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Faster-Than-Light Particle Results To Be Re-Tested 412

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-your-work dept.
surewouldoutlaw writes "After the astonishing news from CERN that the OPERA experiment had detected neutrinos traveling faster than light speed, challenging Einstein's theory of special relativity, there has been some skepticism over the results. Now Fermilab, near Chicago, has announced it will attempt to replicate the experimental results within four to six months."
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Faster-Than-Light Particle Results To Be Re-Tested

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  • by snowgirl (978879) on Monday September 26, 2011 @10:21AM (#37515246) Journal

    If you didn't see this coming, then you don't understand science...

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ironhandx (1762146) on Monday September 26, 2011 @10:31AM (#37515368)

    The process is working.

    The scientists at CERN asked for peer review and checking of their methodology. This announcement means that at least on paper the method was near-perfect for Fermilab to be committing resources in the near future to prove/disprove it.

  • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Monday September 26, 2011 @10:41AM (#37515468) Homepage

    Having neutrinos fly at 'true c' rather than a lower 'apparent c' isn't a good solution, because it doesn't take in account neutrino bursts from supernova 1987A. The neutrinos from that supernova were detected only four hours before the light from it. That's explainable with what we know about internal stellar processes. But if the neutrinos were flying FTL then they should have arrived four years earlier.

    The most likely explanation for the CERN results (apart from experimental error) is that neutrinos are tachyonic -- they have imaginary mass, and naturally fly faster than light. The higher their energy, the closer to lightspeed they travel.

    That's not a trivial situation. To use a technical term, it breaks relativity into itty bitty pieces. We will have to change a lot of theories around. But it's unlikely that the value of c is going to change.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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