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Is E=mc2 broken?

Well, we can’t actually say. As it stands, the experts don’t know if their own experiments with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland have violated the laws of physics, or if their methodology is flawed. So, after three years of wayward results (where neutrinos appear to arrive in Italy before they left Switzerland?) they have turned the results over to their peers for verification or otherwise. If they are right, then Einstein is wrong, apparently.

I have read a bit about Einstein and I think a cool guy like him would take all this in his stride – ‘never lose a holy curiosity’ is one of his quotes. Not something you imagine a man who had to be right all the time saying.

The fact is that the nefarious neutrino beam in question has been consistently recorded travelling the 730 km from (a) Switzerland to (b) Italy a whole 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light, thus breaking the laws of universe and violating the Standard Model of Physics.

Professor Brian Cox was on the radio last week explaining it. Well he didn’t really explain it because it is, currently, inexplicable given all that is held to be true about physics, but he said if it is true it could be that the neutrinos are taking a shortcut through an alternative dimension.

If I were a neutrino I probably wouldn’t bother with the alternative dimension shortcut, consequently breaking the universal laws of the universe to just save myself 60 nanoseconds (in case you were wondering 1 nanosecond is one billionth of a second). After all it’s hardly enough time to scribble a postcard from the Fourth Dimension with Wish You Were Here!

The Hadron Collider fires these neutrinos, or collides them, in a beam and whilst everyone of a scientific bent sounds mind-boggled, I have read that this was one of its very functions, by design. Namely, to explore the intersection between general relativity and quantum mechanics (I got that from Wikipedia).

I find quantum mechanics easier to follow than general, or indeed special, relativity, because you don’t need to be Einstein to get it, and because there is a cat in it. And some string.

Superstring and Schrodinger’s cat. Yay.

My own wondering goes like this. The Large Hadron Collider is made by man, but it is not strictly-speaking a naturally occuring phenomenon, so if it has broken the laws of physics which Einstein based on the laws of the natural universe (as he understood them) is that such a surprise? Perhaps *relativity works most of the time, for most things. That shouldn’t preclude a machine that does something different should it? After all Star Trek had a teleporter… On the other hand the CERN scientists nanosecond clock might just be wrong.

Sorry. Here’s some proper scientific shizzle.

The Culprit: The Large Hadron Collider

*this may be a poor comparison, but Newton’s apple would never have fallen on his head if Lincolnshire was on the moon. Which some may say it may as well be…

**Edited to add: I had a bit of a read about the level of energy being created in the LHC and it seems there might be a bit of a clue in there. Apparently, the energy being created to smash the particles about is equivalent to that of high energy cosmic rays that are naturally created and hitting the earth’s atmosphere all the time. But, some of these high energy cosmic rays are so high energy that they also contradict the predictions of special relativity.

It’s my understanding that although these cosmic rays were discovered in 1912 by someone in a hot air balloon called Victor Hess, the really high energy ones have only been observed since the 1960s, after Einstein’s death. I might be wrong; I may be a bit lost now too. Nevertheless, these high energy cosmic rays are also subject to the same questioning as the research at CERN: are the measurements wrong? Another theory is that they originate from another galaxy. I like that one; if they did we might have to come up with some new laws called the inter-galactic laws of physics.

I’ll get on to that in the morning. Beam me up Scottie.

The M-Theory: a beef

Philosophers have been all of a twitter this morning as the new Stephen Hawking book “The Grand Design” is released (or are books launched?).  Of course, I’ve not read it (nor am I likely to certainly not in its entirety), but I have been acquainted with some of the contents on the Today programme.  (OMG I can’t wait until Melyvn gets his mitts on it!)

“Philosophy is dead”  is one of Professor Hawking’s assertions.  As far as I can gather he says this because philosophers can’t do the maths.  They haven’t kept up with the theory of quantum, the string or the superstrings and as such have nothing to contribute on the matter of matter.  Neither does God according to Hawking.  The existence of matter, the universe and even more universe can be explained apparently by a bit of maths and physics and there is no need for us to trifle around with the quaint notion of a “creator”.  It is all just sums.

Of course I am oversimplifying, but that is the curse of being a great big fat brain book writer.  No-one really follows all of what you write, although they pretend they do.  I am not really pretending am I?  Never mind.  The M-theory seeks to pull together all the theories of creation and existence, taking a bit from each of the smorgasbord of Big Bangs, Cheese String, Half-Dead Cats, Apples in Lincolnshire and whatever Einstein was on.  In short, with these ingredients universes can make themselves.  Great isn’t it? 

No-one knows what the M in The Theory stands for either.  Meta, Master, Miracle, Mystery are all contenders.  Personally I think it stands for Mince.  As in Mince Theory: Cottage Pie, Spag Bol, Chilli con carne.   Beef Cattle are being slaughtered all over the country, so that we can cart home record quantities of mince from the supermarket.  For the first time, it’s been reported that sales of mince have outstripped all over cuts of beef.  This is bad for the beef industry and bad for our diet frankly, speaking as someone who last night dined on mince in the form of “Organic Duchy Beefburgers”.  What’s happening to all those steaks and roasting joints?  How much mince can you get off one cow?  Just like my stomach turns slightly when confronted with a packet of  multiple drumsticks (how many chickens are in there and what happened to the rest of them), so the thought of good beef going to mince is depressing.  If we must eat meat (and it seems I must) at least honour the beast you eat by buying a bit more than its cheap bits piled high on a never-ending offer in Tescos.

Don’t bother with the book.  The Makemeadiva Theory is this: the universe is made of mince.

Disclaimer:  I am not against mince or drumsticks I just think (and I have a family to feed on a finite budget too) that for each mince dish we should balance it out with a roast or some ox tail.  Oh, and we don’t have to eat meat every day, nor in the quantity of an American. 

Disclaimer 2: I am not American but I have been there and you guys do eat an awful quantity of processed meat.  Tut.