Qfwfq, on 23 September 2011 - 05:48 AM, said:
The neutrino has been caught at speeding! No, it won't have to pay a fine, even going to jail isn't enough, not even the DP, no, it's far far more serious than that. They say it is going faster than light!!!!!!
LaurieAG, on 24 September 2011 - 08:11 PM, said:
Not quite, the issue is with the calculated neutrino speed which is less than the speed of light. The experimental difference compared with some astronomical observations means the observed neutrino's are coming in about 4 years too late. This is an application issue not a theory issue.
I think you’re misreading the “4 years late” mention, Laurie
It states that, if the speed of neutrinos were what the CERN OPERA experiment findings suggest, the increase in neutrino detection rate that accompanied the 1987 detection of a supernova about 168000 ly distant (SN 1987A
) should have been detected about 4 years too early, before
the light from that event was detected, rather than the about 3 minutes early actually observed. This slight (about
) difference in detection time is, I think, due not to the neutrons traveling faster than c (exactly 299792458 m/s), but due to the light signal traveling slightly slower due to the slightly less than perfect vacuum of the interstellar medium.
According to everything I’ve read, such as this wikipedia article section
, the speed of neutrinos in vacuum has be shown to be very nearly (within 0.0000001%, or one part in 109
) exactly the same as the speed of light, c. Most theorists, I believe, expect the two speeds to be exactly equal. The OPERA findings show it to be 1.00002 c, that is faster by about 0.002% or one part in 105
I think most physicists, including the OPERA ones, are betting at present that this finding is either a statistical fluke or a subtle mistake in the design or execution of the experiment. Unburdened as I am from the need to be so cautious, I’m just gonna take the result at face value and leap right into speculating how FTL neutrinos could be physically real:
The most obvious difference between SN 1987A lighspeed and OPERA’s FTL neutrinos are the medium through which they traveled. SN 1987A’s traveled mostly through the near complete vacuum of interstellar space, while OPERA’s traveled through roughly 1020
times denser dirt and rock, leading me to the vague suspicion that the OPERA neutrinos’ much greater interaction with massive particles is responsible for the difference in neutron speed.
I recall about 4 years ago another announcement of an apparently FTL signal by the University of Koblenz’s (DE) Gunter Nimtz and Alfons Stahlhofen (who’s original announcement dates back to at least early 2004), which we discussed in the threads FTL signaling through frustrated total internal reflection
and We have broken speed of light
. Summarizing, Nimtz and Stahlhofen’s results suggest that the small fraction of a light not reflected but instead passing through a pair of slightly separated glass prisms effectively traveled faster than c due to non-classical, quantum tunneling effects.
My hunch is that the OPERA neutrinos are doing something similar to N&S’s photons, tunneling many times due to interaction with all the dirt through which they pass, which functions as a partial “neutrino barrier” (while neutrinos interact only very weakly with matter like dirt, they do interact) similar to the photonic barriers N&S describe in such articles as this 22 Apr 2004 Popular Science one
As in our 2007 threads, my intuition is that these FTL effects are physically real. If I’m right, the consequences are profound, as FTL signaling leads, inevitably it seems, to possible causality violations (Richard Baker’s Sharp Blue: Relativity, FTL, and causality
remains the best and prettiest explanation of this I’ve seen). “Cosmic censorship” of such effects appears to me to be the great engineering difficulty of actually making (artificially or via an accident of nature) a signaling-into-the-past device. In my vast leisure time
I’ll try to calculate some details, but it seems to me to involve accelerating planet or greater mass bodies to appreciable fractions of c, engineering far beyond the capability of our presently about type 0.72 civilization
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