Scientists stunned, sceptical on faster-than-light particles

Sep 23, 2011 by Marlowe Hood

Physicists around the world expressed astonishment and scepticism in equal measure Friday after European scientists reported particles apparently travelling faster than light.

Tiny specks called neutrinos were clocked at 300,006 kilometres per second -- slightly faster than the -- along a 730-kilometre (453-mile) trajectory between the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland and a laboratory in Italy.

If verified, the results would dismantle a key plank of Einstein's and deeply unsettle our understanding of the physical world.

"That is a very, very big 'if'," said Alfons Weber, a professor of at Oxford University, and an expert on neutrinos.

"Since this is the only indication we have that there is something wrong (with Einstein's theory), we need to see if there is some measurement artifact" which could have biased the results, he said by phone.

"People are going to challenge this discovery -- if discovery there is," said Jonathan Ellis, a theoretical physicist at CERN not directly involved in the experiment dubbed OPERA.

Even researchers who conducted the tests seemed leery of their own findings.

"An apparently unbelievable result," is how Sergio Bertolucci, Research Director CERN, described it. "We need to be sure that there are no other mundane explanations. That will require independent measurements."

Scientists at and the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy scrutinised their results for nearly six months before making the announcement.

"If a fact is scientifically established, I'll believe it," Pierre Fayet, a at France's Ecole Normale Superieure, told French newspaper Liberation.

"But that's what has to be verified in exacting detail because this observation beggars belief."

A call for independent verification was a common refrain among physicists reacting to the news. That will happen is two steps, they said.

The first will be to evaluate the results and all the supporting data, which was published overnight on a physics website (arXiv.org).

Pierre Binetruy, director of the Astroparticle and Cosmology Laboratory in Paris, did not participate in the experiments but said he had been poring over the data for a week "looking for the little glitch or error, because these findings are altogether revolutionary."

Most independent physicists, however, were in the dark until rumours began to circulate earlier this week, and thus will need more time, said Weber, who took part in a similar experiment at the US Fermilab in 2007.

The next step will be to duplicate the neutrino experiment in another laboratory, which could happen within months.

But there are only two facilities currently operational capable of carrying out such tests, said Weber.

One is at the national Fermilab outside Chicago, where the 2007 effort -- part of a project called MINOS -- hinted at faster-than-light speeds but fell within the margin of error.

"We are already thinking about upgrades that would allow us to make competitive measurements," said Weber.

The other site is in Japan, where an international team of physicists last year detected neutrinos that had travelled the width of Honshu island to the giant Super-Kamiokande underground detector.

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User comments : 127

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Nederlander
5 / 5 (13) Sep 23, 2011
Haha! What if... (almost want it to be true, just for excitement' sake).
OdieNewton
5 / 5 (5) Sep 23, 2011
I second that.
JaeKyung
5 / 5 (7) Sep 23, 2011
Very exciting! but mostly prepared for a disappointment.
GTMoneyMan
1.5 / 5 (4) Sep 23, 2011
Perhaps it possible, just as Einstein's theories adjusted the Newtonian understanding for object traveling very fast as an object mass approaches zero mass that creates a similar distortion to the Einstein model. Perhaps if the mass is small enough, but not zero the approach to light speed creates a form of space time envelope that allows for faster than light travel by compressing the fabric of space time. This effect would then be lost once a particle no longer had mass.
Jarek
4.4 / 5 (11) Sep 23, 2011
The fact that it would violate naive SRT means only that this picture is too simplified.
More mature view on SRT is just that field theories should be Lorentz invariant and I don't a reason for violating that, like birefringence crystal having two different light speeds.

If it's true, it would only mean that we were wrongly thinking that optical photon is the fastest field construction.
They are made of EM field, while neutrino is mainly a construct of the field corresponding to the weak interaction - we know the speed of EM field propagation, but are there any experiments showing that weak interaction field has exactly the same propagation speed? (up to 1/40000 precision like in above experiment)
lengould100
1 / 5 (3) Sep 23, 2011
Perhaps means that neutrinos actually have negative mass.
Gawad
4 / 5 (12) Sep 23, 2011
Say...with such a small difference, if this is confirmed, this might simply be a confirmation of the Scharnhorst effect. Just throwing this out, but since the speed of light in a vacuum is theoretically affected by interaction with virtual particles, as if going through a medium--albeit the most permeable possible to electromagnetic radiation--maybe neutrinos, which don't interact with virtual electron-positron pairs or any other such charged particles, are just showing us what c would be in a true vacuum. In other words it could be that neutrinos SHOULD travel just a little faster than c in a vacuum because they're not subject to interaction with virtual charged particles, which slow down photons ever so slightly, somewhat like when these travel through glass or water.
Jeddy_Mctedder
1.1 / 5 (12) Sep 23, 2011
einstein is rolling over in his grave!
Noumenon
4.5 / 5 (52) Sep 23, 2011
In that case Gawad light speed would be dependent on distance, right.
emsquared
2 / 5 (6) Sep 23, 2011
I heard on NPR that if this was true, we would be "missing" 96% of the matter in our universe... discuss. :P
Ricochet
5 / 5 (15) Sep 23, 2011
Actually, I would expect Einstein to be jumping for joy. Scientists don't typically want what they've proposed, especially when it's a theory, to be taken as law until it's emprically proven. So, what does Einstein have to be proud of, even if some aspects of his theories are proven wrong? Simply the fact that his theories sent us in the directions we have gone. His theories have driven us much further into these realms than we could have if he hadn't supposed that E=mc^2.
Jason_B
4.4 / 5 (7) Sep 23, 2011
lengould: Negative mass won't do it. A particle with negative mass is subject to the same rules of relativity as a particle with positive mass. What you need in order to get superluminal travel is a particle with imaginary (tachyonic) mass.

Gawad: My understanding of the Scharnhorst effect is that it is extremely small; far smaller than the predicted speedup here would indicate. Assuming that this experiment's results are correct, my own guess as to a possible interpretation would be quantum tunneling of some sort.
muddy
4.8 / 5 (6) Sep 23, 2011
Einstein's results have just been misinterpreted. The equations do not present a limit to velocity, just a barrier.
The Lorentz transformations allow for solutions with imaginary numbers. Physicists such as Hawking have assumed that time must be associated with the imaginary component, but what if it were mass? There could be a type of mass that always moves at velocities greater than c. This creates a symmetry that is simple and beautiful, with c as the velocity barrier between the two types of mass.
w2n
1 / 5 (6) Sep 23, 2011
Yes, and sceptical is usuallt spelled with a "k" as in Skeptical, unless you like using the archaic spelling. Just saying.
Isaacsname
5 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2011
So...6.0 sigma ( the statistically observed difference) means they are 99.99966% sure (?) but only two facilities to test it out....that should be interesting.

Skeptic_Heretic
4.6 / 5 (10) Sep 23, 2011
Yes, and sceptical is usuallt spelled with a "k" as in Skeptical, unless you like using the archaic spelling. Just saying.
Someone call me?

In any event, interesting finding but I'd be more apt to say this was a measurement error. We are talking billionths of a second here, and once you get to that level of precision there are a host of things that could be interacting, then we have to look at possible movement through other dimensions, or even simple entanglement.
Soular
not rated yet Sep 23, 2011
That neutrinos can surpass the speed of light seems to imply that light and/or neutrinos are dependent on as yet unknown parameters.
Husky
5 / 5 (6) Sep 23, 2011
I am on Gawads train of thought that possibly the neutrino experiences less drag from the sea of virtual particles and part of the experienced inertia/drag is circumvented by changing its field shape, the neutrino flavour oscillations, giving it the abillity to slide past roadblocks , big IFS, but very excited bout this news because it doesn't come from crackpot source, but rather respected institutes, can't wait for the followup on thrse experiments...
Gustav
4 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2011
That neutrinos can surpass the speed of light seems to imply that light and/or neutrinos are dependent on as yet unknown parameters.


The question here is if neutrinos can ever travel at less than the speed of light. Other than this experiment, has the actual speed of neutrinos ever been measured before?
Gustav
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 23, 2011
The equations do not present a limit to velocity, just a barrier. The Lorentz transformations allow for solutions with imaginary numbers... what if it were mass?


Indeed, tachyons, hypothetical particles that aways move faster than the speed of light, can be thought of as having imaginary mass. But, it turns out, they cannot have spin and neutrinos are spin 1/2 particles, so neutrinos cannot be tachyons--unless more complex (unknown) physics is involved.
TehDog
4 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2011
Does the transition from muon to tau involve a change of spin? A possibility of a no-spin state existing during transition?
Jermz
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 23, 2011
The US could have confirmed/disproved/ or made this discovery with Desertron(SSC) had it not been for short-sighted congressmen.
Gawad
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 23, 2011
In that case Gawad light speed would be dependent on distance, right.

Um, how so? I'm not sure I follow. Light doesn't decelerate as it goes through the bulk of a medium, just at the interface.

The speed of light would actually just continue to be "c". It's just that rather than naively treating space (the vacuum) as empty, we'd have to start accounting for the fact that--to photons--it's filled with charged virtual particles with which there is interaction: a medium, much like glass or water. Neutrinos on the other hand wouldn't be slowed by these interactions any more than, well, with anything else. IOW, this could just be a refinement of c.

In any case, this idea is probably wrong, and in all likelihood the effect they're seeing is probably some kind of error they haven't been able to figure out...though from a glance at their paper, it sure looks solid.

And hey, think of the other benefits! An exact c of 300 006km/s is a lot easier to remember than one of 299,792km/s :)
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (6) Sep 23, 2011
"The Lorentz transformations allow for solutions with imaginary numbers." - muddy

And Imaginary Physicists are excited by this.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 23, 2011
"The question here is if neutrinos can ever travel at less than the speed of light." - Gustav

There is evidence that they have rest mass and hence must move at a speed < c.
Gawad
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 23, 2011
My understanding of the Scharnhorst effect is that it is extremely small; far smaller than the predicted speedup here would indicate.

Absolutly. The effect Scharnhorst described was much smaller than the one seen here, at least as I recall up to the examples typically given for the Scharnhorst effect setup (plates 1 micron apart). And there has been no verification of this experimentally using the setup of plates to generate a Casimir effect to exclude a number of virtual particles. At 1 micron apart the effect produced by the plates would be too small to see even in principle.

However, I'm just speculating, whether...if instead of just eliminating virtual vacuum interactions that occur at 1 micron and above, if you could eliminate ALL of them (as is effectively the case for neutrinos), whether that *very* tiny effect suggested by Scharnhorst wouldn't end up being more in line with the tiny effect observed by the OPERA experiment.

Sigh, where did I leave my slide-rule...
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Sep 23, 2011
"possibly the neutrino experiences less drag from the sea of virtual particles and part of the experienced inertia/drag is circumvented by changing its field shape, the neutrino flavour oscillations, giving it the abillity to slide past roadblocks" - Husky

Coherent scattering, not drag.
Raygunner
not rated yet Sep 23, 2011
I like Gawads comment, it actually makes sense to me. A nice simple explanation, cause and (no) effect... the Universe likes that "easy" button sometimes. So maybe unrestricted c is what we are just now getting a glimpse of. Neat stuff! I hope it's real.
Callippo
1 / 5 (9) Sep 23, 2011
IMO more probable is, the energetic photons are slower, than the microwaves and neutrinos. In AWT (dense aether theory) only the gravitational waves are true tachyons and as such they manifest with indeterministic CMBR noise. Whereas neutrinos are fast, but still pretty deterministic particles. They're just fu*ing CMBR photons due their lack of EM charge, which allows them to move a bit faster, then the light through the field of CMBR photons.
andyd
not rated yet Sep 23, 2011
In that case Gawad light speed would be dependent on distance, right.


No it would mean it's dependent on frequency, which it has been observed NOT to be.
Jason_B
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 23, 2011
However, I'm just speculating, whether...if instead of just eliminating virtual vacuum interactions that occur at 1 micron and above, if you could eliminate ALL of them (as is effectively the case for neutrinos), whether that *very* tiny effect suggested by Scharnhorst wouldn't end up being more in line with the tiny effect observed by the OPERA experiment.


Sure. But, this type of speculation leads into the same problem as trying to calculate the cosmological constant from the vacuum energy density; where do you truncate the effect from the ultraviolet modes? Naively, I'd guess that the effect remains small up to the Planck scale; after all, we're talking something like a 33 order of magnitude difference between the effect at 1 micron plate separation and the effect needed to produce the observed neutrino velocity.

And hey, think of the other benefits! An exact c of 300 006km/s is a lot easier to remember than one of 299,792km/s :)


The speed of light is 1. :)
AZSquib
5 / 5 (2) Sep 23, 2011
There is one accuracy I did not see documented: The 100 MHz clock source that is the time base for the "fine counter" in the OPERA Detector FPGA on the front end card of the Target Tracker(TT). The fine counter is slaved to the OPERA master clock which increments a "course counter" every 0.6 seconds. The fine counter is reset every 0.6 s by the arrival of the master clock signal that also increments the coarse counter.

The paper accounts for the delays in resetting the fine counter and the quantization error of the 100 MHz clock (10ns period) appropriately. However, I don't see the 100 MHz clock source accuracy described. Even if the clock source to the fine counter is a temperature and voltage compensated oscillator of /- 1 ppm, that would mean an average error of up to /-300 ns could exist.
Erik
1 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2011
Could it be frame dragging caused by the Earth's rotation?
pianoman
1 / 5 (4) Sep 23, 2011
ETs' travel many times the speed of light---
typicalguy
4 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2011
We have records of recent supernove. Using the speed these neutrinos traveled at and the distance of supernova, it should be trivial to check old data from a couple years ago for neutrinos from those supernova locations prior to ournknowledge of the supernova. No data? No superluminal speed. Data there? Superluminal speed proven.

If this faster than light neutrino proves true, it should in theory allow us to gaze beyond the visible universe to some extent...
Jarek
not rated yet Sep 23, 2011
Here is very interesting article about possible error sources:
http://arstechnic...pace.ars
Good argument that neutrinos travels at speed of light is that while supernova they are observed simultaneously with photons ... however, there for example remain possibility that neutrinos can be accelerated to larger velocities, but EM field quickly decelerates them to speed of EM field propagation (through kind of Cherenkov radiation?).
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (10) Sep 24, 2011
Very exciting! but mostly prepared for a disappointment.

How so? Either way it turns out it will be great. Either we get yet another confirmation of Einsteins ideas or we get to open up a new chapter of physics. It's win-win (science always is).

The US could have confirmed/disproved/ or made this discovery with Desertron(SSC) had it not been for short-sighted congressmen.

Does it matter who makes the discovery?
thewhitebear
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2011
When studying a biological system stasis is never assumed. Why do we assume that the universe is constant? Can the laws of physics evolve?
Nyloc
1 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2011
Is it possible that the 'old' speed of light was ever so slightly wrong and that this new data corrects the measurement? After all, there seems to be few places which can measure such small increments of time. Call it 'fine-tuning'm the old model of the speed of light. And what would this update mean? Our current understanding of the cosmos has perplexing problems. Maybe this update will improve our understanding. Isn't this what science is all about?
hush1
1 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2011
@thewhitebear
Because energy is assumed to be conserved?
Without a constant, change can not be measured?

Others will struggle to view any form we label life as having the potential to harbor and utilize an absolute measure.
Others will evolve.
vidar_lund
5 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2011
Is it possible that the 'old' speed of light was ever so slightly wrong and that this new data corrects the measurement? After all, there seems to be few places which can measure such small increments of time. Call it 'fine-tuning'm the old model of the speed of light. And what would this update mean? Our current understanding of the cosmos has perplexing problems. Maybe this update will improve our understanding. Isn't this what science is all about?

Impossible. The speed of light in vacuum have been measured with extreme precision in countless experiments.
vidar_lund
4 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2011
We have records of recent supernove. Using the speed these neutrinos traveled at and the distance of supernova, it should be trivial to check old data from a couple years ago for neutrinos from those supernova locations prior to ournknowledge of the supernova. No data? No superluminal speed. Data there? Superluminal speed proven.

It's not that simple. The nearest supernova in recent years was SN1987A but even for this relatively close event the first burst of neutrinos possibly arrived already 4 years before we saw the light from the explosion. For more distant supernovas in other galaxies the first neutrinos would arrive decades or centuries before the light. For a supernova in Andromeda the neutrinos would be here 50 years before the light.
Deesky
4.5 / 5 (8) Sep 24, 2011
Why do we assume that the universe is constant? Can the laws of physics evolve?

It's not a mere assumption. Over the years, there have been a number of conjectures that the basic laws of physics might have been different in the past. People have looked into it, such as the speed of light for example, but no evidence has been found to the contrary (so far).
Callippo
1 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2011
For more distant supernovas in other galaxies the first neutrinos would arrive decades or centuries before the light.
You're right and before some time I analyzed the similar problem. The relatively close gamma ray burst of Mkn 501 galaxy exhibited relatively large delay of gamma ray photons behind the visible light flash.
http://arxiv.org/...89v3.pdf
But the observation of more distant gamma ray burst didn't exhibited such large delay, so it has been neglected with mainstream physics.
http://arxiv.org/abs/0908.1832
Now the situation just repeats with neutrinos and IMO it could have the same explanation.
http://aetherwave...rsy.html
Callippo
1 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2011
People have looked into it, such as the speed of light for example, but no evidence has been found to the contrary
IMO people found a myriads of these indicia already. For example, if the speed of light wouldn't change, then the things like the gravitational lensing would be impossible, because the really invariant speed of light in vacuum implies completely flat and empty cosmic space.

Of course, the relativity proponents are saying, it's not speed of light, but the curvature of space, which is changing, because they're assuming, they're residing INSIDE of gravity lens. But at the case of huge amount of tiny curvatures of the space (like at the case of background CMBR noise) the intrinsic perspective is not more relevant - you're remaining OUTSIDE of these lens all the time - and after then the variable speed of light aspect of gravitational lensing emerges. I presume, the neutrinos tend to ignore these tiny lenses, so they can move SLIGHTLY faster, than the visible light
Callippo
1 / 5 (5) Sep 24, 2011
The irony of this interpretation is, the neutrinos are accused of violation of special relativity - although just these tiny fu*ers are fulfilling special relativity more faithfully, than the photons ever did.

But the truth is, the neutrinos don't bother with large or small gravitational lens or space-curvatures - they even tend to ignore the tiny gravitational lensing around massive particles, so they're passing through visible matter freely.

This is exactly, what the Lorentz invariance really means in its very consequences: the completely flat and transparent Universe. Because the truly constant speed of light in vacuum admits no lensing, diffraction and dispersive phenomena in vacuum. If we want to find a real tachyons, we should focus to gravitational waves and/or long wavelength photons.
omatranter
2 / 5 (8) Sep 24, 2011
"imaginary component" You Rang?

Who knows what evils lurk in the hearts of Men?
The Shadowranter* Knows! bwahhhaaaa!
*(US Pat 7,911,23-skidoo)

"And Imaginary Physicists are excited by this."
Vendicar_Dickwad ;) have you been stalking me?
I have been unable to post since first reading/predicting this, as it caused the most painful Preapism that has just subsided and my my hands have just uncramped.

When allowed by my condition I have been attempting to join Repulsive Neutronics to Ætherwobbly theory, the resultant mess has left me almost spent, then this predicted bombshell arrives like manna from heaven.

After some hours toil in my LA-BOR-A-TORY I realise my creation needs "the spark of life", hastily I jury-rig a a contrivance to attract from the heavens that vital 3rd ingredient, a trioka of the absurd to bring life to my inanimate hulk, yes the third ingredient is that vital lightning that Plasma Universe nutjobs see in every NASA photo like some see Jesus in cowpat.
MorituriMax
not rated yet Sep 24, 2011
We have records of recent supernove. Using the speed these neutrinos traveled at and the distance of supernova, it should be trivial to check old data from a couple years ago for neutrinos from those supernova locations prior to ournknowledge of the supernova.

Ummm, wouldn't the margin of error be much larger since distances to other stars are not accurate to the scales you are looking at. Unless they have radically improved parallax and other techniques for measuring distance of very distant objects in the last few years?

Also, I greatly respect science and everything, but how in the world do they know that a specific neutrino left point a and arrived at point b? Do they tag them with collars?
typicalguy
4 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2011
Okay so we won't have old enough data for any supernova we see today. How about this, look at the skies for unexpectedly large bursts of neutrinos. When found, look at the star system they are coming from. If the system has the characteristics necessary for a supernova, this would provide a great deal of evidence that neutrinos indeed are faster than light. If we are lucky enough to find this in our galaxy, we can calculate the supernova date and predict when we should see the explosion.
Koen
1 / 5 (6) Sep 24, 2011
Surprise surprise, not really. Michelson and Miller measured a variable speed of light, already a long time ago. This means that the Lorentz coordinate transformation (based on a constant upper speed limit 'c') is incorrect, and thus all the "special relativity" assumptions (length contraction etc ...) are incorrect. E=MC² was already derived and publiced before Einstein's relativity paper appeared in 1904. Einstein was a plagiarist; he stole the relativity theory from Lorentz, Poincare, Hilbert, etc ... he ridiculed Miller's light speed measurements, he manipulated science with false ideas.
Pkunk_
1 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2011
Is it possible that the 'old' speed of light was ever so slightly wrong and that this new data corrects the measurement? After all, there seems to be few places which can measure such small increments of time. Call it 'fine-tuning'm the old model of the speed of light. And what would this update mean? Our current understanding of the cosmos has perplexing problems. Maybe this update will improve our understanding. Isn't this what science is all about?

Impossible. The speed of light in vacuum have been measured with extreme precision in countless experiments.


In a straight line like this experiment ? Or after light bounces thousands of times off of mirrors ? Perhaps the mirrors are slowing light down ever so slowly ?
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2011
When studying a biological system stasis is never assumed. Why do we assume that the universe is constant? Can the laws of physics evolve?

The difference is that biological systems are always studied WITHIN a context, while physics IS the context (and presumably one that is not embedded within a larger context/superstructure)

The largest context must be constant or you could always ask: what causes it not to be constant (which in turn requires a still larger context to drive it - meaning that while we are dealing with dynamic things we are not asking the ultimate questions). The constant speed of light - and other universal constants - had hinted that they are part of/derived from that greatest context.

This discovery (if it pans out) may tell us that this is not so.

Exciting times.
CHollman82
2.5 / 5 (11) Sep 24, 2011
Is it possible that the 'old' speed of light was ever so slightly wrong and that this new data corrects the measurement?


c is derived, not measured. See Maxwell's equations.
jamesrm
5 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2011
c is derived, not measured. See Maxwell's equations.

http://math.ucr.e...e_c.html

Date . Author .. Method .. Result(km/s) .. Error
1973 .Evanson . Lasers .. 299,792.4574 .. -0.001

It's not measured now as the metre is changed
"The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second."
CHollman82
2.5 / 5 (11) Sep 24, 2011
First 2 sentences of your link:

The speed of light in vacuum c is not measured. It has an exact fixed value when given in standard units.
jsn3604
3 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2011
The reality we live in is quite strange. I am very anxious to learn of more results from this finding.
fredrico
not rated yet Sep 24, 2011
the universe expanded faster than the speed of light after the big bang. it would seem this would establish the fact that light speed can be exceeded.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2011
the universe expanded faster than the speed of light after the big bang. it would seem this would establish the fact that light speed can be exceeded.

First prove the big bang...
Deesky
4.2 / 5 (10) Sep 24, 2011
the universe expanded faster than the speed of light after the big bang. it would seem this would establish the fact that light speed can be exceeded.

No, not so. There are no restrictions on the rate of expansion of spacetime, which isn't correlated to the speed of particles/fields and objects (information) - these are limited to c with current theory.
binghamjames
not rated yet Sep 25, 2011
Either way, what we do know is the speeds are pretty close to the same which may be considered strange by some since neutrinos are suppose to have matter and photons just energy but since energy equals mass. All this may prove if true is that they neutrinos have the lesser of the two. But should this be that surprising ? I don't think this breaks any laws of physics and had Einstein known about neutrinos he may have speculated they are faster. Besides, isn't it possible there exists some infinitely small object that is faster than both ? Besides special relativity does not forbid the existence of particles that travel faster than light at all times.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2011
"The speed of light is 1. :)" - Jason B

Are you sure it isn't infinite? It is to the photon.
Daleg
5 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2011
Space does expand at faster than light speed, this is why the WMAP Background probe was very necessary to measure the Microwave radiation background of the Big Bang. Since the stretching of the fabric of Space also stretches the light frequency into the microwave range from the optical. This is directly attributable to the main expansion rate, being faster than light speed. The paradox in GR is that for photons, nuetrinos or any other particle light speed is a labratory measurable state from our relative perspective. For an electro-magnetic wave there is no time or distance thus travel is instantaneous. We percieve light speed as being 186,282 miles per second,that is why light speed is a constant, and the theory of relativity is called relative, light travels at light speed in relation to our observation of it's motion in a vacuum,from it's own perspective, the wave senses no elapsed time or distance.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Sep 25, 2011
"c is derived, not measured. See Maxwell's equations." - CHoll

Maxwell's equations do not describe quantum behaviour and thus are an incomplete description of known behavior.

Deriving c based on equations known to be false, appears to be a foolish past time to me.

c is of course measured, and quantities like the permittivity of free space are implied from that measurement.

In terms of defining standards, there has been a movement toward defining length in terms of a presumed value of c and the standard interval of time.

A variable value for c, will put an end to such nonsense.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Sep 25, 2011
"Okay so we won't have old enough data for any supernova we see today." - Guy

Supernova 1987a provides us with information about neutrino flux and arrival time relative to the observed light arrival time from the nova.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Sep 25, 2011
"Ummm, wouldn't the margin of error be much larger since distances to other stars are not accurate to the scales you are looking at." - WHomever

1987a is in the Large Magellanic Cloud and the distance to that companion galaxy of the Milky way is well established.
CHollman82
3 / 5 (14) Sep 25, 2011
"c is derived, not measured. See Maxwell's equations." - CHoll

Maxwell's equations do not describe quantum behaviour and thus are an incomplete description of known behavior.

Deriving c based on equations known to be false, appears to be a foolish past time to me.


Why does physorg attract all the loonies? The very reason the scientific community is highly skeptical of this result is that it contradicts the derivation of c from Maxwell's equations... which lead to Einsteins theories of relativity which have stood up to many independent tests and has accurate predictive power even to this day. Einstein predicted time differentials in inertial reference frames and lo and behold we observed that to be true long after his death, based on the derivation of c, which is based on Maxwell's equations.
CHollman82
3.3 / 5 (17) Sep 25, 2011
You can't just reference quantum physics and wave your hand to ignore established scientific understanding. You're going to have to do better than that. The speed of light in a vacuum is c, which is the derived c that I am talking about. That hasn't changed with quantum mechanics... It may, it may change based on new understanding or new information, but we don't have that yet. You are not ahead of all of the scientists in the world in your understanding of quantum mechanics or anything else, Maxwell's equations are still considered valid and the best model of reality that we currently have.

I hate people that use a vague reference to quantum mechanics as if it were a magic wand to lend plausibility to any nonsense they want to put forth.
jamesrm
5 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2011
It seems to me that c is not measured any more because it is the unit of measure, like saying how many centimetres in a centimetre.
"In 1983 the metre was defined as "the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1299,792,458 of a second",[79]
>fixing< the value of the speed of light at 299,792,458 m/s by definition,"

I think you are confusing defining c with its measurement, measurements are often used to check definitions for accuracy.

Without doubt their can be only faith.

B.A. Bassett, S. Liberati, C. Molina-Paris, M. Visser (2000). "Geometrodynamics of variable-speed-of-light cosmologies". Phys. Rev. D62: 103518. arXiv:astro-ph/0001441.

http://astronomy....t/davis/
Thus black hole thermodynamics suggests that the increase in the fine structure constant is due to a decrease in Plank's constant or the speed of light.
fullbony
5 / 5 (1) Sep 25, 2011
there is always a fundamental maximum speed in the universe. whether it is that of a neutrino or a photon is meaningless. these findings mean only 2 things: there was slight artifact in the measurments or that photons do not represent the "maximum speed" but rather neutrinos do ( because they interact less with the environment. the difference is minute and doesnt change einsteins theory ( that there is an absolute speed limit ).

Callippo
1 / 5 (8) Sep 25, 2011
Why does physorg attract all the loonies? The very reason the scientific community is highly skeptical of this result is that it contradicts the derivation of c from Maxwell's equations...
The existence of photons contradicts the Maxwell's equations neither and no one is called a "loonie", when talking about photons. Why to applicate such a double standard?
Jayded
1 / 5 (2) Sep 26, 2011
Why is light always constant? Isnt it possible that different causes of light create different types of light that move at different speeds. Would light from a supernova be the same as light from the sun or light from a incandescent bulb? Wouldnt it also apply to neutrino's? How is it possible that different reactions cause the same physical properties? It would be like different golfers swinging at a ball with different speeds yet causing the ball to keep a universal speed while in flight.
Deesky
4.4 / 5 (13) Sep 26, 2011
Why is light always constant?

It's a property of the universe

Isnt it possible that different causes of light create different types of light that move at different speeds

No. Light of any kind is electromagnetic radiation.

Would light from a supernova be the same as light from the sun or light from a incandescent bulb?

Yes, though the energy levels/frequencies will vary.

How is it possible that different reactions cause the same physical properties?

Different physical causes have one thing in common - light is produced when an electron moves from a higher energy level to a lower energy level, emitting a photon with energy equivalent to the energy transition.

It would be like different golfers swinging at a ball with different speeds yet causing the ball to keep a universal speed while in flight

No. You're looking Newtonian physics when you should be looking to Relativity.

Here's a good resource:
http://math.ucr.e...physics/
Ethelred
3 / 5 (8) Sep 26, 2011
Why is light always constant?
It isn't. It is constant in a vacuum. This is a property of the Universe. Why is not really something anyone can about when we are dealing with things that don't have reasons. IF it ever turns out to be something other than a basic property of the Universe then the 'why' will be an emergent phenomena of those underlying properties.

snt it possible that different causes of light create different types of light
No. A photon is a photon no matter the source. It is possible, though there is no evidence for it, that the frequency of light might affects its speed but there really isn't any reason to think so.

Wouldnt it also apply to neutrino's?
Neutrinos have mass and again the source is irrelevant. Only the KIND of neutrino matters. More mass and the top speed would be lower most of the time.

different reactions cause the same physical properties
There are only so many kinds of particles.>>
hush1
1 / 5 (2) Sep 26, 2011
lol
Like a point appearing that is independent of the definition of an assumption that all points exist.

Let's all play primitive notion. For purists, mathematically.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (10) Sep 26, 2011
Why is light always constant?

It's a property of the universe - Deesky

Go back to your picture book collection Deesky its more suited to your mental capacity.

It isn't. It is constant in a vacuum - Ethelred
Ethelred
3 / 5 (6) Sep 26, 2011
ght from a supernova be the same as light from the sun or light from a incandescent bulb?
They would be photons either way. The difference would be in energy level or frequency and the number of photons and maybe the polarization as incandescent bulbs do not produce any polarization.

It would be like different golfers swinging at a ball with different speeds
All the balls would have the same properties, assuming they of identicle manufacture for the sake of argument but the after the ball was hit they would have different energies. Golf balls, not having the same properties as light, would have to to go at different speeds to have different energies.

Photons change energy by having different frequencies,an option not available to golf balls. Light can ONLY exist at the speed of light in a vacuum. >>
Ethelred
1 / 5 (4) Sep 26, 2011
Light can be treated as a particle but it can also be treated as a wave. Or rather a PAIR of waves. One of magnetism and one of electricity. As the waves oscillate they reinforce each other. The electric wave decreasing induces an increase in the magnetic wave and visa versa. That only works if the waves are traveling at the speed of light.

And that paragraph is approximately what I was taught in some class or other. Only catch is that light doesn't experience time so its horseshit that made sense once upon a time. Better to just think of it as a property of the Universe.

Ethelred
Deesky
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 26, 2011
Why is light always constant?

It's a property of the universe - Deesky

Go back to your picture book collection Deesky its more suited to your mental capacity.

It isn't. It is constant in a vacuum - Ethelred

My dim little fellow, it is obvious that anyone speaking to the constancy of the speed of light, is referring to the speed of light in a vacuum (you know, the stuff between your ears), especially when the topic deals with relativity, the laws of physics and the nature of the potential discovery under discussion.
Jason_B
not rated yet Sep 26, 2011
"The speed of light is 1. :)" - Jason B

Are you sure it isn't infinite? It is to the photon.


Not infinite; merely ill-defined. ;)
Isaacsname
not rated yet Sep 26, 2011
"c is derived, not measured. See Maxwell's equations." - CHoll

Maxwell's equations do not describe quantum behaviour and thus are an incomplete description of known behavior.

Deriving c based on equations known to be false, appears to be a foolish past time to me.

c is of course measured, and quantities like the permittivity of free space are implied from that measurement.

In terms of defining standards, there has been a movement toward defining length in terms of a presumed value of c and the standard interval of time.

A variable value for c, will put an end to such nonsense.


I was under the impression that there are two types of solutions for Maxwell's equations and the wave equation, retarded Vs. advanced. Granted there's a ton I don't know, but, but now I'm just confused.
Pyle
3 / 5 (2) Sep 26, 2011
@Eth:
Photons change energy by having different frequencies,an option not available to golf balls.
You can change a golf ball's energy by heating it. Flaming golf balls have more energy than a cold golf ball travelling the same speed. But, then again, that really wasn't helpful to the conversation, was it. Sorry...

I liked fullbony's thought about neutrinos representing the maximum speed limit rather than photons because the interact less with other matter. Anyone have a good explanation why this doesn't work? Nevermind observations matching GR predictions exactly to the photon's c, and not the slightly higher c measured here.

CHollman82
1 / 5 (5) Sep 26, 2011
I liked fullbony's thought about neutrinos representing the maximum speed limit rather than photons because the interact less with other matter. Anyone have a good explanation why this doesn't work? Nevermind observations matching GR predictions exactly to the photon's c, and not the slightly higher c measured here.



c is defined as the speed of light in a vacuum, interacting more or less with matter is irrelevant.
Pyle
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2011
Dead on CH, because the vacuum is nothing. It isn't like something traveling in the vacuum has anything to interact with, like virtual particle/anti-particle pairs popping into and out of existence.

But really what I was saying was that it was an interesting idea, not that it was correct. The speed limit in GR is based on the relative effects of speed on time. Once you are going c all travel is instantaneous. Under GR, the only way to get anywhere faster is to get there before you leave. Relatively that is.
CHollman82
2.5 / 5 (11) Sep 26, 2011
Dead on CH, because the vacuum is nothing. It isn't like something traveling in the vacuum has anything to interact with, like virtual particle/anti-particle pairs popping into and out of existence.


Nice try, but if anything interacts with the virtual particle such that it's constituent half's cannot annihilate each other within one Planck time then they become real particles and therefore the measured speed of the photon that interacted with them would not be the true speed of light in a vacuum, nor should one expect it to be.
hush1
1 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2011
'Without doubt their [sic] can be no faith - Jamesrs


lol
ouch!

'Who ordered that?'' exclaimed the theorist Isidor I. Rabi when the muon was identified.

The remaining content of your comment is reasonable.

Pyle
1 / 5 (1) Sep 26, 2011
CH, Does the temperature of the vacuum, 2.7K, create a condition that is experienced by real matter? Isn't this temperature usually associated with the level of quantum volatility; i.e. the virtual particle pairs? Doesn't the "absorption" of this energy by matter result in a reduction in temperature of the "vacuum" rather than making the virtual real? Might the photon be affected by the quantum fluctuations, but cause some other change in the vacuum other than making virtual pairs become real?
hush1
1 / 5 (2) Sep 26, 2011
@Pyle
But, then again, that really wasn't helpful to the conversation, was it. Sorry...


Apologizing for levity not being helpful to conversation?
Surely you jest! lol
Deesky
4.4 / 5 (7) Sep 26, 2011
I liked fullbony's thought about neutrinos representing the maximum speed limit rather than photons because the interact less with other matter. Anyone have a good explanation why this doesn't work?

I can think of one - neutrinos have mass, therefore in order to travel at c (or beyond?) they would need to become infinitely massive.

As I understand it, prior to this experiment, neutrino speed wasn't that well established other than being somewhere near c.
ubavontuba
2.5 / 5 (11) Sep 26, 2011
I can think of one - neutrinos have mass, therefore in order to travel at c (or beyond?) they would need to become infinitely massive.


That's not quite correct. To "accelerate" mass to light speed would require infinite energy, but are they technically being accelerated?

As they are a result of the conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, and conservation of angular momentum in beta decay, they are born with their momentum/energy. Therefore, they aren't actually "accelerated" ...right?
CHollman82
2 / 5 (8) Sep 26, 2011
That's not quite correct. To "accelerate" mass to light speed would require infinite energy, but are they technically being accelerated?

As they are a result of the conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, and conservation of angular momentum in beta decay, they are born with their momentum/energy. Therefore, they aren't actually "accelerated" ...right?


I'm not arguing, just trying to clarify..

So you're saying that these particles experience instantaneous acceleration? Or are the only redefinitions of the same physical "thing", just in a different state?

I've often wondered the same thing, does light accelerate at a rate or is it instantaneous... though I am not sure which is a more disturbing proposal...
ubavontuba
1.9 / 5 (9) Sep 26, 2011
I'm not arguing, just trying to clarify..

So you're saying that these particles experience instantaneous acceleration? Or are the only redefinitions of the same physical "thing", just in a different state?

I've often wondered the same thing, does light accelerate at a rate or is it instantaneous... though I am not sure which is a more disturbing proposal...
I'm suggesting there is no acceleration at all. Even thinking of it as "instantaneous" isn't correct, as the momentum always existed in the system. There is no acceleration.
Deesky
4.3 / 5 (8) Sep 26, 2011
That's not quite correct. To "accelerate" mass to light speed would require infinite energy, but are they technically being accelerated?

To be traveling FTL, particles with mass would need to have imaginary rest mass - effectively tachyons (which either don't exist due to time travel implications or are incapable of interacting with normal matter, which would make the undetectable).

Since we can detect neutrinos and measure their mass, they cannot be the hypothetical FTL tachyons.
ubavontuba
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 26, 2011
To be traveling FTL, particles with mass would need to have imaginary rest mass - effectively tachyons (which either don't exist due to time travel implications or are incapable of interacting with normal matter, which would make the undetectable).

Since we can detect neutrinos and measure their mass, they cannot be the hypothetical FTL tachyons.
Here, all you're essentially saying then is that you don't believe the results of the experiment will survive verification ...right?

What if the results survive verification? What then?

Personally, I'm doubtful ...but also hopeful.

Deesky
4.3 / 5 (12) Sep 26, 2011
Here, all you're essentially saying then is that you don't believe the results of the experiment will survive verification ...right?

Yes. I've stated my reasons (not sure if in this thread or in one of many others on the same subject).

What if the results survive verification? What then?

Party time! We'll be unlocking the door to new physics, and who knows where that could lead? I actually wish it to be true, but I think the odds are very slim.
ubavontuba
1.8 / 5 (8) Sep 27, 2011
Party time! We'll be unlocking the door to new physics, and who knows where that could lead? I actually wish it to be true, but I think the odds are very slim.
It would seem you and I are of a like mind on this. Cool.
jamesrm
not rated yet Sep 27, 2011
"Since we can detect neutrinos and measure their mass, they cannot be the hypothetical FTL tachyons"

We detect a Neutrino at point "a" at point "b" we detect the (presumably) same Neutrino that has oscillated between types arriving to soon, maybe an unknown oscillation type is the "Tachyino"
so (from wpedia "Because a tachyon's squared mass is negative") it -(sqrt mass) over a period of time = it mass over an equal period of time (the same time as the tachy is travelling backwards in time) totaling 0 rest mass as the stand model requires.

"Neutrino oscillation is of theoretical and experimental interest since observation of the phenomenon implies that the neutrino has a non-zero mass, which is not part of the original Standard Model of particle physics."

Just "Tard-who-must-not-be-named"ing out loud ya understand

If you knew Tachyino like I know Tachyino

"'Without doubt their [sic] can be no faith - Jamesrs"" miss quote me once shame who?
Skultch
1 / 5 (1) Sep 28, 2011
Dead on CH, because the vacuum is nothing. It isn't like something traveling in the vacuum has anything to interact with, like virtual particle/anti-particle pairs popping into and out of existence.


Nice try, but if anything interacts with the virtual particle such that it's constituent half's cannot annihilate each other within one Planck time then they become real particles and therefore the measured speed of the photon that interacted with them would not be the true speed of light in a vacuum, nor should one expect it to be.


Could this be the creator of "dark energy"; photons travelling through space, separating virtual pairs, "creating" matter AND space?? Forgive my ignorance if this is dumb; just ignorantly brainstorming...
bluehigh
1 / 5 (4) Sep 28, 2011
Party time! We'll be unlocking the door to new physics, and who knows where that could lead?


Science is amazing. Its perhaps the only endeavor where abject failure is cause for celebration and regarded as a success.
Ricochet
not rated yet Sep 28, 2011
Party time! We'll be unlocking the door to new physics, and who knows where that could lead?


Science is amazing. Its perhaps the only endeavor where abject failure is cause for celebration and regarded as a success.

And that's why it's the BEST career path in the world!
vacuum-mechanics
1 / 5 (4) Sep 28, 2011
Why is light always constant?

This is one crucial weak point of modern physics. The problem is because light was not accepted as the vibration of some physical thing, instead it was thought as a magical thing!
Daleg
not rated yet Sep 29, 2011
Light does not accelerate, travel or otherwise do any of the classically described things suggested here. Light propogates outwards from a source. Whether light be particulate such as photons or wave like such as in a beam, it produces an effect based on it's frequency and wavelength. Light simply is odd it has no "rest" mass, yet it has energy, it doesn't have a "speed" per se yet it travels at 186,282 miles per second, it experiences no time, but we measure distance by how long it takes to travel to or from a location, it interferes with itself even when alone, makes wave patterns when we know we are measuring particles and a whole lot more. You can't understand it, just accept it.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (4) Sep 29, 2011
it experiences no time


Some things may be impossible. An example would be something that exists without being affected by Time.

it interferes with itself even when alone


Much worse, CHollman is photon-like when not alone!

Deesky survives because likely he is having a party to celebrate the demise of special relativity and I want an invite. Hopefully, its a wake for the Copenhagen nonsense cause that damn cat always seems to be maybe here or not when I least expect it.

bluehigh
1 / 5 (4) Sep 29, 2011
.. effectively tachyons (... or are incapable of interacting with normal matter ...
- deesky

Its extraordinary that you can establish/deny a property for the tachyon myth. Did I misunderstand the recent research that neutrinos may travel faster than light (like the imaginary tachyon) and yet somehow neutrinos interact with 'normal' matter just enough to allow velocity measurement.

Ah yes, its not been proved, only asserted by some of the most senior researchers on the planet that are effectively frightened to be attacked for heresy. Standing at the front of the lynch mob is deesky, pitch fork in hand 'burn them' he shouts, we have intellectual investment to protect.
Ricochet
5 / 5 (1) Sep 29, 2011
Well, here's what I know because I heard it from other people...

Light has no mass, but is a particle at the same time it's a waveform, Deesky has mass but no energy, I am as annoying as I am funny, sometimes simultaneously, but usually alternatively, and the geeks shall inherit the earth after the jocks are done tearing it up.
Did I miss anything? Oh, yes. Down could actually be up if looked at in the context of our universal motion as opposed to our local reference, and I can't imagine time travel would be very successfull because of the same principle (that whole disassociating onceself from the time/space stream would most likely mean you'd be watching the planet, solar and the galaxy fly away from you rather quickly unless you can still anchor yourself to your local space reference... but that's for another article...)
SteveL
not rated yet Sep 30, 2011
I liked fullbony's thought about neutrinos representing the maximum speed limit rather than photons because the interact less with other matter. Anyone have a good explanation why this doesn't work? Nevermind observations matching GR predictions exactly to the photon's c, and not the slightly higher c measured here.


Not being a physicist I have to wonder if this suggestion would imply that dark matter/dark energy which apparently reacts with baryonic matter even less than nutrinos (Since we haven't detected either yet except by inferance and deduction) - could we not presume that these dark universal components exist in an energy state that is faster than the photon or the nutrino?
vediclover
not rated yet Oct 01, 2011
I think you will find that it is true, mind logical people will always struggle to get their heads around some things.
Callippo
1 / 5 (4) Oct 01, 2011
In human society a thinkers always exist, who are combining both the well established and confirmed knowledge into new theories, both "crackpots", who are combining the dual opinions from the opposite side of reality.

Because accepted theories are always flawed (from historical perspective they're always replaced with better, more general ones), those who are just focusing into combining the existing knowledge are getting retarded gradually like the photons, and their predictions are gradually becoming obsolete (lord Kelvin, string theorists, etc.).

The people, who are combining the knowledge from the dual side of reality are becoming too advanced instead, their theories are spreading like neutrinos and they're become considered as a noncausual tachyons violating reality. Actually both groups of thinkers are violating time arrow of the mainstream reality - just in the opposite (dual) ways.
bluehigh
2.2 / 5 (10) Oct 01, 2011
I've often wondered the same thing, does light accelerate at a rate or is it instantaneous...


The FSM tells me ..

Light speed is always constant and what we interpret as a velocity variation is a 'propagation delay'. Within a medium it appears light travels slower than 'C' though actually light travels between 'atoms' at 'C' then on collision/interaction with an 'atom', the time taken to raise an electron to a higher energy level and then (re)emit a photon introduces a time delay (dependent on factors). This is then generally assumed to be light travelling slower than 'C' in media other than a vacuum.

Light doesn't change velocity, its just been stuck in traffic.

bluehigh
1 / 5 (4) Oct 01, 2011
Then again the FSM has some crazy notions and keeps insisting I look at airborne soap bubbles to get a idea of what an electron actually looks like. Dribbling sauce on the kitchen floor the FSM says 'now imagine that soap bubble you see floating around with a another soap bubble inside'. 'Ah', the FSM says with glee, 'maybe now you get it'.

I look at the FSM and wonder how the hell it knows such a thing but I am not going to ask and just drink a beer quietly.

bluehigh
1 / 5 (4) Oct 01, 2011
'Odd' says the FSM, 'you would think that its obvious'. Reluctantly I ask 'What'?

'The tiny EM packets you all are getting excited about, just don't have the same energy as photons. The bubbles are smaller and pop quicker. No wonder they seem to travel faster for you'.

I think of destroying the last of his species to ensure my sanity but instead drink more beer.

Foolishly I ask, 'okay, hows that work in a vacuum'?

To which I get the obtuse reply 'do you believe what you call virtual particles are any less real than those soap bubbles? I can tell you the vacuum is full of them, ask any of your real physicists'?

Annoyed at the insinuation and with even the thought that light speed is moderated by virtual particles in the vacuum leaves my head spinning. So I threaten to pop the FSM like a bubble.

'I don't care if neutrinos travel faster than light, it makes no difference'

'They don't but it will' says the FSM cryptically and scoots away as I hurl my now empty glass at him.

rsklyar
1 / 5 (6) Oct 02, 2011
Plagiarism in a "family" style
How young ambitious capos 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
vacuum-mechanics
1 / 5 (5) Oct 03, 2011
Why is light always constant?

This is one crucial weak point of modern physics. The problem is because light was not accepted as the vibration of some physical thing, instead it was thought as a magical thing!

If we accept that light is the vibration of some medium, then we can say that it has no mass analogous to sound wave!
Ethelred
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 04, 2011
He published before according to your link.

So why are you spamming the hell out of this site with what your own link shows is a false accusation.

I hit five of his posts this way. I think that enough he has dozens of identical posts and his own link shows his accusations are false.

Ethelred
rawa1
1 / 5 (4) Oct 04, 2011
If we accept that light is the vibration of some medium, then we can say that it has no mass analogous to sound wave!
This is what the mainstream physics is saying too - we don't need the medium concept for such insight.
antialias_physorg
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 04, 2011
If we accept that light is the vibration of some medium

Just for clarification: The 'wave' in lightwaves does not mean that anything is going up or down (or back and forth) in physical space. It merely means that, light being an electromagnetic wave, the amplitudes of electric and magnetic fields oscillate.

Sound waves are the movement of particles and the consequent pressure differentials. These are physical waves and require a medium. Light is not a physical wave (as noted it is an _electromagnetic_ wave) - it does not require a medium.
SteveL
not rated yet Oct 06, 2011
Light is not a physical wave (as noted it is an _electromagnetic_ wave) - it does not require a medium.
Not even if that medium is dark matter? Assuming of course that dark matter simply exists at an undetected speed or energy level.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (4) Oct 06, 2011
Not even if that medium is dark matter?

Yes, because if it did depend on dark matter it would show variable speeds (since dark matter isn't distributed uniformely). But all our measurements show that it's constant in a vacuum no matter what.
SteveL
not rated yet Oct 07, 2011
So (attempting to not confuse photon speed with frequency) detected red shifts should not have anything to do with dark matter density if it were a possible medium?
Pyle
1 / 5 (1) Oct 07, 2011
Not even if that medium is dark matter?


Yes, because if it did depend on dark matter it would show variable speeds (since dark matter isn't distributed uniformely). But all our measurements show that it's constant in a vacuum no matter what.
Nonsense ap. What observations have shown that light travels the same speed through dark matter as through "vacuum"? How would we even detect if the speed of light were slowed or sped up "in" dark matter? It is not like our position relative to large amounts of dark matter has changed to reveal any such effect it may be having on the light that passes through it.

It would take a study similar to the recent galaxy cluster observations, I think. http://www.physor...ity.html
Any ideas on what observations have done as you have stated? (Sorry ap, woke on the wrong side of the bed this morning I guess.)
Pyle
1 / 5 (1) Oct 07, 2011
So (attempting to not confuse photon speed with frequency) detected red shifts should not have anything to do with dark matter density if it were a possible medium?
Um. I am still having a problem with your "dark matter medium" idea. I think someone should be able to dig more into that. My initial reaction is that the idea of dark matter is that it only interacts with photons via gravity, so there should be no change in photon speed. But that is all just theory with no observations, as I stated above.

Dark matter density would absolutely have an effect on lensing. That is the whole point. We need dark matter with GR to explain the gravitational effects we observe (rotation, lensing, etc.). Still not sure what to do with the medium idea. Love Patricia Arquette though.
Callippo
1 / 5 (4) Oct 07, 2011
Not even if that medium is dark matter?
Come on... The density of dark matter is lower than few grams per cubic kilometer. Such sparse environment cannot mediate the light waves of arbitrary density, the extremely energetic gamma radiation the less.

After all, the same mistake has been made with luminiferous aether model before one hundred and fifty years already: the sparse aether simply cannot mediate energetic waves, transverse waves of light the less. Such concept is simply plain wrong and it just indicates the deep misunderstanding of aether concept at all.

Robert Hooke, 1687: "All space is filled with equally dense material. Gold fills only a small fraction of the space assigned to it, and yet has a big mass. How much greater must be the total mass filling that space."

IMO the modern physicists advanced in development of formal methods a lot - but their imagination and their ability to think logically and conceptually rather degenerated.
Callippo
1 / 5 (4) Oct 07, 2011
Light is not a physical wave - it does not require a medium.
You probably wanted to say, that the light is not a mechanical wave. But it's still definitely a physical object, because we can observe it. But such thinking is still based on circular reasoning: you're assuming, the vacuum is not mechanical environment - so you're deducing, the light wave is not mechanical wave - so it doesn't require a (mechanical) medium.

People have apparently problem to imagine, that the aether is an environment for whatever energy spreading, including the energy forming the elementary particle itself. If some environment forms us, we cannot think about it like about some sparse environment, which we can observe from outside, and whose density is much lower, then the density of matter, forming the human observers. We are merely a subtle density fluctuations of aether, so we would observe it in similar way, like the bubbles floating at the surface of water interact with the surface ripples.
Callippo
1 / 5 (4) Oct 07, 2011
The first indicia, aether is not a sparse environment comes from character of light, which is always spreading in transverse waves. If the aether would be a sparse gas, then the light would spread through it like the sound waves through the air. But the sound waves are longitudinal waves, not transverse ones.

The spreading of transverse waves is always background independent, which explains, why we cannot observe the aether drag and why the Michelson-Morley experiment failed. If the aether would form a sparse gas, then the speed of its ripples would depend on the speed of environment like at the case of sound wave spreading in air. But the actual result of Michelson-Morley experiment fits well the transverse nature of light: we don't observe such a drag, so that aether (if it exists) must be very dense environment instead. We should model it with transverse ripples at the water surface, where the density of waves is always lower, then the energy density of surface tension of water.
antialias_physorg
3.5 / 5 (4) Oct 07, 2011
Nonsense ap. What observations have shown that light travels the same speed through dark matter as through "vacuum"? How would we even detect if the speed of light were slowed or sped up "in" dark matter?

We would see marked differences between neutrino/photon arrival times from supernovae which are behind dark matter areas as opposed to thoe areas where such dark matter concentrations are lower.

We would see different intensity curves from gamma ray jets in those areas.

We would see different light bending properties in those areas.

The cosmic microwave background would look different (because we coudl look further back into regions which have higher speeds of light

These are just some things I can think off at the spur of the moment.
Callippo
1 / 5 (4) Oct 07, 2011
What observations have shown that light travels the same speed through dark matter as through "vacuum"?
Actually all observations of dark matter based on gravitational lensing were such an observations. You cannot observe the gravitational lensing of dark matter, until the refractive index of vacuum and dark matter remains the same. Just the fact, we can detect the dark matter in such way serves as an evidence, that the light propagates in lower speed through dark matter.
We would see marked differences between neutrino/photon arrival times from supernovae
Why the neutrinos should be observed and compared, when we are talking about speed of light in dark matter here? If neutrinos, why not protons or electrons, for example?
Pyle
1 / 5 (1) Oct 07, 2011
We would see marked differences between neutrino/photon arrival times from supernovae which are behind dark matter areas as opposed to thoe areas where such dark matter concentrations are lower.
Agreed, if the point of SteveL was that dark matter affects light different than neutrinos. Anyone konw a SN behind dark matter that demonstrates neutrinos and light arriving simultaneously?
We would see different intensity curves from gamma ray jets in those areas.
With respect to what objects? How would we know if they were different?
We would see different light bending properties in those areas.
Huh? Of course we do, that is what dark matter does. Bends light. I think I misunderstand this point.
The cosmic microwave background would look different
Last and best point. I think this one has some readily accessible studies. Penrose's concentric circle work probably has something addressing why this isn't what causes those circles. Off at the spur of my moment!
emsquared
1 / 5 (3) Oct 17, 2011
I thought I saw somewhere today that this had something to do with the GPS measurements used, or something... any updates to this?