Speculation Regarding the Implications
The remainder of this article presents the views of the author, and are speculative in nature.
They Rattle the Foundations of Non-Quantum Physics
Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity is a cornerstone of modern physics. That theory and Einstein’s General Relativity have been tested in high-speed sub-atomic particle physics, GPS satellites, and astronomy.
Making Waves out of Particles
“Wave-particle duality” means that “sub-atomic particles” are also “waves”. The characteristics that are shown depend on the type of measurement being performed. Both neutrinos and photons may be considered particles, ejected from other quantum entities. The different velocities could simply reflect the different energies available to expel these different particles originally.
If photons and neutrinos are considered as “waves”, then there seems to be a different problem. Photons express higher initial energies by having a shorter wavelength, not by traveling faster. Why would a neutrino wave front advance more quickly than a photon wave front?
Rounding Errors in Relativity
One suggestion is to review previous experimental results which demonstrated the increase in mass due to relativistic speed. If the true “cosmic speed limit” is the neutrino speed, rather than c, then the gamma factor γ should be adjusted.
A similar suggestion is to review previous experimental results which demonstrated time dilation due to relativistic speed. This is especially noticeable when sub-atomic particles decay more slowly than expected because they are moving at nearly light speed.
Too trivial to suggest is to re-check the 730 km distance in the experiment. Presumably this is the through-the-earth measurement, rather than the longer above-the-earth route. If it turns out that the discrepancy is 0.0025%, then expect a follow-up article on measuring arcs on a circle.
Particles Appear to Travel Faster Than Light: OPERA Experiment Reports Anomaly in Flight Time of Neutrinos. Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare via PhysOrg. (Sept. 23, 2011). Accessed Sept. 23, 2011.
Cho, Adrian. Neutrinos Travel Faster Than Light, According to One Experiment. (Sept. 22, 2011). Science Mag. Accessed Sept. 23, 2011.
Fowler, Michael. The Michelson-Morley Experiment. (Sept. 15, 2008). University of Virginia. Accessed Sept. 23, 2011.
Fowler, Michael. Special Relativity. (March 3, 2008). University of Virginia. Accessed Sept. 23, 2011.
Hood, Marlowe. Scientists stunned, sceptical on faster-than-light particles. (Sept. 23, 2011). PhysOrg. Accessed Sept. 23, 2011.
Wagner, D.J. The Speed of Light and the Index of Refraction. (1999). Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Accessed Sept. 23, 2011.
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