1. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Scientists discover a faster than light particle?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by jonathan hernandez13, Sep 23, 2011.

    I am going to weigh in on this heavily and render my opinion that in all likelihood the scientists at CERN have made some kind of mistake. They have been observing neutrinos for at least half a century now, and while FTL particles are theoretically possible, even in Einstein's universe, why would a neutrino all of a sudden start going FTL? From what I hear they only clocked it just slightly faster than light, this seems like a case of a slight mismatching of data.:rolleyes:

    The news is grossly distorting the facts and history though, and making it look like Einstein is some kind of reactionary czar that is beyond question, and that now science is all upside down. It's like they're saying, "those scientists are just making stuff up, now they have to start all over" yuk yuk. Stupid media.

    Discuss.:)

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/particles-faster-than-light-revolution-or-mistake/2011/09/23/gIQArpJzqK_story.html
     
  2. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was pretty skeptical when I heard this too. But I also wonder, CERN is pretty damn reputable, and somehow I bet if they really did find a particle FTL, then they probably checked that data to make sure it was accurate. You know? You cant publish anything without review, and reviews basically exist to check your data and make your methods as perfect as possible.

    I'd like to learn more about it and read the paper, but I see no reason not to believe it either; if they didn't have scientific evidence that was gathered accurately and wasn't an anomaly, then they wouldn't have said so in the first place..
     
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I heard about this through my own paper. It's been all people have been talking about all day too, and if properly verified would be amazing.

    Let us see what happens when they publish their findings.
     
  4. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    My friend and I recently argue every now and again about this.
    She's going to be so mad, thank you for this :D.

    I'll believe it after they repeat the experiment. I assume that's what the scientists are saying as well.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I expect it will probably be some sort of experimental error, but who knows.
     
  6. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    What does it matter I doubt the world will end?
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The idea that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light is the foundation of modern physics. But, you know, what does it matter? It's not like the questions: Who are we? Or Where did we come from? or What are we made of? or What caused the Big Bang? are important or anything.
     
  8. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It's probably a mistake...but the results are actually pretty (statistically) significant. The margin of error was only 0.1 nanoseconds, and the neutrino was clocked at 0.6 nanoseconds faster than light, and they've already spent 6 months checking measurements and going over the equipment to try and account for it--these people are just as sceptical of their result as most of us are, which is why they're asking for other labs to attempt to verify the result. Particles going faster than light has been recorded before, but until this experiment, the results were within a (crazy huge) margin of error, and so rendered invalid.

    I don't really understand physics too well, but from what I do know, if the theory of relativity is disproved, it throws into question a lot of the assumptions that underly modern physics. Not life-changing, I suppose, but pretty significant in terms of our understanding of the world.
     
  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    As someone who understands physics a little. The Theory of Relativity needs to be amended, as in most other cases it proves a good way of predicting observable outcomes. And it does not throw any assumptions into question, because that's not what a 'theory' does. The Special Theory of Relativity as Einstein wrote it is partly wrong, and needs amending if this 'discovery' can be proved; not flat-out discarded. Like we wouldn't discard the idea that the earth is a sphere just because it's a little bit wrong, we would amend it to 'The earth is sphere-like'.
     
  10. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well yeah, the scientists do seem to be handlisng this the right way, I'm more worried about the media airheads.

    Shame that we have to wait six months before they can repeat the experiments, I am teased now. Well, if I turn out to be wrong about this, how cool would it be to have FTL discovered in my lifetime? Of course, several SF stories would become antiquated as a result, heh heh.
     
  11. Admin
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    Anybody remember those crazy particles that appeared and then disappeared in nanoseconds? I wanna know what those were, but my premonitions tell me that the obvious answer is the correct answer: those particles were simply energy turning into matter, and then into energy again as a result of the experiment.

    As for these FTL particles, isn't light a particle in the first place? Therefore, because our universe tends to show us that there is an infinite space grand and small, then couldn't there be an infinite margin of speed?
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Faster than light particles are called tachyons. They cannot travel slower than the speed of light, and some scientists have theorized their lifetime is in negatove time.

    They would have to be detected indirectly, because they cannot interact with normal matter. I don't know if there has been any experimental or observational confirmation oftheir existence.
     
  13. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Has no one considered that it's likely just the impact of the credit crunch at work? Italy's broke and cosying up to the Swiss and their rich bankers for a loan!
     
  14. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not exactly scientific to just assert things boldly. In theory the universe is infinite, but it is also expanding, suggesting its dimensions are not set and infinite. And from what we can tell there actually are definite limits on speed (light), and on planck scales, theoretical limits to time, space, etc.

    Could there be an infinite speed? Do we have any reason to think there is? Is there any evidence for it? If not it's just speculation...
     
  15. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suspected as much, I actually arrived at it in my thought experiments; no particle collider needed, haha. I'm a scientist man :D

    I like that energy into particle theory, sounds about right. Plus the universe isn't expanding, just the distance between objects is; the universal space itself could be perennially infinite.
     
  16. Admin
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    Take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm a 10th grade science student, so I obviously am no scientist. In my opinion though, matter is finite but space is not. As for speed, it could be relative to time as well. An FTL particle may just be moving through the dimensions much faster than the other particles.
     
  17. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    I doubt that speed is limited, light is probably just the fastest moving particle discovered by humanity, so far.
    Like so many people are stuck with a 2-thousand year old book, with LOTR, with Star Wars, etc.. So are many scientists stuck with what Einstein has said, a little afraid to contradict him but they'll come around.

    I don't get what is the deal with dimensions. It's much easier, and feels like much more logical, to look at the universe as a whole. Is it really necessary to rip it all apart into many small pieces like time, space, dimensions.
    There was probably a BANG, all kinds of particles came from that, they started to react, applying force to each other, combining with each other. In my opinion, all there is are particles and big objects made from them and how all that reacts with each other.
    I read somewhere that the faster you move, the slower time seems to pass. If I understand correctly that would mean the faster you move the slower everything around you seems, which means the slower one object affects the other. It seems that things changing is considered as time (time is change?). Since change is caused by particles, big objects, it is just how one affects the other, you could say that time is all particles and therefor the universe?
    Say you accelerate your senses, which means you perceive everything faster (everything around you seems slower), would that mean you are time-traveling?
     
  18. Admin
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    Admin Contributing Member

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    I describe time as the state of being. For instance, you could have the length, width and depth of a box, but the box does not exist until it exists. Stupidly paradoxical, but there it is. For instance, if you and I were standing next to each-other, but I was moving through time faster, I would still be in the same place I was, though you could not see me. Just as you cannot see a bullet moving through the air, I am simply moving faster than you can perceive. Then for me who is traveling much faster, I feel as though time is moving normally but everything around me is moving much quicker because I am in a state of time that is much faster.

    Anyways, I'm pretty sure I accomplished nothing but spewing nonsense.
     
  19. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    That is like we both would exist in different levels of existence, like we are made of the same stuff but our frequencies are different. Time is considered as something that is accelerated in gravitational field and slowed down the faster you move. I still have to figure out for myself why would one accelerate and why would the other slow down.
    I sort of have an explanation: gravity applies some kind of pressure therefor particles are closer together, they react faster and time seems to go faster.
    I consider that speed has no effect on time but if it did then it should create an opposite effect to that of gravity or it just hinders gravity's effect.
    Still needs some more thought.
     
  20. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love how you guys are just making stuff up without a shred of evidence...

    It's not that scientists are afriad or dogmatic, they are only stating what the evience says and what nature and observation tell them.

    If you have a good reason to think FTL particles exist, then find one and show the world. You may get a noble prize. Otherwise let the scientists do their jobs and keep the conspiracies to a minimum.

    The reason why we need different fields of science to explain the universe is because it is incredibly VAST and there is no one alive smart enough to understand even a fraction of all the branches that we have made.

    The way you completely misrepresented relativity demonstrates a basic public ignorance about science and a human ignorance about physical laws. If you would like to contribute to theoretical physics then put your money where your mouth is and go to college, undergrad school, grad school, get your post doc and doc and start doing some grunt work. Otherwise just write SF like I do and know that your assumptions about how you feel or want the universe to work do not amount to a hill of beans in real life.

    Most scientists would not even describe the Big Bang as an explosion so much as a very rapid expansion of matter and energy, but that's a nitpick O_O
     
  21. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the axis of the problem here is actually referencing a Washington post article; a newspaper that is heavily skewed; think its owned by a korean christian fundamentalist.

    Then jonathan, you cannot expect most people on a writing forum to have an advanced degree in physics and consequently the lack of one cannot bar one from presenting an opinion on a topic that solicits one. To me your statement curls with a sort of condescension toward the less learned. I took some courses in physics but obviously I am not an expert, but like most here who took the time to express a curious notion in a rarefied topic; I just express a fanciful take rooted in some passing interest, very characteristic of a writer and a respective forum. As long as no one denying evolution or is claiming we turn to ducks beyond light speed; it's appropriate musing.

    Also the categorization of the sciences is largely due to the tendency to prepare people for careers in a class system, and not an inherent inability in human capacity or an inability to teach them in a holistic manner.
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Please, Pallas. Can you demonstrate anything in the Washington Post article that is problematic? The same story has been published in many news outlets in substantially the same way, and the experiments are a topic of discussion among physicists. Save your anti-Christian bigotry, please.
     
  23. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I cited from that journal because it was convenient but the news story is everywhere out there.

    One does not need an advanced degree to understand the fundamental role of science---which is not used to make bold claims based on nothing. At elementary school we are taught about science, so presumably everyone has heard about themes like evidence, observation, test, and experiment. When people just start throwing around buzz words and making up junk theories and then calling it science they are really doing science a bad service and demonstrating how little they truly understand it.

    I'm not attacking anyone, but I am challenging the notion that science is somehow, among other things, dogmatic if it does not agree in FTL particles without evidence. If it did, it would not be science any more. It would just be opinion, and opinions alone do not lead to new discoveries. Opinions combined with some kind of rational methods might, so that's why I half-jokingly encouraged someone to find a FTL particle. And if they did, they would be a Nobel prize winner, I guarantee it.

    I have to disagree with your assesment of why science is divided the way it is. There are, for example, places where astronomy and physics meet (astrophysics), but it is much harder to combine astronomy with geology. Geological study is contingent upon a planet, without one its outside the realm of importance. It's not so much about preparing people for careers as much as what is really practical and achievable in one's lifetime.

    It would not make sense for a geologist to be forced to study astrophysics, and if they were, school would take forver. Biology and chemistry go along very well, but biology with physics? In some cases maybe, when really analyzing some bodily functions, physics can shed a light, but not at the fundamental level of biological study.
     
  24. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The truth is, the idea of the intractability and dogmatic approach of scientists is overblown. It was more that way a century ago than it is now. There is still some of that, I'm sure, but there is plenty of questioning of underlying assumptions. Careers can be made on it, if the research pans out.

    As for things like the speed of light, it's not like that upper limit was simply chosen because light is the fastest thing we've observed. It is a fundamental consequence of the equations of relativity. It is always possible that it could turn out to be wrong, but the fact it that it wasn't simply "chosen" for no reason. And a lot of the predictions of Einstein's equations have been borne out experimentally, even though that wasn't possible when he came up with them. Another statement made above that is wrong is that time seems to slow for you when you accelerate. From what I understand, for you time will not appear to slow, just as the speed of light relative to you remains constant. With respect to outside observers, however, it has slowed for you.

    At any rate, Jonathan makes good points, many of which boil down to the idea of "write what you know," even on an internet forum :)
     
  25. lostinwebspace
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    I'd love if this were true. I'm all about "stranger than fiction" becoming fact. As someone said, CERN's reputation is above fanciful claims without tireless and tedious experimentation. Still, a neutrino has mass (not much, but it's above 0) and anything with mass can't reach the speed of light.

    There's the tachyon, as someone pointed out, which is one particle that goes faster than light because it has a negative mass. The problem is that we see because light reflects into our eyes. And if the tachyon goes faster than light, light can't reflect off it in any predictable fashion. So chances of us observing one are just about nill. And, in science, if we can't observe it, we can't test it. And if we can't observe and test it, it doesn't exist. So, for all intents and purposes, tachyons don't exist. They're only theoretical at this point.

    Problem is, without looking at the dimensions individually, physics can't exist. Physics is the study of motion and events, and motion is a division of space and time (miles per hour, feet per second, etc.). Without isolating time (the fourth dimension), you can't have motion. It's like trying to find X in Y without being able to separate the two. That's what's the deal with dimensions.
     

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