Page 1 of 1

FTL broken and no one talks about it, sad this place died :(

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:03 pm
by Wizard CaT
Associated Press wrote:GENEVA — Physicists on the team that measured particles traveling faster than light said Friday they were as surprised as their skeptics about the results, which appear to violate the laws of nature as we know them.

Hundreds of scientists packed an auditorium at one of the world's foremost laboratories on the Swiss-French border to hear how a subatomic particle, the neutrino, was found to have outrun light and confounded the theories of Albert Einstein.

"To our great surprise we found an anomaly," said Antonio Ereditato, who participated in the experiment and speaks on behalf of the team.

An anomaly is a mild way of putting it.

Going faster than light is something that is just not supposed to happen, according to Einstein's 1905 special theory of relativity. The speed of light — 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second) — has long been considered a cosmic speed limit.

The team — a collaboration between France's National Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics Research and Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory — fired a neutrino beam 454 miles (730 kilometers) underground from Geneva to Italy.

They found it traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than light. That's sixty billionth of a second, a time no human brain could register.

"You could say it's peanuts, but it's not. It's something that we can measure rather accurately with a small uncertainty," Ereditato told The Associated Press.

If the experiment is independently repeated — most likely by teams in the United States or Japan — then it would require a fundamental rethink of modern physics.

"Everybody knows that the speed limit is c, the speed of light. And if you find some matter particle such as the neutrino going faster than light, this is something which immediately shocks everybody, including us," said Ereditato, a researcher at the University of Bern, Switzerland.

Physicists not involved in the experiment have been understandably skeptical.

Alvaro De Rujula, a theoretical physicist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research outside Geneva from where the neutron beam was fired, said he blamed the readings on a so-far undetected human error.

If not, and it's a big if, the door would be opened to some wild possibilities.

The average person, said De Rujula, "could, in principle, travel to the past and kill their mother before they were born."

But Ereditato and his team are wary of letting such science fiction story lines keep them up at night.

"We will continue our studies and we will wait patiently for the confirmation," he told the AP. "Everybody is free to do what they want: to think, to claim, to dream."

He added: "I'm not going to tell you my dreams."
—Copyright 2011 Associated Press

Re: FTL broken and no one talks about it, sad this place die

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:49 pm
by Coda
I think we're all still waiting for there to be more. It's interesting, but it's just a blip. In a world where we've TALKED about FTL since Einstein and co. came up with the notion of the light speed barrier, seeing a few particles that we already know we can't do much with ends up just being a disappointment -- there's not been much news on what this actually MEANS. What does this tell us about how our universe works? I dunno, I'm no more enlightened than I was before the experiment.

Re: FTL broken and no one talks about it, sad this place die

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:09 pm
by Wizard CaT
Yes but if you've watched the anime Steins;Gate then you know that CERN is an evil organization bent on world domination through time travel :( Be afraid!

Re: FTL broken and no one talks about it, sad this place die

PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:30 am
by SvZurich
I've been holding out hope for the duplication of this feat. As it stands, this might be explained away by seismic bullshit or instrument calibration error. If it is replicated, then I can hope!

I've seen too many "wow, this happened and will be out in the next 5 years" items that never pan out. I don't want to get my hopes up too soon over nothing.

But... if we can exceed light speed, someday FTL comms and travel might exist for our species! :D

Re: FTL broken and no one talks about it, sad this place die

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:02 am
by Sparksol
Indeed, until successful reproduction of results, it another cold fusion mishap, or universe hiccup, or whatever.