The PJ Tatler

Neutrinos Clocked Traveling Faster than Light?


A pillar of physics – that nothing can go faster than the speed of light – appears to be smashed by an oddball subatomic particle that has apparently made a giant end run around Albert Einstein’s theories.

Scientists at the world’s largest physics lab said Thursday they have clocked neutrinos traveling faster than light. That’s something that according to Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity – the famous E (equals) mc2 equation – just doesn’t happen.

“The feeling that most people have is this can’t be right, this can’t be real,” said James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The organization, known as CERN, hosted part of the experiment, which is unrelated to the massive $10 billion Large Hadron Collider also located at the site.

That brings us to the best part of the article.

Gillies told The Associated Press that the readings have so astounded researchers that they are asking others to independently verify the measurements before claiming an actual discovery.

“They are inviting the broader physics community to look at what they’ve done and really scrutinize it in great detail, and ideally for someone elsewhere in the world to repeat the measureme

They want their work checked. Would that other scientists in some other fields followed that admirable lead.

I’d be willing to bet that this doesn’t hold up. Either the original team or others will find a flaw somewhere. But good on this group for doing work that challenges the consensus and then asking others to double check them. That is how science works — by challenging, rather than embracing and enforcing — the consensus. Galileo, Hubble and Einstein would appreciate the consensus challengers a whole lot more than the consensus enforcers.

Or, maybe not. Einstein famously added a “fudge factor” to combat Hubble’s findings on the beginning of the universe when those challenged Einstein’s steady state assumptions.