Neutrinos travelling faster than light?!

Scientists at CERN have performed an experiment which suggests that neutrinos might have been travelling FASTER than the speed of light in a vacumn. You might remember that the speed of light in a vacumn, or approximately 3*10^8 m/s, is a constant and that nothing can go faster than it. So what the hell is going on here?

Well, the scientist themselves suspect an experimental error of some sort – I haven’t run the maths yet, but some of the comments I’ve seen on the web are that they might have slightly miscalculated the distance between Gran Paradiso (in Italy) and CERN, as they are talking about a billionth of a second’s difference. So it was probably a measuring error, but part of me wants this to be in fact true. If Einstein’s postulate that nothing* can exceed the speed of light isn’t true, then we’re in for some interesting times.

*This is purely hypothetical, but there are supposedly particles that are already travelling faster than the speed of light, known as tachyons. But wait! I just said that nothing can go faster than the speed of light! Well, what physicists mean is that as you approach 3*10^8 m/s, you start to get heavier and require more energy to accelerate. Eventually, you’ll require infinite energy to do so because you will be infinitely heavy. However, the same applies hypothetically if you’re already going faster than c, i.e. you would require more energy to slow down to c. At least, if I’ve understood this correctly.

UPDATE 25/09/2011: Brian Cox talking about this on BBC 6 radio


Tags: , ,

About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Head of OPERA has resigned « Dub i nGal - 30 March, 2012

Any comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: