CERN Clocks Particles Exceeding Speed of Light

Posted on Sep 22, 2011 in - Physics & the Universe

Kevin Hayden –

Source: BBC

Puzzling results from CERN, home of the LHC, have confounded physicists – because it appears subatomic particles have exceeded the speed of light.

Neutrinos sent through the ground from CERN toward the Gran Sasso laboratory 732km away seemed to show up a tiny fraction of a second early. CERN is said to have clocked the neutrino exceeding the speed of light by 60 nanoseconds… with a margin of error of only 10 nanoseconds.  

The result – which threatens to upend a century of physics – will be put online for scrutiny by other scientists.  In the meantime, the group says it is being very cautious about its claims.

“We tried to find all possible explanations for this,” said report author Antonio Ereditato of the Opera collaboration.

“We wanted to find a mistake – trivial mistakes, more complicated mistakes, or nasty effects – and we didn’t,” he told BBC News.

“When you don’t find anything, then you say ‘Well, now I’m forced to go out and ask the community to scrutinize this.’”

The speed of light is the Universe’s ultimate speed limit, and much of modern physics – as laid out in part by Albert Einstein in his special theory of relativity – depends on the idea that nothing can exceed it.

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