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Superluminal Neutrinos Would Wimp Out En Route

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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The heat is on, too

[Note: October 5 update and clarification added at the bottom]

Neutrinos that go beyond light speed? Not so fast, say two theoretical physicists.

In a terse, peremptory-sounding paper posted online on September 29, Andrew Cohen and Sheldon Glashow of Boston University calculate that any neutrinos traveling faster than light would radiate energy away, leaving a wake of slower particles analogous to the sonic boom of a supersonic fighter jet. Their findings cast doubt on the veracity of measurements recently announced at CERN (and posted online here) that clocked neutrinos going a sliver faster than light.

For someone who may have just helped to save the edifice of modern physics (if it was ever really at risk of crumbling down), Cohen is not especially upbeat or relieved. “On the contrary, I am saddened and disappointed,” he says. After all, a lot physicists would love the shocking measurement to be correct. For the experimentalists who made it, it could mean that they had made the discovery of the century. For theorists, it could be the start of an exciting period of creative upheaval. “It gets boring if [nature] always works the same way you expected,” Cohen says.

The result announced at CERN on September 23 (although the news had leaked out ahead of time) was certainly unexpected. By now, if you haven’t heard of it, you must have been a straggler from the Imperial Japanese Army coming out of Iwo Jima’s tunnels. Anyway, to recap, the war in the Pacific is over, and a team of physicists has released data on neutrinos they beamed through the Earth’s crust, from Geneva to the Gran Sasso Massif, near Rome, in an experiment known as OPERA. According to the physicists’ estimates, the neutrinos arrived at destination around 60 nanoseconds too fast, violating the cosmic speed limit set by Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Experts urged caution, especially because another measurement of neutrino velocity—one done in 1987 by detecting particles from a supernova that had gone off in the Magellanic Cloud, just outside our Milky Way—indicated to high precision and accuracy that neutrinos do respect the cosmic speed limit.

The neutrinos coming from that supernova, however, were relatively weak; by comparison, those shot from from CERN have more than 1,000 times the energy. What if supercharged neutrinos could be superluminal even as less-energetic ones were confined to our boring, relativistic world?

So, Cohen and Glashow (the latter a Nobel Prize winner) looked at precisely the high-energy kind of neutrinos that are detected at Gran Sasso. From basic principles such as the conservation of energy and momentum, they deduced that if superluminal particles indeed existed, they could decay into other particles that are bound to a lower speed limit. “When all particles have the same maximal attainable velocity, it is not possible for one particle to lose energy by emitting another,” Cohen explains. “But if the maximal velocities of the particles involved are not all the same,” then it can happen.

An effect of this type is well-known in the case in which electrons have the higher speed limit (light speed) and light itself has the lower one. This can happen because when light propagates in a medium, such as water, air or glass, its speed gets substantially reduced–a change that’s at the basis of the familiar refraction effect in which a pencil half-dipped in water looks as if it’s broken in two. (The universal speed limit of relativity is, to be precise, the speed of light in the vacuum.)

cerenkov radiationElectrons then, can move in a medium at a speed higher than the maximums speed of photons in that medium, and lose energy by emitting photons. This process is called Cherenkov radiation, and it makes the reactor pools of nuclear power stations (such as the one pictured here) glow with a bluish light. It is also used to detect electrons that shower down on Earth after a high-energy cosmic ray crashes on the upper atmosphere.

The possibility of a transfer of energy between particles with different speed limits was well known, Cohen says, and is a fact that he often gives to his undergraduate physics students as a homework problem. But in their paper, he and Glashow go further. They discuss the exact mechanisms by which such a conversion can happen, and make precise quantitative estimates of how often the neutrinos would decay into each type of particle.

The emission that is most likely is, by far, that of an electron paired with its antimatter twin, a positron, the authors conclude. (The high-energy neutrino would create them by interacting with one of the “virtual particles” that incessantly and fleetingly froth out of the vacuum—in this case, a Z boson, one of the carriers of the weak nuclear force; it was by understanding precisely that type of interaction that Glashow shared a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979.)

Crucially, the rate of production of these electron-positron pairs is such that a typical superluminal neutrino emitted at CERN would lose most of its energy before reaching Gran Sasso. “The beam sent from CERN would be significantly depleted” of high-energy neutrinos, Cohen says. The neutrinos picked up at the Italian lab, however, do not seem to have lost any of their energy.

But then, perhaps they were not superluminal to begin with.

“I think this seals the case,” says Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and the director of the Origins Projet at Arizona State University. “It is a very good paper.” Krauss has been among the most critical of the OPERA team’s decision to go public with their findings, as he has written in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times and told my former colleague John Matson.

The OPERA collaboration did not respond to a request for comments.

Carlo Rovelli, a theoretical physicist a the University of the Mediterranean in Marseille, says that Glashow and Cohen’s results are “plausible,” and did not seem particularly surprised. “It seems that the majority of physicists, including myself, strongly suspects that there is some mistake in OPERA’s measurements.”

Some physicists have suggested that neutrinos could be finding shortcuts in spacetime–for example, by moving in extra dimensions of space–that would allow them to get there faster while still respecting the speed limit. Such a possibility may not be ruled out by neutrinos’ Cherenkov radiation, but may begin to look increasingly contrived.

“Let’s put it this way: physicists who work on string theory for more than 20 years have assumed that there are additional dimensions, and yet none of them had ever consider the possibility that a particle could find shortcuts in other dimensions, and go faster than light,” Rovelli says.

As to what may or may not have gone wrong with the experiment, Cohen does not want to speculate (though others have: see for example the blog of theoretical physicist Lubos Motl). “I am not the right person to say what happened,” a task that he says is best left to other experimentalists.

Was Einstein right after all? Einstein’s relativity superseded Isaac Newton’s physics, and probably something else will some day supersede it. And physicists will still continue to use either one, when appropriate. “All of our scientific results have some domain of validity,” says Cohen; no scientific theory is “right” or “wrong” in an absolute sense–each just is in more or less accurate agreement with experiment. Meanwhile, others will no doubt keep trying to find glitches in Einstein’s theories. “We never stop testing our ideas,” says Cohen. “Even those that have been established well.”

October 5 Update and Clarification:

Since the post went up, there has been a very interesting exchange of viewpoints in the comments section: thanks to everyone who has been contributing.

First, the clarification: andrewgdotcom pointed out that was sloppy when I described the production of electron/positron pairs as a decay. Indeed, the neutrinos wouldn’t decay; they would proceed on their superluminal journey, but with less energy.

I disagree with the interpretation that some have given below of Cohen and Glashow’s result as an attempt at using theory to disprove facts; to me the point seems to be whether (something that for the authors amounts to) a back-of-the-envelope calculation can show that a certain experimental finding is in contradiction with scores of other experimental findings which also were done with high precision and accuracy.

But couldn’t there be could assumptions in the paper (such as basic facts in quantum field theory) that one could imagine failing to hold true here? After all, the paper deals wtih the weird and hypothetical realm of superluminal particles: who knows how much of the “old” theory we would have to throw away.

Rovelli says there do not seem to be any “hidden” assumptions in the paper that would invalidate it in a superluminal world.

“There are many things we don’t know,” Krauss says. “But there are many things we know. And one of these things involves the interactions of neutrinos. The process presented by Glashow and Cohen must occur, given all the existing measurements of neutrinos.”

In any event, it will be exciting to see what OPERA and other neutrino experiments will do in coming months and whether their incredible findings will hold up.

I will be doing my own experiment, too. Gran Sasso is just two hours away from where I live; I will go hiking just to the south of it to see if I can catch some of the neutrinos that bypass the OPERA detector and emerge overground. And I will keep you posted.

Paper: “New Constraints on Neutrino Velocities,” by Andrew G. Cohen and Sheldon L. Glashow.

Added October 11: Physicist Matt Strassler blogged about the Cohen-Glashow paper too.

gran sasso

Images courtesy of Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization and Wikimedia Commons

About the Author: Davide Castelvecchi is a freelance science writer based in Rome and a contributing editor for Scientific American magazine. Follow on Twitter @dcastelvecchi.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.






Comments 59 Comments

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  1. 1. ajoykt 11:18 pm 10/2/2011

    Hmmm, when experiment disagrees with theory, is it ok to use more theory to declare the experiment invalid? Seems to me the only refutation possible is either a negative on replication, or pointing out a concrete flaw in the experiment. A theoretical refutation of the LNGS findings isn’t hard – wouldn’t republishing Einstein’s 1905 paper do?

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  2. 2. S. Dinowitz 1:59 am 10/3/2011

    A very wise observation ajoykt. Love the last question. Even when they don’t say it, they say it: “Einstein said so.”

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  3. 3. terrybollinger 8:09 am 10/3/2011

    The nice thing about this paper is that pretty much no matter what kind of physics are proposed to support superluminal neutrinos, the Cohen and Glashow mechanism has the sort of “well duh” inevitability that makes it impossible to disregard.

    Their broader point seems to be that pushing particles whose properties are already known into superluminal territory has implications that go beyond just speed. Those implications then become strong experimental predictors of whether or not superluminal velocities were actually reached.

    The idea of ordinary matter touching on superluminal realms brings to mind a quote from the forest-dwelling Gump of Tom Cruise’s most off-beat movie, Legend:

    “A mortal laid hands on a Unicorn! Jack! Do you think you can upset the order of the universe, and not pay the price?!”

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  4. 4. MadScientist72 9:23 am 10/3/2011

    @ Davide Castelvecchi – “After all, a lot physicists would love the shocking measurement to be correct.” – Perhaps, but it seems like a lot more are jostling to be the first to prove it incorrect.
    “they deduced that if superluminal particles indeed existed, they could decay into other particles that are bound to a lower speed limit.” – Except that there is, as yet, no experimental evidence that neutrinos *do* decay.
    “The emission that is most likely is, by far, that of an electron paired with its antimatter twin, a positron, the authors conclude.” – Considering that the standard figure for neutrino mass is <0.3eV and an electron weighs in at 0.5MeV – nearly 2 million times larger – that seems pretty UNlikely.

    @ ajoykt – Just be cause their theory that requires a particle that can pass through a sun without interacting with *anything* could be getting slowed down by interacting with "virtual" particles that might not even exist, are you implying that it might be a little bit sketchy?

    @ terrybollinger – If the folks at CERN are right about their superluminal neutrino, they haven't "upset the order of the universe", they've simply shown that our understanding of that order is wrong.

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  5. 5. terrybollinger 9:49 am 10/3/2011

    @ 4 MadScientist72 – Ah, the dangers of waxing poetic in a scientific blog! I only meant that Cohen and Glashow showed that superluminal neutrinos must “pay the price” of losing energy via Cherenkov-like processes. I would still absolutely love for this superluminal finding to be real! And if it turns out that superluminal neutrinos somehow can short-circuit bremsstrahlung (misspelled in paper) pair radiation, even better! But someone needs to address the issue, since the point they made is too simple to ignore.

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  6. 6. BarmanSaysWeDontServeNeutrinos 10:28 am 10/3/2011

    ajoykt: Cohen and Glashow are naturally not refuting the result via theory. I see it more as schooling the flurry of theorists churning out papers that show that their pet theory totally retrospectively predicts the OPERA result (its averaged more than three a day since OPERA went public). Unless they can explain why this other, totally separate bit of very fundamental physics gets violated too, then its back to the drawing board.

    Cohen and Glashow have, incidentally, been working on ways to prove relativity wrong for a least a decade, including using neutrinos. So you’d expect them to be quite welcoming of the OPERA result. The problem is it doesn’t make any damn sense, at least for something as simple as Lorentz violation.

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  7. 7. MadScientist72 10:31 am 10/3/2011

    @ terrybollinger – By all means, wax away! Actually, the first thing that popped into my head – like a virtual particle? – after reading your bit about “the forest-dwelling Gump” was “Run, Forrest, run!” I know, it’s more punnish-ing that poetic, but it is what it is.

    I’m rooting for the FTL team, too. I’ve never felt entirely comfortable with Einstein’s speed limit. If photons can reach lightspeed without becoming infinitely massive, why can’t other particles? They used to say that supersonic travel was impossible, too. Of course, as an empiricist, I’m highly skeptical of any field whose proffs are entirely mathematical, wqith no experimental evidence to back them up.

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  8. 8. MadScientist72 10:33 am 10/3/2011

    Proofs, even. (Sorry, lousy typist)

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  9. 9. ajoykt 10:39 am 10/3/2011

    We have the conventional theory which says nothing can go faster than light. Conventional theory is known to be right for many cases. Then we have offbeat, though definitely not cranky, theories like the one mentioned here, which allow faster-than-light speeds. The Gran Sasso neutrons agree with neither. Now the offbeat theorist publishes a paper rejecting the seen data, without pointing out what is wrong? The tone of both the paper and the article are quite final: “this is it, let us move on.”

    Note that the offbeat theory is backed not by experimental data but just a Nobel winner’s credibility, since no one has seen anything superluminal to date. Now somebody, actually a group of over 160 physicists in the world’s biggest particle physics lab, using our fastest accelerator, checking and cross-checking a thorough experiment over two years, posts a result which withstands almost two weeks of intense public scrutiny, and the theorist dismisses the claim without checking the experiment?

    One has to ask why Fermilab didn’t try to reproduce, at a higher accuracy, their MINOS experiment from 2007 which saw superluminal neutrinos at 68% confidence level. If the OPERA results turn out to be real, I guess some of those questions will be asked and will have to be answered.

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  10. 10. ajoykt 10:50 am 10/3/2011

    Barman:
    Though I agree with your central point, I disagree with how you interpret the tone and agenda of the paper. To quote directly from the paper:

    “Thus we refute the superluminal interpretation of the OPERA result.”

    That, to me, sounds like refuting the results through theory. Incidentally, any theory and calculation that are based on, derived from, or depends on special relativity cannot be used to refute this result. That does not mean such theories are wrong; just those are the ones which will need adjustment if the results hold. I think the calculations of this paper fall into that set – it uses relativistic dilation factors.

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  11. 11. BarmanSaysWeDontServeNeutrinos 10:53 am 10/3/2011

    MadScientist72: “it seems like a lot more are jostling to be the first to prove it incorrect”
    Well, yes, this is experimental science. How else would it work?
    “Considering that the standard figure for neutrino mass is <0.3eV and an electron weighs in at 0.5MeV – nearly 2 million times larger – that seems pretty UNlikely."
    Cohen and Glashow were kind enough to calculate exactly how likely this process is, from very basic principles. If you have spotted a flaw in their work, please contact them and set them right.

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  12. 12. MadScientist72 11:09 am 10/3/2011

    @ Barman – “Well, yes, this is experimental science. How else would it work?” – I was simply pointing out that there seem to be more physicists who’d prefer to see the CERN findings refuted than there are those who want to see them confirmed.
    “Cohen and Glashow were kind enough to calculate exactly how likely this process is, from very basic principles.” – The law of Conservation of Mass is a very basic principle, too. A particle can’t decay into something more massive that it started out. If they’re trying to suggest that ~4 million neutrinos may be fusing into 1 electron & 1 anti-electron, that’s another matter – but, it’s not decay. The very idea that neutrinos even have mass at all is still entirely hypothetical, based on the implications of neutrino osicllation – a property which has yet to actually be observed.

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  13. 13. andrewgdotcom 11:43 am 10/3/2011

    It is not mass that is conserved, but mass-energy. The OPERA neutrinos may not have much mass, but they do have plenty of energy. This is also why two protons hitting each other in the LHC can produce a cascade of particles that collectively weigh more than the original protons.

    I think you’re also being confused by the sloppy language in the OP. The neutrinos in Cohen and Glashow’s paper do not “decay” into an electron-positron pair, rather they lose energy through interaction with a Z boson (bremsstrahlung), and this Z boson decays via pair production. Virtual Z particles are no less “real” than the virtual photons that keep electrons in orbit, and bremsstrahlung is a well-understood process.

    The refutation in this case is not purely theoretical, it is also based on decades of amassed experimental data. What C&G have shown is that the OPERA results can only be reconciled with other experiments through extreme theoretical gymnastics. It is much more likely that OPERA are simply mistaken. Even some of OPERA’s own collaborators warned that publication of the results was premature.

    I’m left wondering if the haters on this post have even read the paper. It is undergraduate-level stuff.

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  14. 14. ajoykt 12:23 pm 10/3/2011

    I think, on the flip side, many are ignoring the precision and thoroughness of the Opera report. The technology they employ is both sophisticated and field-tested before. The statistics for data analyses are solid – both the ML estimator and the assumed normal distribution around the peak likelihood are well-validated.

    Decades of amassed data cannot be used to refute new data. If that were true, there would be no way to move forward and discover new paradigms. I am not claiming that is what has happened with the Opera experiment, but replicating the experiment is higher priority than just accepting this paper and article and tossing the results aside. Which is exactly what the language in the article asks for.

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  15. 15. S. Dinowitz 1:45 pm 10/3/2011

    I have the deepest respect for Dr. Glashow. However, I think all ajoykt is saying is that no theory, regardless of how simple, fundamental, beautiful – blah, blah, blah – it is deemed should ever be used to dismiss hard earned experimental results. Ask yourself honestly, if the CERN/OPERA data had shown the muon-neutrinos moving at .99995c and someone came along with a theory that refutes the experiment would you dismiss the experiment based on the theory? Should we ignore or dismiss experimental data based on theory because we greatly value that theory?

    We may have been conned into believing that certain Banks are too big to fail. But is Einstein too big to fail? This is PHYSICS – not religion, and not politics. If future experiments confirm the CERN/OPERA FTL muon-neutrino results we will have to accept them regardless of any theory – even Dr. Glashow’s – and even Dr. Einstein’s.

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  16. 16. jtdwyer 4:17 pm 10/3/2011

    Based on charts illustrating the numbers of proton and neutrino detections (see Fig. 11 in the official OPERA report: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1109/1109.4897.pdf ) indicating, in particular, a destabilization of proton and neutrino beam conditions occurring following a peak in detections ~6,000 ns for first extractions and about ~7,000 ns into each second extraction extraction, I strongly recommend that only data representing stable beam conditions prior to those peaks be selected for reanalysis.

    In more detailed reports the effects of destabilization are referred to as ‘oscillations’ which are excluded or filtered (‘smoothed’) in the proton detection data only. No adjustment is made for the neutrino detection data, which may also be skewed by what may be a harmonic resonance occurring within the proton and resulting neutrino beams.

    If final neutrino ToF results produced from selected stable beam data substantially contradicts the analysis of the complete set of extraction duration data, especially if the stable beam data does NOT indicate FTL neutrino flight times, the current FTL conclusion would have to be reconsidered as a product of beam conditions.

    If the subset of stable beam data confirmed the FTL conclusion it would be to some extent substantiated.

    Since this approach does not require any additional experiments, it can be undertaken by selecting data and reanalyzing results.

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  17. 17. MadScientist72 4:40 pm 10/3/2011

    @ andrewgdotcom – “I’m left wondering if the haters on this post have even read the paper. It is undergraduate-level stuff.” – I have read the paper. You want to talk about ‘undergraduate-level stuff’? How about the fundamental property of Cherenokov radiation that it’s specific to *charged* particles? Neutrinos have no charge. So C & G have either (a) overlooked this critical piece of information or (b) concoted a previously-unknown analog of Cherenkov radiation that applies to chargeless particles. It seems to me that the ‘haters’ are the ones who are determined to try anything – even making stuff up – in order to bash the OPERA data.

    @ S.Dinowitz – You said it! Data trumps theory every time!

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  18. 18. MadScientist72 4:55 pm 10/3/2011

    Furthermore, the C & G paper says nothing to explain why neutrinos, which almost never interact with anything, would suddenly choose to interact with these hypothetical virtual Z bosons. And if they did interact, then every once in a while, the interaction should nudge the virtual particle pair apart enough to prevent them from coming back together & anhilating each other, resulting in a net increase in Z bosons – a phenomenon which, to the best of my knowledge, has never been observed.

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  19. 19. kennethroger 6:24 pm 10/3/2011

    If the experiment had shown neutrinos traveling slightly slower than the speed of light, the result would have accepted without question. The chance of an experimental error would have nonetheless been the same. The bias is in us. The few who have accepted the result and are letting their minds spin with the mystery of it have my vote of confidence.

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  20. 20. Dr.MS 6:04 am 10/4/2011

    I find the ego on both sides of the argument even more amusing. No matter how many centuries pass by, how many theories get created and later rejected…the male ego in the research and academic world is big, and keeps getting bigger!

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  21. 21. newman 6:16 am 10/4/2011

    I think the Einstein’s theory of relativity need of one revision.
    Because when the einstein wrote your teory he dont know about the neutrinos.
    For him the light is the quick mater in the universe.
    I think if he was alive and with the technology that we have, maybe he write more and find more secrets of universe.
    I belive if Einstein born in this era the universe s more known.
    I belive this.

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  22. 22. S. Dinowitz 11:51 am 10/4/2011

    Post No.3 “the Cohen and Glashow mechanism has the sort of “well duh” inevitability that makes it impossible to disregard.”

    Really terry? Not for me. I’m with MadScientist (Post No. 17 & 18) on this one. Proposing weak force analogs to Cherenkov radiation where space itself acts like a material medium?! Shades of the old ether. How ironic to postulate a kind of ether to save Special Relativity which itself did away with the ether concept!

    That’s theory, and that’s fine, but that is all it is – not fact. Clearly we should not ignore or dismiss the CERN/OPERA FTL muon-neutrino observations based on a theory. The experiment needs to be repeated!

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  23. 23. MadScientist72 11:58 am 10/4/2011

    Those who want to maintain lightspeed as the universal speed limit have only 2 viable options: (1) *conclusively demonstrate* a flaw in OPERA’s method that resulted in generating erroneous data and/or (2) *conclusively demonstrate* a flaw in the analysis of that data that resulted in an erroneous conclusion. Anything else is just talking smack.

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  24. 24. Warren Dew 1:04 pm 10/4/2011

    Based on a quick read of Cohen and Glashow’s paper, which does raise an imthey appear to estimate the decay rate of superluminal neutrinos based on an assumed small real rest mass. If neutrinos are superluminal, they are likely to be tachyonic, with imaginary rather than real rest masses. It’s not clear to me how Cohen and Glashow’s analysis extends to that case.

    In response to some of the other comments, tachyonic neutrinos would be entirely consistent with relativity and lorentz invariance, so even if the experimental measurement is correct, relativity theory need not be thrown out.

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  25. 25. jtdwyer 3:00 pm 10/4/2011

    MadScientist72 – I agree, but without access to the raw data and source procedures used to analyze the data, one must rely on OPERA to perform all reevaluations necessary to “conclusively demonstrate” flaws.

    I’ve identified a subset of extraction data that I believe to be uncorrupted (please see my comment 16 above). Surely, a reevaluation of a selected time series of extraction data should yield identical TOF results if the FTL assertion is correct, correct?

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  26. 26. MadScientist72 10:09 am 10/5/2011

    @jtdwyer -
    You may find this informative. It’s a retraction from an Australian physicist who had previously attempted to refute the OPERA findings, with an explanation of why he now believes theat their findings are correct:
    http://johncostella.webs.com/neutrino-blunder.pdf

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  27. 27. josegvargas 8:26 pm 10/5/2011

    I am surprised that everybody is hitting the wrong nail. For the record: The day of the announcement, I knew what was behind the Opera result. Within three days I had done the mathematical analysis but did not care to rush to send a calculation since I was thinking of writing a comprehensive paper that is taking me longer than expected. I just mentioned to four persons the result of my calculation, within the limitations of the published (even publishable data).
    Doing reverse engineering, I am convinced that the data is right but the superluminal conclusion is wrong. The culprit: the implicit assumed constancy of the value of the one way speed of light is a consequence of the tested constancy of the two way speed together with the definition (Einstein) or agreement (H. P. Robertson) of the one-way speed of light, or equivalently the conventional element (Grunbaum and Reichenbach) of the meaning of one way speeds.
    Special relativity works virtually all time, but it is only the facade of a deeper spacetime structure, facade which will only exhibit cracks in the form of “post-relativistic effects” for extreme velocities, targeted experiments, awareness by the experimenters, very long travel, etc.
    Do not waste your time with esoteric explanations. I am not bluffing and I am not a crank. Google “The foundations of quantum mechanics …” or my name (Jose G. Vargas) together with terms like teleparallelism, Finsler geometry, Robertson test theory, etc and you will be convinced of my seriousness.
    You have heard it here first.
    I do not promise to answer to those who find my e-mail.

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  28. 28. William Fairholm 9:38 am 10/6/2011

    While I am sure that the distance calculations are correct and the detector has the correct Universal atomic time, I wonder if the source time is known to sufficient accuracy. I know they have very precise timing, but this does not have to be related to the Universal atomic time for their purposes, so they may not actually know this accurately. Unlikely, but it would be the first place I would look for errors. If this proves accurate enough, I would start looking at some type of quantum superposition in some fraction of the circulating beams. Do all the neutrinos arrive early or just the leading edge? This again is very unlikely at these energies, but has to be considered.

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  29. 29. MadScientist72 12:17 pm 10/6/2011

    @ josegvargas – So the rest of us should just stop asking questions, because you know all the answers and will graciously share them with everyone – just not right now? I think you can see why people might be inclined to view you as just a wee bit crankish.

    @ W. Fairholm – “Do all the neutrinos arrive early or just the leading edge?” I dont’ see the relevance of this. If even one neutrino can be verified to have traveled at superluminal speed, it’ll shake the foundations of physics.

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  30. 30. @dcastelvecchi 4:29 pm 10/6/2011

    MadScientist: I think that everyone agrees that OPERA and other neutrino experiments should try to replicate the results. But I disagree with you that one should now assume that Lorentz invariance is wrong unless and until a systematic error is found in OPERA’s findings. If someone wants to overturn Einstein’s relativity, the burden of proof is on them. I am quite sure that the scientists in the collaboration would agree with me.

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  31. 31. UrsaMajor 5:03 pm 10/6/2011

    Actually the neutrinos merely took a trans-dimensional path which made it appear super luminary.

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  32. 32. MadScientist72 9:12 am 10/7/2011

    @dcastelvecchi – I’m not suggesting that we should throw out the current theories just yet, although we may end up needing to do so once more evidence comes in. I’m just saying that OPERA’s findings need to stand or fall on their own merits/flaws, and not be dismissed out of hand just because they don’t agree with what we think we already know. A good scientist always needs to keep an open mind and be prepared to revise – or even discard – existing theories in response to new evidence.

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  33. 33. philosofsci 6:24 am 10/8/2011

    New observations may only be refuted by further observations and not by theories based on well established observations. It is as simple as that. On the other hand, theories may help re-designing new experiments. However, the final word on this matter can only be produced at an experimental level.

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  34. 34. thegoatfish 11:21 am 10/8/2011

    Geez, we don’t actually even know what light is. Is it a wave or a particle?

    It is both, but not at the same time. So what is it really?

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  35. 35. jtdwyer 11:30 am 10/8/2011

    MadScientist72 – Thanks, but I didn’t find it relevant to my analysis.

    As I understand, the fundamental speed measurement issue is that only individual neutrino detection times can be reasonably determined. Their emission time is approximated by correlating the number of neutrino detections with the (vastly larger) distribution of sampled proton detections prior to neutrino emissions. Any condition of the proton beam affecting the CERN sampling of protons is assumed to also affect the number of remote neutrinos detected.

    There are several unexplained changes in the number of both proton and neutrino detections that occur in both first and second extractions in both 2009 and 2010 experiments. I think most critical is sudden drop in detections that occurs roughly midway through all extraction runs.

    I relied on a large, more detailed, but clearly written 182 page thesis by Giulia Brunetti, which can be found at:
    http://operaweb.lngs.infn.it:2080/Opera/ptb/theses/theses/Brunetti-Giulia_phdthesis.pdf

    In that thesis, section 8.1, “OPERA Events and Data at CERN” addresses events that effected the proton data. In particular, Fig. 8.4 illustrates the severe oscillation effecting the final about 2,000 ns of all proton extraction detection data. This is filtered out of the ‘final’ data.

    Of greater concern is the disruptive event occurring about midway through all extraction runs that affects both proton and neutrino detection data collected in 2009 and 2010, at least. All Extraction runs begin with detections gently increasing as the extract proceeds, then a disruptive event occurs (requiring deletion of proton data). From that point on the number of detections levels off or even diminishes through the end of the extraction. This condition al effect is not addressed in the detection data.

    Since the approximated ‘propagation start time’ for detected neutrinos is statistically derived from the correlation of neutrino detections and proton detections, the veracity of this detection data is critical to the approximation of neutrino ‘Time of Flight’. I can’t determine what beam conditions have affected both the proton neutrino detection data, but I do think that some significant influences have been overlooked.

    Link to this
  36. 36. Jan Jitso 2:22 pm 10/8/2011

    People at CERN still think that the general theory of relativity is correct and this is based on constancy of the propagation of electro-magnetyic waves in vacuum. Einstein himself did not believe that c is totally independent of everything else in the universe but accepted this as a temporary hypothesis when quantummechanics was not available yet. Reflect on the words electro, magnetic and waves, which call associations!
    In 2003 Vasily Yanchilin wrote The Quantum Theory of Gravitation in which he analysed the track of photons passing mass. It is well known that such happens in a parabola. That agrees with the principle of least action: the photon chooses a path with as big steps (oscillations) as possible and of these a minimum number. Near mass the unit of length shrinks and the path becomes longer. According Einstein’s theory the second slows down near mass, which means lower frequency, bigger steps. So accepting the general theory of relativity the photons have to take a hyperbola track!
    The special theory of relativity stays valid if understood thus that the speed of light is independent of movements of observers. Namely Yanchilin presents as hypothesis that there is a relation between c and the potential of the total mass of the universe. The latter is in all directions the same at a certain place and a certain time. When the universe was more compact in the past the speed of light was bigger. This means that info from supernovae Ia has to be corrected and then accellerated expansion of the universe disappears. Likewise inflation, a cosmological constant, negative energy and black holes are phantasy.
    Those afraid for Uniting Voracious Black Holes may take a twin of a telepathic geranium and send one into outer space. When it gets eaten its brother at your window will be shocked, which can be measured with special instruments on its leaves. Then just enough time will be left for a short prayer before you are up to.
    Giving Nobel award to people who promote accellerated expansion of the universe, based on a wrong theory of hundred years ago, is a big shame. The new theory of gravitation is nice and simple, based on reduction of Heisenberg uncertainty near mass: Two particles will have in their halves closest to each other (closest to the mass of the other particle) less Heisenberg uncertainty than in their most distant halves. In the latter therefore occur more quantummechanical fluctuations with transitions to the nearest halves than from these halves in the opposite direction. In common language this is called gravitational attraction.
    Can it be that inert mass is only felt when pushing a solitary object because in rest there is balance between those transitions?
    With the general theory of relativity red shift of sunlight cannot be understood: not the sum caused by slower second on the sun and overcoming gravitational attraction is measured. Yanchilin explains how to find correct solution. It would be nice if SciAm publishes about his work, for on many universities students are kept ignorant by jealous professors and stay dumb, while also comments might get more quality. In the dark Middle Ages unwelcome books were burnt by vested authority. That should not be repeated and good presentation plus discussion opens new horizons. It is extremely difficult to measure changes in the speed of light. The Cern neutrinos went not along the surface of Earth but passed where the local potential was higher, with as result sooner arrival as the speed of light increases near mass. Not at all anything like faster than light! Can laser light registered at various heigths provide worthful information?

    Link to this
  37. 37. philosofsci 5:11 am 10/10/2011

    In 1932 Ettore Majorana (August 1906, missing, presumed dead on 27 March 1938)an Italian theoretical physicist, began promising work on neutrino masses and disappeared suddenly in mysterious circumstances. His work may now explain the OPERA tests as suggested by Fabrizio Tamburini and Marco Laveder of Department of Astronomy, University of Padova, Italy. See also Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica.
    Here is the Paper
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.5445

    Link to this
  38. 38. Luis Gonzalez-Mestres 7:21 am 10/10/2011

    Please notice that I already pointed out this difficulty, and others of similar origin, in the introduction to my article of September 28 “Comments on the recent result of the “Measurement of the neutrino velocity with the OPERA detector in the CNGS beam”", http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.6308 (the day before the paper by Cohen and Glashow). The same day as Cohen and Glashow, I posted a second paper entitled “Astrophysical consequences of the OPERA superluminal neutrino”, http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.6630 . I consider there a set of difficulties, for the OPERA result, more general and stronger than the point emphasized by Coleman and Glashow.

    Best regards
    Luis Gonzalez-Mestres
    CNRS, France

    Link to this
  39. 39. Jan Jitso 7:25 am 10/10/2011

    Laserlight far above Earth will have lower frequency than at the surface of the planet. This according the new theory based on the principle of least action. Then diffraction there and here will not be the same. To measure the angle the instruments have to be placed at big distance because the difference is extremely small. Registered should be the distance between an unbroken and a diffracted ray, but such in special conditions because a ray itself seeks a straight path, that however will be curved for the distant observer when not 90 degrees to Earth mass.
    Another complication is that the unit of length changes when the diffracted ray is measured far away and in direction of mass. So I am not sure whether results will be obtained that show the difference between Einstein’s old and Yanchilin’s new theory. In his book the latter describes measuring with atomic clocks at different heights, but radio-activity might in certain circumstances not be quite continuous. In the last chapters there is still another method with interference after delaying light rays.

    Link to this
  40. 40. MadScientist72 11:25 am 10/10/2011

    @ jan jitso – I looked up Yanchilin’s work on quantum gravity and 3 things of note: (1) a russian-based website – yanchilin(dot)hut(dot)ru – that would appear to belong to Vasily Yanchilin, but gets blocked a a malware site; (2) comments which appear to be from you (although most use the name Jitso Keizer) at numerous other locations (other SciAm articles, Nature, Wikipedia) all promoting Yanchilin’s theories (I also found pro-Yanchilin comments at a UFO/conspiracy-theory forum (godlikeporductions(dot)com) – the name was different (smilin’ irish eyes), but the language sounded like yours.) and (3) places selling his book, but NO peer-reviewed publications.

    All this leads me to think that Yanchilin is a crank & you have an agenda.

    Link to this
  41. 41. Luis Gonzalez-Mestres 6:19 pm 10/10/2011

    To complete my previous comment, in my September 28 paper http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.6308 I wrote :

    Concerning the neutrinos expected from gamma-ray bursts, it must be noticed that in the 100 TeV energy range and even far below this energy, a neutrino critical speed significantly faster than those of light, electrons and other sectors of standard matter would imply spontaneous decays of the neutrino by emitting electron-positron pairs and other particles. Furthermore, as the extra energy required for a pion to decay into a neutrino and a charged lepton can be provided only by the incoming pion mass term, the pion decay may turn out to be impossible. The relevant numerical estimate for such processes is the comparison between the relative difference in critical speed times the energy scale, and the high-energy mass terms of the particles involved.
    (…)
    The existence of spontaneous (”Cherenkow”) decays in vacuum for superluminal particles with positive mass and energy was first pointed out in our 1995-96 papers
    (see, for instance, [5, 6]). The ”Cherenkow” decay of a ≈ 100 TeV neutrino emitting a e+ e− pair can be avoided only if the difference in critical speed between the electron and the neutrino is less than ≈ 10E−16 c. This seems to be the strongest tool available concerning the possible effects of LSV for such neutrinos.
    (end of quote)

    However, the most effective tool to constrain neutrino production at the 10 – 100 GeV scale turns out to be the properties of the decaying pion and their propagation to the hadronic sector, as discussed in http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.6630 .

    Best regards
    Luis Gonzalez-Mestres
    CNRS, France

    Link to this
  42. 42. Dr. Strangelove 4:49 am 10/11/2011

    @dcastelvecchi

    One possible source of error in the experiment is the distance traveled by the neutrinos. They have mass so their path of motion will be curved by earth’s gravity. The length of this path cannot be directly measured. It will have to be calculated. There could be error in calculation due to uncertainty in the precise strength of gravitational field throughout the path of motion.

    Earth’s gravitational field is variable. The path of motion may be a parabolic curve with varying radius of curvature.

    Link to this
  43. 43. Jan Jitso 12:02 pm 10/11/2011

    Oh, Mad Scientist, go to the Library of Congress and read Yanchilin’s book. Before you call him bad names!
    That book is written very well and I understand its mathematics, although the text in words also gives good information to those not knowing about formulas.
    In my country a 2.5 million euro Spinoza premium has been rewarded recently to a person on Nijmegen University who studies (not existing) black holes and to a man called Verlinden at Amsterdam University who tries to invent a theory which has little or no value compared with that of Yanchilin (see kattekwaad on http://www.janjitso.blogspot.com). While the students are kept ignorant about the important news from Moscow since already 2003. Wikipedia for a long time and may-be still boycotts the work of Yanchilin and nobody so far tries to proove that he is wrong.
    Now is to be studied whether the CERN neutrinos fit into Yanchilin’s concept. The aberations of Pioneer 11 seem to do. That is the agenda and perhaps can be added theoretic analysis of experiments with laser light as suggested above.
    Best method to order the book is via a bit of googling. There you find also a recent thin booklet on quantummechanics by the same author without maths.
    Jitso Keizer, Amsterdam

    Link to this
  44. 44. medv4380 3:53 pm 10/11/2011

    @Dr. Strangelove
    What your suggesting doesn’t make much sense. They have the starting point and the ending point of the test. If the neutrino took a different path then ether it would take longer with the curved path or the detector wouldn’t be in line with with it to detect it at all.

    Given that they used sensors good enough to detect continental drift I’m sure they have the distance measured better then most could.

    Special relativity might be what your thinking of, but that would mess with the clocks involved and not the distance. Opera has commented on this and last I heard they are rewriting the section about how they synced their clocks to make it clear how they did it.

    Link to this
  45. 45. Dr. Strangelove 3:46 am 10/12/2011

    medv4380
    Knowing the starting point and end point does not give you the exact path of motion of the neutrinos. They don’t travel in a straight line. It’s a parabolic curve that cannot be represented by a single quadratic equation since the curve is determined by earth’s gravitational field which is variable. The detector is much bigger than the neutrinos. Even if their vertical position change a bit, the detector can still detect their arrival at the end point.

    A neutrino is much smaller than a continent. Detecting movement of continents is relatively easier.

    I’m not thinking of special relativity. This is Newtonian mechanics. A body with non-zero mass will accelerate due to gravity indepedent of its mass. A bowling ball and a neutrino will fall at the speed. The error in measuring the exact position of a bowling ball is negligible because the change in position due to variability of earth’s gravitational field is infinitely smaller than the diameter of the bowling ball. This is not true for a neutrino.

    I predict the superluminal neutrinos will disappear if they measure earth’s gravitational field every kilometer from starting point to end point and calculate the path of motion for each kilometer. I suspect their calculated distance is a bit longer than actual because they did not consider the variability of earth’s gravitational field.

    Link to this
  46. 46. Jan Jitso 4:15 am 10/12/2011

    Adding at 36 about the hyperbola track: frequencies decrease quadratic when the second becomes longer (see page 167).
    Yanchilin says that he in no way pretends to have found the final theory but when measuring it appears that his new theory is more consistent than other ones. Then the broadening of horizon should stimulate students to do further research and that is exactly why I write about it.

    Link to this
  47. 47. Dr. Strangelove 4:57 am 10/13/2011

    After doing some calculations, I retract my hypothesis that variability in graviatational field may be the cause of error in the experiment. The neutrinos arrived 60 nanoseconds earlier in a 730 kilometer journey. The deviation in time is too big to be caused by variability in gravitational field.

    Theoretical physicists are skeptical of the result but I favor experiment over theory. They should show the error in the experiment or accept the result.

    Link to this
  48. 48. Policarpo 11:50 pm 10/18/2011

    In the OPERA experiment , the neutrino seem to be traveling faster than light because the synchronized clocks used in the experiment generate a system in which the time information spreads faster than light.
    So is the Earth which moves in space with a speed of at least 7 km / s (in the north / south line that runs from Switzerland to Italy). Thus the neutrinos are not coming soon in Italy, but Italy that travel to the neutrinos while they are traveling by the Earth.
    See the full explanation on:
    http://www.atomlig.com.br/poli/Neutrino-IG.pdf

    Link to this
  49. 49. Stauff 10:19 pm 10/24/2011

    Looking at superluminal speed from a “Stauffer’s space-time particle, object, cluster” model, neutrino behavior could be explained this way;
    First we do know that both photons and neutrinos have energy and therefore have mass, but we set the mass of photons as zero by design.
    The photon receives its Higg’s mass by entering the Stauffer’s space time cluster and moving through the orifices of the center space-time particle, gaining its mass as it travels through at the speed of light.
    The neutrino, on the other hand does not take the same rout as the photon. It travels ether at the outer circumference of the cluster or in regions of the cluster that are outside of the center space-time particle (i.e. in or around the space-time object).This allows the neutrino to travel at superluminal speeds which are greater than the speed of light. However when the neutrino reaches its destination it does so by way of entering the space-time particle and as such gain a small amount of Higg’s mass.
    If the OPERA EXPERIMENT from CERN was correctly measured and analyzed then the neutrino traveled faster than light.
    But if relativity, gravity and time dilation inherent in the GPS satellites were not considered, then the neutrino would take the same path as the photon. But it would gain additional Higg’s mass by its contact with the orifices of the central space-time particle by means of its increase contact with the space-time particle.
    The Stauffer’s space-time particle, object, cluster is explained in his book Grand Original Design available on line at Blurb.com Note:The space-time particle is where Einstein applied his theories. The space-time object and cluster are the other dimensions that Einstein didn’t address because his(and others)Quantum ideas were not fully developed then.

    Link to this
  50. 50. Stauff 10:27 pm 10/24/2011

    Looking at superluminal speed from a “Stauffer’s space-time particle, object, cluster” model, neutrino behavior could be explained this way;
    First we do know that both photons and neutrinos have energy and therefore have mass, but we set the mass of photons as zero by design.
    The photon receives its Higg’s mass by entering the Stauffer’s space time cluster and moving through the orifices of the center space-time particle, gaining its mass as it travels through at the speed of light.
    The neutrino, on the other hand does not take the same rout as the photon. It travels ether at the outer circumference of the cluster or in regions of the cluster that are outside of the center space-time particle (i.e. in or around the space-time object).This allows the neutrino to travel at superluminal speeds which are greater than the speed of light. However when the neutrino reaches its destination it does so by way of entering the space-time particle and as such gain a small amount of Higg’s mass.
    If the OPERA EXPERIMENT from CERN was correctly measured and analyzed then the neutrino traveled faster than light.
    But if relativity, gravity and time dilation inherent in the GPS satellites were not considered, then the neutrino would take the same path as the photon. But it would gain additional Higg’s mass by its contact with the orifices of the central space-time particle by means of its increase contact with the space-time particle.
    The Stauffer’s space-time particle, object, cluster is explained in his book Grand Original Design available on line at Blurb.com Note:the space-time particle is where Einstein applied his theories. The space-time object and cluster are the other dimensions that Einstein didn’t address because his(and others)Quantium ideas were not fully developed then.

    Link to this
  51. 51. josegvargas 11:16 am 10/25/2011

    On October 5th (see ·27), I said I knew what was behind the 60 ns. They are real, but it is not a matter of superluminal velocities. I have numerous publications but I am new to the arXiv. I am looking for an endorser, I guess in the area of hep-experiment, for my paper. See title and abstract.

    Title: Opera’s neutrinos and the Robertson test theory of the Lorentz transformations

    Abstract:

    The difference in light’s travel time from CERN to GPS to Gran Sasso, on the one hand, and light going the direct route in vacuum (mimicked by neutrinos), on the other hand, is analyzed with a modified Robertson test theory of the Lorentz transformations. The modification consists simply in removing the restriction of what Robertson referred to as agreement to equate the to and from speeds of light. For reasons that will be contained in a paper to soon follow, we restrict ourselves, within the new freedom, to the case of preferred frame kinematics with absolute simultaneity.

    At the level of not assuming any concomitant dynamical changes in this alternative, the analysis yields zero effect, i.e. no change with respect to special relativity (to be expected). The 60 ns would thus remain unexplained. However, a gravitation related effect that would likely accompany an alternative kinematics yields that value, up to uncertainties due to the need to simplify the experimental set up for analysis. The effect amounts to ( lambda 1/2)(D/c)(V/c)^{2}, where D is distance to GPS, V is speed with respect to the frame of isotropy of the cosmic background radiation and lambda is a factor greater than 1, but likely not greater than 1.2 that reflects lack of precise knowledge of the average distance to the common view GPS satellite. A lambda factor of 1.2 yields 60 ns. END OF ABSTRACT.

    No cause for concern: we shall rightfully continue to teach special relativity and specially relativistic quantum mechanics, but with absolute time (YES, IT SOUNDS PARADOXICAL!) and in some sense positive definite signature (metrics become very subtle concepts in advances geometries).

    Link to this
  52. 52. josegvargas 11:25 am 10/25/2011

    Correction to 51:
    I should have said “but in a context of the existence of a preferred frame” rather than “but with absolute time” as this time stays in the backgound . Relativistic quantum mechanics does not care about the preferred frame, but gravity does.
    As for gravity, metrics canonically yield the Levi-Civita connection. But a metric together with preferred frame yields teleparallelism, like Einstein wanted in the 1ate 1920′s. The metric relations are the same as in Riemannian geometry, but the “affine relations” are different, and better.

    As Cartan said: “The metric does not contain all the geometric reality of the space.”

    Link to this
  53. 53. josegvargas 8:19 pm 10/31/2011

    Here is an issue that textbooks do not teach.

    We shall not assume that the one way speed of light is NECESSARILY a constant, but only that the two-way speed is. If, for whatever reason, we set the one-way speed to be equal to the two-way speed, the constancy of the latter implies the constancy of the former. In this regard, Einstein in 1905 incurred in a contradiction that could not be ascertained at the time, and that he felt might be possible: “… We assume that this definition of synchronism is free from contradictions …”

    The contradiction is stated using this and the next two paragraphs. Einstein postulated the equivalence of all the inertial frames in spacetime. It was not realized at the time that this suffices to obtain the LTs up to the value of a constant, if negative. This implies that the square root of the negative inverse of that constant is an invariant with dimension of velocity. This invariant is the only speed which remains constant under those transformations. Under that postulate, the one-way speed of light is not a matter of conventions, but to be determined by experiment. The only reasonable option for that constant is the speed of light. The only way out of this consequence of invariant one-way speed would consist in not assuming the equivalence of all the inertial frames in the usual sense, the only sense presently available.

    The issue of synchronizations and of the constant speed of light are intertwined. In paragraphs preceding immediately the aforementioned citation, Einstein had stated: “We have not defined a common “time” for A and B, for the latter cannot be defined at all unless we establish \QTR{it}{by definition} that the “time” required by light to travel from A to B equals the “time” it requires to travel from B to A …” Markings and emphasis are as in the original. We wish to call attention to the“\QTR{it}{by definition}”.

    Einstein defines times t_A, t_B and t_A’ instrumental in stating the equality of the two and fro speeds of light as follows: “In accordance with definition the two clocks synchronize if t_B – t_A = t_A’-t_B. A definition is a convention. We cannot make Plank’s constant be whatever we want it to be as a matter of definition. But Einstein did that with the one-way speed of light, even though his postulate of equivalence implied that it is not a matter of definition. End of explanation of contradiction.

    Up to this point in this paper, the one way of speed of light has emerged as being a direct consequence of a convention {Reichenbach}, a theorem (above, several authors), and a definition {Einstein}. The issue then becomes what does the available experimental evidence say about all this. Robertson wrote a most significance paper about this titled “Postulate \QTR{it}{versus }observation in the Special Theory of Relativity”

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  54. 54. MarkZ 9:34 am 11/4/2011

    Do the observations of superluminal neutrinos lead to the model where light speed increases over time?

    Here are my thoughts and explanation of OPERA experiment.

    a. The OPERA experiment shows that speed of neutrinos is greater than 299,792,458 m/s (light speed in the SI system).
    b. The research A.G. Cohen and S. L.Glashow showed that neutrinos can not travel faster than light, because “most of the neutrinos would have suffered several pair emissions en route”.
    c. The ICARUS paper shows that speed of neutrinos is equal to speed of light.

    This obvious paradox between experiment and theory can easily be resolved if the speed of light is slowly increasing and is now (or at least was during the experiment) higher than in 1970-1980 when it was measured and included into SI system. In this case the speed of neutrinos in the OPERA experiment can be higher than 299,792,458 m/s, but at the same time be less or equal to current c. The full paper can be downloaded here:
    http://www.smartalerter.com/Is_Speed_Of_Light_Increasing.pdf

    Link to this
  55. 55. josegvargas 9:27 pm 11/9/2011

    A few weeks ago, I announced that the Robertson test theory of the Lorentz transformation should be taken into account when analyzing Opera. I am pleased to inform that my paper on this subject is now available at arxiv physics gen-ph 1111.2271. The journal for references 9 and 13 is foundations of Physics
    Thanks.
    Jose G. Vargas

    Link to this
  56. 56. BertMorrien 5:25 am 11/14/2011

    About “Measurement of the neutrino velocity with the OPERA detector in the CNGS beam”
    ( http://static.arxiv.org/pdf/1109.4897.pdf )

    In an experiment there is always a stimulus and a response.
    Using a response for which there is no corresponding stimulus is invalid, because there was no experiment.
    Using a stimulus for which there is no corresponding response is invalid as well, for the same reason.
    The latter is the case in the current analysis of the OPERA Collaboration.

    Only a part of the PEW contains start time information of the proton (stimulus) that later resulted in a neutrino detection (response).
    The remaining parts or the PEW contain start time information of protons for which there was not a neutrino detection.
    Due to the summing of the PEWs, OPERA used almost entirely PEW parts without a corresponding event.
    The PDF would be valid only if all parts of all PEWs had a corresponding event.
    As it is, only one in 10,000 parts of the PDF has a corresponding event, which makes it invalid.
    The current analysis allows the parts without a corresponding event to determine the shape of the PDF; it cannot be ruled out that this results in bias.
    A number of physicists pointed out that these remaining parts are required for constructing the PDF to enable the maximum likelihood analysis and they dismissed the idea that this was invalid.
    If this is the mainstream view, it explains why the analysis is taken for granted and then I am wondering what to think about that.

    Bert Morrien,
    Eemnes, The Netherlands

    Link to this
  57. 57. BertMorrien 6:14 am 11/20/2011

    The newest outcome of Opera’s neutrino velocity measurement included also the result of an alternative analysis.
    This result was compatible with the earlier finding, and so was the result of a new experiment with much shorter pulses.
    This means, Opera’s current analysis must be valid.
    This means also that Opera knew exactly what they were doing.
    Consequently, the PDF obtained by summing the PEWs is valid, despite the lack of PEW parts with a corresponding event.
    This is because with enough events, the event distribution resembles the shape of the PDF sufficiently for trusting the outcome of a maximum likelihood analysis.
    It is regrettable that this point never became clear to me before.

    The lesson learned is that declaring the PDF and Opera’s analysis invalid is a good example of narrow minded reasoning; a humble apology is in order here.

    Bert

    Link to this
  58. 58. B.T.See 12:18 pm 02/5/2012

    Observed Speed is not equal to Actual Speed

    i wish to point out here, something that every physicist know but may not notice that Observed Speed is not same with Actual Speed, make a simple example from general relativity, a spacecraft was attracted and absorbed by a black hole, then it travel at a speed below light’s speed in the worm hole and came out as a wreckage (in particles form)from the connected white hole; now, its wreckage may located at 100 light-years away from its origin, if the process take 10 minutes, then the Observed Speed is 100 light-years (in km)/10 minutes (in seconds),the Observed Speed should obviously far more faster than light’s speed, however, in that whole process, the spacecraft (and its wreckage) never travel faster than the light’s speed. It is its Actual Speed.

    Link to this
  59. 59. hab_kab 12:48 am 02/14/2012

    Hi,
    I am Hamid Reza karimi,my paper by title “Explaining how and why the muon neutrinos flow faster than the
    speed of light in the OPERA neutrino Experiment”was published on vixra eprint:http://vixra.org/abs/1201.0005
    This article gives answer to the four following questions about the opera experiment
    1 – Why do neutrinos flow faster than speed of light but the electron doesn’t.
    2 – Why there is no deformity in energy of the neutrinos .
    3 – Why does not cosmic neutrinos break the speed of light.
    4 – In which area The laws of relativity are true.
    Best regards,

    Link to this

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