Some questions and answers about the experiment that appeared to show particles speeding faster than light.

Q. What is being reported?

A. Over the past two years, Europeans scientists observed more than 15,000 particles called neutrinos shot from Geneva through Earth's crust to an underground lab 454 miles away in Italy. They found that the particles appeared to travel just a tiny bit faster than the speed of light - just 20 parts per million faster. That was a surprise because the speed of light, about 186,000 miles per second, is supposed to be the fastest anything can move.

Q. Why has this caused such a stir?

A. It threatens Einstein's special theory of relativity, a bedrock of modern physics that Albert Einstein produced in 1905. That theory sets the speed of light as the cosmic speed limit for material objects, although it's better known for the equation E equals mc2, which basically says mass and energy can be changed into each other. If that theory is proven wrong, it could dramatically shake up our understanding of basic laws of the universe.

Q. And would that affect my daily life?

A. Not for now. It's impossible to say what unknown physical effects might be exploited, and how. The findings - even if proven - may end up as nothing more than a footnote in physics textbooks, or they could lead to new technological breakthroughs. As one skeptic jokingly said, if it's real, people "could use `neutrinomail' rather than email. It's faster."

Q. How likely is it that this finding is correct?

A. Experts are skeptical. Einstein's relativity theory has withstood a lot of experimental tests over the years. The scientists who reported the finding say they're still looking for flaws in their experimental procedures, and they've asked other labs to try to duplicate the results.

Q. What kind of flaws could there be?

A. The measurement is very complex, and all kinds of factors can enter in. For example, when the results were formally presented at a seminar Friday, a scientist in the audience suggested that the position of the moon could make a difference, because its gravity can deform the terrestrial crust through which the neutrinos passed. A spokesman for the researchers said that didn't appear to be a problem.

Q. So what happens now?

A. Scientists at Fermilab in Illinois have already started planning their own experiment. They have some experience. In 2007, they got a similar result, but the margin of error in their measurements was too big to make a definitive claim.

**Explore further:**
Roll over Einstein: Law of physics challenged (Update 3)

## Callippo

So we could say, just the neutrinos follow special relativity exactly, whereas the photons of visible light remain influenced with tiny fluctuations of space-time in smaller or larger extent according to general relativity.

## Drumsk8

15,000 neutrino's where fired. WRONG try BILLIONS only ~15,000 where registered!

As for the comment delivered in the REAL Q&A of the live webcast that was addressed and shown to not be a cause on two counts, one the data set is over 3 years, and two they're tracking the movement of the earths crust at 1cm a year. Think that's covered the moon somehow!

I am disgusted with the crap some so called science writers come out with they only show their ignorance further in the reports. To think this was an AP release TUT TUT! Go the BBC at least they even posted a link to the webcast for you!

## Isaacsname

## CaliforniaDave

## Temple

This may shed some light (har!) on the topic for you.

The constant "c" is "the speed of light in a vacuum" (which is not the same as 'the speed of light' or 'the speed that light travels', light is often slowed from c by its medium).

What's interesting is that c is a calculated constant which comes out of the math in Maxwell's equations. Indeed, it was this fact, that the value for c is not dependent on physical measurements, that its value comes out of the equations themselves, that gave Einstein his lightbulb moment (har!), leading him to his theories of relativity.

Continued...

## Temple

Traveling faster than c simply breaks the math of Maxwell's equations, math upon which most of the past century's physics has been built. Very strange predictions have come out of those equations (relativity, etc), which at times can make the universe look like a funhouse mirror. But all these strange predictions have been verified to occur exactly as predicted out of Maxwell's equations.

Much of modern physics just wouldn't work if Maxwell's equations haven't stood up to such rigorous poking, prodding, testing, and attempts to break it over the past century.

This is why there is such skepticism involved in the idea that a particle has broken the equations by traveling faster than c (especially so very close to c, implying slight error).

That said, it would be absolutely wonderful if this were true. A sign of vast new knowledge on the horizon.

## Callippo

http://aetherwave...nge.html

Of course, the variable speed of light would violate the special relativity anyway, so it's not a solution which could save the classical physics. We are talking about 60 nsec shift of 2,5 msec interval, which is relatively huge change. If the speed of light would change in such a way, we would already notify it in another experiments. But your point has definitely merit in context of many other observations.

## Callippo

## Callippo

For photons of longer or smaller wavelength we should therefore always observe larger or smaller deviations from the speed of light. For example, you can imagine, these photons materialize mutually with CMBR photons. The temporary formed particle-antiparticle pairs are indeed moving with subluminal speed, so that they're slowing the global speed of photons a bit. At the case of neutrinos this situation is probably reversed, so they're moving like superluminal gravitational wave in short periods of their life.

## Callippo

In this analogy the photons correspond the normal solitons, which are forming at the water surface and they result from coupling of surface ripples with sound waves spreading through bottom liquid phase.

But in dense supercritical fluid such coupling could occur even at the opposite side of phase interface in symmetric way. It's product would be a supersymmetric particles, which are result of coupling of surface ripples with sound waves spreading in gaseous phase. I presume, these particles are just neutrinos, i.e. lightest photino soughed with SUSY models.

## Ober

I suspect (like most) that once the data is poured over, and the experiments repeated that all will be well in the Universe again. However, after saying that Neutrino's really are ODD things. Being able to change flavour on the run is really wierd. Also notice that (I think) a russian scientist showed Einstein an idea involving 5 dimensions and not 4, which Einstein initially rejected but then became VERY INTERESTED in. Perhaps Neutrino's are making a hop into a 5th dimension then returning, thus seem to jump forward in 3d space. Thus Neutrinos may never exceed C, just they took a short cut, giving an apparent average velocity exceeding C, while at no stage did their instantaneous velocity exceed C. The jumping MAY be related to their flavour change!!!

## Ober

Do we even know how many flavour oscillations a neutrino performs while in flight? I don't think we do, but if the oscillation is a fixed rate, then measuring a neutrinos apparent discrepancy from C over a fixed distance would then infer the amount of oscillations and thus JUMPS.

Of course take all of what I've said with a grain of salt..... I'm just thinking out aloud for others to comment on. I haven't provided any real science, just dreams!!!!!

## Daleg

## Daleg

## Daleg

as everyone knows the square route of any number allows two solutions a positive and a negative since a negative times a negative also = a positive, so it has been conventional to ignore the negative solutions to the equations in the aspect of calculating times on the general precept that negative time is an unscientific result, or infers an unknown and thus is in the physical sense an unmeasurable quantity. This is why you hear so much about the imaginary number or the square root of -1 being used to get a positive answer. Since of course the square root of i is -1, so when you multiply any negative result by this negative number you get yourself s positive answer, restoring scientific rationality.

## Daleg

as everyone knows the square route of any number allows two solutions a positive and a negative since a negative times a negative also = a positive, so it has been conventional to ignore the negative solutions to the equations in the aspect of calculating times on the general precept that negative time is an unscientific result, or infers an unknown and thus is in the physical sense an unmeasurable quantity. This is why you hear so much about the imaginary number or the square root of -1 being used to get a positive answer. Since of course the square root of i is -1, so when you multiply any negative result by this negative number you get yourself a positive answer, restoring scientific rationality.

## Callippo

## Callippo

After all, whole the neutrino finding has been postdiction too. The theorists are doing postdictions rather than predictions. Therefore the progress in physics is the success of engineers, rather than theorists.