Faster than light particles found, claim scientists
Particle physicists detect neutrinos travelling faster than light, a feat forbidden by Einstein's theory of special relativity
Ian Sample, science correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 22 September 2011 18.32 EDT
Subatomic Neutrino Tracks
Neutrinos, like the ones above, have been detected travelling faster than light, say
Neutrinos, like the ones above, have been detected travelling faster than light, say particle physicists. Photograph: Dan Mccoy /Corbis
It is a concept that forms a cornerstone of our understanding of the universe and the concept of time – nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.
But now it seems that researchers working in one of the world's largest physics laboratories, under a mountain in central Italy, have recorded particles travelling at a speed that is supposedly forbidden by Einstein's theory of special relativity.
Scientists at the Gran Sasso facility will unveil evidence on Friday that raises the troubling possibility of a way to send information back in time, blurring the line between past and present and wreaking havoc with the fundamental principle of cause and effect.
They will announce the result at a special seminar at Cern – the European particle physics laboratory – timed to coincide with the publication of a research paper describing the experiment.
Researchers on the Opera (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) experiment recorded the arrival times of ghostly subatomic particles called neutrinos sent from Cern on a 730km journey through the Earth to the Gran Sasso lab.
The trip would take a beam of light 2.4 milliseconds to complete, but after running the experiment for three years and timing the arrival of 15,000 neutrinos, the scientists discovered that the particles arrived at Gran Sasso sixty billionths of a second earlier, with an error margin of plus or minus 10 billionths of a second.
The measurement amounts to the neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light by a fraction of 20 parts per million. Since the speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second, the neutrinos were evidently travelling at 299,798,454 metres per second.
The result is so unlikely that even the research team is being cautious with its interpretation. Physicists said they would be sceptical of the finding until other laboratories confirmed the result.
Antonio Ereditato, coordinator of the Opera collaboration, told the Guardian: "We are very much astonished by this result, but a result is never a discovery until other people confirm it.
"When you get such a result you want to make sure you made no mistakes, that there are no nasty things going on you didn't think of. We spent months and months doing checks and we have not been able to find any errors.
"If there is a problem, it must be a tough, nasty effect, because trivial things we are clever enough to rule out."
The Opera group said it hoped the physics community would scrutinise the result and help uncover any flaws in the measurement, or verify it with their own experiments.
Subir Sarkar, head of particle theory at Oxford University, said: "If this is proved to be true it would be a massive, massive event. It is something nobody was expecting.
"The constancy of the speed of light essentially underpins our understanding of space and time and causality, which is the fact that cause comes before effect.
"Cause cannot come after effect and that is absolutely fundamental to our construction of the physical universe. If we do not have causality, we are buggered."
The Opera experiment detects neutrinos as they strike 150,000 "bricks" of photographic emulsion films interleaved with lead plates. The detector weighs a total of 1300 tonnes.
Despite the marginal increase on the speed of light observed by Ereditato's team, the result is intriguing because its statistical significance, the measure by which particle physics discoveries stand and fall, is so strong.
Physicists can claim a discovery if the chances of their result being a fluke of statistics are greater than five standard deviations, or less than one in a few million. The Gran Sasso team's result is six standard deviations.
Ereditato said the team would not claim a discovery because the result was so radical. "Whenever you touch something so fundamental, you have to be much more prudent," he said.
Alan Kostelecky, an expert in the possibility of faster-than-light processes at Indiana University, said that while physicists would await confirmation of the result, it was none the less exciting.
"It's such a dramatic result it would be difficult to accept without others replicating it, but there will be enormous interest in this," he told the Guardian.
One theory Kostelecky and his colleagues put forward in 1985 predicted that neutrinos could travel faster than the speed of light by interacting with an unknown field that lurks in the vacuum.
"With this kind of background, it is not necessarily the case that the limiting speed in nature is the speed of light," he said. "It might actually be the speed of neutrinos and light goes more slowly."
Neutrinos are mysterious particles. They have a minuscule mass, no electric charge, and pass through almost any material as though it was not there.
Kostelecky said that if the result was verified – a big if – it might pave the way to a grand theory that marries gravity with quantum mechanics, a puzzle that has defied physicists for nearly a century.
"If this is confirmed, this is the first evidence for a crack in the structure of physics as we know it that could provide a clue to constructing such a unified theory," Kostelecky said.
Heinrich Paes, a physicist at Dortmund University, has developed another theory that could explain the result. The neutrinos may be taking a shortcut through space-time, by travelling from Cern to Gran Sasso through extra dimensions. "That can make it look like a particle has gone faster than the speed of light when it hasn't," he said.
But Susan Cartwright, senior lecturer in particle astrophysics at Sheffield University, said: "Neutrino experimental results are not historically all that reliable, so the words 'don't hold your breath' do spring to mind when you hear very counter-intuitive results like this."
Teams at two experiments known as T2K in Japan and MINOS near Chicago in the US will now attempt to replicate the finding. The MINOS experiment saw hints of neutrinos moving at faster than the speed of light in 2007 but has yet to confirm them.
- ► 2015 (130)
- ► 2014 (599)
- ► 2013 (678)
- ► 2012 (1516)
- lack of sun exposure cause premature aging
- Barefoot Sun Walking Heals the Body and Prevents D...
- 경상도인의 외국 이주가 많은 이유
- 로마는 바그다드까지 먹었다
- 5년간 근친강간 2000건, 짐승의 낙원 한국
- 가야는 임라였다.
- 중국 '아시아, 美軍뒤에 숨지마라' 비판
- '세계 좀비 지도'
- Fastest Cars In The World: Top 10 List 2011-2012
- 중세 영국이 프랑스어를 왕실 공용어로 사용한건 프랑스인이 왕실인이어서 그런것이다.
- wrong use of the term latino, hispanic, spanish in...
- Roman Empire
- Greek Empire
- SUN GAZING PHENOMENA, BROUGHT BACK
- Macedonia Beauty Contest
- ‘살아 있는 전설’ 메시, 194호골로 바르사 역대 최다골 2위 등극
- fastest white man Christophe Lemaitre
- Liposuction may help your heart
- 뒷주머니에 지갑 넣고 앉는 아저씨, 다리 꼬고 앉는 아가씨 … 안됩니다
- 고구려 백제 신라의 성씨 비교
- 육식이 만병의 근원이라는 오해
- 백제가 망하지 않았다면 엄청난 힘을 가졌을껏
- 한일관계의 진정한 뿌리는 바로 신라VS백제다
- 계백은 일본의 감독관이었다
- 에미시와 에조는 다른집단이라더군
- 세계 양대저질민족 영국과 독일
- 몽고반점은 북빵기마민족이라든가 몽골족과 관계없다.
- 이거 알면 백프로 경상도인
- 인터넷에 함부러 글섰다간 취업못한다.
- 프랑스는 최강대국이었다
- 세계 장기 독재자 순위
- 살인의 달인, 살인의 귀재. 백년간 세계 살인마 순위
- 1789년 이전 세계의 위대한 군주 131명
- 일본인은 아이누의 후손이다.
- 흑인들이 못하는 운동
- 사실 전반적 근육량이나 완력자체는 흑인보단 백인들이 더좋다
- 난징학살이라고 주장하는 짤을 분석해보면 무지 또는 왜곡
- 백제의 유물
- 신라의 유물
- Japan may soon lose its top longevity ranking
- Yellow eyelid blobs hint at hidden heart disease
- 비염·성기능 장애·생리불순 … 알고 보니 나쁜 자세 탓
- 경상도에서 족보를 사기 힘든 이유?
- 쌀은 밀에 비해 단백질이 몹시 부족함
- 신라 해적
- '금연하면 성적 능력 향상'
- Smokers don't make better lovers: study
- 통일 신라의 사리함 조각
- 부산 사투리 주차뿔라
- 레몬에이드와 개구리 생존의 과학적 관계?
- Stunning sun photographs taken by amateur
- “회 먹다가 잘못하면”…사람 잡는 비브리오 패혈증
- 모유 수유, 바로 알고 하세요
- 일본 기업 한국 기업 기술원조 내용
- 리오넬 메시, 네스타에 굴욕…바르샤-AC밀란 2:2 무승부
- Nesta dominate messi
- 일본이 한국에 베푼 원조
- a TRICK you can use different accounts between you...
- 도시 사람이 시골 사람보다 건강하다
- 중동 물담배 1시간 흡연이 담배 200개비 흡연과 맞먹는다
- 커피로 차가 움직인다고?…자동차 관련 이색기록들
- 스페인 카탈루냐, ‘투우’ 빨간 천 접는다
- 광개토태왕의 백제정벌로 한반도백제인들이 대거 일본열도로 이주하였다.
- 애벌레를 잡아먹으려다 외려 잡아 먹힌 두꺼비
- 인류의 진화 과정
- “빛보다 빠른 물질 발견”
- 성도착증 ‘자기색정사’
- 청장년 급사 증후군
- “자상한 아빠, 남성호르몬 수치 낮아”
- Faster than light particles found, claim scientist...
- 전주중심의 전북은 충청도와 역사적 인류적 비슷한점이 더 많다
- 전주는 사실 충청권이지
- 아직도 스페어 타이어 달고 다니세요?
- 문화유전자 밈(meme) 동물에게도 있다
- 술이 암을 일으킨다.."정말이었네"(동양인은 서양인에 비해 술이 더 해롭다)
- 포르노의 폐해
- "가습기 살균제 영유아 5명 사망"
- `불타는 무지개` 신비로운 모습 포착
- NASA: Satellite pieces to hit Earth in a week
- Culture Heritage Pompeii villa opens in Paris...
- 남을 감동시킬만한 취미정도는 개발하라
- '뇌를 늙게 만드는 물질, 혈액 속에 있다'
- 삼국통일은 일제시대때 만들어진 용어
- 고구려는 당나라보다 국력이 컸으나 내부분열로 망했다
- Process of growth(pituitary gland)
- Germany or Austria have more african admixture tha...
- 재즈 [jazz]
- 美 "쌀의 기원지는 9000년전 중국 양쯔강" 결론
- 과일 맛을 잡아라! 당도 높이는 법
- '수수' 고지혈증 등 성인병 예방에 탁월
- 브로콜리, 이제 ‘고추냉이’와 함께 드세요
- 서부경남 사투리강좌
- 지루한 미식축구
- The Chemical Sunscreen Health Disaster
- 칠지도 명문에는 백제가 상국이고, 왜국이 속국으로 나와 있다.
- Messi got fat
- 음경 만곡증 부르는 페이로니씨병
- 미 - 녹색지대
- ▼ September (160)