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CERN Scientists ‘Break the Speed of Light’

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UPDATED: Scientists Did Not “Break the Speed of Light”

Two possible explanations are that 1) neutrinos may fall under the general rubric of the very small obeying a different set of rules than the rest of reality because of the granular nature of spacetime at ultra-small dimensions; or 2) neutrinos may not be particles at all, but artifacts or sections of an underlying granular grid upon which reality itself is built. — K.A.S.

SCIENTISTS said on Thursday they recorded particles travelling faster than light — a finding that could overturn one of Einstein’s fundamental laws of the universe.

Antonio Ereditato, spokesman for the international group of researchers, said that measurements taken over three years showed neutrinos pumped from CERN near Geneva to Gran Sasso in Italy had arrived 60 nanoseconds quicker than light would have done.

“We have high confidence in our results. We have checked and rechecked for anything that could have distorted our measurements but we found nothing,” he said. “We now want colleagues to check them independently.”

If confirmed, the discovery would undermine Albert Einstein’s 1905 theory of special relativity, which says that the speed of light is a “cosmic constant” and that nothing in the universe can travel faster.

That assertion, which has withstood over a century of testing, is one of the key elements of the so-called Standard Model of physics, which attempts to describe the way the universe and everything in it works.

The totally unexpected finding emerged from research by physicists working on an experiment dubbed OPERA run jointly by the CERN particle research centre near Geneva and the Gran Sasso Laboratory in central Italy.

A total of 15,000 beams of neutrinos — tiny particles that pervade the cosmos — were fired over a period of three years from CERN towards Gran Sasso 730 (500 miles) km away, where they were picked up by giant detectors.

Light would have covered the distance in around 2.4 thousandths of a second, but the neutrinos took 60 nanoseconds — or 60 billionths of a second — less than light beams would have taken.

“It is a tiny difference,” said Ereditato, who also works at Berne University in Switzerland, “but conceptually it is incredibly important. The finding is so startling that, for the moment, everybody should be very prudent.”

Ereditato declined to speculate on what it might mean if other physicists, who will be officially informed of the discovery at a meeting in CERN on Friday, found that OPERA’s measurements were correct.

“I just don’t want to think of the implications,” he said. “We are scientists and work with what we know.”

Much science-fiction literature is based on the idea that, if the light-speed barrier can be overcome, time travel might theoretically become possible.

The existence of the neutrino, an elementary sub-atomic particle with a tiny amount of mass created in radioactive decay or in nuclear reactions such as those in the Sun, was first confirmed in 1934, but it still mystifies researchers.

It can pass through most matter undetected, even over long distances, and without being affected. Millions pass through the human body every day, scientists say.

To reach Gran Sasso, the neutrinos pushed out from a special installation at CERN — also home to the Large Hadron Collider probing the origins of the universe — have to pass through water, air and rock.

The underground Italian laboratory, some 120 km (75 miles) to the south of Rome, is the largest of its type in the world for particle physics and cosmic research.

Around 750 scientists from 22 different countries work there, attracted by the possibility of staging experiments in its three massive halls, protected from cosmic rays by some 1,400 metres (4,200 feet) of rock overhead.

Speed of Light May Have Been Broken Q&A

What has happened at CERN?

Scientists say they have clocked neutrinos — tiny particles smaller than atoms — travelling at 300,006 kilometres per second, slightly faster than the speed of light.

What does that mean?

Einstein’s theory of special relativity says nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum, because photons — light particles — have no mass.

Proof that neutrinos, mysterious subatomic particles which have a tiny amount of mass, can travel faster would be inconsistent with Einstein’s theory.

What are the knock-on effects?

Einstein’s theory is critical to the Standard Model of physics that helps explain everything we know about how the universe works, from black holes to the big bang.

If it is shown to be flawed, virtually everything in modern physics and the fundamental laws of nature would have to be rethought.

Have the results been proven?

The findings were such a shock that CERN’s scientists spent months checking their data before making their announcement. But they have asked American and Japanese teams to confirm the results before they are declared an actual discovery.

The data will also be put online overnight so that it can be scrutinised by experts across the world.

Does this mean E does not equal MC squared?

The theory of special relativity was used to spawn the theory that energy is equal to mass multiplied by the speed of light squared.

It is premature to discount the most famous equation of all time, but the latest discovery suggests one key assumption it relies on — that nothing can accelerate faster than light — may not be wholly accurate.

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Source: Telegraph

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6 Comments

  1. harvey
    May 11, 2016 at 1:42 pm — Reply

    Beautiful! Can’t resist: E≠MC^2

  2. May 11, 2016 at 2:41 pm — Reply

    This was later determined to be a mistake, the article is from 2011. My personal beleif is that it isn’t the only mistake(yes i am reffering to the higgs particle).

  3. Harold
    May 11, 2016 at 3:46 pm — Reply

    Epistemology and Metaphysics are interdependent. Your epistemology will determine your metaphysics and vice versa. This interdependency creates an evolutionary dynamic. Once we create an epistemology/metaphysic super-structure knowledge can expand but that expansion is limited by the bounds of that super-structure. Einstein’s theories allowed knowledge to expand. But we have come close to the limits that they allow. To continue we will have to set aside Einsteins theories so that new vistas of knowledge are opened. Einsteins theories are not so much as wrong as they are merely incomplete and are not universally applicable. They still possess predictive power in many areas. But in some areas they are non-adaptive.

  4. WHITE_WARRIOR
    May 11, 2016 at 6:08 pm — Reply

    Please note that this is from the telegraph – a jewspaper, and not a peer reviewed scientific paper.

    We have seen this before – ‘light’ travelling faster than it should in a given medium – Cherenkov radiation. Of course the CERN work may not be one of those instances. Let us wait until all the facts are presented, especially the experimental set-up. I would be interested to know the standard deviation of the experimental data, along with how the experiment was set-up. Perhaps we now have a better value of the true speed of light. Physicists are continually trying to get a more accurate value of the gravitational constant; so why should determining the true speed of ‘light’ in a vacuum be any different.

    Let us not forget our holy mission – to save and advance the white race. If Europe falls CERN and its scientists and its work will be but a memory in the mind of those few whites who survive.

    The savages are knocking on the door, even at CERN. Let us not forget the real mission – white revolution is the only solution. CERN can be put on the back-burner for another time.

  5. Dan
    August 21, 2016 at 1:02 am — Reply

    The speed of light as a limit is somewhat of a misnomer.

    Everything in the universe moves through space-time at precisely a universal, invariant speed. We believe that that speed is also the speed of light, but even if it turned out that light travelled at a different speed, the universal, invariant speed would remain unchanged. Nothing can go at any speed through space-time except at the invariant speed, which we commonly refer to as to as the speed of light.

    Light is special only in that it’s motion through space-time is all spatial. It uses up it’s allotted speed only in the spatial dimensions.

    When you sit still in your living room, you move at the speed of light, but your motion is through time only.

    The idea of this universal invariant speed is built into the standard model.

    As usual, when a big headline comes out like this, somebody screwed up, such as forgetting to plug in a detector, or goofing a calculation.

  6. May 7, 2017 at 4:57 am — Reply

    SPEED OF LIGHT IS SLOW!! Nikola Tesla 1890’s!!
    Everything is light, condensed photons can be accelerated into light fields. One thing about CERN is its ability to create rumors and renaming AETHER to Higgs… as they were once quoted “We don’t know what were doing” … you can’t smash molecules together and expect true measurements. They only way is to remove the aether from matter to see its contents. rpmantle

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