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article imageOp-Ed: None so blind as those who refuse to think — FTL neutrinos, again

By Paul Wallis     Jan 3, 2012 in Science
Sydney - The continuing saga of “did, didn’t” in establishing faster than light speeds for subatomic particles called neutrinos continues. The worship of a 100 year old theory based on Newton continues unabated, as evidence to the contrary goes begging.
The OPERA experiment in Europe conducted by CERN physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS) in Gran Sasso, Italy has established, with a lot of soul searching and reservations that neutrinos arrived in Italy from Switzerland 60 nanoseconds faster than they would if they were traveling in a vacuum at the speed of light.
Meaning, therefore, that they travelled faster than light, which is a big no-no if you assume that:
1. A 100 year old theory based on Newton and the science of the 18th century must be infallible,
2. All theories in physics are immutable,
3. That a speed of X is perfectly normal and respectable but a speed of X.00000001 is impossible.
4. If anyone disagrees with these self-evident and rarely even questioned truths, you are allowed to get all clucky and stamp your little footsies, so there.
Meanwhile back at CERN, according to Science Daily:
The OPERA neutrinos had energies of about 17 gigaelectron volts. "They had a lot of energy but very little mass," Cowsik (Ramanath Cowsik, PhD, professor of physics in Arts & Sciences and director of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.) says, "so they should go very fast." The question is whether they went faster than the speed of light.
E = what, again?
According to Einstein, mass and energy are relative. So if a mass has more energy than it’s “entitled” to have according to Einstein, what does that tell anyone? Is this amount of energy susceptible to a consistent increase in energy like E=mc3, etc.? What is that level of energy doing there, at all?
Let’s get this straight, before proceeding:
It takes exactly X amount of energy to move any mass at any speed in any environment. That number is measurable, whatever the mass and whatever the speed. If you want to move any mass at the speed of light, that number is also measurable.
Years ago, there were earnest, self-proclaimed intelligent people saying in all seriousness that if anything travelled at the speed of light, it would eventually develop “infinite mass”. This effectively contradicts Newton, Einstein and basic arithmetic and mathematics, but it was fluttering around for years as a statement of fact. If you look at FTL numbers, you just get big numbers, not mathematical “impossibilities”.
Einstein is becoming an obstacle, rather than an asset. Hawking stated the obvious a few years ago- Humanity needs to go to the stars. This planet won’t be around forever. The constant obstruction of anything vaguely resembling interstellar speed physics by nothing less than pure dogma and nothing but, isn’t helping.
If people had believed the theories and equations that accelerations of more than 25mph would kill people or drive them insane, (which, coincidentally or not are the same equations being used to disprove any possibility of faster than light movement of anything,) the plane would never have got off the ground.
To quote myself- “Science is never currently wrong, just previously wrong.” Try finding one theory in modern science which hasn’t needed some panel beating. This veneration of a nearly century old theory is bordering on Creationism, in scientific terms.
Theories, equations and observations must evolve. It is simply not good enough to state that any theory is immutable, and that current technology, whatever it is, is infallible. Even the idea of a “universal constant” may be wrong. Mass behaves very differently at quantum levels. Maybe there are multiple “constants”, depending on the states of energy and matter involved.
Apparently the CERN team have a few qualms about their findings.
Science Daily, again:
"Not finding any mistakes," Cowsik says, "they had an ethical obligation to publish so that the community could help resolve the difficulty. That's the demanding code physicists live by," he says.
As a matter of fact, Dr. Cowsik and his team have done more than that with their findings. They’ve enforced a level of honesty. Findings like these may get physics out of its coma and back to doing what it’s supposed to do- Ask questions, not simply settle for convenient answers.
Isn’t that what science is supposed to be about?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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