Here’s another major strike against the OPERA experiment’s claim of superluminal neutrinos, in addition to the Cohen-Glashow argument I described last week. It comes from a very natural place: the weak nuclear force. The theory (i.e. the equations) that we use, with great success, to predict the behavior of the weak nuclear force inextricably links some of the properties of neutrinos and charged leptons (electrons, muons and taus.) Because of this linkage, you simply can’t make neutrinos travel faster than light without making electrons do it too — by a smaller amount, to be sure, but still bigger than a part in a billion. And it turns out the effect is large enough that it should already have been detected by existing experiments, putting OPERA’s result further in doubt.
I’m still early on in my attempts to explain the “naturalness problem of the Standard Model” and its implications. A couple of days ago I explained what particle physicists mean by the term “natural” — it means “typical” or “generic”. And I described how, at least from one naive point of view, the Standard Model … Read more