Thursday, December 29, 2011

Faster-than-light neutrinos impossible?

Had another conversation last weekend over those damn neutrinos. Have I been talking myself blue that there are possibilities that these so-called super-luminal neutrinos can arrive at their destination faster than light without traveling at a velocity greater than light? Yes. Didn't anyone watch Dune?

However, I feel that the press (and certain scientists) are jumping to a sensationalist, provocative conclusion (even if it is damn sexy) without exploring alternate interpretations of the findings.  io9's "Final Proof that Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos are Impossible," focuses on the results the OPERA team's CERN experiment, in which pions produced as a by product of the experiment decay into the sub-luminal neutrinos. Specifically, the article explains how a Washington University team pointed out that the pions did not possess the extreme amount of energy to create faster-than-light neutrinos.

Scientists SHOULD be duplicating the experiments and checking and rechecking the results, but not in some frenzied attempt to save a pillar of physics that seems to be crumbling like so many stale chocolate-chip cookies, but because these findings would introduce an incredibly exciting time into physics and space-time topography (Hey, just in time for the new-cycle year 2012 on the Mayan calendar).

Don't get me wrong, if these results stick, that would be cool. So mind-bogglingly cool that it could be the first step in proving the existence of string theory, quantum foam and other wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey stuff that Doctor Who probably knows all about. Jason Palmer's BBC News article, "Light speed: Flying into fantasy," outlines some of these exciting possibilities. For instance, the neutrinos could be taking a shortcut through another dimension, a theory that, while not mainstream, has been around since 1935. And that'd be wormholes, ya'll.

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