Particles break the speed of light

International scientists make breakthrough discovery as sub-atomic particles are found to be quicker than the speed of light.

September 24, 2011 09:15
1 minute read.
Space (illustrative).

space 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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As physicists continue to wrestle with the mysteries of the universe, there was one rule at least that seemed inviolable: Einstein's theory that nothing could beat the speed of light.

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Today scientists in Geneva however are unveiling a stunning piece of research that could disprove this law - and shake up our entire comprehension of time and space.

They measured the time it took neutrinos - a type of sub atomic particle - to travel the 730km distance from Geneva to a sister lab in Italy.

To their astonishment, they discovered out that the neutrinos seemed to have been recorded traveling 60 nanoseconds, or a billionth of a second, faster than light.

Researcher and particle physicist Dario Autiero was part of the team.

"It is the first time that we have experimental evidence of a particle travelling faster than light, which is completely unexpected in physics as we know it," Autiero said.

Neutrinos are mysterious sub-atomic particles which can pass undetected through matter, including the human body.

The most common particle in the universe, they originate from the sun, and radioactive disintegration.

More than a century after Einstein presented his special theory of relativity, this discovery - if accurate - could revolutionize modern-day physics.

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