Faster than Light Neutrinos revisited


CERN’s report of measuring neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light immediately started speculation that it showed a problem with Special Relativity. The actually  measurement was that the neutrinos were traveling about 20 parts per million faster than the speed of light of 299,792,458 m/s. This means that the neutrinos were going 6 km/s faster than light.

If these results are confirmed it would still does not pose a problem for Special Relativity since not being able to  travel at or faster than the speed of light only applies to particles with a real non zero rest mass. A particle like a photon that has a zero rest mass travels at the speed of light. Particles that travel faster than light have been speculated for years under the name tachyons. Tachyons would have a negative imaginary rest mass giving it a real non zero mass at speeds above the speed of light. It would however be incapable of being decelerated to the speed of light below it.

Two Indian physicists have found serious a problem with the experimental observations that neutrinos went faster than Light. That problem has to do with conservation of energy. That is that the reaction that produced the neutrinos did not produce the energy they would have had traveling at their measured speed.

Interestingly there is a way of reconciling these results that is consistent with established physics, specifically Quantum Mechanics. That solution is that the CERN neutrinos did travel at sub_light speeds but only through the space they actually went through and that the instantly skipped the rest of it making their average speed faster than light. Quantum Mechanics has several phenomenons like quantum tunneling that allow this to happen. If confirmed this would be strong confirmation of instantaneous quantum phenomenon.

 

 

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