Neutrinos, Physics, Meteors and the Survival of Humankind
As you may have noticed, CrisisMaven recently dabbled in speculative thought about the role of a universe-wide encyclopedia cum news service.
The reason this came about was that recently at the Large Hadron Collider around Geneva/Switzerland and crossing under the French border a team of scientists reported they had reason to believe that neutrinos created during the LHC experiments and to be captured in the neutrino observatory in Gran Sasso/Italy actually arrived there “ahead of time”, i.e. at a faster pace than currently allowed by the theory of relativity.
When these news first broke CrisisMaven felt it was too early to comment as the findings were highly and hotly disputed, even from amongst the collaborators, however, it reminded him of ideas about the role neutrinos might have in a universe teeming with natural (and artificial) intelligence.
Recently though the earlier findings seem to have been sufficiently corroborated to warrant some further speculation as to why neutrinos might be faster than light, or rather, as CrisisMaven would like to put it, why photons are slower than neutrinos.
Well, in CrisisMaven’s opinion, this has to do with the fact, that neutrinos are neutral and hardly are ever seen to interact with matter which is why it is so difficult to measure them in the first place, while photons or light, X-rays, radio waves etc. are electromagnetic phenomena and as such are not only subject to the pull from gravity but also are being influenced by electrical and/or magnetic fields. While we might still be critical of any ether theories, these all-pervasive electromagnetic fields might well be responsible for interacting with light waves cum photons, thus delaying them a tiny bit as against the neutral neutrinos.
That said, it is still for the practical physicists to finally ascertain the fact of “neutrino superluminosity“, but if the results should stand the test of time, then it would be up to the theoretical physicists to try and find a way to reconcile this with current prevailing theories and that might well end in a recalibration of the maximum allowed speed in the universe as seen by physics today and then potentially come up with the idea of neutrino speed as being the ultimate speed limit known so far.
One way to test that idea of neutral particles being faster than charged particles could also be if neutrons were able to travel fractionally faster than their charged “counterparts”, e.g. protons after having been accelerated by the same amount of energy. However, since neutrons cannot as a rule be artificially accelerated by any known human design so far, they are generally accelerated by accelerating them in a “container”, i.e. while tied to e.g. protons such as helium nuclei that contain two protons and two neutrons. So it might be a bit tricky to verify those theories for a while. Still, if it were possible to first accelerate such a positive helium nucleus, then separate the neutrons from the protons one might find a difference in their speed after severance.
And why meteors?
Well, CrisisMaven thinks, humankind should do two things more than anything else:
- watch out against life-threatening meteors close to earth that could annihilate us before politicians begin to understand the problem and
- that humankind should look for traces of intelligent life outside our solar system other than by tuning into radio frequencies as discussed recently.
To achieve this and provide the necessary funding, all politicians need to do is switch from offensive to defensive armament, because, after all, no one could feel threatened if every neighbour had nothing but the means to defend themselves.
Of course such thoughts are a bit ahead of time, but CrisisMaven would like to be able to claim priority before all those who chime in when everything seems obvious do.