Einstein might turn in his grave, but scientists at the CERN laboratory have published experiential results that suggest travelling faster than the speed of light is possible.
CERN is the home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), designed to recreate the conditions of the big bang and the first moments of the universe.
But it is the OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) project that has captured the headlines in recent days.
Dr. Antonio Ereditato and his team published the results of experiments with sub-atomic particles called neutrino’s.
Conducted over the past 3 years they say they have published them in order for other scientists to test and double check. Simply because they don’t believe what they are seeing.
If the results of the experiments are corroborated by other scientists, it will turn physics on it’s head once more and would prove that there is a way to travel faster than the speed of light.
The previously rock solid (a century of testing had failed to even dent the theory) understanding that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, underpins current physics understanding.
Dr. Ereditato says that it could be a mistake, an error somewhere, but his team cannot find it and that is why he has published the information.
His team at CERN have been conducting experiments that send a beam of muon neutrinos from their CERN lab to another lab at Gran Sasso in Italy. At Gran Sasso they measure how many of another type of neutrino (tau) show up.
During the course of these experiments they noticed that neutrinos were showing up at Gran Sasso slightly, but noticeably and consistently, faster than light would over the same 732km distance.
Dr. Ereditato refuses to speculate on what the results might mean until there has been corroboration by others.
Other people have not been so shy and say that the results would have fundamental impact on many areas of physics including time travel.
It is also possible that while the experiments seem to show that the particles are travelling faster than the speed of light, there are other explanations.
One theory put forward is that they are taking short cuts through other dimensions before returning to ours.
Whatever the outcome, the world of science hasn’t been so excited, or nervous for along time. If proved right, the experiment will send shockwaves through the science community similar to when Einstein first published his theory of relativity.