Scientists: Particles Seen to Travel Faster Than Light

Posted September 22nd, 2011 at 4:48 pm (UTC-5)
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Scientists have made a discovery that, if confirmed, could rewrite the laws of physics.

An international group of researchers announced Thursday it has measured a sub atomic particle, called a neutrino, moving faster than the speed of light — something that was supposed to be impossible.

A particle accelerator blasted a beam of neutrinos across 730 kilometers from the European Center for Nuclear Research in Switzerland to a lab in Italy. Scientists say that they were shocked to find that the neutrinos arrived about 60 nanoseconds faster than light.

Albert Einstein's 1905 theory of relativity, the famous equation that says E=mc(2), or energy equals mass times the speed of light squared, is a fundamental component of modern physics. It relies on the idea that nothing moves faster than light. If the neutrino findings prove true, it will force physicists to rethink much of what has been discovered in the past century about how the universe works.

Spokesmen for the research group say the results are hard to believe, even for the scientists who uncovered them.

The spokesmen said the researchers are asking their colleagues elsewhere to double-check, to ensure there was not some error in the methodology or the calculations that could have falsely given the faster-than-light reading.

They also hope another group will repeat the experiment, for instance at the Fermilab in Chicago, to see if scientists there also clock neutrinos moving faster than light.