Concerning the Italian researchers’ discovery that neutrinos may be exceeding the speed of light, this is at Reuters today:
“It is premature to comment on this,” Professor Stephen Hawking, the world’s most well-known physicist, told Reuters. “Further experiments and clarifications are needed.”
Here’s the problem (again, according to Reuters):
In Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, which underpins the current view of how the universe works, nothing can travel faster than light — 300,000 kms, or 186,000 miles, per second — because its mass would become impossibly infinite.
And it would also violate cause and effect: the neutrinos would be arriving in the future before the future actually arrives!
I suppose, if confirmed, this would suggest that we live in some sort of a block universe in which the appearance of time’s passage is an illusion. Expect Calvinists everywhere, as well as other determinists, to claim their crowing rights: “We told you so!” But it’s not so easy to imagine what this might do to, say, the criminal justice system. How do you prosecute people utterly lacking in free will? And how do you not prosecute them if you are already determined to do so?
Scientists may soon be telling us all that we are utterly and completely puppets (of course, quite a number of them already are).
But some bloggers are speculating that the neutrinos are taking shortcuts through other dimensions (perhaps giving a boost to string theory but also maybe saving cause and effect and something like free will).
So, from threats of nuclear terrorism to string theory confirmation—to the potential overthrow of Einstein and human free will—we definitely live in disorienting times.
And did you know that some physicists speculate that our experience of three dimensional space is actually a holographic projection from two dimensions? I wonder how that fits in with this neutrino/speed-of-light mystery.