Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Little Neutrino That Could

(OMG - totally forgot to post this when it was current.  Oh well.)

Okay - hullaballoo!  Einstein was wrong!  We've misinterpreted EVERYTHING.  The Skylab is falling...OHNOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Right.  Well, I keep having a problem with the reactions to this news that some particles (neutrinos and muons and taus ohmy!) managed to go 60 billionths of a second faster than the speed of light.

This has been widely reported, but in case you missed it ---- GO HERE.  (Or if you're feeling extra-fancy, GO HERE.)

Now, barring any errors - which is still up for grabs - this is awesomely fun news.  It means, well, what does it mean?

Is time travel now possible or at least conceivable?

Is light not the high bar of speed?

Do we need to revise and update all textbooks much to the happiness of the fading book publishing industry?

What if Einstein wasn't wrong?  
What if Darwin wasn't wrong?

What if our paradigm for the universe - or more to the point The Universe - is what needs a shift.

Why have we decided that universal laws are all constant and never-shifting, staying exactly in place until we catch up to them figure them out, quantify them, solidify them and move on to the next mystery?

What in the actual universe does not shift and change over time?

What if this pack of neutrinos were the Roger Bannister of neutrinos - the ones that vibrated higher, and moved faster?

Why, like a Tea Party Soccer Mom, do we refuse to let the universe evolve?

Maybe we can't isolate Dark Matter cause it's just too tricky for us - it evolves faster than we can think.

The scientists who did the CERN experiment may be proven wrong.

I am not a scientist, if anything I'm a conjecturist, so it would probably take a scientist less than a billionth of a second to prove me wrong.

Maybe I'm the Lietuenant Columbo of philosophers - poised at the doorway, about to leave, before I turn my head and say,...."just one more thing."  So - one last question:

If species evolve, plates shift, oceans rise and fall, polar caps melt, orbits vary, black holes fluctuate, stars die, space expands, if everything we can know by our senses has some type of life cycle to it, then what part of the universe itself is immutable over time?

Is it not at all possible that what we are now recording is a change or a shift - and not the end of all theory and data that came before it?  Is it not possible that we and the universe are locked in a dance - where we - the observers - over time by our presence shift the outcome?

The only constant is change.  Everyone knows this in their heart to be true, whether they like the truth of it or not.  Yet, we have decided that there are constants that never change.  Do we know this empirically, statistically, experimentally, or do we simply need it to be true?  Can any statistical or experimental evidence we have be enough, quantifiably, in the face of the entire universe over all of time, prove effectively that anything is an immutable law?

We make assumptions.  We do.  We are told not to, but we do.  Many of our systems are based on mutually-agreed upon assumptions.  Mathematics, the Stock Market, the Billboard charts.  We do need building blocks - we need to start somewhere.  But maybe we've just jumped up a level.  Maybe we have the opportunity to think differently now - to let the universe breathe - let it up for some air.  We've been holding it down underwater like the mystical Loch Ness monster trying to parse it without experiencing it for too long now.

Do all humans behave in the same way?  All trees?  We have a set of possible reactions, but even those shift with time and place.  As we learn and teach ourselves, we get more abilities - personally and generationally.  Does the universe not have generations within it - are subatomic particles immune from change?  Is anything?

We want very badly for Einstein's theories to be not only true, but perpetual.  We want something to lean on that won't break - Genesis (the book, not the band), the Theory of Relativity, the Declaration of Independence, new episodes of The Simpsons - but just because we want it, does that make it possible?

Or does everything we can conceive of at all, have a growth - and death - cycle?  Including the speed of particles.

No comments: