Friday, September 23, 2011
Nerd News: Faster than the speed of light?
From The Associated Press
GENEVA — A startling find at one of the world's foremost laboratories that a subatomic particle seemed to move faster than the speed of light has scientists around the world rethinking Albert Einstein and one of the foundations of physics.
Now they are planning to put the finding to further high-speed tests to see if a revolutionary shift in explaining the workings of the universe is needed _ or if the European scientists made a mistake.
Researchers at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research outside Geneva, who announced the discovery Thursday are still somewhat surprised themselves and planned to detail their findings on Friday.
If these results are confirmed, they won't change at all the way we live or the way the universe behaves.
After all, these particles have presumably been speed demons for billions of years. But the finding will fundamentally change our understanding of how the world works, physicists said.
Only two labs elsewhere in the world can try to replicate the results. One is Fermilab outside Chicago and the other is a Japanese lab put on hold by the March tsunami and earthquake.
Going faster than light is something that is just not supposed to happen according to Einstein's 1905 special theory of relativity _ the one made famous by the equation E equals mc2. The speed of light _ 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second) _ has long been considered a cosmic speed limit.