Particles break light-speed limit?

I'll take bets at 99-to-1 odds against any information propagating faster than c. Note that this is not a bet for the results being methodologically flawed in any particular way, though I would indeed guess some simple flaw. It is just a bet that when the dust settles, it will not be possible to send signals at a superluminal velocity using whatever is going on - that there will be no propagation of any cause-and-effect relation at faster than lightspeed.

My real probability is lower, but I think that anyone who'd bet against me at 999-to-1 will probably also bet at 99-to-1, so 99-to-1 is all I'm offering.

I will not accept more than $20,000 total of such bets.

Showing 3 of 5 replies (Click to show all)

If Kevin doesn't go through with taking that bet for $202, I'll take it for $101.

12Stuart_Armstrong8yI'll take that bet, for a single pound on my part against 99 from Eliezer. (explanation: I have a 98-2 bet with my father against the superluminal information propagation being true, so this sets up a nice little arbitrage).
1Kevin8yI suggest clarifying the bet to say "information propagating faster than c as c is defined at the time of this bet". With that clarification, I can pay up front in cash for $202 as soon as possible.

Particles break light-speed limit?

by Kevin 1 min read23rd Sep 2011175 comments


Ereditato says that he is confident enough in the new result to make it public. The researchers claim to have measured the 730-kilometre trip between CERN and its detector to within 20 centimetres. They can measure the time of the trip to within 10 nanoseconds, and they have seen the effect in more than 16,000 events measured over the past two years. Given all this, they believe the result has a significance of six-sigma — the physicists' way of saying it is certainly correct. The group will present their results tomorrow at CERN, and a preprint of their results will be posted on the physics website

At least one other experiment has seen a similar effect before, albeit with a much lower confidence level. In 2007, the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS) experiment in Minnesota saw neutrinos from the particle-physics facility Fermilab in Illinois arriving slightly ahead of schedule. At the time, the MINOS team downplayed the result, in part because there was too much uncertainty in the detector's exact position to be sure of its significance, says Jenny Thomas, a spokeswoman for the experiment. Thomas says that MINOS was already planning more accurate follow-up experiments before the latest OPERA result. "I'm hoping that we could get that going and make a measurement in a year or two," she says.

Perhaps the end of the era of the light cone and beginning of the era of the neutrino cone? I'd be curious to see your probability estimates for whether this theory pans out. Or other crackpot hypotheses to explain the results.