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Did Einstein get it (relatively) wrong?
#1
Scientists told the world of their astonishment yesterday after they apparently recorded particles travelling faster than the speed of light.
If their calculations are correct, they have disproved Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity – the cornerstone of physics.
Subatomic particles called neutrinos were beamed from the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland to a laboratory in Italy 454 miles away, and beat the speed of light by 60 nanoseconds.


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It raises science fiction scenarios such as sending information back in time and blurring the line between past and present.
As experts across the world expressed their shock – and cynicism – the physicists at CERN insisted they had tested and re-tested the findings for six months and could not find anything to alter the result.
If they are right the neutrinos made the journey in 0.0024 seconds, travelling at 299,798,454 metres per second.
The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 metres per second, meaning that the neutrinos completed the distance 60 billionths of a second faster than light, scientists told a press conference in Geneva yesterday.
The result is so unprecedented, even the lead researcher Dr Antonio Ereditato has described it as ‘crazy’ and called on his colleagues to do the same test and see if it can be replicated
It’s a very big deal,’ he said. ‘If you’ve got something travelling faster than light, it requires a complete re-writing of our understanding of the universe.
‘The reason everyone is cautious is because Einstein’s theory of special relativity says that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light and that’s the basis of our understanding of physics.
‘The reason you can’t build a time machine and go flying around like Doctor Who into the past is because the speed of light is protected – it’s the universal speed limit.’
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#2
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The scientists – who did not set out to disprove Einstein’s 1905 theory, but were testing other things – used 16,000 neutrinos, which are tiny, almost weightless particles produced by nuclear reactions such as the Big Bang or star formation
Neutrinos are said to be ‘ghostly’ because they can travel through anything. Billions of them pass through our bodies every day.
They were beamed through the Earth’s crust from the collider in Switzerland to a lab in Italy, where vast underground detectors received them.
Dr Alan Watson, a physicist at Birmingham University said: ‘It raises the idea that if person A sends a text to person B, someone travelling quickly in the other direction could see B receive it before A sends it.’




Others were more cynical. Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey, said: ‘Let me put my money where my mouth is: if the CERN experiment proves to be correct and neutrinos have broken the speed of light, I will eat my boxer shorts on live TV.’


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If true, the findings would break a fundamental pillar of science and Einstein's special theory of relativity: The famous E (equals) mc2 equation
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