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Possible neutrinos travel faster than light


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#41 Lauris Kaplinski   Members   -  Reputation: 841

Posted 27 September 2011 - 11:08 AM


According to the theory of relativity there is NO preferred reference frame

You mean that theory you intend to throw out of the window by positing a faster-than-fastest object?

...And all these descriptions are equally true descriptions of the Universe.

Assuming the axioms of relativity hold, yes. Little surprise one can derive a contradiction from inconsistenly applying ones axioms.

Neutrinos moving faster than light in vacuum does not automatically refute the theory of relativity.

  • It may be, that relativity still holds, but light itself moves slower than C
  • It may be, that neutrinos travel faster than C, but this process does not carry information
  • Even if neutrinos can carry information faster than C it may mean, that relativity still holds but causality, as we know it, does not exist in physical world
In any case, relativity, faster-than-light communication and causality do not seem to fit together. I personally hope that the last one will be thrown out and the universe turns out to be perfectly deterministic again :D
Lauris Kaplinski

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#42 Discount_Flunky   Members   -  Reputation: 102

Posted 27 September 2011 - 01:10 PM


For instance many scientists are starting to find proof that humans have a sixth sense.


Humans are painfully predictable and creatures of habit. Google and Facebook are mining all this data to run their own "sixth sense". Gather enough data and you can tell, with 95% confidence what the person will do. "Enough" in this case means web activity. Visa has been able to predict many decisions people make solely from purchasing history for many years now.

Human brain works through pattern matching, much of it is subconscious. While called sixth sense, it's nothing more than learned experience.

In the end, there is nothing mystical about it. Like weather. Gather enough inputs, fit them through some statistical model and you end up with a good enough prediction for next few days. Biggest change in recent years is the availability of computing power and number of sensors. Both have advanced sufficiently to the point where individuals' actions can be predicted in same way as weather.

And over long term, it does mean pre-crime becomes viable. Not through paranormal activity, but through simple math operating on vast amounts of data. Retail will also change. So will jobs. Linkedin has been promising this for a while, but we aren't there yet. Generations born today however will be providing sufficient records through entire life through which the models will be built, and eventually used for their successors. All big companies are using such models already and have been for a while. Not with breakthrough success, but sofficient to notice various trends.



If you don't know about the material you are talking about you can't dismiss it. What you are talking about is profiling which has nothing to do with a sixth sense if it exists.

#43 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 28582

Posted 27 September 2011 - 07:53 PM

It's been a while since I studied relativity, so I've forgotten where the standard value of c comes from -- have we measured it through observation, or predicted its value from math, or both?

Could it simply be that we've simply been using a slightly incorrect value of c all this time, and that this new experiment has delivered a more accurate measurement of c (which is slightly faster than our existing measurements)?

#44 Discount_Flunky   Members   -  Reputation: 102

Posted 27 September 2011 - 08:52 PM

It's been a while since I studied relativity, so I've forgotten where the standard value of c comes from -- have we measured it through observation, or predicted its value from math, or both?

Could it simply be that we've simply been using a slightly incorrect value of c all this time, and that this new experiment has delivered a more accurate measurement of c (which is slightly faster than our existing measurements)?


If this true that's what I think it is. Lights probably just faster then we thought it was. Won't change much of anything if it's true.

#45 irreversible   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1240

Posted 27 September 2011 - 10:52 PM

It's been a while since I studied relativity, so I've forgotten where the standard value of c comes from -- have we measured it through observation, or predicted its value from math, or both?

Could it simply be that we've simply been using a slightly incorrect value of c all this time, and that this new experiment has delivered a more accurate measurement of c (which is slightly faster than our existing measurements)?


It's been measured over and over and over and over again with consistently more refined results. If this would turn out to be the case, it would cast a shadow on generations of physicists in the past.

After centuries of increasingly precise measurements, in 1975 the speed of light was known to be 299,792,458 m/s with a relative measurement uncertainty of 4 parts per billion (4e-9). In 1983, the metre was redefined in the International System of Units (SI) as the distance travelled by light in vacuum in1299,792,458 of a second. As a result, the numerical value of c in metres per second is now fixed exactly by the definition of the metre.



#46 Discount_Flunky   Members   -  Reputation: 102

Posted 27 September 2011 - 11:05 PM


It's been a while since I studied relativity, so I've forgotten where the standard value of c comes from -- have we measured it through observation, or predicted its value from math, or both?

Could it simply be that we've simply been using a slightly incorrect value of c all this time, and that this new experiment has delivered a more accurate measurement of c (which is slightly faster than our existing measurements)?


It's been measured over and over and over and over again with consistently more refined results. If this would turn out to be the case, it would cast a shadow on generations of physicists in the past.

After centuries of increasingly precise measurements, in 1975 the speed of light was known to be 299,792,458 m/s with a relative measurement uncertainty of 4 parts per billion (4e-9). In 1983, the metre was redefined in the International System of Units (SI) as the distance travelled by light in vacuum in1299,792,458 of a second. As a result, the numerical value of c in metres per second is now fixed exactly by the definition of the metre.


If it's changed before it can be changed again. It wouldn't necessarily make scientists of before look bad.

#47 driftingSpaceMan   Members   -  Reputation: 143

Posted 28 September 2011 - 05:40 PM

For instance, sending information back (and possibly forth) in time might all of a sudden become a practical problem rather than a theoretical one.


Sorry to take the magic out of it, but that's not the case.

Neutrinos do not travel back in time, no matter how fast it turns out they were moving.

The principles of time-travel in relativity are due to a lack of a single fixed reference frame- which are the same principles that set c as the universal speed limit. It is in the nature of space-time as a single substance.


IF this turns out to be true, it means one (or more) of several things:

Something is effectively reducing the speed at which photons propagate (and perceived passage of time, since the electro-weak force is involved in material processes) that isn't affecting the neutrinos, or is not affecting them as strongly.

Cosmically, neutrinos do travel slower than light (such as from distant super novae); this may be a matter of context.

The neutrinos are not traveling faster than light if you don't factor in the space-time dilation caused by Earth's local gravity field.

That is to say, gravity may be slowing down time for light, but not for neutrinos, thus giving them an apparent relative boost.

The important consequences of that would seem to be that, yes, Einstein would have to be partially wrong.

Special relativity would have to be thrown out, along with the inherent coupling of space and time, because in this case Neutrinos would provide evidence of a special independent frame of reference.

We would then have to offer alternative explanations for gravity, the perceived relativity of light speed, and time dilation.
It's relatively easy to compose working theories that fit the observations based on quantum mechanics, and I could go on to do that, but I'm already a little off topic.


The point is, that with a special frame of reference, space and time are independent of each other, special relativity is wrong, and velocities faster than c do not result in time travel.

Likely all this would do in the near future is give us a more accurate picture of gravity, solve UFT, explain dark matter and other Astronomical quirks, give us an irrefutable model of the start of the universe... which is nothing to sneeze at, but pretty much just academic. I wish I could say it would result in world peace by unifying the belief systems of all people in science... but that's not going to happen any time soon.

I would say, relevant to everyday life, it would probably give us a small leg up in quantum and optical computation resulting in profound annoyance to cryptographers. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, yet. Are we ready for post-quantum cryptography?

What I have to wonder, though, is what does quantum computation offer gaming? Maybe better sorting methods? I'm not much of a programmer, so I'm not sure.

#48 driftingSpaceMan   Members   -  Reputation: 143

Posted 28 September 2011 - 05:53 PM

Neutrinos moving faster than light in vacuum does not automatically refute the theory of relativity.

  • It may be, that relativity still holds, but light itself moves slower than C
  • It may be, that neutrinos travel faster than C, but this process does not carry information
  • Even if neutrinos can carry information faster than C it may mean, that relativity still holds but causality, as we know it, does not exist in physical world
In any case, relativity, faster-than-light communication and causality do not seem to fit together. I personally hope that the last one will be thrown out and the universe turns out to be perfectly deterministic again :D


3. Don't worry, the last one is definitely not the case. Violations of causality are prone to logical contradictions. Logic is the only thing we can always assume in any coherent discussion- with out which, the principle of explosion makes the conversation itself meaningless. In so far as we're thinking or talking about anything, logic holds- and so must causality.

2. Neutrinos carry information; that's how they were detected. Neutrino vs. no neutrino is information.

1. This is... extremely unlikely. Like I mentioned in my post above, light may be being slowed down by something, but the only thing that would have been slowing down light in this experiment relative to cosmic observations would be gravity, and if we allow for gravity to slow down one thing, and not another, we have to disassociate space and time, which refutes special relativity by creating a special reference frame (space) independent of the passage of time experienced by different matter/energy in different places.

#49 Lauris Kaplinski   Members   -  Reputation: 841

Posted 29 September 2011 - 04:36 AM


Neutrinos moving faster than light in vacuum does not automatically refute the theory of relativity.

  • It may be, that relativity still holds, but light itself moves slower than C
  • It may be, that neutrinos travel faster than C, but this process does not carry information
  • Even if neutrinos can carry information faster than C it may mean, that relativity still holds but causality, as we know it, does not exist in physical world
In any case, relativity, faster-than-light communication and causality do not seem to fit together. I personally hope that the last one will be thrown out and the universe turns out to be perfectly deterministic again :D


3. Don't worry, the last one is definitely not the case. Violations of causality are prone to logical contradictions. Logic is the only thing we can always assume in any coherent discussion- with out which, the principle of explosion makes the conversation itself meaningless. In so far as we're thinking or talking about anything, logic holds- and so must causality.


Causality in philosophy already is logically incoherent, so not big loss here.

Also strictly deterministic theories, like pure Newtonian physics are time-symmetric and thus have no place for true causality. If ball A hits ball B and "causes" it to move, you can simply invert time and say, that ball B "caused" the movement of ball A backwards in time. We can only distinguish between them because of intuitive assignment of causality with forward-in-time influences, but this has no any physical meaning.

If Qm anf GTR taught us anything, the most important thing is, that we cannot carry the notions of our day-to-day logic naively into physical realms. Of course the theories have to be logically coherent - but "normal" causality does not belong to that part of logic.

2. Neutrinos carry information; that's how they were detected. Neutrino vs. no neutrino is information.


Probably. I simply do not know enough to exclude any entanglement-like setups, where we can post-factum establish, that neutrinos in CERN and Italy "appeared" within certain time interval but not have enough control in CERN to "set" the starting point of given time interval with enough precision.

1. This is... extremely unlikely. Like I mentioned in my post above, light may be being slowed down by something, but the only thing that would have been slowing down light in this experiment relative to cosmic observations would be gravity, and if we allow for gravity to slow down one thing, and not another, we have to disassociate space and time, which refutes special relativity by creating a special reference frame (space) independent of the passage of time experienced by different matter/energy in different places.


Why is gravity "the only thing" that could have slowed down light?

How about our theory of light is completely wrong and it never moves with speed C but always slightly slower depending on other factors than gravity? Thus both special and general relativity can still hold (as C being constant in all reference frames but not the speed of light).



Lauris Kaplinski

First technology demo of my game Shinya is out: http://lauris.kaplinski.com/shinya
Khayyam 3D - a freeware poser and scene builder application: http://khayyam.kaplinski.com/

#50 Discount_Flunky   Members   -  Reputation: 102

Posted 29 September 2011 - 05:48 AM

Why is gravity "the only thing" that could have slowed down light?

How about our theory of light is completely wrong and it never moves with speed C but always slightly slower depending on other factors than gravity? Thus both special and general relativity can still hold (as C being constant in all reference frames but not the speed of light).






Also gravity itself does not effect light. It can effect space time which in turn effects light, but without mass gravity can't act on it. (Just pointing it out not really a comment towards you)

#51 driftingSpaceMan   Members   -  Reputation: 143

Posted 29 September 2011 - 06:46 PM

Causality in philosophy already is logically incoherent, so not big loss here.


Causality isn't incoherent, it's a set of dependencies of more minute details on grander information that they modify- outside the context of the past, the future is incoherent. In the context of MWI (which is the only coherent interpretation of quantum physics in terms of relativity), it's easy to understand.

Violations of causality within the context of a causal relationship create contradictions; they provide a genesis of information.

Time-symmetry in simplified Newtonian physics poses no problems for legitimate causality, nor does it negate it; causality is about accumulation of information on the quantum side of things (which is erroneously ignored in Newtonian systems), and segregation into discrete realities. Quantum physics is not non-deterministic in the context of legitimate interpretations.

If none of that convinces you, I don't think I'll have time to explain more. Although discussion of causality can be fun, this could be a much more lengthy philosophical discussion than I was bargaining for (I was hoping to stick to light conversation topics like relativity and quantum physics), so I think I'll (try) to leave it at that.

So in conclusion: I'm right and you're wrong. :P


Probably. I simply do not know enough to exclude any entanglement-like setups, where we can post-factum establish, that neutrinos in CERN and Italy "appeared" within certain time interval but not have enough control in CERN to "set" the starting point of given time interval with enough precision.


That is at least part of what they were investigating as the possible cause over the past couple years. Experimental controls have to be pretty tight to prevent noise from giving false positives.

There always remains the possibility that there was something wrong with the experimental set up- which is why I prefaced everything with a gigantic "IF".



Why is gravity "the only thing" that could have slowed down light?

How about our theory of light is completely wrong and it never moves with speed C but always slightly slower depending on other factors than gravity? Thus both special and general relativity can still hold (as C being constant in all reference frames but not the speed of light).


"Slowing down" is admittedly a bad way to phrase it, but there is little else available in the English vocabulary (As Discount_Flunky pointed out, the relationship is complicated).

Anyway, that's why I gave a definitive 'no' to the other explanations, but only said that this one is 'very unlikely'.

Our observations of light have been extensive, and there's nothing I'm aware of to suggest additional forces coming into play here. Most of those aren't so much theories as hypotheses- when they propose a means of being tested and falsified, they can become theories (in which case, they'd be tested and disproved or proved pretty quickly).

The speed of light in vacuum on Earth is consistent with that expected from time dilation predicted by relativity.

Maybe vacuum fluctuations are slowing down light everywhere (and effectively slowing down out perception of time everywhere, light being the principle means of measuring time), but not slowing down neutrinos because of a weaker reaction with electron-positron pairs (for as long as they exist). But along with that would have to come an explanation for our observations that, on astronomical scales, light moves a bit faster than neutrinos. Maybe there's dark matter in between here and the observed supernovas that slows down neutrinos, but not light?

Eh... yeah, we could test part of that.

Set up some electron beams in a vacuum and shoot light through them to measure the speed of light through a haze of dispersed electrons with density of variable X to plot a curve of light speed through dispersed electrons at variable densities. Assuming positrons to be identical to electrons (which is a very fair assumption), we could estimate the speed of light from that curve given the average density of positrons & electrons in the vacuum. Then we could compare that to the speed of the neutrinos and see if that accounts for the difference.

Then we'd have to assume some other exotic matter in space is slowing down neutrinos there, but not on Earth.

For all I know they already tested that (or it has already been tested elsewhere) and ruled it out, but maybe not. I'm not read on every experiment that's ever been done regarding light speed (it's pretty extensive).

OK, you win that one. I'll change my "very unlikely" to just regular "unlikely". I'd have to do some research to see if there are any experiments along this line.

#52 Lauris Kaplinski   Members   -  Reputation: 841

Posted 30 September 2011 - 05:35 AM


Causality in philosophy already is logically incoherent, so not big loss here.


Causality isn't incoherent, it's a set of dependencies of more minute details on grander information that they modify- outside the context of the past, the future is incoherent. In the context of MWI (which is the only coherent interpretation of quantum physics in terms of relativity), it's easy to understand.

Violations of causality within the context of a causal relationship create contradictions; they provide a genesis of information.

Time-symmetry in simplified Newtonian physics poses no problems for legitimate causality, nor does it negate it; causality is about accumulation of information on the quantum side of things (which is erroneously ignored in Newtonian systems), and segregation into discrete realities. Quantum physics is not non-deterministic in the context of legitimate interpretations.

If none of that convinces you, I don't think I'll have time to explain more. Although discussion of causality can be fun, this could be a much more lengthy philosophical discussion than I was bargaining for (I was hoping to stick to light conversation topics like relativity and quantum physics), so I think I'll (try) to leave it at that.
So in conclusion: I'm right and you're wrong. :P



I disagree, but I see where out disagreement originates from - you are MWI, I am Copenhagen man :wink:
Lauris Kaplinski

First technology demo of my game Shinya is out: http://lauris.kaplinski.com/shinya
Khayyam 3D - a freeware poser and scene builder application: http://khayyam.kaplinski.com/

#53 driftingSpaceMan   Members   -  Reputation: 143

Posted 30 September 2011 - 09:40 AM

I disagree, but I see where out disagreement originates from - you are MWI, I am Copenhagen man :wink:


Hold up, you're a Copenhagenian? That's it, we're going to have to take this out to the parking lot!

...Unless we can find a Hidden-Variableian to gang up on, forcing us to temporarily unite.



In all seriousness, though... you do realize that the Copenhagen interpretation results in unavoidable geocentrism?

Relativity dictates a sphere of causality, which means no matter how many alien civilizations there are, or how many astronauts we send to other worlds, their "observations" are incapable of legitimately collapsing waves (there is no special frame of observation)- not until the information could reach our humble little blue speck can the countless civilizations in the universe rest easy knowing whether the cat (or galactic empire) is alive or dead.

Wikipedia has a nice recreation of an older illustration (or it may be that illustration in public domain or under fair use) that shows the... gravity of these implications of information propagation on a cosmic scale.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lorentz_transform_of_world_line.gif

But, then, it's not really even geocentric if you think about it. It's centric to one planck voxel of space.

The more it's examined, the more profoundly absurd and numerous the assumptions copenhagen has to make become. Occam would not approve.




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