Einstein's relativity survives neutrino test

October 15, 2008

Physicists working to disprove "Lorentz invariance" -- Einstein's prediction that matter and massless particles will behave the same no matter how they're turned or how fast they go -- won't get that satisfaction from muon neutrinos, at least for the time being, says a consortium of scientists.

The test of Lorentz invariance, conducted by MINOS Experiment scientists and reported in the Oct. 10 issue of Physical Review Letters, started with a stream of muon neutrinos produced at Fermilab particle accelerator, near Chicago, and ended with a neutrino detector 750 meters away and 103 meters below ground. As the Earth does its daily rotation, the neutrino beam rotates too.

"If there's a field out there that can cause violations of Lorentz invariance, we should be able to see its effects as the beam rotates in space," said Indiana University Bloomington astrophysicist Stuart Mufson, a project leader. "But we did not. Einsteinian relativity lives to see another day."

Mufson is quick to point out that the Physical Review Letters report does not disprove the existence of a Lorentz-violating field. Despite the sophistication and power of MINOS's detector, "It may be that the field's effects are so exceedingly small that you'd need extraordinary tools to detect it," Mufson said.

Mufson is a member of the MINOS Experiment, an international consortium of physicists dedicated to studying the mysterious properties of neutrinos, particularly their wave-like oscillations. MINOS stands for Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search. MINOS scientists utilize the facilities at Fermilab to create a neutrino beam. The neutrinos are aimed at two detectors: one at Fermilab (the near detector) and another in the Soudan Mine in northern Minnesota (the far detector).

To produce the neutrinos, the MINOS scientists point a proton beam at a carbon target. The interaction causes a spray of pions (or pi mesons, a type of subatomic particle), some of which decay into muon neutrinos in the direction of the detector. Neutrinos travel at close to the speed of light, are unaffected by gravitational and magnetic fields, and because of their peculiar properties, can travel right through the crust of the Earth unaffected.

The notion of a Lorentz-violating field has become popular among theoretical physicists. Known physical rules do not do a very good job of explaining the cataclysmically chaotic moments immediately following the Big Bang, so some physicists are developing new theories to sort out the mess. The possibility that some of these new theories violate relativity was proposed by Mufson colleague Alan Kostelecky, distinguished professor of physics at IU Bloomington. Kostelecky provided some advice to MINOS scientists for the present report.

Kostelecky's "Standard-Model Extension" describes the most general possible Lorentz-violating fields that could arise in the universe's beginnings and also ties together Einstein's relativity rules and post-Einsteinian quantum mechanics.

One of the implications of Kostelecky's ideas is that the Lorentz-violating field could have been very strong during the mind-numbingly brief first moments of our universe. Now that the universe has expanded to considerable size, however, the strength of the Lorentz violating field may be severely reduced, making its existence hard to detect, if it is, indeed, actually there.

"Every experiment so far has not found violations of Lorentz invariance," Mufson said. "That doesn't mean we'll stop looking. We knew the MINOS Experiment presented a new way of seeking out violations, and in a difference place. We do things that are simple and look for something profound."

Source: Indiana University

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16 comments

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Alizee
Oct 15, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Oct 15, 2008
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Alizee
Oct 15, 2008
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jeffsaunders
3.2 / 5 (12) Oct 15, 2008
Alizee, I gave up reading all your contributions before you were called Alizee. It is not that I think your idea is completely without merit ,it is just that you do tend to lay on a fairly large dose of manure with each contribution.

And why do you have to lace your contributions with links to images you have made? The images seem to have absolutely no relevance to your point, and they tend (on the whole) to just be swirly globs that serve no discernable purpose.
NeilFarbstein
2.8 / 5 (11) Oct 15, 2008
I'm sick of your crap about aether wave theory. You guys are bunch of frauds and spineless geeks.
SmartK8
3.5 / 5 (8) Oct 16, 2008
Yeah.. When I see AWT I know two things about the post. First it'll contain some water analogy; second I'll stop reading there. *thumbs down*
frigatebird
2.3 / 5 (4) Oct 16, 2008
Hey! what's wrong with references to water?
Maybe AWT is an 'out there' concept, but it's pretty interesting nonetheless. All Alizee needs is an editor, and I got a mind to do it! hahahahaha!!! Wouldnt you hate that, you dour mcDoursons.

"OH! My name's Smarty McFarbistein, and look! I'm throwing clods of dirt at the outsider crackpot who dares to have something WEIRD to say! I'm defending SCIENCE." heh. I've seen some crazy shit, and one thing I am sure of, individuals like yourself don't have a clue as to WTF is going on. Of course, neither do I or ALIZEE with the crazy run-on sentences, but at least he's reaching? you dig?
D666
5 / 5 (2) Oct 16, 2008
"OH! My name's Smarty McFarbistein, and look! I'm throwing clods of dirt at the outsider crackpot who dares to have something WEIRD to say! I'm defending SCIENCE."


If only there was a smiley for a Monty Python accent... :-)
axemaster
3.5 / 5 (4) Oct 16, 2008
AWT... boring...

"One of the implications of Kostelecky's ideas is that the Lorentz-violating field could have been very strong during the mind-numbingly brief first moments of our universe."

Consider my mind successfully numbed.
Alizee
Oct 16, 2008
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Alizee
Oct 16, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ofidiofile
5 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2008
One of the implications of Kostelecky's ideas is that the Lorentz-violating field could have been very strong during the ...first moments of our universe.


hey, nothing personal - but get a blog, why don'tcha?
twango
5 / 5 (4) Oct 17, 2008
Alizee,

No offense intended, but ... there's no way to say it without risking offense ... your sentences are very poorly written. Because of that, whatever merit your ideas may have is lost in the difficulty of extracting what it is you are trying to say.

It has always been hard to get across new ideas, even with excellent communication skills. The history of technology is full of such stories. So it would behoove you to study proper English more.

One example: your last sentence above would look more like this:

For most people, modern science plays the role of a religion. So what they seek in modern theories are mystical revelations rather than explanatory power.

(I, like Feyerabend, agree.)
Alexa
1 / 5 (4) Oct 17, 2008
Re Twango: Thank you for your correction - I'm expert in Aether, not English. Nevertheless, I can understand both sentences (both mine, both the correct version of yours) easily. The problem is somewhat different: it consist in fact, many people are refuting to think about new ideas purportedly in the hope, old ideas will explain the problem less or more lately by itself. So we can face a certain hysteresis in thinking, which has it's own analogies by AWT. For example, the merging of mercury droplets requires the creating a temporal creation of thin neck with negative curvature, which is source of strong repulsing force. Until this potential barrier isn't overcomed, the droplet merging will not occur. We should realize, this repulsive force manifests even at the cosmic scale, because gravitational field of every object appears as a less or more dense blob of vacuum density, i.e. like voluminous droplet.

Anyway, if somebody likes AWT concepts, it has no meaning to develop some theory by single person in poor English. The AWT is here for easier understanding of contemporary physics and optimization of further research, i.e. for money and energy saving for whole society. The common editation of Knol, Wikipedia articles about AWT is welcomed. Any new ideas about it will be welcomed as well (although I'd prefer to publish them individually first to avoid priority discussion for future). I looking for GPU programmers, willing to program particle vector simulations in many dimensions. And so on...

http://knol.googl...cale=en#

Internet enables to develop new ideas on Open Source basis. If Open Source community can develop it's own operating systems or processor designs - why not scientific theories?
Alizee
Oct 19, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Nov 01, 2008
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