Thursday, February 23, 2012

Faster-than-light Neutrinos. Old wires or new discovery?

In the limelight of science news is the possible discovery of neutrinos clocked at speeds exceeding the universal speed limit, which is the speed of light. Or have we entered cosmic Montana, where there is no speed limit at all?

The debate swirls around loose wires and equipment inaccuracies. It is not likely that we have stumbled upon a heretofore unkown realm of physics. Nevertheless, it is possible. Some claims are circulating that the experiment was duplicated and yielded consistent results showing superluminal neutrinos.

I think there are two possibilities, assuming no equipment errors or malfunctions. Either the neutrinos did go superluminal, or they did some type of teleportation across a certain distance while maintaining subluminal velocity.

The latter is, in my opinion, more likely. Think of it as if you were diving your car at a speed of 60 miles per hour (mph) on a 60-mile trip. The trip should take you exactly one hour. Suppose, somehow your car and everything in it gets teleported a total of 30 miles, either at once or in short, successive quantum bursts of small distances that add up to 30 miles, but do not take any time.

When you arrive at the end of your 60-mile trip, you have only been driving for 30 minutes, making it look like you have driven at a speed of 120 mph rather than the steady 60 mph indicated on your speedometer. During the teleportation events, no time elapsed, so your displacement through space was instantaneous. Your speedometer would not show a change in your velocity.

Your apparent average speed at your destination 60 miles away is calculated as being 120 mph, because you traveled 60 miles in half an hour. Nothing accounts for the fact that you teleported across 30 of those miles instantaneously.

Now it gets interesting. Suppose there was a policeman aiming his radar at you. Suppose one of his radar pulses hit you just before you entered one of your teleportation events that instantaneously displaced you a discrete half mile along your route. Suppose the next radar pulse hit you just after you emerged from that discrete half mile teleportation event. A few more radar pulses hit you as you drove along with your speedometer still showing a steady 60 mph.

The police radar averages your displacement over several radar pulses and spits out what the policeman considers a measured speed. His radar was working fine. However, that discrete half mile jump you made with zero time elapsed makes the radar indicate your speed as impossibly fast for a vehicle of your type. Suppose the vehicle you were driving was made by a car company called Neutrino.

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