“Physicists on the team that measured particles traveling faster than light said Friday they were as surprised as their skeptics about the results, which appear to violate the laws of nature as we know them,” Rank Jordans reports for The Associated Press.
“Going faster than light is something that is just not supposed to happen, according to Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity,” Jordans reports. “The speed of light – 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second) – has long been considered a cosmic speed limit.”
“The team – a collaboration between France’s National Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics Research and Italy’s Gran Sasso National Laboratory – fired a neutrino beam 454 miles (730 kilometers) underground from Geneva to Italy,” Jordans reports. “They found it traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than light. That’s sixty billionth of a second, a time no human brain could register. ‘You could say it’s peanuts, but it’s not. It’s something that we can measure rather accurately with a small uncertainty,’ said Antonio Ereditato, who participated in the experiment and speaks on behalf of the team.”
Jordans reports, “If the experiment is independently repeated – most likely by teams in the United States or Japan – then it would require a fundamental rethink of modern physics. Physicists not involved in the experiment have been understandably skeptical. Alvaro De Rujula, a theoretical physicist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research outside Geneva from where the neutron beam was fired, said he blamed the readings on a so-far undetected human error. If not, and it’s a big if, the door would be opened to some wild possibilities.”
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