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Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Was Einstein wrong? - Faster-than-light particle measured... -

Was Einstein wrong? - Faster-than-light particle measured... - 




Puzzling results from Cern, home of the LHC, have confounded physicists - because it appears subatomic particles have exceeded the speed of light.
Neutrinos sent through the ground from Cern toward the Gran Sasso laboratory 732km away seemed to show up a tiny fraction of a second early.
The result - which threatens to upend a century of physics - will be put online for scrutiny by other scientists.
In the meantime, the group says it is being very cautious about its claims.
"We tried to find all possible explanations for this," said report author Antonio Ereditato of the Opera collaboration.
"We wanted to find a mistake - trivial mistakes, more complicated mistakes, or nasty effects - and we didn't," he told BBC News.
"When you don't find anything, then you say 'Well, now I'm forced to go out and ask the community to scrutinise this.'"
Caught speeding?
The speed of light is the Universe's ultimate speed limit, and much of modern physics - as laid out in part by Albert Einstein in his special theory of relativity - depends on the idea that nothing can exceed it.
Thousands of experiments have been undertaken to measure it ever more precisely, and no result has ever spotted a particle breaking the limit.
But Dr Ereditato and his colleagues have been carrying out an experiment for the last three years that seems to suggest neutrinos have done just that.
Neutrinos come in a number of types, and have recently been seen to switch spontaneously from one type to another.
The team prepares a beam of just one type, muon neutrinos, sending them from Cern to an underground laboratory at Gran Sasso in Italy to see how many show up as a different type, tau neutrinos.
In the course of doing the experiments, the researchers noticed that the particles showed up a few billionths of a second sooner than light would over the same distance.
The team measured the travel times of neutrino bunches some 15,000 times, and have reached a level of statistical significance that in scientific circles would count as a formal discovery.
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Long-Lost Moon Rock Turns Up In Clinton Papers - everything got packed up and the rock from outer space were misplaced -

Long-Lost Moon Rock Turns Up In Clinton Papers - everything got packed up and the rock from outer space were misplaced - 


A long-lost, highly valuable Moon rock brought back from the Apollo 17 mission has turned up in the files of Bill Clinton.
The rock was one of 50 presented to each state, and was given to Arkansas while the ex-president was governor. The rock, worth millions of dollars, had been missing since at least 1980 until an archivist found it in old gubernatorial papers. Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System, told Reuters the archivist opened a box previously archived as "Arkansas flag plaque." The rock and a state flag were originally affixed to the plaque, but the rock had fallen off and the plaque had been misplaced.
"The moon rock, which is in a plastic container, had fallen off the plaque," Roberts said, explaining that the rock was at the bottom of the box. "The archivist immediately knew what he had discovered."
The rock was originally presented to Arkansas Gov. David Pryor in 1976 and hung in the governor's office during the term of Pryor's successor, the future president. Roberts figures that when Clinton lost his bid for re-election in 1980, everything got packed up and the plaque and its rock from outer space were misplaced.
Other states have misplaced their Apollo 17 Moon rocks, including New Jersey ad Alaska. Last year, former Colorado Gov. John Vanderhoof admitted he had kept his state's rock, and agreed to give it back.
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