Skip to comments.2nd test affirms faster-than-light particles
Posted on 11/18/2011 11:53:59 AM PST by TN4Liberty
A second experiment at the European facility that reported subatomic particles zooming faster than the speed of light -- stunning the world of physics -- has reached the same result, scientists said late Thursday.
The "positive outcome of the [second] test makes us more confident in the result," said Fernando Ferroni, president of the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics, in a statement released late Thursday. Ferroni is one of 160 physicists involved in the international collaboration known as OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion Tracking Apparatus) that performed the experiment.
While the second experiment "has made an important test of consistency of its result," Ferroni added, "a final word can only be said by analogous measurements performed elsewhere in the world."
That is, more tests are needed, and on other experimental setups. There is still a large crowd of skeptical physicists who suspect that the original measurement done in September was an error.
CERN clocks subatomic particles traveling faster than light Video: Faster-than-light measurement shocks physicists God Particle riddle could be solved "by 2012"
Should the results stand, they would upend more than a century of modern physics.
In the first round of experiments, a massive detector buried in a mountain in Gran Sasso, Italy, recorded neutrinos generated at the CERN particle accelerator on the French-Swiss border arriving 60 nanoseconds sooner than expected. CERN is the French acronym for European Council for Nuclear Research.
A chorus of critiques from physicists soon followed. Among other possible errors, some suggested that the neutrinos generated at CERN were smeared into bunches too wide to measure precisely.
So in recent weeks, the OPERA team tightened the packets of neutrinos that CERN sent sailing toward Italy. Such tightening removed some uncertainty in the neutrinos' speed.
The detector still saw neutrinos moving faster than light.
"One of the eventual systematic errors is now out of the way," said Jacques Martino, director of the National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics in France, in a statement.
But the faster-than-light drama is far from over, Martino added. The OPERA team is discussing more cross-checks, he added, including possibly running a fiber the 454 miles between the sites.
For more than a century, the speed of light has been locked in as the universe's ultimate speed limit. No experiment had seen anything moving faster than light, which zips along at 186,000 miles per second.
Much of modern physics -- including Albert Einstein's famous theory of relativity -- is built on that ultimate speed limit.
Should Einstein be worried?
The scientific world stopped and gaped in September when the OPERA team announced it had seen neutrinos moving just a hint faster than light.
"If it's correct, it's phenomenal," said Rob Plunkett, a scientist at Fermilab, the Department of Energy physics laboratory in Illinois, in September. "We'd be looking at a whole new set of rules" for how the universe works.
Einstein’s gonna be pissed.
I tried looking up this information, but found nothing much: what makes light travel at any given speed; what governs it? Is it the maximum speed of an electron in orbit around a nucleus?
Everyone be sure to keep this in mind the next time some blowhard claims that “the science is settled” regarding global warming.
So? The speed of light is something most people will never grasp. Of the few who can, most of them don’t care. It is interesting to a miniscule portion of the planet, just something else for the 99% to protest.
I’ve never believed in the light-speed limit. Ever.
Not that I had a scientific reason for it....it just sounds stupid to me.
It’d be cool if the experiments are confirmed by other teams: I don’t mind being right for no reason other than I totally guessed the answer.....
Einstein doesn’t care. He’s dead. He has other things to worry about, or he doesn’t. In that case, he can ask God directly for the secrets of the universe.
If there is a consensus it has to be the truth! Right?
Superluminal speeds just ain’t what they used to be!
Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts
Einstein may now have been debunked on the Speed of Light, as was in his theorems gravitational forces.
We think we know so much, when we hardly know anything
“I tried looking up this information, but found nothing much: what makes light travel at any given speed; what governs it?”
I am thinking the NRC or maybe the EPA governs it.
“He has other things to worry about, or he doesnt”
They didn’t bury him in that box with the cat, did they?
Next Wednesday afternoon on the interstates leaving Atlanta the cops won't bother pulling over anyone doing less than that.
Quite right. This second experiment presumably measures time-of-flight in the same way as the first one did - and I'm betting there's an incorrect assumption (or perhaps subtle equipment malfunction) in that measurement.
Proves at least what I have always thought could happen, is that we could actually be going down a branch of physics that, however suitable for many purposes, is actually a rabbit trail.
Should this be accepted as good data, it opens up a whole new debate as to how did this happen, who did what and why, is this similar to the East Anglia debacle, to further one’s own carrer, political, etc.
Damn, I miss that congresscritter from Ohio with the muskrat on his head.
Then again, had Einstein been aware of this new information, he may have been able to work out his unification theory.
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