In you thought the speed of light is the fatstest speed think again, because now, there is a reason to doubt the theory. On Friday, a a group of researchers in switzerland announced they have found some particles that travel faster than light.
If you grew up believing, like most of us, that the speed of light is the fastest you could go, now is a good time to be amazed. Scientists have discovered that there are some particles that seem to travel faster than light, thus challenging Einstein’s theory of relativity, but also the law of physics which stipulates that nothing can travel faster than light.
The world would be thankful that there are scientists who do not stop experimenting just because Albert Einstein developed a theory and just because there are immutable laws of physics. This keeps the world moving forward and evolving. In the underground studying facility between Switzerland and Italy, the neutrinos sent 730 km arrived to destination a fraction of a second sooner than expected. The discovery was announced on Friday by a group of researchers based at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Switzerland.
The result is based on the careful observation of more than 15,000 bunches of neutrinos sent between Italy and Switzerland.It was a total surprise for the researchers involved in the project that is called “The Opera project”. Professor Neville Harnew, head of particle physics at Oxford, even stated that the results came “totally out of the blue”.
The scientists working on the Opera project will continue their research and are “also looking forward to independent measurements to fully asses the nature of this observation”, as stated by Antonio Ereditato from the University of Bern. Since neutrinos are unstable and hard to study, it is very important that other experiments be conducted very carefully before drawing any other conclusions.
Neutrinos are an electrically neutral subatomic particles, emitted during the process of radioactive decay and have a tiny mass, passing through matter without interacting with anything else. Not so many laboratories in the world can handle the study of neutrinos, CERN being one of the few. The research director at CERN, Sergio Bertolucci, said that “when and experiment finds an apparently unbelievable result, (…)it’s normal procedure to invite broader scrutiny.” This makes all the more sense as we are talking about a discovery that might change science as we know it.
We can only wait and see what will further experiments unveil.