Sub-Atomic particle that Travels Faster than Light

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fastest Particle

Scientists from the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics in collaboration with OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-Tracking Apparatus) have conducted an experiment which shows that sub-atomic particles, neutrino travel faster than light. The findings could well prove Einstein’s theory of relativity wrong, which states that nothing travels faster than light.

The experiment was conducted at the Gran Sasso, an underground laboratory in Rome. Neutrino beams were pumped from CERN in Switzerland to Gran Sasso about 720 km away. The experiment yielded results which showed that the particles were 60 nanoseconds faster than light. An earlier experiment in September stated that neutrinos were faster than light, however, many physicists back then voiced their concerns over the experiment’s accuracy. This prompted researchers to undertake the experiment for a second time.

When results of the first experiment was announced several physicists stated that there might be an error because the neutrinos generated at CERN were wide enough that could translate into errors. Therefore, scientists in the second experiment were more cautious. Another error pointed out by critiques was that the pulses of neutrinos sent were relatively long, around 10 microseconds each that could make a huge difference in calculation. Researchers therefore shortened the time interval to 524 nanoseconds. CERN scientists are now planning to fortify the evidence further by analogous measurements performed elsewhere in the world. 

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