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Thread: Does Differential Altitudinal Muon Decay prove SR?

  1. #1 Does Differential Altitudinal Muon Decay prove SR? 
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    Muons are formed from cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere, decaying over time as they pass into the lower atmosphere, hence detection rates are higher at higher altitudes. There is an attempt to explain this phenomenon using SR, the supposed proof merely being the observed decrease flux of V-particles, secondary cosmic ray particles such as muons, at lower altitudes.

    According to mathematical physicists, the lower detection rates of cosmic ray particles at lower altitudes are the result of the time dilation of the faster more energetic muons – a claim that also presumes that the earth, unlike the secondary cosmic rays, is moving slowly relative to absolute rest or itself constitutes absolute rest - and/or that the particles are moving fast relative to human observers! The lower detection rate at lower altitudes is because only the longer-lived particles, living longer because they move faster, are more likely to reach lower altitudes. This simplistic claim ignores the experimental procedure in favor of a quick and dirty ‘absolute’ proof for SR (and the implicit absolute motion).

    The reasons for particle decay are twofold.

    First, the short-lived particles are inherently decay-prone, decaying of themselves according to the half-life principle also found with radioactive isotopes; each type of particle decaying with its own distinctive half-life, muons for example being much more stable than pions, in turn more stable than most other particles.

    Second, these particles interact with the media through which they travel – the atmosphere in this case. We know this to be true because such particle-medium interactions are so commonly observed in particle detectors, i.e. cloud chambers, spark chambers and bubble chambers.

    Given these two considerations, time dilation would then be a postulated third factor. Since the decay rates of particles are dependent on the type of particle, the inherent decay-proneness of these particles is unquestionably true. Yet the mathematical physicists believe that they can reveal the third factor by correcting MERELY for the second, i.e. particle interaction with the atmosphere. The second factor has to be corrected for since it is natural to think that a slow-moving particle would be more likely to interact with the atmospheric medium than a faster moving one. It is natural to think this because there is so much physical evidence for this phenomenon e.g. slower moving electrons are more easily deflected by electric and magnetic fields in a cathode-ray tube.

    The mathematical physicists ‘prove’ their case by referring to an experimental comparison of high-altitude and low-altitude particle detection; such separation being achievable due to the ready availability of high mountains in which to place detectors! A common altitude differential is about two kilometers. In order to correct for the mass of the atmosphere that lies between the two altitudes, the high-altitude experiments were carried out under a suitable thickness of iron plates or equivalent mass-thickness of water. This material comprises a 'substitute' for the matter comprising the atmosphere. In one case this ‘atmosphere substitute material’ separates the detector from the atmosphere by a few centimeters, by less than a meter of water in another case. The theory here is that the equivalent mass of iron plates or water will induce particle decay immediately above the high-altitude detector to the same degree as that caused by the intervening atmosphere for the low-altitude detector – an assumption readily questionable but we will assume its essential correctness here as the mathematical physicists do.

    When such an experiment is carried out, the high-altitude detector still detects a higher particle rate than the detector at low altitude; therefore, trumpets the mathematical physicist, we have proven that the particle-medium interaction does not explain the lower detection rate at lower altitude, thus the difference must be due to time dilation since this is the only other possible explanation!

    This claim however is false as it introduces a crude bias into the experimental interpretation – its crudeness ignored only because the mathematical physicists are so obsessed with their narrow agenda.

    The crude bias consists in the fact that the high-altitude detector has a path usually two kilometers shorter than that of the low-altitude detector. In other words, the first factor, the particles’ spontaneous tendency to decay, has more time to occur with the low-altitude detector than with the high-altitude detector – and this extra time and extra path-length is decisive since the particles themselves are formed by cosmic rays striking the earth’s atmosphere only a few kilometers further up! Hence the experimental procedure of counteracting the effect of the atmosphere actually biases the testing in favor of claiming ‘a time dilation effect’ by ignoring the length of the detection path, and in consequence the first factor viz. the spontaneous tendency of these particles to decay AND the time available in which to decay. Hence the difference between the high-altitude and low-altitude detectors is explained not by time dilation but by the first factor – the longer path for the low-altitude detector allows more time for the particles to decay.

    That is, the mathematical physicists’ great performance over demonstrating the negation the second factor is merely is to hide the bias introduced concerning the first factor!

    Indeed, for an unbiased experiment, the ‘high-altitude’ detectors should not only be covered by material equal in mass to that of the atmosphere between high-altitude and low-altitude detectors, but should also be separated from this material by a vacuum as high as the original altitude between the detectors so that the effect of the first factor is ruled out. That is, the two detectors should be at equal altitudes in order to allow for spontaneous particle decay. This means that the ‘high altitude’ detector should be placed at low altitude, separated from the iron plates or water by roughly two kilometers of vacuum – i.e. the detector at the bottom of a suitably long vacuum path within a hollowed-out mountain! Such large vacuums have not been created beneath mountains – hence an unbiased experiment compensating for both the first and second factors so as to demonstrate adequately the third has not been performed. With this realization though, the first two factors account quite satisfactorily for the observed particle decay pattern. The invocation of time dilation & thus SR is at best an unnecessary and superfluous complication.

    Clear too is the fact that the differential decay of fast and slow-moving subatomic particles no more demonstrates time dilation than the longer survival time of faster-running rabbits in a fox-infested field demonstrates time dilation in rabbits!

    TFOLZO
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  2. #2  
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    I think you have completely the wrong end of the stick on this experiment.
    You don't need relativity to explain whey there are fewer muons found at lower altitude. You need it to explain why there are more than you would expect.
    Muon Experiment in Relativity
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  3. #3  
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    Dear Jilan, you have forgotten to factor in...
    Quote Originally Posted by Jilan View Post

    I think you have completely the wrong end of the stick on this experiment.
    You don't need relativity to explain whey there are fewer muons found at lower altitude. You need it to explain why there are more than you would expect.
    Muon Experiment in Relativity
    ... the fact that fast-moving particles will tend to last longer because they interact with the medium less than slower (decay-prone) particles. The decay-proneness of the particles plus the interaction with the medium - and an adequate time allotted for decay by ensuring equal path lengths - is all that is required.

    To invoke SR here is to misrepresent the situation entirely. The other two factors have to be excluded in order to claim a time dilation effect. Besides, if you assert the existence of time dilation, you have the SR-based issue of reciprocal time dilation. What you have done is, like the mathematicians, merely presume that earth comprises an absolute reference frame for time. The article you supply relies on relativity-based 'expectations' not actual observations which latter we instead need to start from.

    TFOLZO
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    Dear TFOLZO, are you saying that the muons only decay because they interact with the atmosphere? I have been under the impression that the they decay because they are unstable.
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    Muons decay for both reasons!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jilan View Post
    Dear TFOLZO, are you saying that the muons only decay because they interact with the atmosphere? I have been under the impression that the they decay because they are unstable.
    They decay both because they are inherently unstable and because they interact with the surrounding medium, which includes water & iron plates as used in the high-altitude detectors as substitutes for the earth's atmosphere.

    Only if you have corrected for both factors - which the experiments have NOT - can you then claim to find an effect potentially ascribable to time dilation. But even then, such supposed time dilation implies that the earth is 'absolute' in 'being at rest' whereas the muons are moving fast so time dilated. One could argue the other way around - that a muon is at absolute rest and the earth around it is time dilated - but the results are equally absurd and suppositional.

    The correct answer is that there is NO time dilation. An inherent tendency to decay and interactions with surrounding material explain ALL the observed features of muon decay. SR is an irrelevancy introduced only by mathematical physicists who consider only half the evidence. But such ploys are standard for the apologists of "established physics" like SR.

    TFOLZO
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  6. #6  
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    Time dilation experiments have also been performed in particle accelerators.
    A tensor equation that is valid in any coordinate system is valid in every coordinate system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFOLZO View Post
    Besides, if you assert the existence of time dilation, you have the SR-based issue of reciprocal time dilation.
    That is completely correct. The time-dilation AND the length contraction is reciprocal.

    Quote Originally Posted by TFOLZO View Post
    What you have done is, like the mathematicians, merely presume that earth comprises an absolute reference frame for time.
    I think you must have misunderstood the results of the experiment. There is no absolute or preferred frame here.

    In a lab frame, travelling slowly, the muons decay very fast.

    If they decayed at the same speed whilst moving at relativistic speeds, they would never make it ground level.

    But they do make it to ground level, when moving at a relativistic speed, even though they are interacting with far more of the atmosphere than when in the lab frame. The same would be true in a vacuum.

    From the ground frame, the muons are moving through the universe at a relativistic speed and their length is shortened and their decay rates are slowed by the amount predicted by the Lorentz contraction used in Special Relativity for the speed they are going at, relative to the ground frame which can consider itself at rest. They reach the ground because their "rest" frame decay time is slowed by their motion.

    From the Muons frame, the time-dilation and the length contraction is indeed reciprocal. The muon can consider itself to be at rest and that the Earth and the whole Universe is moving at relativistic speed. They reach the ground because, due to the Lorentz contraction, whilst time is slowed for the rest of the universe, THE DISTANCE TO THE GROUND IS SHORTER when the Earth is moving towards them. The height of the atmosphere is length contracted, along with the rest of the universe along their axis of motion, so the distance to the ground is shorter, allowing them to reach the ground before they reach the decay time in their own rest frame.

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  8. #8  
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    In reply to SpeedFreek, re: your #7 post.

    For the first time in a very long time, your post has rendered me completely senseless...I'm actually kinda' enjoying it, this feeling! This must be how people "feel" from high-quality

    hashish..."mind floating". I can understand how someone would want this a lot!

    ......

    I cannot even begin to think of "how to form a rebuttal" or even a "written high-five".


    "Distance to the ground is shorter" & "Height of the atmosphere is length-contracted". Okay. (I must admit you are smarter than anyone on this forum...and "leagues" ahead of me!!!)


    (Thanks for reading!)
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    SpeedFreek: That is completely correct. The time-dilation AND the length contraction is reciprocal.

    I think you must have misunderstood the results of the experiment. There is no absolute or preferred frame here.

    In a lab frame, travelling slowly, the muons decay very fast.

    They decay very fast because they interact with the surrounding material very readily, since they are inherently unstable & move slowly relative to the surrounds.

    If they decayed at the same speed whilst moving at relativistic speeds, they would never make it ground level.

    When they move at very high (relativistic) speeds, they interact less with the matter around them.

    But they do make it to ground level, when moving at a relativistic speed, even though they are interacting with far more of the atmosphere than when in the lab frame. The same would be true in a vacuum.

    They are NOT interacting with far more of the atmosphere because the faster muons are rushing past the atmospheric molecules, hence are less likely to have their electromagnetic fields entangled with such molecules.

    From the ground frame, the muons are moving through the universe at a relativistic speed and their length is shortened and their decay rates are slowed by the amount predicted by the Lorentz contraction used in Special Relativity for the speed they are going at, relative to the ground frame which can consider itself at rest. They reach the ground because their "rest" frame decay time is slowed by their motion.

    Those words are merely an SR-based attempt to explain away the situation while forgetting both atmospheric & other material interactions and the inherent decay-proneness of muons and most other subatomic particles.

    From the Muons frame, the time-dilation and the length contraction is indeed reciprocal. The muon can consider itself to be at rest and that the Earth and the whole Universe is moving at relativistic speed. They reach the ground because, due to the Lorentz contraction, whilst time is slowed for the rest of the universe, THE DISTANCE TO THE GROUND IS SHORTER when the Earth is moving towards them. The height of the atmosphere is length contracted, along with the rest of the universe along their axis of motion, so the distance to the ground is shorter, allowing them to reach the ground before they reach the decay time in their own rest frame.

    Reminds me of Michio Kaku's story of the traveller traveling almost at c relative to the Sun in order to get to alpha Centauri 4.3 lightyears away. Reciprocally, time slows down for Sun, Earth & alpha Centauri compared to the traveller while the space between the two stars length-contracts to say 0.1 lightyears. Hence the traveller reaches alpha-Centauri in only a few months!

    But Kaku etc. don't accept the obvious implication that this would mean he travelled faster-than-light! Rather, Kaku & Co. evade the issue by saying that for earthbound-observers, it is the traveller's time which is slowed in comparison to their own. The end result is the twin paradox - aged returned traveller meets young Earthlings seen by the traveller IS IMCOMPATIBLE WITH young returned traveller meets old Earthlings seen by the earth observers.

    What we end up with is parallel universes 'explained away' thru Minkowski Muddlegrams i.e. systematized nonsense.

    Now, SpeedFreek, do you see why I reject Einstein's SR categorically?

    TFOLZO
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    Physicists take those factors into account when they compare the observations with what SR predicts.
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    The standard answer was put by George Gamow in The Great Physicists from Galileo to Einstein pp. 315-318.
    Quote Originally Posted by Physicist View Post
    Physicists take those factors into account when they compare the observations with what SR predicts.
    There in comparing high-altitude & low-altitude results he describes how the atmosphere is "substituted for" in the high altitude experiment via the use of lake water (or iron plates in the original experiment).

    However this is NOT a fair comparison since in attempting to correct (in mass terms) for the second factor - particle interaction in the medium - he unwittingly biases the first factor i.e. he does NOT permit the high-altitude muons enough time (meaning enough vacuum space to fall through) to decay, since they pass thru the water or iron plates only very briefly before hitting the detector immediately below.

    Hence the experiment does NOT correct for both factors - so the claims that the higher detection rate at high altitude under an "atmosphere equivalent" lump of matter is NOT a valid proof of SR in any sense whatsoever. Rather, the evidence is MISINTERPRETED to fit the claims of SR as to alleged time dilation being the cause of the prolonged survival of faster muons. Hence physicists misinterpret "those factors into account when the compare the observations with what SR predicts."

    TFOLZO
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFOLZO View Post
    Reminds me of Michio Kaku's story of the traveller traveling almost at c relative to the Sun in order to get to alpha Centauri 4.3 lightyears away. Reciprocally, time slows down for Sun, Earth & alpha Centauri compared to the traveller while the space between the two stars length-contracts to say 0.1 lightyears. Hence the traveller reaches alpha-Centauri in only a few months!

    But Kaku etc. don't accept the obvious implication that this would mean he travelled faster-than-light! Rather, Kaku & Co. evade the issue by saying that for earthbound-observers, it is the traveller's time which is slowed in comparison to their own. The end result is the twin paradox - aged returned traveller meets young Earthlings seen by the traveller IS IMCOMPATIBLE WITH young returned traveller meets old Earthlings seen by the earth observers.

    What we end up with is parallel universes 'explained away' thru Minkowski Muddlegrams i.e. systematized nonsense.

    Now, SpeedFreek, do you see why I reject Einstein's SR categorically?

    TFOLZO
    What you cannot accept is that the "obvious implication" you speak of is, once again, based on some unphysical notion of a global observer, an observer that does not exist in reality. Nobody ever measures anything in the above scenario to travel faster than light. The people on Earth calculate, from what they observe (after factoring out time-of-light effects), that the traveller took more than 4.3 years to travel 4.3 light years, so the traveller moved slower than c. The traveller calculates, from what they observe (after factoring out the aberration of light), that the universe has contracted along his axis of motion, and thus never moves faster than light can cross that contracted distance. If the traveller shines a light out in front of him, the light reaches his destination before he does.

    So nothing travels faster than c.

    I do see why you reject SR - because you cannot accept the implications of space and time being dynamic, rather than absolute. You keep resorting to arguments based on some global overview of the situation that can never be used to make measurements from, and yet you keep trying to assign measurements from it, like that "faster-than-light" assertion you made above.

    This is a forum for established science, and SR is very well established. The fact you reject this is one of the reasons you aren't here any more.
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    So, like you banned someone, then replied to them? The logic may escape me. Why would someone reply to someone who they have prevented from replying back?
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    (For the benefit on anyone else who comes by and reads it?)

    (Is it a permanent ban?)
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    It seemed just like somebody got their ego bruised and went bully to me. Like "I can ban people, I am that cool!" I liked Markus, but I do not want to be on this forum with this Speed Freek. No need to ban. I go now.
    Last edited by mayflow; 09-09-2014 at 02:23 PM.
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    Come on, mayflow. I had to address the points TFOLZO made regarding my previous post, in order to show where he was making false assumptions about anyone measuring anything going faster than light.

    It is for the benefit of others. Perhaps I should have prefaced the post with that.

    I do not enjoy banning people at all, which is why I avoided doing it for so long.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayflow View Post
    It seemed just like somebody got their ego bruised and went bully to me. Like "I can ban people, I am that cool!" I liked Markus, but I do not want to be on this forum with this Speed dork. No need to ban. I go now.

    No, not at all, Mayflow. This is a quite-fundamental point that you continue to refuse to accept, with negative consequences all round: In science, not all opinions are valid. Some are demonstrably wrong. You seem to hold to some odd conviction that any and all opinions are of equal weight and thus equally deserving to be aired. TFOLZO's problem is that he refuses to acknowledge the iron-clad arguments of why his beliefs are not only unscientific, but actually anti-scientific. Getting rid of him is not act of bullying. It is, in fact, an act of preventing noise from overwhelming the scientific, educational value of this forum.

    SR is so well established experimentally that to argue against it requires extraordinary evidence. TFOLZO presented none -- only opinion. Repeatedly. Ad nauseam. That's not science. That's just arrogant ignorance. Why should this attitude be tolerated in a science forum?
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    If it was meant for others, it should have been said it was meant for others and explained. It is still not right to address someone and not allow them to respond, in my opinion. It is not fair to ban someone and then say something to them that they are prevented from responding to, don't you think? You have responsibility to not say something to someone whom you have prevented from responding in my philosphical point of view. I allow this of you or I would not be responding. Incidently your reply to me did still give me heart that you are quite ok after all, even if we do not always agree.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayflow View Post
    If it was meant for others, it should have been said it was meant for others and explained. It is still not right to address someone and not allow them to respond, in my opinion. It is not fair to ban someone and then say something to them that they are prevented from responding to, don't you think?
    I strongly disagree. Once again, you aren't paying attention to the purpose of the forum: Education. TFOLZO has had his say -- and then some -- ad nauseam, as I've said. If he were allowed to respond, we'd just get more of the same noise. SpeedFreek wisely chose to improve the signal to noise ratio by truncating the noise, and then adding signal of his own. It is not only fair (to the educational purpose of the forum), it is right.
    Last edited by tk421; 09-09-2014 at 12:10 PM. Reason: fixed misspelling of SpeedFreek (sorry!)
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    Tk, if you are going to quote me, at least have the decency to quote my entire post, please and ok? If you look at most people's posts, their most poignant points are usually summurised at the end of the post, just like I just did here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayflow View Post
    Tk, if you are going to quote me, at least have the decency to quote my entire post, please and ok? If you look at most people's posts, their most poignant points are usually summurised at the end of the post, just like I just did here.
    Sorry, but you're just going to have to live with disappointment. I will address the parts of a post that I will address. It's called "free will."
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  22. #22  
    KJW
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayflow View Post
    if you are going to quote me, at least have the decency to quote my entire post, please and ok?
    This is an unreasonable request for a number of reasons. Firstly, the full quote may be quite long and take up considerable storage space on the forum server as well as the reader's bandwidth when the page is downloaded. Secondly, the point being addressed may be only a small part of the quote and difficult to locate within the full quote, both in terms of the effort required to scan the entire quote and the possibility of ambiguity with regards to which part of the quote is being addressed.
    A tensor equation that is valid in any coordinate system is valid in every coordinate system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFOLZO View Post
    Muons decay for both reasons!
    They decay both because they are inherently unstable and because they interact with the surrounding medium, which includes water & iron plates as used in the high-altitude detectors as substitutes for the earth's atmosphere.
    That is quite wrong and completely without any justification whatsoever. The lifetime of muons have been measured in the lab and is known quite well. When they travel through the atmosphere they decay exactly according to what is predicted by special relativity. This implies that they don't decay because they interact with the atmosphere. In fact there's absolutely no mechanism/reason for the atmosphere to cause their lifetime to alter. The lifetime is entirely determined according to the principles of particle physics.

    Your claim just doesn't hold any water.
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