Faster than Light?

79ba9d4ea5663bf43883d317bf23a267?s=47 Daniel Scully
November 24, 2011

Faster than Light?

Talk given to around 100 A-level Physics students from across Coventry, together with my colleague Ally Caldecote.

Recent results from the OPERA experiment at CERN have suggested neutrinos may travel faster than the speed of light - something forbidden by Einstein's Special Relativity. We introduced Special Relativity, explained the new results and discussed some of the possible consequences for physics. In particular why Special Relativity breaks down when particle do travel faster than the speed of light.

At the same time we discussed what CERN, the worlds foremost particle physics laboratory, was like and what goes on there.

79ba9d4ea5663bf43883d317bf23a267?s=128

Daniel Scully

November 24, 2011
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Transcript

  1. Faster than Light? Insights into life & research at CERN

    Ally Caldecote & Daniel Scully
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  8. Albert Einstein 1905 The Photoelectric Effect Brownian motion Special Relativity

    Matter-Energy Equivalence 1907 – 1915 General Relativity 1879 – 1955 Dyslexic
  9. Special Relativity Physics is the same for all observers, regardless

    of their relative speeds The speed of light is the same for all observers Nothing can go faster than the speed of light
  10. x LIGHT t EVENT

  11. x LIGHT t

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  13. x LIGHT x E t E t

  14. x LIGHT x E t E t

  15. x x E t E t LIGHT

  16. x x E t E t LIGHT

  17. Special Relativity Has changed our understanding of the Universe Has

    been experimentally verified But... It's our job as scientists to always keep checking... and checking...
  18. We need big facilities to do this checking...

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  23. Faster than the speed of light?

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  25. Switzerland Geneva CERN Italy Perugia Gran Sasso

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  27. Result Δt = 61 ± 10 ns 0.0025% Faster

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  29. Consequences If correct: Special Relativity is a cornerstone of modern

    physics... …neutrinos are breaking that cornerstone.
  30. x LIGHT t 1 2

  31. x LIGHT t 1 2

  32. x LIGHT t 1 2

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  34. x LIGHT t x E t E 1 2 1

    2
  35. Consequences Causality could be broken – cause does not have

    to precede effect
  36. Consequences Causality could be broken – cause does not have

    to precede effect Energy and Momentum could be broken - Comes from the same rules
  37. Consequences Causality could be broken – cause does not have

    to precede effect Energy and Momentum could be broken - comes from the same rules ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? - we don't know
  38. Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

  39. Keep Asking Questions