rico named 'em, and Italy is where the 'new' kind were found, the little devils are clearly Italian.

First appearance of tau neutrino: And so an Italian woman must host those exciting CERN TV spots. May 2010
 
#15
Orange Krush Class of 2013
Stanford, CA
Neutrino detectors are also pretty cool. Super-K (a very large one in Japan) is just impressive in every way. The white spots at the end are people.

 
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#18
It is funny how many things that I learned as a kid turn out to be garbage. I wonder what Albert Einstein would have to say about this.

We only use 10% of our brains.
We have to have 8 glasses of water a day.
Eggs raise your cholesterol.
A progressive tax is the fair way to run a revenue system.

;)
 
#20
http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/02/breaking-news-error-undoes-faster.html

According to sources familiar with the experiment, the 60 nanoseconds discrepancy appears to come from a bad connection between a fiber optic cable that connects to the GPS receiver used to correct the timing of the neutrinos' flight and an electronic card in a computer. After tightening the connection and then measuring the time it takes data to travel the length of the fiber, researchers found that the data arrive 60 nanoseconds earlier than assumed. Since this time is subtracted from the overall time of flight, it appears to explain the early arrival of the neutrinos. New data, however, will be needed to confirm this hypothesis.