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That Speed of Light dispute

24 September 2011

The subject pops up at www.physorg.com/print236017754.html as it threatens Einstein's 'Relativity Theory' – but as we heard at the last SIS member meeting in Luton, that theory may not be quite as sound as supposed by consensus physicists. Naturally, mainstream scientists are sceptical of the results of the experiment – and so they should be. That is their function. The assumption is that there is something wrong with the experiment rather than with Relativity. However, it seems that Fermilab in Illinois conducted a similar experiment that had a similar result – but it was not accepted at the time. The margin of error was not robust enough. Fermilab physicists intend to conduct another experiment – presumably with better margins of error. The idea is to find out if they agree with the CERN experiment.

The criticism of the CERN experiment surfaces more openly at www.physorg.com/print235986693.html but the odd thing is that the results were achieved six months ago but the scientists concerned were desperate to disprove the results and have spent a long time double checking and re-checking their methodology. Now, all the data has been uploaded onto the physics web site arXiv.org so that other physicists can evaluate the experiment – and disprove the results if they can. 

Over at www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2011/09/discovery-nixes-einstein-neutrino-… the discussion looks at what aspects of physics might have to change if the results are confirmed. Room will have to be made for the New Physics it is decided – but is this Old Physics in a different wrapper?

We might also see where this might go – the introduction of a new kind of neutrino will be accommodated as it may help explain dark energy. Neutrinos, we are told, are electrically neutral, and rarely interact with other matter. They also have a small mass, important as it was once gospel that neutrinos did not possess mass as such but this experiment it seems, has shown that neutrinos can oscillate, so they have substance – no matter how small or fast they might be.

Another interesting aspect is that neutrinos are thought to be produced by the Sun as a by-product of nuclear reactions. Will this idea have to be amended? All in all the results affect cosmology, astrophysics and particle physics.  

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