Spark image

Faster than light

Scientists working at CERN and the may have discovered particles moving faster than light. The experiments involves sending a beam of neutrinos from CERN to the Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy and measuring the time it takes for them to travel the 732 km between the two laboratories.

Knowing the distance from CERN to Gran Sasso and the time of flight the speed of the neutrinos was calculated. The distance between the two laboratories was measured to an accuracy of +/- 20 cm over the 732 km path and the neutrinos’ time of flight to an accuracy of less than 10 nanoseconds. The particles showed up 60 billionths of a second sooner than light would over the same distance.

The result was surprising. After measuring the flight time of 15000 over a period of more than three years the average neutrino speed was 299 798 454 ms-1. The speed of light in free space is 299 792 458 ms-1 and so the neutrinos were travelling at 100.002% of the speed of light – a result impossible by Einstein’s theory of Relativity.

We await further confirmation of this result. Other theories and the problems with experiments involving neutrinos may still vindicate the Principle of Relativity.

23rd September 2011

© Keith Gibbs 2011