Monday, September 26, AD 2011
We will see how all this plays out, but as of now there is a report that neutrinos have been observed traveling slightly faster than the speed of light:
Well, that simple fact may be in the form of the latest experiments at the largest particle accelerators in the world, based at CERN, outside Geneva. Physicists fired a beam of neutrinos (exotic, ghost-like particles that can penetrate even the densest of materials) from Switzerland to Italy, over a distance of 454 miles. Much to their amazement, after analyzing 15,000 neutrinos, they found that they traveled faster than the speed of light—one 60-billionth of a second faster, to be precise. In a billionth of a second, a beam of light travels about one foot. So a difference of 60 feet was quite astonishing.
Cracking the light barrier violated the core of Einstein’s theory. According to relativity, as you approach the speed of light, time slows down, you get heavier, and you also get flatter (all of which have been measured in the lab). But if you go faster than light, then the impossible happens. Time goes backward. You are lighter than nothing, and you have negative width. Since this is ridiculous, you cannot go faster than light, said Einstein.
Who knows if this will hold up under all the endless testing and experimentation that is even now beginning. If it does however, it is the biggest science story in at least the last century. Too bad Einstein isn’t around now. He would have loved to look at this, since he was always willing to alter theory to accord with evidence, an attitude in science not as prevalent as one might wish.