An amazing story which I covered in depth in Thursday’s “Daily TAM Briefing,” and I’d love to see what TAMs and readers think :) Because you may have additional information about this that would be well served by an outside source, the “No Links” rule is lifted for the post on this topic.

The main issue for me is this means that the foundation of quantum physics has been wrong and, if this discovery ends up being true, everyone would have to start from scratch. To say nothing of the possibility of time travel, which some scientists say this makes possible. I don’t know if God had that in mind, so we’ll see if the puny humans know what it is they’re doing ;)

Leading scientists said on Friday the discovery of sub-atomic particles apparently traveling faster than light could force a major rethink of theories on the makeup of the cosmos if independently confirmed.

Jeff Forshaw, a professor of particle physics at Britain’s Manchester University, told Reuters the results if confirmed would mean it would be possible in theory to “send information into the past.”

“In other words, time travel into the past would become possible…(though) that does not mean we’ll be building time-machines anytime soon.”

The Guardian story to which I referred during the DTB, includes the “picture” of neutrinos:

Faster than light particles found, claim scientists

Additional Links:

NatGeo: Particles Moved Faster Than Speed of Light?

Economist: There was a neutrino named Bright

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39 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. LJZumpano says:

    So, is Superman faster than a neutrino?

  2. BigPapaPedro says:

    Tammy, you had me at Neutrino. Talk anything science, technology, history or faith and we can spend hours.

    So if a neutrino is faster than the speed of light, does that mean it vibrates at the frequency of parallel dimension using it as a shortcut to a different location in our own dimension?

    Einstein and you are right, imagination and theories are fun!

  3. otlset says:

    You’d think someone from the future would have already discovered this and come back to tell us. Or did that already happen? No wait…

  4. trevy says:

    Are you telling me that all of my work on my Delorean has been for nothing?

  5. strider says:

    Throwing things really fast is what humans have been doing really well ever since the first cave men – ‘Look Thag, rock faster go than walk can’.

  6. Chuck says:

    Tammy, you were right last night about atoms. According to our current understanding of quantum mechanics, it is impossible to “see” atoms, because as soon as you shine light on them, they would have moved. So we don’t know the position and speed of an atom simultaneously: we either know one or the other (Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle). The so-called “photographs of an atom” are, like you correctly stated, the result of the interaction of the atom with the instrument that is used to take the picture (electron microscopes). They indeed give evidence to the existence of atoms, but this is again the best explanation that we have given the science we know.

    A couple of centuries ago we thought that atoms were hard balls (Dalton). Then when evidence for electrons, protons, and neutrons was discovered, it shattered Dalton’s theory. Later on, other subatomic particles were discovered as well: “discovered” meaning that evidence for their existence was found. At one point, we thought that electrons go around the nucleus like a planet around the Sun. Nowadays we know that it is not the case: we can describe the position of the electrons as probabilities, but we cannot describe the path of an electron around the nucleus.

    Science is an evolving field, and these are all theories, not laws of nature. Theories are sound science because they have been verified by other scientists, but it is the nature of science that as knowledge is acquired, theories are revisited and, in some cases, discarded. Whether we are now at the crossroads of shattering Einstein’s relativity theory or not … only time will tell.

    • imacat says:

      Beautifully and simply stated, Chuck! Thank you!

      For anyone who cares to watch, I would like to share a 3-part BBC video series that does a great job of showing just how fluid and evolving atomic theory is as well as its influence on our understanding of the nature of reality. I highly recommend Episodes 1 & 3. I have not seen Episode 2. The descriptions below are from Discovery Education.

      Episode 1:
      http://videosift.com/video/Atom-The-clash-of-the-Titans
      “Nuclear physicist Dr. Jim Al-Khalili considers the discovery of the atom and the development of quantum theory at the beginning of the twentieth century. Beginning with Boltzmann’s and Einstein’s work that proved atoms existed, the program then analyzes the atomic models developed by Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr. Dr. Al-Khalili notes the struggle between traditional physicists like Erwin Schrödinger and quantum physicists like Werner Heisenberg, whose uncertainty principle questioned the basis of accepted scientific thought.”

      Episode 2:
      http://videosift.com/video/Atom-The-Key-to-the-Cosmos
      “Nuclear physicist Dr. Jim Al-Khalili tackles world-changing discoveries such as radioactivity, the atomic bomb, the big bang, and tries to answer the biggest questions of all–why are we here and how were we made? The program follows the discovery of the nucleus and the neutron to the unveiling of the third natural force–strong nuclear force. Dr. Al-Khalili explains why iron is considered the most stable element and considers how the big bang theory created all of the matter in the universe.”

      Episode 3:
      http://videosift.com/video/The-Illusion-Of-Reality
      “Professor Jim Al-Khalili explores how studying the atom forced us to rethink the nature of reality itself, discovers how there might be parallel universes in which different versions of us exist, and finds out that ‘empty’ space isn’t empty at all. From the discovery of antimatter and the quark to recent developments in string theory, the program shows how the world we think we know turns out to be a tiny sliver of an infinitely weirder universe than which we could have conceived.”

    • Charles_TX says:

      The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle comes from a study of the properties of pairs of non-commuting Hermitean operators each of which represents a physical observable. One such pair is a position variable, x, and its corresponding momentum p_x (not speed!), but there are many other pairs. Look on the Uncertainty Principle as a measure of the limits of your knowledge about a system. The Uncertainty Principle is unique to the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. The Bohmian and Everett Multi-world interpretations dealt with the same problem in a different way.

      A good book to read about how science evolves is Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”

      As to the media’s fetish about Einstein, what can I say. He wasn’t even the best physicist of the 20th Century, just the best known.

    • naga5 says:

      chuck,
      you force me to retell my favorite joke scrawled at the physics urinal at UCLA.
      heisenberg was here.
      maybe.
      rick

    • sandyl says:

      uuuhh what???? :)

    • sandyl says:

      good job Chuck :)

  7. Ralph says:

    G’day,

    I blame this on Dr Walter Bishop.

  8. Ayeboots says:

    The neutrino; it has been around for a long time, but no one has or had a clue to what it was and this is the first attempt at measuring the speed. All we really know is it is very small moves very fast through all matter in the universe. Scientists are locked in their Paradigms and refuse to accept new concepts out of hand. All science and art are based on an agreement, especially science; so, when it comes to creation they are completely without a clue. Example; the chair, the table the ceiling and the floor were all created by you, because they don’t exist without you. Some advanced minds like Gurdjieff & Ouspensky, Shri Ukteswar have delt with and understood some advanced concepts and were rejected by the material scientific world; but, that didn’t make them any less valid. We have a long way to go but the possibilities are endless because man through God is continuessly creating a new world. The one enefible creation, a place the ancients called: “l’Marika” (the exceptional land beyond the sea following Venus, the
    evening star) is the hope for mankind and must be preserved a all cost and it is our responsibility.

  9. dennisl59 says:

    “… if independently confirmed.” Until that, I’m sticking with Albert on this one.

    ‘Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one’-Albert Einstein

    ‘Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe’–Albert Einstein

    posted 9/23 440pm Texans for Palin Time.

  10. Maynard says:

    Of relevance to the questions Tammy raises about science and God, click back to my post of a year ago, An Unnecessary Hypothesis.

  11. radargeek says:

    The reason neutrinos are faster than light is that light- whether particle of wave-travels at 186,000 miles per second (thats 3 X 10 to the 8th power meters per second; but the problem with light is that matter can inhibit its speed or interact with matter more stronly than neutrinos. Neutrinos are known to interact so weakly to matter to where neutrinos can pass through matter without even matter affecting it’s travels. The study of neutrinos that are unleashed (so to speak) from a supernova: like the one from the recent supernova from the big-dipper, have already been detected by underground detectors like the Kamioka detector in Japan and a few others. This story is about neutrinos from a lab, but neutrinos have been observed from a past supernova, like Supernova 1987A (around Sanduleak 69degrees 202). To put it symply, light particles and their speed are slowed by matter (like resistance to a current); whereas, neutrinos go through matter like a hot knife through butter. Nuetrinos go right through planets, space, etc without any interference to their speed. I recommend a book called “Shadow of a Star: The Neutrino Story of Supernova 1987A” by Alfred K. Mann if you would like to learn more about the Neutrino where they actually detected the first known neutrinos.

    • radargeek says:

      BTW- Each sun has these neutrinos but they are usually released when a sun goes supernova and there is a process (this book explains) on how the neutrinos are released.

  12. greenlantern2011 says:

    DON’T TELL ME IT’S NOT TRUE……………………………………….

    1. The writers of the first Superman movie had him fly around the earth so fast that it changed the direction of it’s rotation and time went backward so he could save Lois Lane from a future death.

    2. The kitchen wall cross stitched saying: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get!”

    3. Present Dwight Schrute has been receiving faxes for years from Future Dwight.

    Seriously, many cultures have beliefs about time that do not conform to our linear version. For example, last summer I took a 2nd level course in Reiki healing where we were taught how to send healing energy to ourselves and to others across distances and across time, both into the future as well as the past. Other cultures and belief systems describe time as layered, all 3, past, present, and future, existing at the same moment. It would not surprise me if there is a scientific basis for these beliefs. It was 5000 years before the discovery of electrical current, that the Chinese developed a theory of energy pathways throughout the human body called meridians. Modern medicine now depends on theories of electrical conduction patterns to explain the physiology of the brain, heart, and muscles. Neurological dermatomes are medically accepted patterns of nerve pathways in the human body.

  13. Shortall says:

    Maybe Obama & crew might want to subsidize a Time Machine company.

  14. [...] Scientists believe they may have found a particle that can travel faster than the speed of light. They say if they are correct, it could be possible to travel back in time! Does that mean we could [...]

  15. dogbite says:

    i’m waiting for the holodeck and the replicator, home versions…

  16. larrygeary says:

    I can’t find the link right now, but a story in Science News says this “discovery” has not been confirmed and may be in error. While the scientists know when the neutrinos arrived in Italy, they don’t know exactly where they were emitted in Switzerland. Because they were produced by crashing protons into a metal bar, they could have originated at the front of the bar, or the back, or in between. That changes the travel distance and the travel time, so that may be the cause of the apparent “faster than light” travel. Also, if neutrinos traveled faster than light as indicated in this experiment, neutrinos from Supernova 1987A would have arrived on earth about 5 years before the light from the supernova. In fact they arrived only a few hours earlier due to the fact they come right from the supernova core while the light takes some time to make its way to the surface of the star and be seen.

  17. ffigtree says:

    Could spontaneous combustion be caused by the neutrinos?!

  18. ww2mg7st says:

    What is meant by “going back to the past?
    It can’t be the physical transfer of a person to some time in the past.
    What would that body be composed of?
    All physical entities must be composed of matter.
    As matter cannot be created or destroyed, and as all matter is being used to compose everything that exists now, where is the matter for this transported body to come from.
    If you went back in your present body you would be destroying matter in this time and creating matter in the past time.
    They must be thinking of traveling faster that light and then looking back at the incoming light to see what happened in the past; but it would still be in the past.
    There is only one time; and that is NOW – everywhere.
    It takes time for the effects of physical events to travel. So when you look at your finger you are looking at it as it was in the past.
    It is fun to speculate. But lets be reasonable.

  19. oualdeaux says:

    There was a neutrino named Dwight,
    Who thought he was faster than light,
    As much a he tried,
    his quest was denied,
    ’cause breakin the Law just ain’t right!

  20. Faster than light isn’t rare,
    each instant it’s passed, by each little prayer.

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