Dr. Dawg

Warp speed

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Faster-than-light neutrinos have been confirmed in a second experiment.

There will be many more experiments to eliminate potential sources of error, such as the placement of the two clocks in Cern and the Italian Gran Sasso laboratory.

In the meantime this layperson has a question, probably naive. These neutrinos are arriving in the Gran Sasso lab before light traveling in a vacuum could, theoretically. Never mind the jokes (“We don’t serve neutrinos here.” A neutrino walked into a bar), where are the paradoxical effects?

They aren’t infinitely heavy, as the theory of relativity predicts. And even if that hurdle is surmounted, they don’t appear to be moving backwards in time. If they were doing so, could they ever leave CERN? If they were traveling faster than light, they’d slip into the past just as they emerged from the barrel of the gun, so to speak. The longer they traveled, the further into the past they’d go. Perhaps they might arrive in San Sasso before they were sent from CERN!

But their spatial trajectory is difficult to fathom, at least for me, as they move backwards along the temporal axis. With luck a reader with a background in theoretical physics might show up here to explain where-and-when these little fellows are heading.

We can avoid this thicket, though, by using Occam’s Razor. These neutrinos are just going a little faster than the quanta that until now have held the universal speed record.

Certainly, once confirmed and reconfirmed, this finding knocks a huge hole in the Special Theory of Relativity, if observed changes in the fine structure constant haven’t already done that.

Good. The “glorious entertainment” requires a new act by now. Bring on the next Einstein with his or her unicycle and rubber balls. Exciting space-times we live in, eh?

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on November 18, 2011 11:56 AM.

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