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Sascha VongehrRSS Feed of this column.

Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙], physicist and philosopher, studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory) at Sussex University... Read More »


The anticipation among physics enthusiasts is almost palpable: In three, four days from now, December the 13th, the discovery of a rather light Higgs particle is going to be officially announced - well, at least the "observation" or whatever the official term will be. Fitting to the ‘lucky’ number 13 date, this could well spell the end of the world, literally!

Susskind and other usual suspects try hard to convince the world that they are the ones who finally understood Many Worlds and that such is a success of string theory and all that. A media spectacle is going on full speed right now, see here at the New Scientist’s “Ultimate Guide to the Multiverse”, Brian Greene chipping in with the Multiverse episode of the “Fabric of the Cosmos” series on PBS, and many others. Wikipedia regurgitates:

Space is three dimensional: Length, Depth and Height, or X, Y, and Z, that makes three. Since any modest agnostic holds a Multiverse extremely likely though, and moreover also our own universe likely has hidden extra dimensions, nerds keep wondering what life in four dimensional space looks like.

Calabi Yau space: Important in string-theory but probably not a Hyperspace Rotor.

There is a widespread antipathy against Many World and Multiverse concepts, especially if the latter come with Extra Dimensions. But these concepts are self-evident and always were to me, even before knowing any physics, let alone quantum physics. Many Worlds and the Multiverse are obvious because nothing else can make sense. So is the expectation of there being probably extra dimensions: “Teacher, why only three?” I remember sketching four dimensional water melon slices in order to figure that one out.

There is a widespread misconception which is repeated often these days in the aftermath of the OPERA collaboration’s confirmation of faster than light neutrinos. The misconception is easily stated:

“Tachyons, if they actually exist, have imaginary mass, … blah blah blah … therefore OPERA is wrong!”

Let us explain what this means in layman’s terms, then see how this argument fails, and afterward discuss that it is one example for a common logical fallacy that basically underpins all the arguments against the OPERA results that we encountered recently.

Fresh results from the OPERA collaboration once more confirm the faster than light neutrinos indicated by MINOS. The new findings, available here, also further strengthen a particular scenario: The neutrinos do not travel with superluminal velocity all the way. They only ‘jump’ a small initial distance shorter than 20 meters, after which they settle back and travel as usual with speeds below that of the speed of light. This initial jump would occur at speeds that are more than ten times the speed of light, perhaps even millions of times the speed of light.