(Another) Flight into Fantasy

“Light Speed – Flying into Fantasy”  is the title of the BBC’s article this morning (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15034414) having to do with CERN’s announcement that they may have measured a neutrino’s velocity at greater than the (known) speed of light (c). Granted, this is just the popular press’s interpretation of the announcement, but it raises a multitude of unanswered (unanswerable?) questions. Just a few: 1) How do they know that the neutrino they shot out is the same one that reached the detector some 500 miles away?; 2) Isn’t this whole idea a Heisenbergian uncertainty oxymoron, the accepted quantum theorists’ assumption that observation inalterably affects location and/or velocity?; 3) If there really is such a thing as a particulate neutrino, how did you control it from here to there?

The proper answer to all of these questions is, of course, as the article points out, “The publication of their results is a call for help to pick holes in their methods, and save physics as we now know it.”

 The flight into fantasy may just be that of the article’s author, expressed in the further statement that: “Perhaps the most exciting thing is that time travel would look more feasible.” (How did time travel get into this discussion?) This assertion seems to be grounded in other fantasists beliefs in Einstein’s metaphor that time is an actual  substance or at least a physical dimension, a statement that over the last hundred years has had its metaphorical dimensions stretched beyond even a fantasist’s wildest dreams.

Another flight into fantasy may be that physics as we now know it can and ought to be saved. CERN’s and other grand projects aimed at flinging at great speeds those entities they call particles have been best at raising new questions about what these “particles” are and whether there are others that we haven’t “detected” that might explain phenomena we attribute to them. What has not happened as a result of these enormous expenditures of intellectual and financial capital is that few until now have questioned the actual existence of these tiny entities that appear to have no physical dimensions and masses that can only be expressed in millions of electron volts (Mev). One hopes that these questions will finally arise and cry out for answers. I only know that those answers won’t be found by searching back in time.

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About Charles Scurlock

Charles is a recently retired architect/planner and generalist problem-solver with a lifelong interest in science, physics, and cosmology, and the workings of the human mind. He has started this blog in the interest of sharing his ideas with others of like-(or not so like) minds.
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One Response to (Another) Flight into Fantasy

  1. It is alarming at how easily assumptions are made, when Science as we have been taught, has been all about the experiments and subsequent “proof”. With respect to CERN’s declaration, I also question “how on Earth do they track the particles?”. Can such particles be “tracked”? Or is it, as usual, once again all about the mathematics?

    I remain curious…!

    Erin 🙂

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