Friday, September 23, 2011

Faster than light?!

This is really hot! For a past few days there are news about neutrinos going faster than a light. I spent past few hours on this, i.e. watching webcast, searching the Net and reading blogs. I wanted to read/hear opinions from all the possible sides, not just the one, and especially not from some half-informed journalists. I also wanted to understand as much as possible, which is unfortunately not much. :)

As I said, I watched webcast from CERN in which researchers presented their findings. These findings were obtained within OPERA experiment/project. Unfortunately, I started to watch somewhere in the middle of the presentation, and also I'm not trained physicists so much of the information presented was very vague to me. Nevertheless, it seems that the researches themselves don't yet believe to the results and they are trying to find the error, which they are trying to do for the past several years. Furthermore, they published their findings in order for other researchers to test results, and hopefully to repeat them. The problem is that there are only two laboratories in the world that could verify the results. One is in America, Fermilab, but it seems that they don't have equipment precise enough. The other one is in Japan that currently doesn't work because of the tsunami. Oh, and it turns out that few years ago measurements were perfomed in USA that also got faster-then-a-light results, but the error margin was to big for the results to be relevant.

Also what you'll find is that faster-than-a-list neutrinos doesn't match observed behavior from supernovae SN1987A. Namely, in that case neutrinos arrived only three hours before photons, i.e. light. According to the results obtained from the ORION experiment they should arrived few years earlier. The reason they arrived earlier is that neutrinos don't interact with matter, while photons do. Still, the energies that were generated neutrinos are different, and much larger in ORION experiment.

The value that was measured
Here are few more links:
Do neutrinos move faster than the speed of light?
This Extraordinary Claim Requires Extraordinary Evidence!
Can Neutrinos be Superluminal? Ask OPERA!
Neutrino experiment sees them apparently moving faster than light
CERN Press Release
Faster-than-light neutrino claim bolstered
And what would happen if it is possible to travel faster than a light? Here are some explanations:
Faster-than-Light Travel

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