New test finds neutrinos still faster than light

 

Scientists are becoming more confident that they will be able to
contradict Einstein's assertion that nothing can travel faster than
light, after carrying out another test.

Italian physicists first made the startling claim in September but have now repeated an adapted version of their experiment, which produced the same result.

The test suggests that sub-atomic particles called neutrinos can break the barrier.

If such tests can be repeated, they would challenge one of the fundamental assumptions of modern physics.

Scientists yesterday submitted their latest findings to the Journal of High Energy Physics for consideration.

They said that they had waited until now to submit the paper to take into account suggestions from other scientists and carry out a new test.

They beamed neutrinos through 730 kilometres (454 miles) of rock from the nuclear research facility Cern in Switzerland to Gran Sasso, Italy.

A light beam would take 2.4 milliseconds to travel the distance - but both experiments have shown a neutrino can beat it there by 60 billionths of a second.

In 1905, Albert Einstein stated in his theory of special relativity that nothing can travel faster than a light beam in a vacuum - 168,282 miles per second.

According to the theory, it would take an infinite amount of energy to exceed light speed.

The tests were carried out by Opera - the Oscillation Project with Emulsion Tracking Apparatus.

Fernando Ferroni, president of the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics, said: "A measurement so delicate and carrying a profound implication on physics requires an extraordinary level of scrutiny.

"The experiment Opera, thanks to a specially adapted Cern beam, has made an important test of consistency of its result.

"The positive outcome of the test makes us more confident in the result, although a final word can only be said by analogous measurements performed elsewhere in the world."

Physicists in Japan will now try to repeat the experiment, with the help of scientists from Liverpool University.

Professor Themis Bowcock, head of the university's particle physics team, said: "Should neutrinos travel faster than light, it would overthrow our ideas of the structure of space and time.

"Physicists are therefore treating the results of the experiment with caution and looking to test them again through our separate experiments to be certain of what these results are telling us.

"The University of Liverpool team is working in Japan, which can measure neutrino velocities over a slightly shorter distance (230km) from Tokai to Kamiokande on the T2K (Tokai to Kamiokande) experiment."

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive + incentives + uncapped comms: SThree:...

Ashdown Group: Reporting & Analytics Supervisor - Buckinghamshire - £36,000

£34000 - £36000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Analytics & Reporting Tea...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Developer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a world leader ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future