I happily read one article a few hours ago that very catchingly described the concept of  Neutrino Oscillation.  Zac very cleverly describes the concept and the central point of the idea is its the mass of neutrino which does not change, what changes is the flavor. Hence the oscillation of flavor between 3 types is whats called as a Neutrino Oscillation. He thought after marvelously explaining that its oscillation of flavor, neutrino oscillation is as a name misleading. I do not agree with that for the following reason.

Let me take a shot at it, although at the moment I am also caught up with another article.

Take any oscillation, eg lets say a Pendulum, in a pendulum its not the pendulum basic properties such as its configuration, mass or size which are changing, whats changing are a few other Physical attributes such as height above ground, Force components along vertical and horizontal and so on. Its still an oscillation.

In case of neutrino the flavor states or the flavor attributes are oscillating in the same sense, the mass of the Neutrino isn’t changing. In-fact this is because if the mass were to change we would call it another  particle. We have defined particles from their mass and tagged them accordingly in the list of things called Standard Model of Particle Physics. But when flavor changes we still tag it as a neutrino, because different flavor states do not change the mass of the neutrino although they come in different ratios.

But change of flavor of neutrino is a Physical and fundamental change it does not change the tag of the particle, but its interaction channels and hence energy distributions and hence the various possibilities in which it will be found. This is comparable to a burger. Changing its content in a way some overall attribute such as calorie or price or wrapping might not change. Lets even say the wrapping was changed. But the fact that its same calorie doe not mean its taste will be same because now content’s ratio has changed, all same contents as earlier, but the amount of content in different types such as lettuce, tomato, sausage etc did change. But it was tagged in the same corner so that it can be easily delivered to the customers. It even comes under same name, Santa Fe  {4S}. But to presume its for that reason same physically is kind of not correct. One may not be to the liking of the customer. A customer might be allergic to some ingredient if its allergic to him if put in excess amount and so on. So these are really different burgers but tagged to be the same burger in respect of an average quality say the calorie and content list.

I think this analogy is an apt one although this is not meant to replace concepts of Particle Physics but simply are used to explain it to those who would not know the technical or otherwise nitty gritties of such.

I did think of the above analogy right after I made another analogy that I posted for a specific networked community. Here are thus the responses. And note that it was in the original article said “misleading to say neutrino oscillation“. But I said “it does not oscillate” to mean the neutrino does not, in meaning they are close and rather distracting.

If you want to know an interesting fact about neutrino oscillation this article is a good place. Although he should not say “It does not oscillate” because he is giving more weightage of honor to mass states, it oscillates because the flavor oscillates. And no one physical attribute is less prioritized against another. Flavors of different kind on an average do not add different masses which is why the mass states are the same? The mass of neutrino is fixed in only 1 way. Otherwise it would be a different particle, but different flavor makes it a different type of same particle. So the particle still oscillates much like you wear different shirts on different days although you are the same person.

This invited a flurry of interesting layman-physicist conversation, and leads to the title-sake: can neutrinos produce sound.

Query-1: Different flavors oscillate? different shirts? masses? wow! why couldn’t you just say people like different flavors of coffee? I’m puzzled about how having to wear different clothing or being catholic has anything to do with this particularity…disclaimer: i admit not getting much beyond arithmetic into fractures because it is much too painful and masochism is not my thing … :)

Response: @John I agree different flavors of coffee is a better analogy. In-fact I then modeled it after different content of a burger and taste etc. But the shirt example is just another valid analogy which says the person does not change although some physicalities do change. The tag didn’t change from neutrino to something else. Or the person’s name didn’t change. But if we allow ourselves to realize that along with shirt or flavor of coffee many significant physical attributes can change in the person or neutrino it suffices to say thats what is meant by oscillation. In oscillation eg in a pendulum the mass of the bob does not change eg, but the height and phase of the oscillation does, ..  And analogy was on neutrino not on the person wearing different shirt. :)

Query-2: hes playing. He loves coffee, not sure about much else lol

Response: he is welcome. :D

Query-1: yes. i play. since I was dropped on my head as a small child or so I was told, my higher order of brain functions have been scrambled. thus, i can only understand your discussion in terms delivered by Prof. Irwin Corey, the world’s foremost authority….if you don’t like that excuse, i have others… in any case enjoy your fun!! >>> :)

Response: ha ha, funny. I don’t mind play, since its not driven by malice. We are all here dropped on our head with scrambled head functions. But I wouldn’t be hung up on that because its so much more enjoyable to play it.

Query-3: So in short, you’re saying that it has vibration or in other words, generates frequency or in it’s own sense has a sound that it resonates … So this would allow it to blend in harmoniously with everything around it…
I assume that this would be correct? :)

Response: Yes it does have a frequency and vibration. Since flavors are oscillating so are its frequency/energy etc although in totality that does not change its mass, since mass is how we define something to be one particle or NOT we say its the same particle: neutrino, but 3 different flavors: {muon, tao, electron} flavors. But for sound neutrinos are too small. We usually formulate sound for larger objects such as rolling iron balls or say a tennis ball hitting a bat. Thats because there is so many of these atoms so densely packed that on an average we can define a pressure. But neutrinos aren’t captured by detector in large numbers. compared to atoms of an iron ball in billions number we get only 10 or 20 neutrinos at a time (may be 20 in a really really long time say a year), in a detector, hence we do not define sound which is a perceptible physical attribute that we could hear.

Query-3: Ok. But Neutrinos do in fact vibrate as they have an oscillation at which they vibrate, correct?
And we know that they consist of pure energy that is woven together at a given frequency that is designed to give it it’s specific form …
And frequency is an oscillation of a wave. And we have detected that wave to fall in a certain range as defined on a Hertzian scale.
And the Hertz scale is based on levels of frequency measured. It has been demonstrated msny times that each frequency does produce a sound that can in fact be heard by different species including us ( 40 to 60 hertz average ) but just because we can’t hear it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. We just can’t hear it … So I would gues that it has a sound just like everything else …

Response: Neutrinos vibrate, YES. Much like anything else, since they have energy. But they do not vibrate at any particular frequency since their energy is not fixed. Their energy can vary widely and that makes them vibrate at different frequencies. Its worthwhile to mention that its not this frequency or oscillation which we were originally talking about. Originally we were talking about oscillation of whats called flavor or a quantum state. Now the Hertz scale you are talking about is the one which is eg fitted to an oscilloscope in a medical facility. That scale is different from the scale of neutrino. In the hospital the oscilloscope would produce some kind of equivalent sound since there is an electron beam which contains tons of tons of electrons. Electron is quite very heavier {1000 times} than neutrino. But the sound you are hearing is due to the large number of any kind of matter and packed heavily. But with neutrinos such heavy packing or beams are missing. They are detected only in a few numbers. You are right that you can define sound here, because we don’t hear it does not mean it does not exist. But it would not be like a fox screaming. The neutrinos are so few in number and so small in their energy that they will hardly arrive {or detected} in large numbers, any definitions of sound will be theoretical, but such a sound can not be measured using any sound device we have ever developed. {Unless we just recalibrate the energy into decibels}

Query-3: I have heard many a fox scream …  :)
As you had said so far the technology hasn’t been developed in the private sector yet that will detect whether or not that sound does or does not exist at the nutrino level.
But things change …
Always keep a high teachability level .. :)

Response: thanks. Yes technology do change which is why today at CERN, Geneva we are hitting protons among each other that are 1000 times more dynamic than what was possible a FEW years ago. But that said some technology+Nature restrictions always apply, eg the neutrino is a very rarely detected particle. But perhaps they can measure the sound effects of large bunches of protons. I don’t know. But this has to be very statistical and very precise technology. But I am not in a position to know.

Query-3: Detecting radiation was once not known until we started to study it more intensely either…
But as it became an item of interest, more was discovered and newer technologies and techniques were developed to better understand the phenomenon.
It is the same with the Nutrinos. The more we understand about it and someone comes along and develops a use for them, then more will be developed to better study and utilize them…
That is how the human factor engages things…
What you are studying at CERN is very interesting and I know that much good will come from your work.
Put me on your friends list. I would love to hear more from you…

Response: I will send a request soon. Thanks. In general its true what you just said, particle technology has discovered a galore of particles due to inventions of supreme technology. But unfortunately such while is party true not completely helps the case of neutrino. {very different from the nutron which is quite far well studied, perhaps like protons}. neutrinos were discovered as early as 1930s and yet have lagged due to various reasons. One being extremely tiny mass {not more than few KeV, which is for a pair of electron and positron 500 times less heavy} Its a neutral particle and does not react with many different kinds of particles that are well studied, also its detected by indirect analysis techniques. Its very rarely detected although created in large numbers. Simply because it passes through matter and does not interact. One can call them the Ninja Particles of the Universe for that reason. Many superior technology are in hand but its discovery is restricted by its very nature than what technology we already have ..

Query: True. But what is the polarity of the nutrino particle? Will it react with radiant or vacumm energy with is negative in polarity and quite common in the universe…
If a nutrino can pass through the universe’s matter without friction, can it’s property be duplicated in it’s primary fielding for space travel?
Or could it be used for interstellar communications as it would obviously be faster than the speed of light?
There are many potential possibilities for it’s use. Just no one has looked at using it yet on the private sector. Maybe technology had been developed in the military sector. Maybe they will share what they know.
There is always room to ask….

Response: I am too tired must rest, 3 am here. I will ans tomorrow, kindly drop a notice on my wall. But one incorrect fact: NO neutrino does not travel faster than light. It has never been established in any way whatsoever. Recent OPERA experiment turned out to be a spoof.

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