Neutrinos: Stubbornly Disproving Einstein?

#Science

Wed, Oct 5th, 2011 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

In the most recent CERN experiments, physicists shot a neutrino beam towards the detector in Gran Sasso, Italy, about 730 km away. They did this for over three years and each time, the neutrinos were detected one-billionth of a second sooner than they should have been there.

One-billionth of a second might appear negligible if it wasn't for the fact that Einstein's theory of relativity spells out that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Was Einstein wrong?

If it turns out that the CERN experiment is correct, then our scientific understanding is flawed. All sorts of strange things could happen if the speed of light can be exceeded. Causality -- the relation between cause and effect -- would be affected. Anyone traveling faster than the speed of light would be able to see fragments of a broken vase coming together. Faster-than-light travelers could go back in time -- say, leave New York for Paris one evening and return the previous day.

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