by Daily Mail Reporter

26 September 2011

from DailyMail Website



Findings would disprove Einstein's theory of relativity.
CERN claims neutrinos went faster than the cosmic speed barrier of 186,282 miles per second

(299,792 kilometers per second).
A neutrino beam fired from a particle accelerator near Geneva to a lab 454 miles away in Italy traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light



Jim Al-Khalili,

pictured at this year's Cheltenham Science Festival,

has poured scorn on the claims

Scientists spoke of their disbelief yesterday over claims that particles have apparently been recorded travelling faster than the speed of light.

If the calculations are correct, the findings by physicists at the CERN research centre they have disproved Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity - the cornerstone of physics.

Subatomic particles called neutrinos were beamed from the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland to a laboratory in Italy 454 miles away, and beat the speed of light by 60 nanoseconds.

But other scientists have dismissed the claims, with one saying he 'would eat his shorts' if they are proved right.

Celebrity scientist Brain Cox was not so dismissive, saying that if the results are confirmed it would be,

'one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time'.

Others were more cynical.


Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey, said:

‘Let me put my money where my mouth is: if the CERN experiment proves to be correct and neutrinos have broken the speed of light, I will eat my boxer shorts on live TV.’

The apparent findings raises science fiction scenarios such as sending information back in time and blurring the line between past and present.

As experts across the world expressed their shock - and cynicism - the physicists at CERN insisted they had tested and re-tested the findings for six months and could not find anything to alter the result.

If they are right the neutrinos made the journey in 0.0024 seconds, travelling at 299,798,454 meters per second. (Wikipedia: speed of light = 299,792,458 meters per second.)

Scientists at he European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, outside Geneva say they have clocked subatomic particles, called neutrinos, traveling faster than light

Scientists at he European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, outside Geneva

say they have clocked subatomic particles, called neutrinos, traveling faster than light

The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 meters per second, meaning that the neutrinos completed the distance 60 billionths of a second faster than light, scientists told a press conference in Geneva yesterday.

The result is so unprecedented, even the lead researcher Dr Antonio Ereditato has described it as ‘crazy’ and called on his colleagues to do the same test and see if it can be replicated.

He said:

‘We tried to find all possible explanations for this. We wanted to find a mistake - trivial mistakes, more complicated mistakes or nasty effects. We spent months and months doing checks and we have not been able to find any.’


If true, the findings would break a fundamental pillar of science

and Einstein's special theory of relativity:

The famous E (equals) mc2 equation

TV physics professor Brian Cox said if correct it was a huge discovery which opened the possibility of time travel.

‘It’s a very big deal,’ he said. ‘If you’ve got something travelling faster than light, it requires a complete re-writing of our understanding of the universe.

‘The reason everyone is cautious is because Einstein’s theory of special relativity says that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light and that’s the basis of our understanding of physics.

‘The reason you can’t build a time machine and go flying around like Doctor Who into the past is because the speed of light is protected - it’s the universal speed limit.’

The scientists - who did not set out to disprove Einstein’s 1905 theory, but were testing other things - used 16,000 neutrinos, which are tiny, almost weightless particles produced by nuclear reactions such as the Big Bang or star formation.

Neutrinos are said to be ‘ghostly’ because they can travel through anything. Billions of them pass through our bodies every day.

They were beamed through the Earth’s crust from the collider in Switzerland to a lab in Italy, where vast underground detectors received them. One possible reason for the incredible result is a miscalculation in either the distance or time.


Only another test using a different path will tell - which could be carried out using colliders in the U.S. and Japan.


How the Hadron Collider works

Dr Alan Watson, a physicist at Birmingham University said:

‘It raises the idea that if person A sends a text to person B, someone travelling quickly in the other direction could see B receive it before A sends it.’

The institute collaborated with Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory for the experiment at CERN.

Katsanevas said help could also come from the T2K experiment in Japan, though that is currently on hold after the country's devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Scientists agree if the results are confirmed, that it would force a fundamental rethink of the laws of nature.

Einstein's special relativity theory that says energy equals mass times the speed of light squared underlies,

'pretty much everything in modern physics,' said John Ellis, a theoretical physicist at CERN who was not involved in the experiment. 'It has worked perfectly up until now.'

He cautioned that the neutrino researchers would have to explain why similar results weren't detected before, such as when an exploding star - or supernova - was observed in 1987.

'This would be such a sensational discovery if it were true that one has to treat it extremely carefully,' said Ellis.

CERN has a 27-kilometer (17-mile) tunnel

in which physicists shoot particles, seen here in a file photo