relativity

Category archives for relativity

The Whole Story on Dark Matter

“Science progresses best when observations force us to alter our preconceptions.” -Vera Rubin I want you to think about the Universe. The whole thing; about everything that physically exists, both visible and invisible, about the laws of nature that they obey, and about your place in it. It’s a daunting, terrifying, and simultaneously beautiful and…

The Fat Lady Sings for OPERA

“The saying ‘It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings’ is erroneous, because women who are fat are never listened to.” -Margaret Cho Last year, the OPERA collaboration made worldwide headlines when they announced the results of a remarkable experiment. From over 730 kilometers away, in another country, neutrinos were created by one of the…

Alright, Neutrinos, The Jig Is Up!

“I have difficulty to believe it, because nothing in Italy arrives ahead of time.” -Sergio Bertolucci, research director at CERN, on faster-than-light neutrinos You know the story. Last year, the OPERA experiment at CERN announced, to the shock and surprise of practically everyone, that they had observed what appeared to be neutrinos moving faster than…

Defending Physics Against Cracked.com

“In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.” -Stephen Jay Gould Those of you who follow me on either google+, facebook or twitter…

Neutrinos to ring in the New Year

  “This is to show the world that I can paint like Titian: [See drawing, above.] Only technical details are missing.” -Wolfgang Pauli First theorized by Pauli all the way back in 1930, neutrinos are some of the most mysterious and puzzling particles ever discovered in nature. For starters, they weren’t even first detected until…

The Speed Limit of Matter: Charged Particles

“Alas! must it ever be so? Do we stand in our own light, wherever we go, And fight our own shadows forever?” -Edward Bulwer-Lytton Ever since it was conjectured that the speed of light was the ultimate speed limit of the Universe, we have tried — with the most powerful of our tools — to…

Q: “Why don’t physicists shield themselves from neutrinos?” A: “Because they never see them coming.” #neutrinojokes Over the past two months, we’ve talked more about neutrinos than ever before thanks to an extraordinary claim that neutrinos have been observed to move faster-than-light! And as you well know, no particle is allowed to travel through spacetime…

“Events often move faster than our ability to comprehend them.” -Lee H. Hamilton But sometimes, going ever faster is where all the fun is at. Have a listen to the Stray Cats, from their debut album, as they plow through their title track, Built For Speed.Well, believe it or not, I think my car just…

A Test for Neutrinos: Put Up or Shut Up

“Where there is no patrol car, there is no speed limit.” -Peter Beckmann You’ve of course heard the news that the OPERA collaboration in Italy has measured what appears to be neutrinos moving faster than the speed of light. The way they did it was pretty straightforward. Shoot a pulse of protons moving at ultra-high…

Game Over for Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos?

“If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.” -Albert Einstein One of the most…