It would appear, reports Science magazine, that neutrinos may not travel faster than light after all – a finding from CERN’s OPERA experiment that would mean, assuming that every other aspect of relativity was not broken, that either neutrinos arrive at a destination before they leave a source or that they cross the universe via some other dimensions than our world of spacetime.
It is now suggested that a faulty connection with a GPS transceiver
may have skewed the results.
- Faster Than Light Neutrinos Confirmed? (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Faster-than-light neutrinos are back in the game (engadget.com)
- Doubts cast on faster-than-light neutrinos experiment (guardian.co.uk)
Neutrinos have proved to be nothing but trouble for scientists over the years.
They could not detect them from the Sun (where they are produced as a by-product of fusion), then they did or did not have mass. Now, it seems, they travel faster than light and are threatening to overturn the apple cart of relativistic space-time. If my dimly recalled understanding of relativity is correct, this would imply that, from the netrino’s point of view, it travels in the opposite direction to the way we see it moving in our reference frame: plainly, either the experiment is giving the wrong results or our theory of space-time is very seriously flawed.
Of course, what these troubles mean is that neutrinos have been huge allies in our search for a better understanding of physical reality. Though this new finding – which has plainly caused consternation amongst those who have been conducting the experiment – would be truly shocking if confirmed.
- Faster Than Light Neutrinos? Not So Fast [Physics] (io9.com)
- This Extraordinary Claim Requires Extraordinary Evidence! (scienceblogs.com)
- Neutrino experiment sees them apparently moving faster than light (arstechnica.com)
- Faster-than-light travel discovered? Slow down, folks (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- Faster than light particles found, claim scientists (guardian.co.uk)
- Scientists Find That Neutrinos Move Faster Than Light (lezgetreal.com)
- Scientists Say E=MC2 Might Be Wrong, Say Neutrinos Are Faster Than Light (inquisitr.com)
- Neutrinos Travel Faster Than Light, According to One Experiment at CERN (nextbigfuture.com)
- Neutrinos and Quantum Gravity (quantumdiaries.org)
- Particles break light-speed limit (nature.com)
- CERN Experiment Indicates Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos (sascho.wordpress.com)
The “solar weather forecast” for the next few years is for increasingly poor conditions – as the solar cycle picks up, more matter will fly out from the Sun and eventually collide with our planet’s magnetic field, where the trapped high energy particles will then lose energy by radiation, so potentially disrupting many of our communications systems.
The solar particles, though, are not responsible for everything trapped by the Earth’s magnetic field – cosmic rays provide much higher energy particles than anything that comes out of the Sun and, it seems, also fuel a belt of trapped anti-protons around the Earth (as reported in this week’s New Scientist).
Anti-matter – which mutually self-destructs on contact with matter is a fascinating subject: working out why there is so little of it (when physics suggests there should be equal quantities of it and matter) is at the heart of cosmologists attempts to explain the creation of the universe.
So far the only way to access it consistently has been produce it in high energy collisions in places like CERN. The fact that the Earth has several billion anti-protons spiralling around it’s magnetic field at any given time, may, therefore point to new ways for researchers to get at it without having to build ever bigger colliders – though obviously space satellites aren’t ten-pence-a-dozen either.
- Discovered : A Belt of Antimatter Surrounding Earth (techie-buzz.com)
- Weighing Antimatter (quantumdiaries.org)
- Antiproton Ring Found Around Earth [Science!] (geeksaresexy.net)
- Blog – Antiproton Radiation Belt Discovered Around Earth (technologyreview.com)
- Research Team Observes Spin Quantum-Jumps with Single Trapped Proton and Anti-Proton (azonano.com)
- Antiproton ring found around Earth (newscientist.com)