Magazine article ASEE Prism

E=mc^sup 2^ ... Never Mind

Magazine article ASEE Prism

E=mc^sup 2^ ... Never Mind

Article excerpt

Particle physics rarely makes prime-time news. Yet when CERN, the European particle physics lab outside Geneva, announced that an international team of physicists had detected neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light, the buzz could be heard around the world. That's because if the finding is verified - a big if - it would upset Einstein's special theory of relativity that nothing is faster than light. It also would make a casualty of causality, or cause and effect, because time no longer could be viewed as a one-way arrow. And that opens up the possibility of traveling backward in time.The CERN group fired neutrinos from Switzerland to a lab in Italy; measurements showed the particles arrived 60 nanoseconds faster than light. Skeptics rushed out papers at lightning speed that either trashed the findings or sought plausible alternative explanations. …

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