No, We Didn’t Actually Break The Speed Of Light– It Was A Loose Cable
Last October, I got really excited thinking that the world was closer to time travel. But alas, it looks like my century-hopping adventures will have to wait, as new information shows that scientists in Europe did not actually record particles travelling faster than the speed of light. The shocking result was apparently the result of a loose cable connection.
Physicists at the CERN laboratory in Geneva made the astounding announcement last fall that they had possibly recorded neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. The scientists approached this possibility with great skepticism from the very beginning, vowing to scour their data for the assumed error.
Why the big deal? Because most of modern science is built on the principle that nothing can travel faster than light (about 186,000 miles per second). Albert Einstein and his “special theory of relativity” made this essentially the speed limit of the universe, and for over a hundred years, no one has proved him wrong.
Al got his props once again this week when a bad connection was discovered in the GPS system that tracked the neutrinos travel and corrected timing. (Not an easy discovery– according to the BBC, the Large Hadron Collider contains 4,723 miles of cable, “enough to circle the earth six times.”) When the cable was tightened, the 60 nanosecond discrepancy that rocked the scientific world disappeared. More thorough tests will be conducted, but the mystery seems to be solved.
What do you think? Are you going to retire your DeLorean just yet?