Physicist doubts CERN experiment will disprove Einstein

Dean at Tel Aviv University does not believe Albert Einstein will be disproved by scientists in Geneva in speed of light belief.

By JUDY SIEGEL
September 25, 2011 01:41
2 minute read.
A glass-encased page of the manuscript by Albert E

einstein transcript relativity theory 311. (photo credit: Sasson Tiram)

The new dean of Exact Sciences at Tel Aviv University, Prof. Yaron Oz, said he does not believe that Albert Einstein will be disproved by scientists in Geneva in his belief that the speed of light is the fastest and the only absolute thing in nature.

But, speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night, Oz said that if the findings by physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) about the “greater speed” by the neutrino are correct, “it will be sensational and change the way we see the laws of physics.”

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Oz, a particle physicist, said “it was too early to decide the truth of the speed of light vs the speed of neutrinos on the basis of their sending neutrinos 730 kilometers to a lab in Italy and determining how fast the tiny atomic particles arrived.

“According to their results, published late last week, the neutrinos arrived faster than the speed of light. But we know neutrinos. Many of these particles come to earth, and none of them had arrived at that speed. So more experiments at other facilities must be conducted,” he said.

“I would happy if it were correct, as it would be new and incredible and change our way of thinking, but there is too much evidence that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity: Mechanics was correct. It is very unlikely that he was wrong, but it is worth checking,” Oz said.

“According to the Theory of Relativity, the neutrino is not of very great importance. But Einstein based his theory on experiments that were conducted in his day. Scientists sent two rays of light, one against the direction of the rotation of the earth and one the other way, and they arrived at the same time. So he reached his conclusions that light was faster.”

The CERN scientists have already published a paper on their findings on the Internet, he said.

“They publicized it because they couldn’t find an error in their analysis. But they do not present it as a surety,” said the TAU professor, who added that he knew about the finding a few days before it was published. “It could easily be that the trajectory of the neutrino was very small, one in 100,000, and that would be enough to create a different result from what we would have predicted,” he said.

If the scientists at CERN – the world’s largest physics lab – are proven right, continued Oz, who previously was head of TAU’s School of Physics, “nature will not change, but the way we think about nature will change very significantly if it is true. When we do calculations of nuclear accelerators, all of that is based on the relativity of mechanics.”

Einstein, he stressed, did make errors, “but there was no physicist in history who had such abilities to know things and to know what is important.”


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