In recent days, scientists around the world reacted with shock to results from an Italian laboratory that seemed to show certain particles can travel faster than light. If true, it’s the biggest scientific revolution in the last 100 years or more, and the finding raises bizarre possibilities including time travel and shortcuts via hidden extra dimensions. “Scientists at the Opera (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) experiment in Gran Sasso, Italy, found that neutrinos sent through the Earth to its detectors from Cern, 450 miles (730km) away in Geneva, arrived earlier than they should have. The journey would take a beam of light around 2.4 milliseconds to complete, but after running the Opera experiment for three years and timing the arrival of 15,000 “Neutrinos”, the scientists have calculated the particles arrived at Gran Sasso 60 billionths of a second earlier, with an error margin of plus or minus 10 billionths of a second. The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 metres per second, so the neutrinos were apparently traveling at 299,798,454 metres per second”, the media reported. A professor of particle physics said: “If you’ve got something traveling faster than light, then it’s the most profound discovery of the last 100 years or more in physics. It’s a very, very big deal. It requires a complete rewriting of our understanding of the universe”. The media also added: “Physicists said they would be skeptical of the finding until other laboratories confirmed the result. The coordinator of the Opera collaboration, said: “We are very much astonished by this result, but a result is never a discovery until other people confirm it . When you get such a result you want to make sure you made no mistakes, that there are no nasty things going on you didn’t think of. We spent months and months doing checks and we have not been able to find any errors. If there is a problem, it must be a tough, nasty effect, because trivial things we are clever enough to rule out.” The Opera group said it hoped the physics community would scrutinize the result and help uncover any flaws in the measurement, or verify it with their own experiments “. Now many physicists say: “It’s such a dramatic result it would be difficult to accept without others replicating it, but there will be enormous interest in this”
The media also added: “some experts believe: “It might be possible for neutrinos to move through hidden extra dimensions of space and effectively take shortcuts through space-time . The extra dimension is warped in a way that particles moving through it can travel faster than particles that go through the known three dimensions of space. It’s like a shortcut through this extra dimension. So it looks like particles are going faster than light, but actually they don’t.” In fact, some physicists have developed a theory that could explain the result. The neutrinos may be taking a shortcut through space-time, by traveling from Cern to Gran Sasso through extra dimensions. “That can make it look like a particle has gone faster than the speed of light when it hasn’t,” experts said. Teams at two experiments known as T2K in Japan and MINOS near Chicago in the US will now attempt to replicate the finding. The MINOS experiment saw hints of neutrinos moving at faster than the speed of light in 2007 but has yet to confirm them.” Now, many people asks: “Are there any theories that might explain the result? ” and some experts say: “Special relativity only holds in flat space, so if there is a warped fifth dimension, it is possible that on other slices of it, the speed of light is different.” In fact, the most important and most controversial theory of our time is “M-Theory” or “Mother Theory (Theory of Everything)”. M-theory is an extension of ‘String Theory’ in which 11 dimensions are identified (string theory is limited to 10 dimensions). M-theory attempts to unify the five String theories. Thus each of the five string theories becomes a special case of M-theory. Now, many should take M-theory and its extra dimensions more serious. In fact, like Newton’s theory that was a special case of a bigger theory (Einstein’s theory), Einstein’s theory also is a special case of a bigger and more general theory (maybe M-Theory). Some experts say: “Many have believed in this, even since the birth of Einstein’s theory. It doesn’t mean that Einstein’s theory or Newton’s theory are wrong, but it means that they are just special case or small part of a bigger theory. For example, lets think we have a small flashlight, and after a while we buy a bigger flashlight that is heavier and much more powerful. We still can use the small flashlight, when we don’t need a powerful light, and don’t want to have a heavy backpack; But the big flashlight has a powerful light and illuminates much more space .” If what is said about speed of Neutrino is true, it’s a big scientific revolution in the first years of 21st century, like the revolution that was begun by Einstein in the the first years of 20th century. Stephan Hawking says: “What often happens is that a new theory is devised that is really an extension of the previous theory . For example, very accurate observations of the planet Mercury revealed a small difference between its motion and the predictions of Newtons theory of gravity (like the current case of small difference between speed of light and speed of neutrinos). Einsteins general theory of relativity predicted a slightly different motion from Newtons theory . The fact that Einsteins predictions matched what was seen, while Newtons did not, was one of the crucial confirmations of the new theory. However, we still use Newtons theory for all practical purposes because the difference between its predictions and those of general relativity is very small in the situations that we normally deal with . (Newtons theory also has the great advantage that it is much simpler to work with than Einsteins!)”. Hawking also adds: “Matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory. Each time new experiments are observed to agree with the predictions, our confidence in it is increased; but if ever a new observation is found to disagree, we have to modify the theory.”
The theories that have mathematical base are not like the experimental theories (such as Darwin’s theory, Genetics theory, and many other biological or medical theories, etc). The Newton’s theory and the Einstein’s theory both are mathematical theories, and unlike the ancient theories, for example Aristotle’s theory, they are not stupid imaginary illusions. Aristotle believed that everything was made out of four elements, earth, air, fire, and water. But it did not make any definite predictions. It also was not a mathematical theory . On the other hand, Newtons theory was a mathematical theory based on three simple axioms, and it predicted the motions of the sun, the moon, the planets, and the satellites to a high degree of accuracy. The Newton’s theory was the first mathematical theory about the universe, and what it said and predicted was not like the old dreadful illusions. It was a mathematical theory, and many experiments confirmed its predictions. In 18th and 19th centuries, many smart guys predicted the orbits of planets and comets, by using Newton’s theory, and gained wealth and reputation. In Newton’s theory, like any other mathematical theory, only the axioms were hypothetical facts. It means when you accept Newton’s axioms (three Newton’s rules), Newton’s theory becomes a great mathematical theory. The same is true for Einstein’s theory. One of the axioms of Einstein’s theory was about the speed of light (the principle of the invariance of the speed of light, that the speed of light in a vacuum is a universal constant). And from his axioms, Einstein reached to the famous equation, E = mc2, indicating that mass and energy are equivalent . In fact, when you accept the axioms of Einstein’s theory, as a special case or a general rule, then Einstein’s theory becomes a valuable theory, and the current experiments have not any effect on it. In fact, the current experiments only have effect on Einstein’s axioms. It says that we can reject Einstein’s axioms and build a new and stronger theory based on new axioms. The new extended theory will explain and predict more facts, like the example of the powerful flashlight that can illuminate more space. In fact, Einstein’s theory still is true, as a special case of the bigger theory. And it’s the miracle of mathematics. The great Newton, for the first time in the history, created a Mathematical theory for describing the world. And that’s why many believe ‘Newton is the greatest scientist of the human history’. In the 20th century, we could see that what the ancient mathematicians said seemed really true. They said: “Mathematics is of the language of God” ! And after Newton, especially in 20th century, we saw that Mathematics is really like the language of the universe.The scientists can sit in their rooms and work on the mathematical equations and the consistent mathematical theories, and then after some years, decades, or centuries, some one can observe what they have predicted by mathematics. It’s really an unbelievable miracle . Almost all important facts in the modern physics are mathematical facts -the facts like Black Holes, Big Bang, Age of Universe, the evolution of stars and galaxies, Dark matter, fundamental particles, extra dimensions (maybe 11 dimensions), etc. These mathematical facts have been confirmed by observations or will be confirmed by observation in the future. It’s really the greatest possible miracle in the human history. A little species (human), in a little plant (Earth), of a little star (Sun), in a little Galaxy (Milky Way), can see the universal facts and accurately predicts the future of the whole universe or the origin and the structure of the universe. It’s really a miracle. It’s “The Miracle of Mathematics” !