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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lightspeed limit broken by neutrinos, reports CERN

Those clever boffins (as our British brethren love to call such technical folk) at CERN in Switzerland have really made a mess of things this time: they've recorded neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light.

If their determinations hold up, then a whole lotta physics is gonna have to be overhauled. Einstein held that the speed of light in a vacuum was an immutable, impassable barrier, and for most of the past century a lot of our understanding and technology has been based on that. And now... Einstein's model of relativity stands to be revisited, revised, and possibly amended considerably.

But as with all such announcements, a measure of temperance and consideration is warranted. Jon Butterworth has posted an excellent essay on The Guardian's website about the ramifications of CERN's findings, including how it's possible that neutrinos might not have broken the speed of light.

But if CERN's measurements hold up, this is gonna play all kinds of wacky havoc with causality. Hey, in the future I might even be able to post an entry on this blog before I even begin to type it! Neat, aye? :-P