Science Questions

What are the implications of faster than light neutrinos?

Tue, 22nd Nov 2011

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Question

Allen Scott, via Facebook asked:

What are the implications of faster than light neutrinos? What aspects of the Einstein model does this change?

Answer

Dave - The whole thing is working on the axiom, the assumption, that the speed of light is the maximum speed you can go.  I mean there are possibly some ways in which you could conceive that it wouldn’t entirely break it and possibly, if space was really curved – space is a bit curved on Earth because there is a load of mass in the Earth and mass bends space -  you could imagine that maybe the neutrinos are kind of taking a shortcut around the curve or something odd, but yes, we don't know fundamentally.  We would need to know how something is going faster than light.  We don't even know if the results are, real or not.

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my cartoon= photon is chasing a neutrino & as time passes , neutrino gains distance from the photon? CZARCAR, Tue, 22nd Nov 2011

twinN would be "younger" than twinP? CZARCAR, Wed, 23rd Nov 2011

I think our whole body's are traveling at electron speed continually, every atom, emanating electrical energy, and causing friction continually, even the electrons path has to produce friction. Just so slight we can't see or measure. terrildactl, Sat, 26th Nov 2011

As neutrinos is defined as having a mass, it should change everything if they really went FTL. And that's one of the weirdest ideas I've seen. That mass is faster than light. But as most guys today don't seem to care about the theory of relativity, more than to find something to try to poke a hole in it with :)

Maybe this kind of hype is what people want? yor_on, Sun, 27th Nov 2011

And to speak of it as they don't has to obey the 'SpaceTime geometry' is actually like suggesting that mass don't follow geodesics, which is yet another 'idea'. If one believe that mass either is FTL, or that it don't follow geodesics, one's free to do so. But normally one would risk being considered a 'crank' if one would suggest either one, on a serious physics forum. yor_on, Sun, 27th Nov 2011

Sitting down at lunch on Friday in Queens' College, Cambridge, flanked by world-class physicists and cosmologists, I provocatively raised this question; most people there were highly sceptical. I queried their "blind faith in Einstein" and was soon alone at the table... chris, Sun, 27th Nov 2011

We should not overpersuade, we should win. simplified, Sun, 27th Nov 2011

Heh, Chris :)

That was a rather brave thing to do :) I'm impressed. We do need to test it, constantly. Although, I'm one of those that do believe that Einstein got it right also. He didn't drag it into its most absurd possibilities, as I like too. But he's the guy that started most of the controversies we still argue about, like what a entanglement is, or for that sake, a 'wave function' in Quantum Physics.

He was one of a kind in his imagination, and in his unending flair for finding propositions to test 'reality'. yor_on, Sun, 27th Nov 2011

Good on you chris. For asking about unquestioning faith in a person - as opposed to examining ideas. In journalism they have a concept called "Pack Journalism" where no one wants to report on things that conflict with "established" ideas. In astrophysics we seem to have similar self-imposed blinders on. How soon we forget that science "facts" and "hypotheses" are always inherently tentative. For example: It is not widely appreciated that no Big Bang model is yet a theory or a hypothesis - because none of the models are not fully or unambiguously defined. DavidCalif, Mon, 28th Nov 2011

(Let me apologize for the overlooked and incorrect double negative and correction in the first post.) Good on you Chris. For asking about unquestioning faith in a person - as opposed to examining ideas. In journalism they have a concept called "Pack Journalism" where no one wants to report on things that conflict with "established" ideas. In astrophysics we seem to have similar self-imposed blinders on. How soon we forget that science "facts" and "hypotheses" are always inherently tentative. For example: It is not widely appreciated that no Big Bang model is yet a theory or a hypothesis - because none of the models are yet fully or unambiguously defined. DavidCalif, Mon, 28th Nov 2011

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