Friday, September 23, 2011

Physicists clock Superman particle

The following quotes about today's big news story (apart from oligarch Aleksandr Lebedev clocking  fellow oligarch Sergei Polonsky on Russian television) are a mishmash from different on-line sources.

A neutrino beam appears to have moved faster than the speed of light in an experiment whose results need to be confirmed independently, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, said.

According to conclusions drawn by the theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, nothing can exceed the speed of light.

Even this small deviation would open up the possibility of time travel and play havoc with longstanding notions of cause and effect. Einstein himself — the author of modern physics, whose theory of relativity established the speed of light as the ultimate limit — said that if you could send a message faster than light, “You could send a telegram to the past.” 

Antonio Ereditato, spokesman for the researchers*, said that measurements taken over three years showed neutrinos pumped from CERN near Geneva to Gran Sasso in Italy had arrived 60 nanoseconds quicker than light would have done. The margin for error in the measurements was 10 nanoseconds, which means that even taking that into account, the neutrinos' speed was still faster than light.

Alvaro de Rujula, a theorist at CERN, called the claim “flabbergasting.”

“If it is true, then we truly haven’t understood anything about anything,” he said, adding: “It looks too big to be true. The correct attitude is to ask oneself what went wrong.”

(Editor's note: You may ask what this has to do with schizophrenia. It's easy. Just about everything, hahah.We don't understand anything about anything. The one constant we do know is we know nothing. Whatever we think we know will change.)

The researchers are affiliated with the University of Bern, the same Swiss city where Einstein worked in the patent office while publishing his early theories on relatively and the electromagnetic radiation of light.

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