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Neutrinos and the Speed of Light on the Front Pages!

Dark matter, the string theory, particles, the theory of relativity… Unless you have a keen interest for physics and astrophysics, you won’t read about them very often. But since yesterday, neutrinos and the speed of light are on the front pages; who would have thought?

On CNN, Particles appear to travel faster than light: ‘Scientists in Switzerland say an experiment appears to show that tiny particles traveled faster than the speed of light – a result that would seem to defy the laws of nature. The physicists say that neutrinos sent 730 kilometers (453.6 miles) underground between laboratories in Switzerland and Italy arrived a fraction of a second sooner than they should have...’

If this unexpected discovery is confirmed by at least two separate laboratories, it may have two direct implications. First, it would undermine Albert Einstein‘s theory of relativity (nothing can go faster than the speed of light) and therefore it would also question the Standard Model of physics describing the way the universe works. Needless to say it might change many things in physics.

Most importantly, if sub-atomic particles travel faster than light then time travel into the past would theoretically become possible. And this means a lot even if a time-machine will not be build anytime soon. A human is not a neutrino but if confirmed, everything seems possible now.

But first things first: Professor Stephen Hawking, the world’s most well-known physicist, told Reuters: “It is premature to comment on this […] Further experiments and clarifications are needed.”

Nevertheless, this discovery is still very exciting!

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