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
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power