Academic journal article Science and Children

Speed of Light

Academic journal article Science and Children

Speed of Light

Article excerpt

Physicists on the team that measured particles traveling faster than light said they were as surprised as their skeptics about the results, which appear to violate the laws of nature as we know them.

Hundreds of scientists packed an auditorium at one of the world's foremost laboratories on the Swiss-French border to hear how a subatomic particle, the neutrino, was found to have outrun light and confounded the theories of Albert Einstein.

"To our great surprise we found an anomaly," said Antonio Ereditato, who participated in the experiment and speaks on behalf of the team, himself a researcher at the University of Bern, Switzerland.

An anomaly is a mild way of putting it.

Going faster than light is something that is just not supposed to happen, according to Einstein's 1905 special theory of relativity. The speed of light--186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second)--has long been considered a cosmic speed limit.

The team--a collaboration between France's National Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics Research and Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory--fired a neutrino beam 454 miles (730 kilometers) underground from Geneva to Italy.

They found it traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than light. That's 60 billionth of a second, a time no human brain could register.

"You could say it's peanuts, but it's not. It's something that we can measure rather accurately with a small uncertainty," Ereditato said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.