Sept 23, 2011
PARIS — Physicists reported Thursday that sub-atomic particles called neutrinos can travel faster than light, a finding that — if verified — would blast a hole in Einstein’s theory of relativity.
In experiments conducted between the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland and a laboratory in Italy, the tiny particles were clocked at 300,006 kilometres per second, about six km/sec faster that the speed of light, the researchers said.
“This result comes as a complete surprise,” said physicist Antonio Ereditato, spokesman for the experiment, known as OPERA. “We wanted to measure the speed of neutrinos, but we didn’t expect to find anything special.”
Scientists spent nearly six months “checking, testing, controlling and rechecking everything” before making an announcement, he said.