Tuesday, May 15, 2012

▬▬Einstein to the Test▬▬

"Neutrinos - Particles travelling faster than the speed of light under scrutiny at CERN" 

┗▶ What do you mean by speed of light ?

According to special relativity, c is the maximum speed at which all energy, matter or information in the universe can travel. Nothing can travel faster than speed c through the fabric of space-time, so this sets Universe's ultimate speed limit. It is the speed of all massive or massless particles—including electromagnetic radiation such as light.

According to relativity, as you approach the speed of light, time slows down, you get heavier, and you also get flatter (all of which have been measured in the lab). But if you go faster than light, then the impossible happens. Time goes backward. You are lighter than nothing, and you have negative width. Since this is ridiculous in physics as you cannot get a negative length, you cannot go faster than light, said Einstein.

┗▶ What is the impact of "Nothing can exceed speed of light" ?

Half of the modern physics and Einstein's special theory of Relativity stands firm on only 1 pillar : 
"Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light"

To justify, all Einstein's equations have been derived using "c" as the Universe's ultimate speed limit, including the famous formula E=mc² and the whole theory of relativity and our notions of space-time as to how time behaves and bodies propagate in space depend on value of "c" and cannot exceed speed of light.

▶ Neutrino—Exceeding speed of light ?

Now, a team of scientists working at the CERN, the world's largest physics lab claim that they have found sub-atomic particles travelling faster than the speed of light. Subatomic particles called neutrinos were beamed from the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland to a laboratory in Italy 454 miles away, and beat the speed of light by 60 nanoseconds,60 billionths of a second faster. To be precise, in a billionth of a second, a beam of light travels about one foot. So a difference of 60 feet was quite astonishing.

┗▶ Confirmation of Neutrino : 

As experts across the world expressed their shock – and cynicism – the physicists at CERN insisted they had tested and re-tested the findings for six months and could not find anything to alter the result.

"We tried to find all possible explanations for this," the report's author Antonio Ereditato of the Opera collaboration told BBC News on Thursday evening.

"We wanted to find a mistake - trivial mistakes, more complicated mistakes, or nasty effects - and we didn't.

"When you don't find anything, then you say 'well, now I'm forced to go out and ask the community to scrutinise this."

┗▶ Einstein's Defence : 

Einstein's theories actually allow the existence of non-detectable particles moving faster than speed of light. These particles are called tachyons.

However, experimental science states there is no possibility to use such theoretical tachyons as a transport medium for information.

┗▶ If there is a flaw in experiment then Einstein is saved, but what if it's been proved and consistently verified ?

If Neutrinos travelling faster than light come under uniformity (travel faster than light everywhere) than say farewell to modern physics !

Cosmology, the very way we think of space, would be forever altered. The distance to the stars and galaxies and the age of the universe (13.7 billion years) would be thrown in doubt. Even the expanding universe theory, the Big Bang theory, and black holes would have to be re-examined.

Moreover, everything we think we understand about nuclear physics would need to be reassessed. Every school kid knows Einstein's famous equation E=mc² where a small amount of mass m can create a vast amount of energy E, because the speed of light c squared is such a huge number. But if c is off, it means that all nuclear physics has to be recalibrated. Nuclear weapons, nuclear medicine and radioactive dating would be affected because all nuclear reactions are based on Einstein's relation between matter and energy.

If all this wasn't bad enough, it would also mean that the fundamental principles of physics are incorrect

┗▶ The Result :

Whoever is correct, the team has published its work so other scientists can determine if the approach contains any mistakes.

"My dream would be that another, independent experiment finds the same thing - then I would be relieved," Dr Ereditato told BBC News.But for now, he explained, "we are not claiming things, we want just to be helped by the community in understanding our crazy result - because it is crazy".

Reputations may rise and fall. But in the end, this is a victory for science. No theory is carved in stone. Science is merciless when it comes to testing all theories over and over, at any time, in any place. Unlike religion or politics, science is ultimately decided by experiments, done repeatedly in every form. There are no sacred cows. In science, 100 authorities count for nothing. Experiment counts for everything.

┗▶ It's your turn now, what do you think eh ?