2011-10-02

Featured Comments: Week of 2011 September 25

There was one post this week that got a comment, so I'll repost that.

The Neutrino News and Science in the Public

Reader T_Beermonster had this excellent explanation/clarification: "It's probably just me misreading but it seems like you are saying the measurement was of neutrino speed in rock exceeding only photon speed in rock. The paper clearly states that the measurement was of muon neutrinos in rock (or at least assumed to be travelling through rock rather than taking a short-cut through a spare dimension) moving faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. The paper is still up on arxiv.org http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.4897 small quote from page 19 'We cannot explain the observed effect in terms of presently known systematic uncertainties. Therefore, the measurement indicates an early arrival time of CNGS muon neutrinos with respect to the one computed assuming the speed of light in vacuum. The relative difference of the muon neutrino velocity with respect to the speed of light is: (v-c)/c = δt /(TOF’c - δt) = (2.48 ± 0.28 (stat.) ± 0.30 (sys.)) ×10-5, with 6.0 σ significance.' Obviously the high likelihood is of some as yet unnoticed systematic effects. If the phenomenon is real there are various ways in which it could be reconciled with the Lorentz requirement of c as a hard upper (or lower) limit or even some c preserving Lorentz violating schemes (several suggestions already cropping up on arxiv). Or we could get some brand spanking new theory. The general press did however bugger up their reporting quite badly BBC Breakfast seemed to be suggesting that relativity was going to be cancelled and your mobile phone stop working. I even felt compelled to actually put a message up on my facebook wall for the day: 'Relativity still works. I have a laser pen to prove it. Also when scientists ask other scientists to check their data and try to reproduce their experiment and results this is not some humbling act of contrite fools. That is what scientists are supposed to do, science.'"

Thanks to that commenter who commented on a post this past week. I meant to post a double review this past week, but I couldn't do it simply because I was so swamped with work this past week. I'll try to do it this week, but I can't promise anything because in all likelihood I'll probably be just as swamped this week if not more so. Anyway, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing & commenting!

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