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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Sep > Sep 26

Re: D'oh! Light Speed Threshold Broken?

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 13:00:51 +0100
Archived: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 08:36:34 -0400
Subject: Re: D'oh! Light Speed Threshold Broken?

>From: Ray Dickenson <r.dickenson.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 00:32:35 +0100
>Subject: Re: D'oh! Light Speed Threshold Broken?

>>From: Albert Baier <albertgbaier.nul>
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>>Date: Sat, 24 Sep 2011 12:02:38 -0500
>>Subject: Re: D'oh! Light Speed Threshold Broken?


>>Guys, List

>>The CERN paper:


>Thanks Albert.

>Interestingly it now seems that Fermilab (Chicago) might've
>the discoveryfirst, a coupla years ago  Here's the relevant
>quotes from an interview in the UK's Daily Telegraph:


Thanks Albert and Ray

I wanted to point out that superluminal neutrinos are not
necessarily forbidden in existing physics. The basic explanation
of 'why' seems to be that the limits on neutrino mass are limits
on a quantity which is really mass (or momentum actually)
squared, so the root can be negative. Negative or imaginary rest
mass - with consequent speed >c - is allowed in the equations of
relativity, but is usually just ignored as "unphysical".

There's been a lot of hysterical gee-whizzery in the media to
the effect that "Einstein was wrong" and we'll have to tear up
all the text books and start again. In fact superluminal or
tachyonic (tachyon = faster than light particle) neutrinos is an
idea that has been around in theory for many decades. There have
even been previous experimental results hinting at it, including
anomalous neutrino pulses arriving before the photons from
supernovae, and similar advanced pulses seen in Fermilab
experiments in 2007. The idea has had loads of attention from
lots of serious people. Yet physics (last time I looked) is
still here.

I put together a few items that might be of interest and give
some background:

I think tachyons were "invented" or at least named by Gerald
Feinberg about 1960 but the idea goes back to Arnold Sommerfeld,
one of the pioneers of early atomic physics in the early 20th C.
It's misleading to say that they refute Einstein. On the
contrary, they are an implication of special relativity which
was fiurst discussed systematically by Tolman as early as 1917.
They were given a place in a mature relativistic field theory in
1962 (O.M.P. Bilaniuk, V.K. Deshpande, and E.C.G. Sudarshan.
Meta-relativity. Am. J. Phys., 30:718-723, 1962.)  In fact what
has been wanting (IIUC) is not a relativistic theory of tachyons
but a quantum theory of tachyons. Lots of physicists have worked
on this.

From the Wikipedia article on tachyonic neutrinos:

"In 1985 it was proposed by Chodos et al. that neutrinos can have
a tachyonic nature.[1][2] Today, the possibility of having
standard particles moving at superluminal speeds is a natural
consequence of unconventional dispersion relations that appear in
the Standard-Model Extension,[3][4][5] a realistic description of
the possible violation of Lorentz invariance in field theory. In
this framework, neutrinos experience Lorentz-violating
oscillations and can travel faster than light at high energies.
On the other hand, the above-mentioned proposal by Chodos et al.
was strongly criticized by some researchers.[6]"

[Wiki notes:

  1.. ^ Chodos, A. (1985). "The Neutrino as a Tachyon". Physics
Letters B 150 (6): 431. Bibcode 1985PhLB..150..431C.

  2.. ^ Chodos, A. (1992). "Null Experiments for Neutrino
Masses". Modern Physics Letters A 7 (6): 467. Bibcode
1992MPLA....7..467C. doi:10.1142/S0217732392000422.

  3.. ^ Colladay, D.; Kostelecky, V. A. (1997). "CPT Violation
and the Standard Model". Physical Review D 55 (11): 6760-6774.
arXiv:hep-ph/9703464. Bibcode 1997PhRvD..55.6760C.

  4.. ^ Colladay, D.; Kostelecky, V. A. (1998).

"Lorentz-Violating Extension of the Standard Model". Physical
Review D 58 (11): 116002. arXiv:hep-ph/9809521. Bibcode
1998PhRvD..58k6002C. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.58.116002.

  5.. ^ Kostelecky, V. A. (2004). "Gravity, Lorentz Violation,
and the Standard Model". Physical Review D 69 (10): 105009.

arXiv:hep-th/0312310. Bibcode 2004PhRvD..69j5009K.

  6.. ^ R. J. Hughes and G. J. Stephenson Jr., Against tachyonic
neutrinos, Phys. Lett. B 244, 95-100 (1990).]


see also:



Physicist John Cramer (of Transactional Interpretation of
Quantum Mechanics fame) wrote a readable popular article about
theory and evidence for tachyonic neutrinos in 1992, referencing
the anomalous Supernova 1987A detection by the Kamiokande
experiment of neutrinos arriving before the photons, but
allowing that this could have another explanation (which has
been generally preferred hitherto). See


Mathematical physicist Marek J Radzikowski (U of Brit Columb)
thinks that Cramer was over-conservative and cites 'the Mont
Blanc neutrinos (flavour not known) that were received 4.7 hours
earlier than the Kamiokande II and IMB neutrinos pulses (the
Kamiokande burst consisted entirely of electron neutrinos)'
which were 'labelled as a "highly improbable spurious burst",
but the only reason given for this is that its existence doesn't
fit the most plausible model of supernova core collapse.'..."


He has "...a blog to promote consideration of the tachyonic
neutrino hypothesis (TNH), originally suggested in an article by
Chodos, Hauser and Kostelecky (Phys.Lett.B150:431,1985). I have
already posted 3 articles related to this topic on the arXiv.org
website, namely





At present, I am working on the aspects of the theory involving
renormalization of the underlying quantum field theory (QFT) and
unitarity of the S-matrix resulting from this QFT."


Radzikowski also cites 'the 2007 results of MINOS concerning a
direct time-of-flight measurement of the speed of the neutrino:


 which finds it to be 1.75 sigma in excess of the speed of
 light.'  MINOS was a series of experiments at Fermilab.

That result has been referenced anew in many articles and blogs
in recent days in connection with the Italian neutrino finding.
At the time it was deprecated - by the MINOS team itself - as a
measurement artefact.

So, if tachyonic neutrinos are not a new concept, why the fuss?
The real issue is not about exceeding the speed of light as
such, nor is it even about the possibility of detecting them. It
is about the possibility of causality violations that could
theoretically arise if the particles can be used to send
information, as in the much-discussed "tachyonic antitelephone"
thought experiment whereby a signal is sent back in time. Even
if superluminal neutrinos are detectable in the CERN conditions
it may yet be the case that there is a sort of cosmic censorship
going on, which somehow prevents information being transferred
and so preserves causality on the light cone, as happens all the
time (so far as anyone yet knows) with "instantaneous" nonlocal
entanglement in quantum theory.

If you think about it the situation is analogous: the very tiny
superluminal margin is not found from simply timing individual
particles but is calculated by a very complicated statistical
analysis done after the fact on distributed bursts of many
detections, and most importantly the reference frame of
measurement includes both emitter and detector with everything
callibrated and locked together by GPS and atomic clocks. This
reference frame is a local frame, i.e. it is made of light-speed
signals. To determine the neutrino time of flight crudely
speaking requires requires information to be sent separately at
light speed from A to B where a comparison is made afterwards.
In a terrestrial lab-scale setting this may seem over-subtle.
But imagine if the emitter is on a distant star 10 light years
away: How does one callibrate the reference frame of measurement
to prove that a neutrino has arrived a millionth of a second
earlier than it "ought" to have done? You cannot just "look and
see". You have to do it by sending radio or other local signals
at the speed of light, and 10 years later you can cal;culate the
result. This seems closely analogous to the quanglement
'problem' whereby remote events are instantaneously correlated,
but in a subtle way so that the correlation cannot be used for

I'm not sure if this is a valid line of argument, but I suspect
it might be. Any thoughts? At any rate, if the CERN  experiment
is validated I'd fully expect to see much argument along similar
lines before causality-breaking neutrino signalling is finally
accepted as inevitable.

Martin Shough

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