Challenging Einstein is usually a losing venture

Sep 23, 2011 By FRANK JORDANS and SETH BORENSTEIN , Associated Press
This undated file photo shows famed physicist Albert Einstein. Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, the world's largest physics lab, say they have clocked subatomic particles, called neutrinos, traveling faster than light, a feat that, if true, would break a fundamental pillar of science, the idea that nothing is supposed to move faster than light, at least according to Einstein's special theory of relativity: The famous E (equals) mc2 equation. That stands for energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. The readings have so astounded researchers that they are asking others to independently verify the measurements before claiming an actual discovery. (AP Photo)

(AP) -- Betting against Einstein and his theory of relativity is a way to go broke. For more than a century, everyone from physicists to the Nazi Party - which encouraged the publication of the tract "One Hundred Authors Against Einstein" - has tried to find cracks in his work. And all have failed.

On Thursday, the world's biggest physics lab unveiled a shocking finding: that one type of was clocked going faster than the speed of light. If true - a big if, even the scientists there concede - it could undercut Einstein's theories. Physicist Michio Kaku of City College of New York called it "the biggest challenge to relativity in 100 years."

Antonio Ereditato, who participated in the European experiment as head of the Center for in Bern, knows what is at stake. After his team fielded two hours of technical questions, some a bit sharp, from a skeptical audience Friday, Ereditato had a beer in hand and was asked about the idea that his work was challenging the secular saint of modern physics.

"Yes, that's why I'm concerned," he said with a laugh.

There's a long history of experimental results that at first seem to contradict relativity, only later to be found to fit neatly with the theory Albert Einstein loved for its simplicity and elegance.

"It's dangerous to lay odds against Einstein," said Rob Plunkett, a physicist at the near Chicago who has tried similar speed-of-light experiments and will now try to test the new findings.

Even Einstein himself was wrong in 1929 when he called his cosmological constant his "biggest blunder." He introduced the constant in his as a force that keeps the universe from collapsing. In 1998, new findings showed that the universe is accelerating and that in general Einstein's "blunder" wasn't a mistake.

Harvard University science historian Peter Galison said Einstein's relativity theories have been challenged and "pushed on as hard as any theory in the history of physical sciences ever" and they have survived.

The elegance of Einstein's theory and its proven track record are why nearly every one of the more than a dozen physicists contacted by The Associated Press about the new findings has been cautious, skeptical or downright disbelieving.

The research is the result of a collaboration between France's National Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics Research and Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory.

The scientists fired a beam of neutrinos 454 miles (730 kilometers) underground from Geneva to Italy. They found it traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than light. That's 60 billionths 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 AP.

On Friday, hundreds of scientists packed an auditorium at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, on the Swiss-French border to hear the details. Physicists on the team said they were as surprised as their skeptics about the results, which appear to violate the laws of nature as we know them.

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

"If you find some matter particle such as the neutrino going faster than light, this is something which immediately shocks everybody, including us," Ereditato said.

The experiment needs to be independently reviewed - most likely by teams in the U.S. or Japan.

"If this result holds, and I kind of doubt it, it means we'll have to rewrite all of ," said Kaku, author of the book "Physics of the Future" and host of a Science Channel television show. "Einstein has come out ahead every single time. However, this time you're talking about the largest particle accelerator in the world registering a significant deviation in relativity."

Columbia University physicist Brian Greene said he would "bet just about everything I hold dear that this won't hold up to scrutiny." But even if the results are confirmed, Einstein's theories will need more of a patch than anything else, he said.

Ereditato agreed.

"When Einstein did his relativity, it didn't destroy what Newton did. In fact, Newton explains 99.9 percent of what is happening around us. But still, in some special conditions of matter, you are forced to use special relativity," Ereditato said. "Now suppose we would find one day that under extreme conditions you have to take into account corrections to what we know now. This doesn't mean that Einstein's wrong."

And this is the glory of science, said Don Howard, who lectures on Einstein and heads the Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values at Notre Dame University. Experiments are allowed, even encouraged, to challenge pillars of science.

"Everything is up for grabs," Howard said. "Even a genius like Einstein."

Explore further: New terahertz device could strengthen security

More information: CERN site for neutrino project: http://bit.ly/nd9sm1

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Isaacsname
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 23, 2011
Of course. Would you argue with anybody who had hair like that ?

...eventually all theories need extensions.
yyz
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 23, 2011
What gives? PhysOrg has the same "undated" picture of Einstein in at least three different articles here in as many days. Other pics DO exist.

Like this one(and geez....it's dated 1945): http://www.cardco...brities/
Isaacsname
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 24, 2011
What gives? PhysOrg has the same "undated" picture of Einstein in at least three different articles here in as many days. Other pics DO exist.

Like this one(and geez....it's dated 1945): http://www.cardco...brities/


Sexy.

How bout this one:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7i-ott3PCQc/Tm2EwKcCXaI/AAAAAAAAEYo/dZXgQGGT5PQ/s400/einstein-on-bike.jpg

Aliensarethere
4.1 / 5 (8) Sep 24, 2011
"Even Einstein himself was wrong in 1929 when he called his cosmological constant his "biggest blunder."

It was a big blunder. Einstein added the constant because he believed the Universe was static. In the 1920's Hubble showed that galaxies are moving away from each other.

That they later added the constant again, has nothing to do with a static Universe.
Cave_Man
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 24, 2011
Maybe the neutrino is an omni-present particle that belongs to a group closer to membrane theories than elementary particles, i mean we are talking about the smallest, lightest known particle, its probably just picking up some quality from 'zero point' space which would mean its wave function accumulates to a particle faster than that of heavier particles. Like the neutrino knows its going to exist just a tiny bit before it coalesces and is already traveling when it's formed.

This would be easy to determine because the gained time would be the same no matter how far the neutrino is beamed, it would also help explain why they don't interact with matter as much because if its traveling through a brane it may be absorbed and emitted in the same manner causing it to jump several times during its journey, although that would mean the longer it travels the more time it gains (or loses from our perspective making it look faster)
irb2011
3 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2011
Don't you think that is a kind of tautology to invalidate special relativity by measuring a distance with an instrument (GPS) whose measures are calibrated with the help of general relativity?
Callippo
1 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2011
Don't you think that is a kind of tautology to invalidate special relativity by measuring a distance with an instrument (GPS) whose measures are calibrated with the help of general relativity?
Not quite, because the general relativity allows violations of special relativity in its very consequences. After all, if it didn't both theories would be truly identical. But the general relativity isn't dependent on special relativity postulates at all - it actually uses it's own postulate set. If you wouldn't understand the historical connections, you could consider it as a quite different theory easily.
My point is, the speed of light appears INSIDE of gravity lens, where the space-time is curved instead of path of light. But OUTSIDE of lens is no gravity field, so that external observer would see the light really curved and slowed down and general relativity even enables to compute this aberration. Whereas special relativity allows no aberration, refractive of dispersive phenomena.
Doug_Huffman
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 24, 2011
What gives? PhysOrg has the same "undated" picture of Einstein in at least three different articles here in as many days. Other pics DO exist.
It's called copyright
frajo
2 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2011
Going faster than light is something that is just not supposed to happen
It does happen (Wikipedia):
Cherenkov radiation is electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle passes through a dielectric medium at a speed greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium.


However, this time you're talking about the largest particle accelerator in the world registering a significant deviation in relativity.
Kaku, host of a Science Channel television show, is wrong. It was not the LHC that registered the deviation.
GreyLensman
3 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2011
If, in 1989, Fleischman and Pons had taken the same level of care that the CERN team has taken with this tau experiment, the world would have heard of cold "fusion".
I DO think that neutrino effect this is a systematic error, but it must be damn subtle.
Jeddy_Mctedder
2.6 / 5 (5) Sep 24, 2011
i heard einstein was a pretty good bareknuckle boxer as well.
Omar_Salah
2 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2011
Going faster than light is something that is just not supposed to happen
It does happen (Wikipedia):
Cherenkov radiation is electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle passes through a dielectric medium at a speed greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium.


However, this time you're talking about the largest particle accelerator in the world registering a significant deviation in relativity.
Kaku, host of a Science Channel television show, is wrong. It was not the LHC that registered the deviation.


Nothing travel faster than c. All mass-less particles travel at c [b]in a vaccuum[/b]. Things travel faster than light all the time. For an example, electrons in water typically travel faster than photons in the same medium. But nothing travel faster than c. This is very basic physics.
kaasinees
1.5 / 5 (8) Sep 24, 2011
Nothing travel faster than c. All mass-less particles travel at c [b]in a vaccuum[/b]. Things travel faster than light all the time. For an example, electrons in water typically travel faster than photons in the same medium. But nothing travel faster than c. This is very basic physics.

There is no such thing as massless particles in physics. If it had no mass it would not be physical. Its time for scientists to make clear difference between mass and rest mass.
SR71BlackBird
2.6 / 5 (5) Sep 24, 2011
Photons are not mass-less, they have energy and momentum. They have zero rest mass, that is, if you were to bring a photon to rest, all the mass that the photon has at c would be converted to energy. As per the mass-energy principle.
YourNewDad
1 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2011
Riddle me this.
2 Photons are emitted from the sun in opposite directions at the exact same moment. How fast is photon A moving relative to photon B?
Daleg
3 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2011
I would bet that The measurement is wrong not the theory. 2 reasons, first Relativity does not say nothing can go faster than the speed of light, only particles with mass. Second nuetrinos are very difficult to actually detect and monitor, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that given a higher statistical base and more calculations they find this to be a statistical fluke. Sorry three reasons, Physcists have known for years that electrons tunneling also appear to travel faster than light speed through the so called black box region of the "tunnel", but since they can't be observed in that state or region of the experimental apparatus, this is actually an unobservable effect which has no true consequences in the real world. So this again is an experimental result, with no true implications in reality. Probably another instance of an unobserved result in the black box region of an experimental apparatus only, with no real consequences at all.
Daleg
3 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2011

This would be easy to determine because the gained time would be the same no matter how far the neutrino is beamed, it would also help explain why they don't interact with matter as much because if its traveling through a brane it may be absorbed and emitted in the same manner causing it to jump several times during its journey, although that would mean the longer it travels the more time it gains (or loses from our perspective making it look faster)

First the nuetrino was produced by the weak force by smashing protons together in the LHC. This means it is simply a small amount of energy left over from that collision. Second the reason nuetrinos barely interact is that they only feel the weak force, and the range of those interactions are very limited in space. Therefore a nuetrino would need to come very,very close to anything before it would interact with it. That rarely happens. Hence maybe 1 out of 40 billion times you will even be able to detect them at all.
PS3
1 / 5 (3) Sep 25, 2011
It has to be wrong because the the great pyramid has the speed of light encoded in it.
ABSOLUTEKNOWLEDGE
1 / 5 (6) Sep 25, 2011
FOR THE DUMMIES
FEW FACTS

US HAS BEEN DOING TIME TRAVEL SINCE THE 60THS

THIS IS CONFIRMATION THAT THIS IS NOT CONSPIRACY THEORY

SEARCH PROJECT PEGASUS Andrew D. Basiago ~ Time Travel & Teleportation
http://www.youtub...=related
chuckscherl
1 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2011
I want to know how they measured the distance between the two points with the precision necessary to make such a declaration.
Cave_Man
1 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2011
I would bet that The measurement is wrong not the theory. 2 reasons, first Relativity does not say nothing can go faster than the speed of light, only particles with mass. Second nuetrinos are very difficult to actually detect and monitor, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that given a higher statistical base and more calculations they find this to be a statistical fluke. Sorry three reasons, Physcists have known for years that electrons tunneling also appear to travel faster than light speed through the so called black box region of the "tunnel", but since they can't be observed in that state or region of the experimental apparatus, this is actually an unobservable effect which has no true consequences in the real world. So this again is an experimental result, with no true implications in reality. Probably another instance of an unobserved result in the black box region of an experimental apparatus only, with no real consequences at all.


Look up the definition of "thing"
Isaacsname
not rated yet Sep 26, 2011
Riddle me this.
2 Photons are emitted from the sun in opposite directions at the exact same moment. How fast is photon A moving relative to photon B?


For that situation both objects are moving greater than c, RELATIVE TO EACH OTHER. Nothing more, nothing less.
haaha_srsly
1 / 5 (1) Sep 26, 2011
I have 1 word for you all: Tesla
kaasinees
1 / 5 (2) Sep 26, 2011
Riddle me this.
2 Photons are emitted from the sun in opposite directions at the exact same moment. How fast is photon A moving relative to photon B?


Imagine being inside photon A, how fast is photon B moving?

For that situation both objects are moving greater than c, RELATIVE TO EACH OTHER. Nothing more, nothing less.

Seeker2
1 / 5 (2) Sep 26, 2011
Could be a possible explanation for the instantaneous force of gravity? Listen to the common wisdom people cry foul at http://www.scienc...y-82950:

...Constructing far-fetched explanations
...Physics is broken. We need to fix it.
...we need to revise physics
YourNewDad
1 / 5 (1) Sep 26, 2011
Not much of a speed limit. Is it?
rsklyar
1 / 5 (2) Oct 02, 2011
Plagiarism in a "family" style
How young ambitious capoes and soldiers from Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) under supervision of a decrepit american don-godfather from Northwestern University are successfully completed their sequential plagiaristic enterprise: http://issuu.com/...saivaldi

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