The physics community is abuzz about a paper to be published on arxiv.org today that indicates neutrinos can travel faster than the speed of light. If true, the results will open up new physics in which Einstein’s relativity doesn’t hold true.
The new results stem from the OPERAexperiments run jointly by the CERN particle research center near Geneva and the Gran Sasso Laboratory in central Italy. The experiments involve neutrinos travelling underground from the CERN facility to the Italian lab, a distance of around 500 miles. The physicists involved wanted to see how many muon neutrinos would “change flavor” on the journey and arrive as tau neutrinos.
Over OPERA’s three years of neutrino firing, the researchers recorded the particles showing up 60 nanoseconds (60 billionths of a second) sooner than light would over the same distance. Over 15,000 firings took place over the three year period, lending a high level of statistical significance to the figures.