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Experiment with ‘faster than light’ neutrino particles open dreams of time travel

Saturday, September 24th 2011 - 21:57 UTC
Full article 11 comments
Einstein’s said that speed of light was a “cosmic constant,” and nothing could go faster. Einstein’s said that speed of light was a “cosmic constant,” and nothing could go faster.

Sub-atomic particles apparently travelling faster than light could force a major rethink of theories about how the cosmos works and even allow dreams of time travel and extra dimensions, scientists said on Friday.

Jeff Forshaw, a professor of particle physics at Manchester University, said the results, if confirmed, would mean it would be possible in theory “to send information into the past.”

”In other words, time travel into the past would become possible ... (though) that does not mean we'll be building time machines any time soon”.

The international physicists who made the startling findings at CERN (European Centre for Nuclear Research) near Geneva said they must now be confirmed by independent research teams. The wider scientific community expressed astonishment and scepticism.

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and this is an extraordinary claim” cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees told the Reuters news agency.

CERN, also home to the Large Hadron Collider that is probing how the universe began and developed, said measurements over three years had shown invisible neutrino particles covering the 730 km to a laboratory in Italy 60 nanoseconds -- or 60 billionths of a second -- faster than light.

That reading could show that Albert Einstein, father of modern physics, was wrong when he laid down in his 1905 theory of special relativity that the speed of light was a “cosmic constant,” and nothing could go faster.

The new finding was recorded when 15,000 neutrino beams were pumped over three years from CERN to an underground Italian laboratory at Gran Sasso near Rome.

Physicists on the experiment, called OPERA after the initials of its formal scientific title, say they had checked and rechecked over many months anything that could have produced a misreading before announcing what they had found.

Professor Jenny Thomas, who works on neutrinos at Fermilab, the U.S. physics research centre near Chicago, commented: “The impact of this measurement, were it to be correct, would be huge”.

OPERA's Dario Auterio, presenting the findings to a packed and clearly sceptical auditorium at CERN on Friday, said they were of “high statistical accuracy” and could not be explained by extraneous effects such as seismic tremors or moon phases.

He declined to get into theoretical interpretations and told his audience of largely CERN scientists that other research centres -- Fermilab and probably Japan's T2K neutrino research team -- must now take up the baton.
 

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  • Think

    Chuckle Chuckle™

    Only one thing faster than Neutrinos…….....................................:
    Argentinos
    (How else do you think so many of us manage to ”jump” the USA border :-)

    Seriously now….............................................................
    An ex-daughter in law works at CERN (niiiiice girl, could kick my son) and confirms this.
    Hot, hot news………………………......................... If you are into Neutrinos.

    Sep 25th, 2011 - 05:38 am 0
  • stick up your junta

    Only one thing faster than Neutrinos

    Argie soldiers, legging it away from the Brits back to Stanley in 1982

    Sep 25th, 2011 - 01:56 pm 0
  • GeoffWard2

    The speedy neutrino is effective because it is the son (or daughter) of the muon – itself the decay product of the pion.

    In the sub-atomic mayhem created when cosmic ‘rays’ from galactic explosions of super-novae penetrate the solar system’s magnetic heliosphere and then the upper earth’s atmosphere, these charged particles known as muons, individually with the mass of 200 electrons, have the time – through Einsteinian relativity – to each form two neutrinos in the process of decaying to mere electrons.

    In strictly utilitarian terms, these ‘zillions’ of charged particles – the muons and neutrinos (etc) – can do a lot of atmospheric chemistry, but what they do REALLY WELL in the lower atmosphere is seed the sky with charged ‘specks’ that form the the big majority of the condensation-nuclei for cloud-formation.

    Thus, cosmic ‘rays’ form clouds; clouds alter the atmospheric warming/cooling; . . . . . .and CO2 is relegated to a minor anthropogenic influence in climate change.

    This is the non-PC message of 20 years of research by Svensmark and the cosmoclimatologists.
    It should destroy the politico-scientific consensus of CO2 and world carbon trading.

    It will continue to be suppressed.

    Sep 25th, 2011 - 02:06 pm 0
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