Neutrinos CAN Go Faster Than Light Without Violating Relativity
    By Sascha Vongehr | September 25th 2011 08:20 AM | 85 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

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    Just about two days ago I warned that there will be a lot of nonsense about relativity coming out these days, and promptly there are already three articles here on Science2.0 alone that are exactly what I feared: Physicists with only basic knowledge about relativity claiming that particles cannot possibly go faster than light and portraying anybody who holds otherwise as a moron (not literally, but that seems to be the gist). Wake up guys – it is 2011 – modern physics has come a looooong way since Albert.

    In modern physics, it is well understood how particles can travel with superluminal velocity without violating special relativity or causality. I will discuss such a mechanism here and the novel experiments it suggest in case the recent neutrino physics observations do hold up to scrutiny.

    One possibility is very intuitive: Our three dimensional universe may well be due to a three (or more) dimensional membrane inside a higher dimensional, so called bulk space. This is called “universe on a membrane” or short “membrane universe” (MU). This is a well known scenario in string theory but not restricted to string theory. In the MU scenario, our light velocity c is the maximum velocity of excitations inside the MU membrane, the latter being by the way the very reason for why the MU universe observes Einstein relativity inside of it. That velocity c may be very small compared to the maximum velocity of particles that are not bound to our MU membrane, those that speed freely through the bulk space with perhaps, as indicated by the OPERA data, velocities thousands of times the speed of light.

    If, as was reported, neutrinos actually went faster than light from CERN to OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) in Italy’s Gran Sasso, they can do so without any violation of relativity as follows:

    (Remark: I wrote this article before I saw Dimension hop may allow neutrinos to cheat light speed, which is saying something very similar to what I point out in the following here and have pointed out before for a number of years now. HOWEVER: My use of extra dimensions here is rather a didactic tool. They are not necessary for the main arguments to go through just the same, i.e. relativity and causality is also not violated without extra dimensions.)


    In very high energy collisions, excitations may be shot out into the bulk space. They leave the MU, much like when rogue waves on the ocean hit each other and water splashes far above the surface of the ocean. The splashed water can travel much faster than any of the waves ever could inside the ocean. Our light velocity c, which is the maximum velocity for our universe’s “low energy” excitations in the MU, is much lower than the maximum for those particles that are not attached to the MU. That should not surprise: The maximum velocity for ocean waves is also much lower than the velocity of light c, the latter here being the maximum velocity for the splashed water that is not bound to the ocean. In fact, c is for all practical purposes infinite as far as ocean waves are concerned. In general ‘condensed state physics type’ of emergent gravity scenarios, a large difference between our c and the maximum velocity valid for the bulk space that contains our universe is expected (not in the string theory scenarios I have come across though).

    The only sketch of the MU that I found today - a string theoretical example: Notice that the closed strings (gravitons) can reach outside of the membrane while the standard model forces (open strings) are attached to the membrane universe. Neutrinos have only weak interactions; whatever precedes them may come off of the membrane more easily than say muons. It would be thus expected to observe such mechanisms first with neutrinos, as may have happened now.

    If this is what has now been observed, then it goes as follows: At CERN, where the high energy collision happens, MU neutral excitations without electro-magnetic or strong interactions are bound weakly enough to the MU that their energy is above the limit below which they would still “feel” the MU. They spread out into all directions, mostly away from the MU into the higher dimensional bulk space. They may travel or jump ‘above’ the MU membrane for perhaps tens of meters along the MU before they re-enter it. How much they, while doing so, on average travel along the orthogonal directions (for example the "height" they reach perpendicular to the MU while doing their ark like trajectory) depends on the specifics of why they re-enter the MU membrane, which I will discuss below.

    Traveling only three to 30 meters parallel along our MU means that they re-enter our universe still inside CERN (!). It also means that about ten to 100 nanoseconds seem to be missing; this would account for the about 60 nanoseconds that the neutrinos are reportedly early.

    [Warning: MATH! If they jump those first meters with a velocity of maybe ten or hundred times c, they practically spend no significant time jumping, because the rest of the travel time for the 730 km to Gran Sasso is much longer. Without jumping, the neutrinos must spend additional time t traveling along the jump path with at most the speed of light c instead. Those that do not first jump for example 20 meters would need to spend

    20 m / c = 20 m /(299792458 m/s) ~ 60 nanoseconds

    longer to get to Gran Sasso.]

    Why do bulk excitations re-enter our universe? There are several possibilities that could be perhaps distinguished in the data, two of which are:

    1) While electro-magnetic, strong, and so called weak interactions are bound to the MU, gravity is universal and reaches out into the bulk space. Gravity may pull them back into the MU (this is a common string theoretical assumption). Gravity is very weak, but since CERN may just be at the threshold energy for this effect, the 'splashed stuff' may stay very close to the MU, being pulled back in quickly on the order of tens of nano seconds.

    2) The other possibility is that the bulk space is either ‘compactified’ (circular, periodic) or perhaps our universe is actually made up from multiple such membranes packed at some distance apart. These scenarios count as one here, because in these cases there are practically, as seen from the “splashed”excitations’ point of view, parallel membranes that they will collide with. They leave the MU but soon hit a parallel membrane [which is the same MU they came from in the so called compactification scenario] and get stuck again. Once they are stuck again, these excitations become usual neutrinos that travel further with a velocity just below c.

    The MU scenario is just one – there is a shock wave scenario that is not so intuitive to laypeople. All such scenarios do not touch the relativity that is valid inside the MU: Relativity theory is not violated! The superluminal velocities here can also not violate causality, although relative to carefully selected reference frames inside the MU, the particles actually go somewhat into those reference systems' past (however, no excitations ever enter a past light cone!). Causality is here trivially guarantied by the mere fact of that the MU lives through the more fundamental time of the bulk space-time around it (or in other words: the past 'simply does not exist anymore' according to the more fundamental bulk time).

    If you do not believe me and like to read literature about these scenarios, there are many sources. References to for example the MU and the fact that superluminal speed does not necessarily violate causality you can find in my up to date discussion of these topics “Supporting abstract relational space-time as fundamental without doctrinism against emergence”. Sorry for promoting my own work here, but if you want a non-pseudo science and up-to date discussion of above light speed phenomena in modern physics, this is the only one I know that openly discusses precisely these issues, especially in Section 4. There is even a whole sub section “4.1. Causality preserving superluminal velocity but no time-travel” where you will find references to other scientists’ peer reviewed work also.

    What if the Effect is Real?

    I have already clearly enough pointed out that I personally expect that the superluminal neutrinos will go away as nothing but a systematic error. However, if the superluminal neutrinos stay with us, a scenario like I discussed is most likely to account for it. If so, I will be very glad to have published already in December 2009, two years before this discovery.

    If the effect stays, the following considerations will become important:

    1) Given the same particles and collision energies, the average bulk space-time jump distance and therefore the time of flight difference should be independent of the overall travel distance. I.e., building an OPERA detector not at 730 km distance but say only 200 km or say as far as 2000 km away should result in the same tens of nanoseconds early arrival time.

    2) If re-entry is due to gravity, the average jump distance (I will not discuss shock waves here), depends much on the collision energy. More energy means longer jump distance implies in turn an earlier arrival time.

    3) If re-entry is due to a compactified bulk space instead, the jump distance depends more on the size of the involved compactified dimensions (compactification radius and so called warping) and the capture probability of the bulk-excitation collision with the MU membrane.

    Interested people should model these assumptions and look for their signature in the available data.

    4) If the MU scenario is valid, it is likely that the MU rest frame and the cosmic microwave background (CMB), a rather special reference system left over from the big bang, coincide. This is because the Theory of General Relativity insists on that such a unique (!) background exists in any cosmos (even in some without a big bang). Relativity theory thus not only allows us to use any reference system (Earth, space ship, …), but it moreover suggests that the CMB may be the one to pick, say in case you desire to make contact with an perhaps underlying physics from which relativity emerges, for example an MU.

    In principle, one should expect some bias in the arrival time due to the direction of the CERN-to-OPERA line of sight relative to the flight direction of the earth inside the CMB. Earth is bound to the sun which in turn is bound to the Milky Way galaxy, which moves with about 600 km per second through the cosmic reference system, that is 0.2% of the speed of light. This is only a tiny fraction of the other velocities involved here, namely the speed of light and even faster than light speed, but nevertheless – such neutrino experiments would perhaps be the only ever doable ‘ether drift experiment’ (many have been suggested, I even myself suggested one that employs tunnel junctions in the linked essay, but the practicality of those working out is far less than building a better OPERA detector as far as I can see).


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    This may be covered in the more detailed theory. But its worth explaining in your article.
    How is the issue of sending information backwards in time avoided. There will be an
    Observer for whom the neutrinos arrived before they left. This is not just a technicality.
    Setup the correct system and you could be filthy rich on high frequency stock trading.
    Any FTL particle theory must deal with the time travel issue.

    As already mentioned in the article, nothing can travel into a past light cone, which is assured by the fact that that past light cone simply does not exist anymore according to the fundamental bulk time. Yes, the neutrinos would go somewhat back in time according to the emerging coordinates of suitably selected reference frames inside the MU, but it stays outside of past light cones. This is discussed in the section 4.1 of the linked paper and other author's papers referenced there.
    I explain exactly this point in another article here.
    Thank you very much for this explanation, Sascha
    If the data is confirmed, the following quote from M. Gandhi

        "Speed is irrelevant if not moving in the right direction"

    Could not be appropriate
    anymore for neutrinos briefly traveling outside our MU.

    Marco (@mgua)

    The idea seems to fit all the data. About the energy dependency: I think they said they saw the same delta with other energies too, so if the result holds, the dependency may not be as simple as you outlined in point 1.

    Also remember rahtgeber these guys are no crackpots, they have spent like the last 6 months trying hard to find a systematic error and failed. The experiment was designed to permit speed calculations, which makes me excited about it, although I still share some of your skepticism. Time will tell...

    Thank you for this very interesting and informative article. Your efforts are appreciated.

    Can't wait to see the next smaller thing. In an infinite space any size is possible big or little. With big objects it seems to look as though there is more empty space between them or should we say that there is more smaller massed objects between them that are not easily noticed. With smaller objects less space between them or should we say that there is more smaller massed objects between them that are not easily noticed also. Just like the screen we are all looking at now (or piece of paper). Anyways little or big all excite me! Cool article.

    Could it be that light in fact moves a tiny bit slower than c (and c is thus a little bit faster than the speed of light)?

    I only read half this article before I became nauseous and somewhat distraught over the current state of "science". The only thing worse than losing a few minutes reading black magic science mumbo jumbo is thinking that some other people might take this seriously. We have clear assumptions based on current physics on how particles should operate in the known universe. So when these particles don't behave the way they are supposed to according to our "known" laws of physics, we make an exception, or tape physics back together with conjecture. If we say the speed of the light is the limit, it must be the limit. If these findings are accurate and true, then we must reevaluate physics. Simple is that. Creating a higher dimensional fairyland is not going to make things okay. Physics is broken. We need to fix it.

    What is easier to believe?

    1) We are not all knowing and we need to revise physics. History is in favor of option #1, by the way.

    2) The following assumptions:

    Neutrinos somehow bounce from our dimension to another.
    This other dimension operates on different laws of physics.

    Bravo! Well said. Sascha's explanation is a bit like the ever complex explanations and calculations needed to explain the earth-centric orbit of the planets pre-Copernicus. At some point we have to forget the party line; things just don't work anymore. I am a believer that Occam's razor is pretty important and Sascha's explanation 50 years from now will look like a reach to paste something together that will not stand the test of time. All we really know is what we have proven false and what we haven't proven false yet. Thank you Dr. Popper.

    Gerhard Adam
    I love how people invoke Popper in an attempt to remake classical physics. 
    ...things just don't work anymore.
    I'm surprised that you aren't bowled over by your own irony when you type something like this on technology that clearly demonstrates just exactly how successful physics and technological implementations have been.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Who is more likely to be right?

    1) You, an anonymous poster with no listed credentials on the subject.
    2) Sascha Vongehr, the guy with the PhD.

    My dear, I have seen complete morons getting a PhD in physics.
    The modeling of the physical nature of the universe in terms of many unseen dimensions is hardly bullshit and has a long history in physics. Eighty years ago Kaluza and Klien proposed a nine dimensional space to Einstein as a way of unifying forces (actually I think it was just Klien at the time). Modern string theory is based on eleven dimensions. A higher dimensional space also explain many phenomena we see in the real world (like the very weak force of gravity).

    Einstein himself evolved special and general relativity through a process of thought experiments that postulated a structure of space and time that was outside the conventional and experimental framework at the time. You could have said the same thing - claiming that light has a finite velocity that gravity bends space to explain an anomaly in the orbit of Mercury is just plain bullshit.

    Learn a bit about the history of science and the methods science before making such comments.

    I am assuming that these results were based on time of travel measurements. If that is the case, then is it not possible that the results indicate that our estimated value for c is off and should be larger than the current value?

    Our "estimate" for c is not off - it is one of the most accurately known constants.
    That's logically absurd!
    How can you think a particle occupy 3 dimensions and out of too much energy jumps to occupy a fourth one?
    Or else the particle is four dimensional from the beggining and then what you need to explain is why we don't see that effects continously or else the particle can create a fourth dimension out of 3-D vacuum from its energy.
    Anyway, if that's your explanation it would be new physics all the same and the fuss would be justified.
    Or do you consider brane universes prooved fact?

    The extra dimensions are only one possibility, given because it is an example that lay persons can more easily grasp. The important message is that superluminal velocities do not necessarily violate causality, which holds just the same if there are no extra dimensions and the neutrinos happen to go faster than light (say because they are similar to shock waves through an Einstein ether).
    Any reason to assume they haven't invented a wormhole detector?

    1) Wormholes are mathematically consistent solutions inside the math of classical general relativity but they are outside of the domain of applicability of that theory.
    2) There is no reason why there should be wormholes going from CERN to somewhere closer to Gran Sasso rather than anywhere else in space-time. You would have to postulate either wormholes being created (worse than my scenario, moreover, why should they lead to Gran Sasso) or them being there all over the universe and only connecting space-time events close in time relative to the CMB rest frame, which is again much worse than my benign assumptions.
    Assuming the data from OPERA about neutrino velocity is rigth, and considering 1987a supernova neutrinos, how sooner (than ligth) the supernova neutrinos would arrived to earth ?

    Could be scientists ignore this possibility in 1987a data ?

    You can do the math yourself: 1987a was 165000 lightyears away, Gran Sasso-CERN is about 720km, so the distance is about 2*10^15 larger in 1987A.
    Assuming the velocity of neutrinos being the same as reported as possibility now the neutrinos should have arrived 2*10^15 times 60ns earlier than the light from 1987A, which is more than 100 Million seconds or about 4 years.
    Measured was a difference between neutrinos and light in 1987a of about three hours - easily explained by the fact that neutrinos don't interact with the mass of the dying star while the light needs three hours to reach the outside of the star starting from the center.
    So either these 60ns are an artifact (consensus for now), have something to do with different energies/types of neutrinos compared to 1987A (possible) or only happen once at the "start" of the voyage. Whatever is true we shall know in several years. For now the reality of this faster-than-light has to be confirmed (by not finding enough errors). For cmparison: The Pioneer-Anomaly needed some decades to be finally solved.

    In all superluminal scenarios that I find likely, the neutrinos will enter sub-light speed very fast after creation, depending on the energy of course, but below 730 km, the difference between CERN and OPERA, is a good estimate ;-). Thus, the difference would be rather constant on the order of the same 60 nano seconds maybe even for supernovas.
    There was a slight-and-probably-insignificant seasonal difference in the anomaly -- does that help the "ether drift" explanation?

    Since earth rotates once a day, probably not. Anyway, the data are much too little and too noisy to derive such small effects.
    I think that you're jumping ahead in your speculation without any proof.

    Prof. Lisa Randall described in her interview (Charlie Rose) that the signature of multidimensional universe that they're going to test at CERN is to look for conservation laws being violated, such as particles from our Brane where we stuck may simply disappear into (hypothetically) other dimensions in their short life time once they're being produced in the high energy collision. So, she (and others) have worked this out theoretically and what exactly sort of signatures to look for at CERN.

    How do you know that it is the same neutrino that re-entered our universe rather than some stray neutrinos that have been wandering out there and just happened to jump into our universe in perhaps around the same period as the neutrinos in the OPERA experiment? What is the signature of re-entry to our universe? The fact that neutrinos are indistinguishable particles, one cannot be certain that the ones that jumped back to our Universe were indeed the same ones that were detached in the first place, since they're indistinguishable. Although your description here is possible, it is simply pure speculation.

    the signature of multidimensional universe that they're going to test at CERN is to look for conservation laws being violated
    Missing energy is exactly how the neutrinos were discovered! That somebody famous looks for something else because of string theory does not mean squat. 
    have worked this out theoretically and what exactly sort of signatures
    Given the assumptions they made, which include the light speed limit.
    How do you know that it is the same neutrino that re-entered our universe ...
    Stray neutrinos all over the universe gather at OPERA always three ms after CERN has muon decay? "Gather, gather little neutrinos, lets have some fun with those earthlings!" You charge that I am "jumping ahead" and then come with such a crazy suggestion - now that is a little funny, you must admit. ;-)

    So, tachyonic neutrinos, travel faster into the redshift direction of the (Cosmic Microwave Background) CMB. They need to do this in order to satisfy relativity and causality, in the same tachyon theory. As it turns out, this should be measurable within the OPERA data...The line, CERN to Gran Sasso, is 122 degrees off the CMB dipole. This dipole is in the tangent plane to the Earth's surface at Gran Sasso twice per day, once when the neutrino velocity, projected onto the dipole direction, is the opposite to Earth's motion along the dipole. This is the redshift direction, and when the tachyon neutrino velocity is the highest. On the 19 September (any year will do) the neutrinos were fastest at 5:02 pm Gran Sasso time. They should be early by about 71 ns, and twelve hours minus 2 minutes latter (4:58 am) they should be early by only 49 ns…

    But shouldn't extra dimensions accessible at these energies have shown up loud and clear at the LHC already? IIRC, any extra dimensional shenanigans below TeV is considered pretty well ruled out...

    That surely depends on the assumptions. Neutrinos interact very little (no EM, no strong force component) and may detach easiest. I will post about this in a few days.
    It is nice that you pose unobservables to avoid a possible falsification of an accepted theory. Let me say first that I believe that the discrepancy is due to some measurement error. However, that does not justify posing those unobservables, like higher dimensions. These hypotheses do not lend themselves to falsification and it is well known that string theory and higher dimensional spacetime in general do not produce any falsifiable predictions.

    I am more curious of how they measured one way speed. In order to measure one way speed one needs some mechanism to signal beginning and end of travel. The only mechanisms of this kind we have rely on the speed of light. Thus, you cannot measure speeds greater than the speed of light one way. This is one reason that the postulate of the constancy of the speed of light in globally inertial reference frames is not falsifiable and should be assumed to be an axiom. In two-way measurements there are zillions of factors that can come in and affect the measured speed. One major reason I can think is that the reference frame in which they measured the speed was not inertial. Actually, it was not. Speed of light is an upper limit only in inertial reference frames.

    Thus, I think the best approach to this problem, IMO, is analyzing the results and trying to find the error rather than posing more unobservables.

    Please enlighten me (a non-physicist) on the following point (I might have missed it in all the discussion).   Neutrinos have positive rest mass, right?  So I would have thought the key issue would not have been the possibility of superluminal velocity per se, the theoretical possibility of which has beeen recognized for decades,  but the presumed acceleration from subluminal to superluminal velocity.  Or have I missed some key aspect of this discussion?  Thanks.
    Actually David, you are spot on, missed much less than a lot of people who claim they are physicists. It is a good question: Can for example processes triggered by wave patterns in a fluid surface (that gives rise to special relativity as far as the systems made from the patterns of low energy waves are concerned) ever lead to collisions of waves so energetic that they splash and thereby accelerate droplets to faster than the wave velocity?
    However, you are hung up on the positive rest mass, which is just a measure of inertia valid for usual (non-'splashing') accelerations in this picture for example.
    Could anyone provide a link to a paper or such where they explain how they measure the location of the two parts of the experiment with such accuracy? Frank Close writes in the guardian this would be about 10cm? As a Geo Scientist I've never heard of anything being mapped with that level of local accuracy over such scales?

    Sascha, regarding the neutrino measurement from sn1987a, I started thinking that, if there were ftl neutrinos, one would need to look for them before the supernova was detected (whether by fractions of a second or possibly years). And if there was a burst prior, they could have easily been identified as coming from anywhere else.

    Wikipedia says they got here 3 hr's early , But list the cause being from light taking a while to get out of the core. But maybe that's not quite right. They also mention that another detector detected a burst 3 hr's before the other detectors, and was considered to be caused by something else! This signal could be proof that sn1987a also had ftl neutrinos.

    I traced the referenced paper here. This will mean more to others here, so I've included the link.

    On your point that the OPERA neutrinos jumped over normal space for a short distance, how does a 3 hr jump for SN neutrinos fit in (energy wise)?
    Never is a long time.
    3h is the time the shock wave from the star collapse needs to reach the stellar surface. The neutrinos go right through the outer layers. Nothing to do with superluminal speeds.
    What about the detection at Mont Blanc that occurred earlier than the other 3 detectors(which matched the shock wave delay)?
    Never is a long time.
    I very much appreciated this article. It provides a starting point for understanding a theory of FTL particles - rather than (necessarily) the particles of the OPERA experiment. The theory can be used to inform any experiment. In other words - even if the OPERA experiment turn out to be no more than an error, a theory of FTL particles is independantly useful. It provides a way of understanding what OPERA could otherwise mean by FTL particles. All that OPERA is offering is just the vague idea of FTL particles. No elaboration of that idea. No theory.

    My MSc is in AI and computing, but as a space geek I've a question. Is it possible that photons can't travel a close to the cosmic speed limit as we thought? Do the recent observations show that neutrinos can get closer to what the actual cosmic speed limit is? And if the cosmic speed limit is greater than what we calculated then what impact does it have for E = mc^2? Does mass need to go down or energy need to go up to balance the equation? What does this mean for dark matter?

    My first reaction was that neutrinos have less interaction with everything around them than photons and as such can actually travel faster than photons. The speed of light is not as near the cosmic speed limit. I know nothing of string theory really but i can understand your ocean wave analogy and can see what you mean about neutrinos being flung somewhere where they can travel a bit faster.


    You pose the possibility:
    My first reaction was that neutrinos have less interaction with everything around them than photons and as such can actually travel faster than photons. The speed of light is not as near the cosmic speed limit.
    This issue has already been asked and answered.  Check out

    Hi Sascha

    Like you I'm expecting the time difference to be accounted for by errors in the measurements (distance between origin and reception of the neutrinos) but supposing your idea about them jumping out of the MU then being dragged back in... why would they return exactly following the same trajectory and that much further along the line of flight to account for the early arrival? Why wouldn't they fall back to exactly the point at which they made the jump and thus have gained no ground in the MU?


    The easiest way to think about it maybe if you bang on a pile of little balls in the middle of a large table. They will go into all directions and jump up from the surface of the table, but if they come down and settle back on the smooth table, they are still rolling away from the place where they initially started.
    Thanks for the reply - and I agree that what you describe might well happen within the MU, but your idea proposes that a neutrino leaves the MU and is then dragged back into it - why does travel into some higher dimension necessitate spatial translation in the MU? I agree that this effect could explain early arrival if the experiment is confirmed to be correct with the time discrepancy but I again wonder how or why departure from and return to the MU preserves some kind of virtual motion in the lower dimensions of the MU whilst the neutrino is in the higher dimensions?

    ?!? The table surface is the two dimensional MU, the air above it is the third (extra) dimension.
    I'm sorry Sascha but that reply doesn't explain anything - you are describing a situation which occurs within three spatial dimensions (of the MU). I understand perfectly that you use the analogy of the jump from a flatland (2D) universe into a higher (in this case, third) dimension but we both know that this is just an analogy and the whole ball jumping example all takes place within three real spatial dimensions which are all connected. As far as I can see, to appear to travel faster than light in the three dimensions of the MU requires some virtual motion within the MU (leaves/disappears at position A along the line of flight within the MU and returns/reappears at position B further along the line of flight within the MU) and the supposition is that jumping to a higher dimension means it doesn't actually traverse distance A to B faster than light along that same distance. However you still haven't explained WHY a neutrino should undergo some virtual motion in the lower dimensions whilst it is at some higher energy level within some higher dimension or indeed why a posited virtual motion should take place along the same trajectory and please don't talk about banging a table again.

    No idea what your problem is or what you mean by "virtual motion". For all I care, the table can be 10 dimensional and the orthogonal directions another twenty dimensions for a total of 30, that does not change anything, because the trajectory is always just a 1D curve in a two dimensional plane which includes the direction along which the neutrino/ball will later be rolling along the table. All that is required is that the maximum velocity ("c") on/in the table is slower than above it (for whatever reason).
    Hi Sascha, I haven't got a 'problem' thanks very much. My term 'virtual motion' within a 3D MU (which is what we're dealing with) is meant to describe a translation in coordinates from point A in the MU (where you propose it leaves the MU and enters some higher dimension) to point B in the MU (where it returns) and this translation from point A to point B (via the higher dimension, let's call it a short-cut) takes place 60 nanoseconds faster than it takes for light to travel that same A to B distance in the MU - which is how the neutrino appears to cheat the speed of light limit. Regarding the trajectory, I always thought 1D objects were points not lines and you are still talking about table analogies, which I understand fully (I do have a science degree) but we're not discussing balls rolling along tables in this experiment are we? What I am trying to get you to answer is why should a journey through some higher dimension result in a spatial displacement within the originating lower dimensions, why not leave at point A and return at point A?

    Well, there seems to be some sort of problem now, no? (A little on edge today? Didn't exactly mean you got a "problem".) Anyway - why not just stick with the balls and the table? The balls jumping is not a shortcut. Nobody ever talked about a shortcut (like a wormhole?). The balls have to travel a longer path of course, but they can do it much faster. And it is not 60 seconds faster but almost instantaneous. You need to read the linked articles maybe - it seems you misunderstood something and I cannot figure out what. 1D is a line, 2D a plane, ...
    Maybe the later articles will help you - it seems maybe you are confused about the distance the neutrinos have to travel superluminally. They only need to go faster than light for a very short length (18 meters) in order to be 60ns early over the whole 730 km.
    Sorry to keep bugging you about this, I'm not trying to wind you up honestly. I did write '60 nanoseconds' not 60 seconds so I know it's to all intents and purposes almost instantaneous. I thought the whole point of the jump out of and then re-entering our universe (the MU) was so they didn't have to travel superluminally inside the MU itself (even if it would only be 18 metres). If, as you suggest, they "travel or jump ‘above’ the MU membrane" and then "they re-enter the MU membrane" aren't you suggesting they travel from point A to point B (a distance of say 18 metres) outside of the MU membrane and thus actually have made some kind of shortcut? I understand completely the supposition that particles might be able to travel superluminally outside of the MU which is how they manage to arrive momentarily sooner than expected, I just don't get why, when outside the MU where they "travel along the orthogonal directions (perpendicular to the MU)" they also coincidentally also move in a direction that is "parallel along our MU"... that's my only reservation about this suggestion. Hope we get an answer to this observed time discrepancy soon anyway!

    I did write '60 nanoseconds' not 60 seconds so I know it's to all intents and purposes almost instantaneous.
    60 ns compared to the Planck scale is an enormously long time. "For all we know instantaneous" is when it is below the smallest resolution of your instruments. 60 ns is still very long.
    have made some kind of shortcut?
    How is a long trajectory over ground ever going to be shorter than the straight A to B connection?
    I just don't get why, when outside the MU where they "travel along the orthogonal directions (perpendicular to the MU)" they also coincidentally also move in a direction that is "parallel along our MU"...
    I wrote:
    They may travel or jump ‘above’ the MU membrane for perhaps tens of meters along the MU before they re-enter it. How much they on average travel along the orthogonal directions (perpendicular to the MU) ...
    Why would the balls jump 90 degrees straight up from the table? They go into all directions. The issue of the second sentence is the average height they reach upwards from the table (the height "along" the component orthogonal to the table) while doing their arks.
    Hmmm ... Perhaps at least part of this argument is inspired by it being possible (am I right?) to continue working off the original velocity addition formula:
    u' = (u + v)/(1 + uv/c²).

    For example, if tachino or tachtrino (as I dubbed them) velocity in our frame is 1.2c, it would seem to be going 17/16 or 1.0626 c to someone approaching it at 0.5c. That's weird, to be less than before, but note there does have to be a way to transform velocities > c: the movement of non-signaling phenomena like pre-arranged flash patterns, intersection of scissor crossings (as in a famous example, was it in Gardner's old "Relativity for the Millions" which also noted, you can't use e.g. scissors or poles for FTL since the interaction is still limited by c.) So we have that much consistency, at least.

    However I am aware that given enough velocity one could try to change the past using simultaneity differences, so indeed it seems we can't really keep the traditional pure relativistic description as such and still avoid the problems. Most people think we'd need some kind of absolute frame to sort things out, as indeed needed for e.g. Bohmian mechanics to reach out and fiddle with distant particles in response to e.g. Renninger measurements. (Copenhagen doesn't have to care, since it's saying, we can't represent anyway. Gropenhagen?) However, it's good to see dissent and challenging the shibboleths about causality, albeit I am not yet convinced.

    Objects with mass cannot exceed the propagation speed of light in vacuum. If we assumed it was a perfect vacuum in the CERN tunnel (though it isn't) we could compute to 7 digit accuracy the time for a light photon to travel 450 miles, and it is 2.415687 milliseconds. The claim that a neutrino does the trip in only 2.415686 milliseconds (1 nanosecond quicker) is not consistent with the known measurement error intrinsic to the best atomic clocks. Sorry, but light speed is not exceeded by neutrinos or any tiny object with mass. The only reason light travels so fast is that it has no mass. It is an EM field.

    I thought that the theory of relativity was predicated on several (not unreasonable assumptions):
    1. that nothing can travel faster than light relative to anything else in a vacuum
    2. that there is no privileged observer (i.e. all observers in any reference frame will measure the same c)
    One might also add a third, namely that light is massless. Is it? Has this been measured? Can it be measured given that light always travels at c in vaccuo. Does absorption of light add to the mass of an object which has absorbed it?
    Light propagation is influenced by massive objects. Is radiation pressure a byproduct of light's interaction with matter (reflection/absorption by e.g.) Where does the momentum come from?
    Given that, I think talk of Einstein and TTOR being wrong is incorrect. TTOR doesn't define the speed of light, it says how the world appears given the above assumptions. If neutrinos CAN travel faster than c then it may say something about the properties of e.m.r. (and light in particular). I have heard that there have been several years of expts leading up to the recent announcement. If I were to put something like that out for scrutiny I'd want to be sure I had dotted the i's and crossed the t's too.
    The we hear about clocks slowing down when moving relative to an observer. I'll bet they don't in their own inertial frame of reference.

    mmm, E=MCsquared! I believe the paradigm is the value for C, as it is my theory that even light is NOT a constant and is also relative to the energy it was produced by! Unless you may believe an old flashlight with dying batteries is just as strong as a supernova. Please, first look up how and when the speed of light has been measured. Really, the last attempt at a measurement was in 1973? What do we have,Olaus Roemer in 1676 using the eclipse of the moons on Jupiter [140,000 miles per second], Bergstrand in 1951 with the Kerr cell shutter[299,793.1 km/s], Froome in 1958 using a microwave interferometer and kerr cell [299,792.5], and finally Evanson Et Al using lasers [299,792.458], the adopted value in1983 at 299,792.458. A lot of information is left out. The strength of the light source, the speed of the shutter, the power of the laser beam, even if they did somehow get the speed right, there's still a strong possibility that they measured the maximum speed, and hadn't thought of measuring the speed with a weaker light source. Does this sound like a possibility? Do you realize the implications, if I'm correct, and the speed of light is not finite? They're were others who also believed particles could travel faster than light, look up Dr. Nikola Tesla, mechanical oscillator. He said cosmic rays could possibly travel 50 to 500 times that of light. However, I do hope this large hedron collider[LHC], particle accelerator will give us something practicle we can use conCERNing our situation, seeing how much time and money was spent! Are these scientists or theorists?

    Gerhard Adam
    Unless you may believe an old flashlight with dying batteries is just as strong as a supernova.
    Why would you think that a photon from either would behave different?  More importantly, why would you think that it would affect its velocity?  You might want to look up the photoelectric effect.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Yea, that was just another case of someone taking credit for anothers' work. Nothing against him, but Einstein got the Nobel prize for his work with photoelectric effects, when actually most of the work was done by Max Planck in 1900 and R.A.Millikan in 1913-14. that's more than a century ago, do you realize how much more advanced we should be? They concluded light was a particle and not a wave, although, today most scientists say it is both. But I ask, could it not be billions of particles travelling as waves, just as sound? That's why i say most science is still theory, conjecture, and a lot of just accepted old ideas, and not enough solid proof. So, then how would someone prove to me that it could not be many particles travelling on waves?

    Gerhard Adam you realize how much more advanced we should be?
    What does that mean?  Are we to conclude that we have made no progress in physics simply because F=ma is still used?
    They concluded light was a particle and not a wave, although, today most scientists say it is both.
    Don't know where you got that tidbit, but it isn't true.  That's why we have wave-particle duality.
    But I ask, could it not be billions of particles travelling as waves, just as sound?
    Well, it certainly would be like sound, since sound is a pressure wave.  But what is that supposed to mean that a particle travels as a wave?  With wave-particle duality, how else would you expect it to travel?  However, the real question is what kind of significance are you placing on this?
    That's why i say most science is still theory, conjecture, and a lot of just accepted old ideas, and not enough solid proof.
    That's only true if you don't actually look and study.  That statement is way off base and suggests that you haven't done even basic investigation (i.e. a Google search).  Your use of the term theory also suggests that you don't actually know what that means and I have no idea why you think that the age of an idea is relevant.  Do you actually think that advances in science are achieved by discarding old ideas?  The science we have to day exists precisely because of those "old ideas", so why are you suggesting that this is bad?
    Mundus vult decipi
    It should all be looked at and improved upon. I believe a source with less strength would have fewer particles and weaker waves, does that not make sense? So many calculations are done using the speed of light as a constant. I suggest these old ideas are a good start. You probably should conclude, all science should progress through thorough questioning of past conclusions.

    Enjoyed article Mt. Vongehr; Was running along ok on the 'intuitive' version, but came to halt somewhere here ...They spread out into all directions, mostly away from the MU into the higher dimensional bulk space. They may travel or jump ‘above’ the MU membrane for perhaps tens of meters along the MU before they re-enter it. How much they on average travel along the orthogonal directions
    We're all I'm sure agreed that we're in Analogy Land when we're speaking in everyday spatial language of things beyond. (Hence even forced to use word 'Membrane'. This word in our 3D world refers to something approaching 2D, but still 3D. Analogous would be that nature of 'Membrane' separating 3D and 3+D, altho approaching nature of 3D, is still exists in 3+D. But this is preamble..the bit that derailed my intuitive receptors was : "How much they on average travel along the orthogonal directions..."
    I couldn't leap to inches, metres - distances! - travel in the 'direction' of directly away from 3D-ness! Do you know any conceptual work on the more ungainly results of this unfortunately but inevitably inadequate 3D language?

    I'm sure agreed that we're in Analogy Land when ... forced to use word 'Membrane'.
    Well, that is the beauty of string theory: They really have membrane models; real membranes "woven from strings"! This is long past the stage of mere analogy. It was just sold as "mere analogy" because contradicting orthodox dogma means career suicide. Those in the know knew all along that this may not be just an analogy, long before string theory, but you could not say it out loud.
    still exists in 3+D.
    Yes, of course, even the string membrane would be at least about a Planck length (string length) thick into all ten or 11 or whatever dimensions there are. However, you living as an excitation inside that membrane cannot move into those directions, so it looks 3D.
    derailed my intuitive receptors was : "How much they on average travel along the orthogonal directions..."
    You are the second one who comments on this being not intuitive although I think it is the most intuitive. I do not see the problem - maybe a language issue. If something bounces on a table, it may bounce three inches across and while doing so reach an inch or maybe two in height. That height is measured orthogonal to the table.
    Apologies for mishandling of the html stuff

    You based all of this on the Membrane Universe, which is a theory, meaning that you explained it as if it was all within our world, don't go off into some fantasy, the M theory isn't real, so don't say "In Mu, the..." it doesn't matter what goes on in the M theory or how it would work there, what matters is our world, not some theory that's not even real. And if that is not the case, there would be no need to start an introduction about MU if that's not what it's going to be about. Honestly I didn't read all of it, you pointed out your opinion from your own observations rather than to inform, so I didn't see a need to read an explanation that is based on an opinion based on a theory.

    You based all of this on the Membrane Universe
    No I have not - learn to read. I stated several times that this is just the most intuitive example, which is why I use it in a post read by a wide audience.
    And please do tell your therapist right away that you think you are "AWESOME" - it will save him a session or two to figure out what is going on. Those sessions can be expensive.
    Ah, now we see that you are insecure emotionally with these insults. Your attempt to save face for relativity is not convincing at all. Relativity is in serious trouble these days in multiple ways. Not only the tachyon neutrinos, but the concept of Dark Matter itself, which had to be invented to try and save relativity. It is only a matter of time before the dogma must give way to the truth that relativity is at best a partial theory with now glaring flaws. A better theory needs to be developed taking into account that gravity does not work the way Einstein described it UNLESS dark matter is discovered, and proven to exist.

    Oh, and Sascha, please describe your face saving of relativity without resorting to theories that cannot even be falsified such as M-Theory. Give an explanation using nothing more than relativity and quantum theory.

    how is it that some distant stars travel at superluminal velocities? Are they made of unknown particles( of which neutrinoes are one of them) not known to us ?

    They don't.
    Whether stars outside the Hubble radius move superluminaly depends on interpretation. 1) In a Milne model [like another blogger here, the Hammock Physicists may prefer (not sure, but I think he prefers it)], nothing goes faster than light. Universal expansion is just a mere metric expansion or expansion trough merely mathematical space. The stars beyond the Hubble radius in a sense do not (yet relative to us) exist at all. 2) If we take universal expansion as an expansion of space (in some sense a more modern or perhaps just more fashionable approach), then they also do not travel faster than light through space, however, since their patch of space itself travels faster than light away from us and they sit in their patch of space, their relative velocity is indeed faster than light.
    I don't know why with this (or other) 'solutions' for the superluminal neutrino speed, it is always claimed that 'Relativity Theory is not violated'. Well it is, because the equations of Special Relativity are formulated for our 3D-space, and any kind of re-interpretation in terms of higher dimension is in effect a violation. Not only this, but conservation laws (for instance the continuity equation) are violated as well (and I am sure that if you would place a neutrino detector at any distance from the source, this would confirm that the neutrinos are not disappearing anywhere from our universe).


    because the equations of Special Relativity are formulated for our 3D-space
    Relativity is plainly SO(D,1) group symmetry on a D-dimensional space. We do not know how large D actually is or whether the group symmetry is restricted to low energy experiments in a d = 3 dimensional subspace of the D-dimensional bulk space.
    How can one say that If Relativity is consistent with particles exceeding c (in our 3D world), when Einstein clearly showed in his 1905 paper ( ; §5) that v<c? And I don't see any assumptions in his derivation that would have ignored additional dimensions here.


    He showed that monotonic acceleration of a particle with finite rest mass will not reach c. Since the whole theory is in a sense based on light going with c, he can hardly just generally and out of context have shown v<c.
    it makes sense, we are not perfect, it makes sense than we could be wrong about the speed of light being the speed limit, even so its very exciting that we can distort the fabric of time, although im kind of worried about the cause and effect flaw that may be caused, if information can be sent through the distortion of time through speed than the result may be dangerous in the intergrity of time

    It is worth mentioning that string theory hasn't really given us anything we can verify with experiments. This would be the first. Potentially very exciting of course.
    However, the experimental OPERA results are for distributions of neutrinos, not individual events. The presumed distribution of muon decays at CERN is translated in time to be compared with the actual measured distributions at Sasso. The difference in the peak of the two distributions is slightly superluminal. The individual particles might have all kinds of speeds variations above and below c. This seems weird to me. Too ripe for an error in the precise muon decay time which is not measured and is much greater than 60 nanoseconds.

    However, the experimental OPERA results are for distributions of neutrinos, not individual events.
    Sure - as long as one cannot show that the leading edge of an information carrying signal is superluminal, true superluminal effects are never proven.
    The error in the muon decay time does not matter, since they travel already before decay with almost light velocity relative to CERN. The speed variation is just the experimental accuracy.

    we don't even know what exactly a neutrino is . The string theories are getting more and more complex but still nothing prove it right or wrong .
    Now this ToE will explain us how that ftl neutrino works ... too easy !

    When can we have some real science? mathematical delirium is an art,not a science!
    a science must match obsvervation. do we ever seen a membrane universe? or the effect of it ? has its existence ever been confirmed?no !!

    It is refreshing to see an opinion that embraces the possibility of an extradimensional solution, rather than going with the safe bet of "probable systemic error" or whatever phrase that the majority of published physicists are using to say that they are not willing to consider what could possibly be a momentous discovery. Thank you.

    Well, I'm really not a physician, but I found this theory interesting. My problem is that I have more trouble to accept a different dimension than relativity being wrong. However, I actually understood the idea, and it is very intuitive.

    On a different note, I would like to know the implications of neutrinos actually breaking light speed within MU? A link to another trustworthy article would be welcomed :).

    I'm going to wait and see....

    Dear Sascha,
    I have a degree in physics, although I've never worked as a physicist nor have a PhD. I understand your theory and I do have a question:
    Given that c is a constant in every observing system (moving or not) and every direction, why would it be different in an observing system outside our 3 dimensional system?
    The example you used about the waves in the ocean still follows the superposition and the energy conservation principles and I do not see how this is possible with your neutrino-travelling-into-MU reasoning above. I'd like to better understand it. Could you please provide an explanation on how would energy be conserved in the MU since our system is part of if?

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    Given that c is a constant in every observing system
    in every observing system that is made from the stuff that is inside the MU and has only access to measurements performed with objects made out of the same pseudo particles (wave patterns). In this case, if the velocity of low energy excitations (which is the "stuff") is rather constant, than this translates into emergent relativity with a velocity of light as measured by the emergent observers.
    The example you used about the waves in the ocean still follows the superposition and the energy conservation principles
    If the waves inside the water measure energy conservation, but then one day a particularly strong wave splashes water out of the basin, energy will seem to have been lost to where only the gods know as far as the waves inside the basin can tell.
    Well, regarding the waves in the basin, you can't measure energy in that way... First measurement includes the full "watery" system but second deliberately omits the splashed drops??? That's nonsense, mate.
    As far as I can tell, if you keep measuring the system as a whole all the time, energy (sum of all forms of) is an invariant no matter how you look at it. Otherwise, either one of the basic physics laws are intrinsically wrong or we miss information about other forms of energy which we can't detect, which is a more plausible explanation than just the "magically disappearing water drops" :)

    Which, going back to the constancy of c across systems and observers and building on your argument: as we can only measure with our instruments made of the same excitations as what we measure, we should still see the neutrino speed as limited by the value of c. This, of course, regardless of how many times the neutrino splashed out to other dimensions while traveling from Geneva to Assergi.

    It seems more likely to me that the measurement of the distance is inaccurate due to the depth at which both detector and emitter are located, added to the fact that the altitude difference between the two towns is about 300 meters.


    second deliberately omits the splashed drops??? That's nonsense, mate.
    You keep forgetting that the people who live inside the ether have no access to the splashed drops. For them, they are gone or may appear some place else unexpected.
    how does the discovery of the speed of neutrinos affect the principle of relativity?

    Einstein was only human. Humans make errors. Keep an open mind. There is still some much about science and the true nature of this great universe along with the laws that govern it, that we just do not know and can not comprehend yet. Keeping your mind closed means you can conceive NO possible future for the furthering of science. If this the neutrino do travel FTL, that just jumped humanity right into the future.

    Thanks for the interesting article.

    With the relatively little knowledge I have of physics (lets say I’m a layman) I seem to sense why there is contention around the extra dimensions outside of MU.

    If the neutrinos ”splash” out of the MU, are they still present in the trajectory between CERN and Italy? If they do disappear from the trajectory, I can understand why they can travel faster than c, since they wouldn’t necessarily be bound by that upper limit c in ”the bulk”. They would disappear for a while and then pop back into the trajectory again. But if they do not disappear from the trajectory, they would still be a part of MU, and thus still be bound by the upper limit c.

    But then, I suspect there may be a third way of understanding it? That the neutrinos sort of sneak away out of the MU when we don’t bind them to the MU through observation during the time they sneak away? So there would be a sort of virtual trajectory during they ”splash” out of the MU.

    Would be grateful for illumination.

    The model here is somewhat like if you bang with your fist on a heap of marbles in the middle of a kitchen table. Also, the table has a layer of honey on top. So, if you bang your fist, you will see the marbles jumping up and away from the middle. Once they fall down back on the table, they get stuck in the honey and thus slow down. So, they stay and stay not in the trajectory - depends on what you mean by trajectory.