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Speed-of-light experiments give baffling result at Cern

Started by Data, September 23, 2011, 13:59:59 PM

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Data

This came up on the news feed and it's been all over the TV.

Scientists are baffled by experiments that appear to show subatomic particles known as neutrinos have exceeded the speed of light.

Read More

On the TV they said that it's more likely to be a fault in the instruments that are measuring its speed rather than the particles travelling faster than light, but the jury is still out.

Freddy

Hehe, I posted this earlier on Dreams, interesting story.

Data

Oops!

Yeah interesting, with some profound consequences if proved to be correct.

I wonder what Snowy thinks about it.

Diesel

I've just spent a little time reading up on this, if proven, this could have a profound effect on everything we think we know, with particular profanity toward Time Travel.

To travel anywhere you need a destination, otherwise you haven't moved, so to travel back in time would mean that history was still running in real time, ergo, the same with the future. Turning up unannounced would clearly have an effect thus, essentially, changing the accepted time line. Result, now would be altered.

Stuff of Science Fiction, maybe, but have we been visited from someone from the future, if so, then maybe I never wrote this. :scratch-head:

Actually, all we need is a Snowcrash, ;D to sort this all out and explain what's going on
It WILL be fine !...

Snowcrash

#4
Some say that if everything is known about the universe it will instantly be replaced by something even more inexplicable.

Others say this has already happened.
(DNA)

:P

This is an effect of less than 1/10,000th so no time travel yet I feel.
"I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

DaveMorton

It always confuses me how they can measure something like that to such a degree of accuracy, considering that it's not a "round trip" measurement (where the "signal", in this case neutrinos, would be reflected back to the point of origin). I'm sure that local time variations are taken into account, but there's still the propagation delay of the sensors, and all sorts of other variations that can affect the timing of the measurements, causing discrepancies of this sort.

And no, Data (or was it Art?), if you throw a lit torch, the light does NOT speed up. It only changes frequencies, relative to you. (It must have been Art. I'm almost sure of it now)
Safe, Reliable Insanity, Since 1961!

Freddy

Yeah that light thing is what I thought too... it's all relative.  I think a bit like a fly (insect) in an aeroplane, isn't that the same kind of thing ?

Also, if my car is going at the speed of light in the middle of the night and I turn the headlights on would I see anything ?



...apart from the police...

DaveMorton

Well, I'm obviously no physicist, but the way I understand it, the closer you get to the speed of light ( the 'C' in the famous equation E=MC2), the more energy ('E') you gain, based on your mass ('M'). Photons, according to physics, have no mass(?), so there's not all that much energy involved (relatively speaking). If you were able to get your car up to the speed of light, I honestly think that seeing a cop at that point would be the least of your worries. :P Whatever light that came from the headlights would be reflected back to your eyes as something along the lines of what you get from a GRB (Gamma Ray burst), or even higher energy levels, perhaps. I just don't have the math to express it.
Safe, Reliable Insanity, Since 1961!

Snowcrash

#8
Close Dave. Very close.

Anything with mass, as it approaches C, gains more mass. Mass and energy being equivalent (E=MC²), the system has more energy. The more mass something has the more energy it takes to make it go faster still. The faster it goes the more mass it attains.
To send anything with mass at C requires infinite energy (that C² conversion factor is a bitch). So, anything with mass CANNOT go at the speed of light. Space has no mass and can expand faster than light.
Neutrinos are weird. Gravity (mass) does not affect them or very little. There are approx 65,000,000,000 of the little things passing through every square centimeter, every second. These come from our sun and pass straight through the whole Earth. To say they are hard to detect is a massive understatement.
It is thought that a neutrino does have a very small amount of mass, though this has not been prooven. I'm betting that the latest news story will turn out to be a timing error. 1 part in 40,000. Neutrino wiki here.

As for light. No matter what speed you are doing, light will always appear to go at the speed of light. The torch (flashlight) you are holding will always appear the same colour to you. To someone travelling at a different speed to you, the light will appear a different colour (red shifted if moving away, blue if toward) and you will not agree on when the torch was switched on. C does not change, space and time do.

Did some maths and revised timing error to 1 part in 40,000.
"I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Snowcrash

And here's a good cartoon picturing my thoughts. Shame I didn't think of it.

http://www.xkcd.com/955/
"I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Snowcrash

Quote from: Freddy on September 24, 2011, 21:09:30 PM

Also, if my car is going at the speed of light in the middle of the night and I turn the headlights on would I see anything ?


I'm assuming you are in a space car. Simple answer to 'would you see anything?' is no. Mainly due to being in space there would be nothing for your headlights to reflect off of. I'm not sure 'in the middle of the night' has any relevance.
Would your headlights light up as normal? Yes.
Could your car go at, or close to, the speed of light in atmosphere? No, you would burn up through friction. Not to mention doing over 7 orbits of Earth per second.

The space police would be the least of your worries. Breathing would be priority number 1.
"I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

DaveMorton

Quote from: Snowcrash on September 25, 2011, 21:19:38 PM
And here's a good cartoon picturing my thoughts. Shame I didn't think of it.

http://www.xkcd.com/955/

I want you to know, Snowy, that your post was single-handedly responsible for sucking more than 2 hours from my life. :P Those comics are awesome! Of course, that places me squarely in the "geek" category, since I both "get", and enjoy, science/math humor. :) 200 comics down, 750~something to go.
Safe, Reliable Insanity, Since 1961!

Snowcrash

#12
Wow.

You've read far more than me.

I do like the circuit diagram though.
"I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Snowcrash

"I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Freddy

Nice program on BBC last night explaining about this and what it could mean.  Now on iPlayer.  Presented by Marcus du Sautoy....

BBC iPlayer - Faster Than the Speed of Light?