Scientists make startling discovery

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Scientists make startling discovery

Postby Jeremoot » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:30 pm

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

In a recent study, scientists observed subatomic particles traveling faster than the speed of light. The laws of physics are collapsing around us as we speak.

I don't know whether to stand in awe or fear.
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby Gracerath » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:50 pm

Warp theory will be next and then.. Vulcan!
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby Worldie » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:54 am

In before time travel.

On a serious note, it's a very important discovery, looking forward to see its definitive confirmation
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby Treck » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:14 am

Gracerath wrote:Warp theory will be next and then.. Vulcan!

Unlike this recent discovery, warp theory has ALWAYS been a scientific possibility.
Moving faster than light in regular space has never bee "possible" according to science.
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby valura » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:20 am

The idea that one of the major cornerstones of modern physics migth not actually be a cornerstone at all is terrifying in both positive and negative sense. I am eager and reluctant to see what influence it'll have on the scientific community and what scientific progress we have coming our way...
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby Sagara » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:35 am

valura wrote:The idea that one of the major cornerstones of modern physics migth not actually be a cornerstone at all is terrifying in both positive and negative sense. I am eager and reluctant to see what influence it'll have on the scientific community and what scientific progress we have coming our way...


That's what I love about the scientific method as a whole: self-doubt. Never sit on your laurels, thinking you've seen it all - it's a huge, unknown universe out there, and EVEN if you hunt those marvels your entire life, you'll only have scratched the surface.

Mind-blowing is a perfect word here. As a GM for Mage, i just WANT that to be true, just imagining the fun Real Life's GM must be having seeing us scrambling about. :lol:
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby Brekkie » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:14 am

I'm gonna wait to get excited until the results are duplicated.
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby Shoju » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:31 am

Brekkie wrote:I'm gonna wait to get excited until the results are duplicated.


Emphasis is mine.
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby cerwillis » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:58 am

I think the excitement is in the question. Just thinking, "What if?" gets me excited, and I have minimal understanding of these sorts of things.
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby Shoju » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:05 am

Oh yeah, I'm totally excited about the probability of something breaking the "speed limit" of physics. Especially, because Einstein's theory has held true in so many instances, that finding something that is capable of breaking it, and proving it can be done is truly an astounding place to start new research.
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby theckhd » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:19 am

This really feels like a total non-story to me, but I'm a little biased since I have a thesis to defend on the topic next week. The neutrinos saw a fractional advancement of ~60 nanoseconds in a total traversal time of 2.4 milliseconds. Without more information, it's impossible to tell whether 60 ns is relevant.

For example, I have an experiment running right now where photons are "traveling" faster than the speed of light. That doesn't mean that Einstein causality is wrong, or that the cornerstones of physics are crumbling beneath our feet. It means that someone out there doesn't understand what those cornerstones actually say, and what their implications are.

There's nothing special about making a particle appear to travel faster than the speed of light. It happens all the time. The speed of light is only the cosmic speed limit for signal transit, so unless you can prove that those neutrinos carry information, it's meaningless. I'd like to know the temporal width of their neutrinos, simply because that would help determine if what they're seeing is interesting. If they're seeing 60 ns of advancement on a 100+ nanosecond particle, then the results aren't ground-breaking, even if they are surprising (is rock really that dispersive?).

The confusing part, to me, is why the very first thing they thought of wasn't dispersive propagation effects. Maybe particle physicists don't see that very often?
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby Holyblaze » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:08 pm

I don’t know Theckhd, while your counter points are compelling to me, I find it fascinating all the same. While I do not feign that I have any depth of study in science, let alone physics, I love it all. My son and I were just talking about this over breakfast. Haha amazing and wondrous we both found it all. I let him know that there verifying it all now and then others would try and duplicate it for further verification.
What would it mean if we could send information faster than light? How would that affect the different studies by other brilliant minds now trying to tie all of physics together into one theory. Would it affect our limited ideas of what happens to light as it speeds up as it goes into a super massive black hole? Can that be changing into something else if you will. If so, can that still be holding information?
As you can see, I do not have a lot of focused thoughts about it all due to the fact that I just don’t know how to wrap my mind around it. Love I do though. Hehe BAM!
Hrm…would this effect String Theory now that I am thinking about it. gah! ELNDLESS DAMNED QUESTIONS!
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby Treck » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:56 pm

theckhd wrote:The neutrinos saw a fractional advancement of ~60 nanoseconds in a total traversal time of 2.4 milliseconds. Without more information, it's impossible to tell whether 60 ns is relevant.

Are you questioning their accuracy in measuring?
They see the same deviation reliably, so i doubt its not accurate.
But it doesnt mean its "right", they are trying to find every possible reason why this could be "wrong", but they havnt found one now, and are maybe considering the possibility that it might be correct.

theckhd wrote:There's nothing special about making a particle appear to travel faster than the speed of light. It happens all the time. The speed of light is only the cosmic speed limit for signal transit, so unless you can prove that those neutrinos carry information, it's meaningless.
If you can send a beam of neutrinos from one place to another, and reliably read them on the other place, how is that not sending information?
Also they do have different states (the reason they ran the experiement in the first place) if they discover what causes their different states, and maybe can control it, then thats another way of sending information aswell.

theckhd wrote:The confusing part, to me, is why the very first thing they thought of wasn't dispersive propagation effects. Maybe particle physicists don't see that very often?

Honestly, i have no clue what that is, but do you really think they havnt considered it?
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby theckhd » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:20 pm

Holyblaze wrote:I don’t know Theckhd, while your counter points are compelling to me, I find it fascinating all the same.


There's no reason not to find it fascinating. It's neat stuff. But there's a very good reason that the scientist quoted in the article refused to try and provide a physical explanation for the effect. In fact, after skimming the arXiv paper, they went as far as to put a disclaimer at the end to say that they're just reporting the results and the sanity checks they've performed to rule out possible error sources, and are expressly not trying to provide an explanation at this time.

That's scientist speak for "we're pretty sure there's something going on we've missed here, but we haven't the faintest clue what." That doesn't mean there isn't new physics here either, but it probably doesn't mean we'll be seeing time machines any time soon.

This isn't the first time someone's reported observing things traveling faster than c, and it won't be the last. Hell, I have a Science publication where I reported observing light propagating backwards. But in none of those cases is Einstein causality ever violated. Generally it's the fault of reporters - certainly the NY Times write-up of my publication was pretty loose and fast with the facts, and made the results appear to be much more generous than they really were. So did the slashdot article. In this case, I think it's just a matter of interpretation by the scientists themselves - they're definitely observing what they did, but they haven't figured out what causal physical mechanism is causing the effect they're seeing.

If I had to guess (and I do, I'm not familiar enough with neutrino physics to be too certain of much, and I haven't had time to do more than skim their paper) it's what we would refer to as a pulse reshaping effect for photons. Usually it's caused by heavy dispersion, but it can also be caused by other effects, including quantum tunneling. If there's a 60-nanosecond long stretch of the propagation path that's classically "not allowed," then that would easily account for the discrepancy.

The interesting thing to me is that my limited understanding of neutrinos was that they don't interact with much. So what sort of material would provide an interaction barrier for a particle that doesn't interact with anything? Crazy stuff.
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Re: Scientists make startling discovery

Postby Cogglamp » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:29 pm

Let's put this all aside and focus on the real discovery/mystery here.

Holyblaze put an entire paragraph together (although lacking structure) without using any Emeril-isms.

Now THAT is mind blowing stuff...

/brofist to Holy

Edit: Oh hell, I just saw a BAM in his post. Nevermind...
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