04-15-12, 02:26 AM #1
The speed of neutrino!
Will there be any major change in Physics if the velocity of neutrino is proved to be more than light. Won't the theory of relativity be invalid then?
Last edited by aymanbinmoshi; 04-15-12 at 02:27 AM. Reason: correction of miss word
04-15-12, 04:40 AM #2
First thing to say is that the repeated experiment, as well as results from another experiment, have shown that the neutrinos were not observed going faster than light. A wire wasn't plugged in properly, which gave a few nanoseconds delay in the machine and threw the results out. It just shows how amazingly careful the experiments are to close out every error.
However, if we were to entertain the notion of an experiment saying something goes faster than light, then yes, something would be up with special relativity. There are ways in quantum field theory, which includes special relativity, for things to happen faster than light but information still cannot be sent faster than light. Hence it would mean a lot of major reworking in theoretical physics to explain the results, as both GR and QFT are based on extensions of special relativity.
The first major thrust of research would be to see which particles are going faster than light, what makes them special etc. The neutrinos are different from say electrons because neutrinos are neutral in terms of EM charge. An electron going faster than light would be very interesting, as it can emit light itself.
If SR is wrong then it is equivalent to saying the symmetry of space-time isn't Lorentz transformations but something else. What the transformations are would be of vital importance to physics, because symmetries say so much about a system. Newtonian mechanics is essentially the application of Galilean transforms, while SR is the application of Lorentz transforms, which become Galilean if you make v<<c. So people would look at symmetries which look like Lorentz transforms for v~c but which are able to go beyond v=c.
Currently all particle fields in physics obey the same symmetries of space-time. If neutrinos can go faster than light but say electrons cannot (and we've pumped a lot of energy into them over the years!) then it would mean there's something very very weird going on, with different symmetries working for different particles. SR is a statement about space-time, not about particles directly, so if neutrinos transformed differently from other particles it would require a complete reorientation of our perspective. It would mean Nature is doing some rather inelegant things and while mathematical elegance cannot be the only guide to formulating a model in physics it certainly seems to be the case Nature likes to do things elegantly. It would almost be disappointing if Nature made things convoluted.
Of course I'm anthropomorphising Nature as if its a concious entity but being an ardent atheist I'm only using it to motivate a point of view.
04-20-12, 08:28 AM #3
04-20-12, 08:35 AM #4
04-20-12, 10:26 AM #5
Actually, I don't know if it was scientifically published or accepted for publishing anywhere.
A small part of the OPERA team (in Gran Sasso, Italy) got the puzzling result, an Italian reporter starting writing about the rumors he heard, the leader of OPERA decided to distribute the lightly checked result in a press conference and seminar (both at CERN) and the paper appeared in pre-print form later that night.
They didn't display a lot of confidence in the result, even though they claimed the result was numerically highly confident. Other scientists were vocal in that they assumed OPERA could have made any number of mistakes -- most of the guesses centered on calculations and OPERA appeared to take offense that their shepherding of data and calculations were being questioned.
Plenty of scientists pointed out that the results seemed inconsistent with former experimental results that measured less energetic neutrinos to be much closer to light speed (consistent with the consensus mass of neutrinos as a tiny fraction of the electron mass) and others pointed out that neutrinos would exhibit weird phenomena and lose energy if they did not obey the speed limit of special relativity that electrons and light obey with high confidence.
OPERA modified there experimental procedure to make it easier to extract the speed of neutrinos (which was nothing more than a sideshow to OPERA's core goals) and got the same result of too-short arrival times. Other labs chimed in that they did not see the weird phenomena consistent with FTL neutrinos.
Months after this started, someone in OPERA found the improper fiber optic cable connection that slowed receipt of enough light to trigger the timing electronics. Another lab in Gran Sasso, ICARUS, measured the speed of the same neutrinos and found a result that was not FTL. Having plugged in the cable correctly, OPERA was able to demonstrate that none of their results demonstrated FTL neutrinos. This last result was not nearly widely reported on as the original press conference and aymanbinmoshi is not the first person I've seen to know of the mistaken result and not the correction.
The Internet has possibly harmed journalism in that noone takes time to triple-check their facts before rushing to press. Rumors spread world-wide on the flimsiest reports. The Internet has also possibly harmed the public perception of science in that the pre-print server intended for sharing among scientists is frequently confused with a peer-reviewed scientific journal of good reputation when the actual "editorial policy" is "don't abuse it."
Last edited by rpenner; 04-20-12 at 10:36 AM.
04-20-12, 10:54 AM #6
It has been my understanding that the re-testing involved only a handfull of detected neutrino events and that further experiments are still to be conducted at both CERN/OPERA—ICARUS and MINOS. Is this correct.
Another issue that bothers me about the loose fiber optic connection is that, the earlier OPERA paper involved data collected over a three year period. How much impact would the lose connection have on any other data collected during that time? It seems that to have created the kind of issue involved, the connection would have had to have been faulty for the whole time.
I don't even recall where the loose connection was.., CERN or OPERA.
Last edited by OnlyMe; 04-20-12 at 12:01 PM.
04-20-12, 11:24 AM #7
The loose connection was at OPERA, slowing the clock associated with the reception of neutrino detection events, and thus causing the measure elapsed travel time be shorter than the actual elapsed time.
And here's a picture of the loose connection:
And here's confirmation that the cable has been loose since 2008.
This is why we buy Swiss Watches.
Last edited by rpenner; 04-20-12 at 11:34 AM.
04-20-12, 11:58 AM #8
04-20-12, 11:59 AM #9
Do you know if previously planned further experiments are still scheduled for OPERA and MINOS? Don't they still need to confirm "corrected" times with a "good" connection? And does this have implications for other experimental data during that time, aside from the FTL issue?
04-20-12, 12:14 PM #10
MINOS claims that they are going forward with timing experiments. I am not up-to-date on the future of OPERA since their decision maker resigned at the end of March 2012.
04-20-12, 01:16 PM #11
One other thing about neutrinos "faster than light" is the connection with super-novas. The neutrinos should arrive before they are visible, but they always without fail arrive afterwards. That is why the whole thing was not taken seriously immediately, and why it was assumed that a mistake was made.
04-20-12, 02:07 PM #12
"The collaboration has also checked its original statistical analysis, but today's decision to submit the results to a journal was not unanimous. "About four people" among the group of around 15 who did not sign the preprint have signed the journal submission, according to a source within the collaboration, while "four new people" have decided not to sign. That leaves the number of dissenters at about 15, compared with about 180 who did sign the journal submission."
"The results have been posted online."
04-20-12, 04:04 PM #13
Submitted to a journal should be a necessary step before the paper is submitted to arXiv, but Submitted neither means that it is published or has been accepted as worthy by the publisher responsible for the peer review steps and appearing in arXiv isn't actually proof that it has been submitted.
Posted online (personal website or arXiv) is not evidence that the paper has passed peer review, only evidence that the paper is visible to those that wish to review it or cite it before it has completed the scientific publishing process.
04-20-12, 04:42 PM #14
Before we find something that can go faster than light, what is light? I would hazard a guess, as I am not an expert on this, that light is pure energy or the excitement of atoms to become 'fire'. This radioactive fire can travel as fast as it can, but not slower. So, light travels at a constant speed. If something could travel faster than excited atoms firing up each other, it would burn up, unless it was made out of something very different to normal things.
I would also hazard a guess that the material could not be made up of atoms, or normal atoms. Maybe varients on atoms? If atoms are made of a nucleus and a bunch of protons and electrons, then there wuld have to be more electrons to it, to supercede the conductivity, as light travels through atoms, yes?
04-20-12, 04:57 PM #15
Please don't parody the ramblings of idiots. The idiots don't have a sense of humor and the enlightened find it painful to distinguish the appearance of idiocy from actual drunken screeds.
04-20-12, 05:08 PM #16
maybe i don't understand, maybe some visitor doesn't understand and reads through this thinking exactly the same things. Calling me names? I could call you a lot of things subservient to me.
04-20-12, 06:05 PM #17
Last edited by Emil; 04-20-12 at 06:10 PM.
04-20-12, 07:14 PM #18
Generally, experimentalist papers explain their procedure (complicated), explain what they measured (time of arrival of N neutrinos), explain what they calculated (v > c!!!!), and explain how they are confident that this result is precise (with an error budget). In the first draft of the paper, parts of the procedure were not well explained. For example the measured time was binned into bins of 50 ns apiece. This is less than ideal for measuring an alleged 60 ns discrepancy. Neither did they calibrate their equipment via cross-check regularly, as their clocks have been wrong by 70 ns since 2008.
In the revised paper, they went back and did more experiments, resetting the clock on peer review (normally, peer review does not cause you to alter your experimental results). http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.4897
It was the revised paper that was in November 2011 submitted to, but not yet accepted, by Journal of High Energy Physics. The calibration of their clocks were last checked in 2007 and not checked again until December. So when OPERA wrote at the end of section 3 of the revised paper, "All the other elements of the timing distribution chains of CERN and OPERA were accurately calibrated by using different techniques, further described in the following, in order to reach a comparable level of accuracy." this contrast with pp14-15 "The delay of this transmission with respect to the ESAT 1PPS output down to the OPERA master clock output was measured with a two-way fibre procedure in July 2006 and amounts to (40996 ± 1) ns." and in reality: "Only in December did they start to look at the equipment that actually allowed them to carry out the timing measurement."
Any good experimentalist will tell you that when you think you might have made a radical discovery, one thing you need to do is make a list of all the elements of your experimental apparatus that could affect your measurement and check them all, every single one, in multiple ways. Clearly, you check all the wires and connectors in more than one way, one by one, especially those on which the whole experiment depends, such as those going into and out of the experiment’s master clock. And if your measurement is based partly on a precision timing measurement, you want to have made abundant checks that you don’t have a problem in your timing equipment. It is more than a little mystifying that OPERA’s neutrino-speed experts did not have a complete yearly check of their timing calibration, or at least a final thorough check after OPERA-1 was over before announcing a result. How could a big problem that arose in 2008 go undetected until the end of 2011, after the experimental result was announced?
Something happened in 2008, the details are not clear yet, but as a result of that the fiber optic connector was not fully plugged in, so the timing circuits worked with high precision but their accuracy was affected. In addition to that a second clock problem was found.
JHEP is now a Springer journal and has only about a 1-month turn around for acceptance of many experimental papers. But before that expected 1 month period expired, the OPERA team already knew that the results in the paper were garbage-in-garbage-out calculations and may have torpedoed their own acceptance process. So the paper has not appeared in the scientific literature and I see no signs it was accepted for publication as of this date.
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