Friday, November 18, 2011

Faster Than The Speed Of Light?

Alan Boyle's Cosmic Log has more.
An unnamed source on the OPERA team told ScienceInsider that the controversy over the faster-than-light findings was exhausting. "Everyone should be convinced that the result is real, and they are not," the source was quoted as saying.

Other researchers, including physicists with the MINOS experiment at Fermilab, are working up independent analyses of neutrino runs to assess the OPERA team's findings. The initial outside assessments are expected to become available within six months or so, but end-to-end replications of the experiment could take significantly longer.
Yep. This finding (if it holds) will overturn a century of physics. Physics the modern world is built on. The Global Positioning System (GPS) is probably the most widely used bit of equipment that tests the speed of light and Relativity millions of times a day (At the link is a fascinating explanation of GPS and Relativity). It works. So for these results to be different than expected (faster than the speed of light) would indeed bring a revolution in our understanding of the universe. Right now? Too early to tell.

H/T The Boys and Girls at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values


harvest said...
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linearthinker said...

Lumo has an interesting discussion of all this at The Reference Frame. Sorry I didn't hook the link for y'all. Bottom line is don't hold your breath waiting for things to start flying away on their own because the old laws have been overturned.

Will Brown said...

How does the discovery that something not-a-photon can also (sometimes) travel faster than a photon in any way alter the speed at which a photon travels? Granted that a great many assumptions based on the proposition that a photon travels fastest of all will have to be re-thought, but how might any of that skull drudgery effect the speed-of-a-photon based GPS system?

In our blissfull ignorance, GPS worked. Now that we're slightly less blissfull, it still works relative(ity)ly well.