Thursday, May 3, 2012

Icarus Measures Superluminal Neutrinos

Recently someone posted a reply to a comment I made on October first 2011 in which I indicated that the OPERA results, which suggested that neutrinos can travel at the speed of light, were in agreement with prediction I made in 2010 in my Introduction to Quantum-Geometry Dynamics.

The poster replied:

Sadly, as we now know, OPERA’s measurement apparatus were faulty and the neutrinos were not superluminal, as Cohen and Glashow so powerfully argued.”

An even stronger argument against QGD’s prediction of superluminal neutrinos is the recently released Icarus results which provides strong evidence that neutrinos travel at the speed of light. The Icarus group arrived at this conclusion after studying the data for seven neutrinos detected in November 2011.

Though it is true that the Icarus results refutes the Opera results, they support the Opera group’s initial conclusion that neutrinos travelled at superluminal speed. Hence, the Icarus are in agreement with QGD’s predictions (and so does Opera’s data after being corrected to take systematic errors in consideration).

You may ask yourself: How can the Icarus results support the possibility of superluminal neutrinos when they clearly indicate that neutrinos travel at the speed of light?

First, it’s important to know that QGD didn’t predict that neutrinos could travel faster than the speed of light. What QGD actually predicted is that the relative speed of neutrinos can exceed the speed of light. To understand the nuance we need to discuss the QGD’s model of space.

QGD suggest that space is quantum-geometrical and emergent. In other words, according to QGD, space is generated by the repulsion force between preons(-); one of only two fundamental particles admitted by the model. Unlike the model of continuous space implied by all physics theory, quantum-geometrical space has structure. Particles at the fundamental scale of reality move by leaping between ‘quanta’ of space (see opening chapters of Introduction to Quantum-Geometry Dynamics).

Using the quantum-geometrical model of space, QGD defines two kinds of speed. The first, which we call absolute speed, is the fundamental speed; the speed at which an object moves within the quantum-geometrical space. The second type of speed, which is the speed that all physics experiments measure, is the speed of an object relative to another object or relative speed. Experiments such at the Icarus can only measure the relative speed of neutrinos. That speed corresponds the speed of neutrinos relative to their target at the Gran Sasso laboratories (for detail explanation see this article).

The Icarus results (download their paper here) shows that they calculated the speed of 7 neutrinos. Their data indicates that three neutrinos travelled at speed lower than the speed of light, one neutrino travelled at the speed of light and three neutrinos travelled at faster than the speed of light. The slowest neutrino arrive 18 nanoseconds later than light would have along the distance that separated their source from their target. The fastest neutrinos arrived 19 nanosecond faster.

Now, according to the model of neutrinos that is consistent with quantum-geometrical space, neutrinos can only travel at the speed of light. According to the model, the speed of neutrinos, like that of photons, is independent of their energy.

Considering that the speed of neutrinos is the speed of light and after taking into account the actual margins of error of the measurements, it follows that the variations relative speeds of the seven neutrinos observed by the Icarus group is consistent with the variations in the relative speeds attributable to the motion of the Earth along the axis that connects the source of the neutrinos at CERN with their target in Gran Sasso (this is explained in detail a previous article).

The variations found in the relative speed of neutrinos in experiments such as the Opera and the Icarus, are much more revealing than it appears. Not only do they provide a different way to evaluate the speed of light (given a large enough sample, the average of the relative speeds of neutrinos approaches the speed of light), but they provide a means to indirectly measure the absolute speed of the Earth.

In conclusion, though it is true the Icarus data refute the neutrinos speed measurements of the Opera experiment, the variations in the relative speed of neutrinos between the two experiments are consistent which each other and consistent with QGD’s predictions.

A Prediction for the Upcoming Measurements of the Speed of Neutrinos

This month, several research groups, including OPERA and Icarus, will conducts new experiments that aim to measure the speed of neutrinos. In addition to the predictions already made, I would like to add the following:

If a group of neutrinos are detected in a short time interval, even if detected by different experiments, they will be found to have the same relative speed. If confirmed, this prediction would support the QGD interpretation that the difference between the speed of light and the relative speed of neutrinos is attributable to absolute motion of the Earth along the axis that connects the source of neutrinos at CERN and their target at Grand Sassol; the variations in the relative speeds neutrinos being themselves caused by the motion in quantum-geometrical space of the axis between CERN and Grand Sasso.

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