Tuesday, September 27, 2011

At the speed of Nuetrinos?

GeekDad clearly understands this topic very well because he makes the concepts seem almost understandable.  An expert is someone who can explain it to anyone.  
Neutrinos and the Speed of Light — A Primer on the CERN Study
This is the group of physicists, together, stating that they don’t know how they came to a result that shows neutrinos apparently exceeding the speed of light. They are not drawing any conclusions in this article and are simply providing the finding and the methods used to obtain the finding. They are trying to find where there could be errors in their measurements. They do not claim that the neutrinos are actually exceeding the speed of light, only that the measurements to date show something unexpected. They are reaching out to the high-energy physics community to improve the experiment and data analysis. They are not looking to fundamentally change physics but to ensure that they are producing sound data. We may find that nothing comes of this. We may find that there is an effect known in physics that accounts for the difference. We may find that neutrinos are capable of moving slightly faster than the speed of light. It is simply too early to make definitive, wide-reaching conclusions.

OK, the experts won't propose any explanations, but what the hey, here's my $0.02 theory.  For the record I got an "A" in Honors Physics freshman year at the Illinois Institute of Technology from Professor Ernst and he was so smart they named an equation after him.  And I can spell Wikipedia.  So here is perhaps how a neutrino can be faster than the speed of light.
A neutrino is an electrically neutral, weakly interacting elementary subatomic particle with a small but non-zero mass. Being electrically neutral, it is able to pass through ordinary matter almost unaffected, "like a bullet passing through a bank of fog".
And this..

The photon is currently understood to be strictly massless, but this is an experimental question. If the photon is not a strictly massless particle, it would not move at the exact speed of light in vacuum, c. Its speed would be lower and depend on its frequency. Relativity would be unaffected by this; the so-called speed of light, c, would then not be the actual speed at which light moves, but a constant of nature which is the maximum speed that any object could theoretically attain in space-time. 
So here's my hypothesis.  The measurements from Cern are correct. By showing the neutrinos are slightly faster than photons it demonstrates that neutrinos have ever so slightly less mass than photons even though both of these quantities approach zero.  By making instruments precise and accurate enough we have determined which massless particle is less massless than the other.     

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