Put down your drink. Remove any cats or children from your lap. Take a big breath.
Today researchers at the CERN physics laboratory announced that a three year study has shown “with a high level of confidence” that neutrinos can travel faster than the speed of light. I first saw this story in Al Jazeera, which is a good news source. I thought that they *must* have got it wrong, however, and went to Google. I found a number of other reports, most of them reprints of a Reuters article, but these were better:
- Geoff Brumfiel, Nature Magazine (as reprinted in Scientific American): Particles Found to Travel Faster than Speed of Light
- Nick Collins, UK Telegraph: Speed of light ‘broken’ by scientists
- Adam Frank, NPR: Scientists Report Breaking The Speed Of Light, But Can It Be True?
Yeah. I’m in shock too. While the Dow plunges, scumbag rulers in Syria and Bahrain kill their own people, and many in America and elsewhere can’t find jobs, I can understand why this hasn’t seized all the attention. But it should. If the findings of this highly reputable group of researchers who did what appears to have been an exemplary experiment multiple thousands of times over a three-year period are confirmed, then the foundations of modern physics just went *poof*.
And the great adventure — “finding things out”, as physicist and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman put it — just got even greater. What next?