Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Sunday, November 6, 2011 11:06 am

More on those faster-than-light neutrinos …


… from Tom Levinson at Balloon Juice (but also cross-posted at Scientific American if you want to avoid Reality-Based cooties). Short version: Light interacts with charged particles and thus slows down, while neutrinos don’t. Thus, it is possible for some neutrinos to go faster than some light, but we’re a long way from proving that things actually can go faster than light generally:

That’s the problem for any challenge to a fundamental pillar of knowledge:  if the new observation is correct, it must be understood in a way that accommodates all the prior work consistent with the older view that is under scrutiny.  As physics popularizers always note:  Einstein’s account of gravity — the General Theory of Relativity — delivers results that collapse into those of Newton’s earlier theory through the range of scales for which Newtonian physics works just fine.  If it didn’t, then that would be a signal that there was something wrong with the newer theory.

It’s a nice, plain-English discussion of the issue, with several links to other, equally good related discussions. He goes on to point out how this aspect of scientific research has important implications for the climate-change-denial crowd. I’m sure they won’t want to hear about it, but still.

 

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1 Comment »

  1. There’s still a Prime Mover, I anticipate the argument will be.

    Comment by Jim Langer — Sunday, November 6, 2011 11:09 am @ 11:09 am | Reply


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