The universe originated with a celestial bang 13.7 billion years ago, a rapid expansion and cooling without which life as we know it would not exist. Or did it? Scientists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (or “CERN”) have tentatively discovered a particle that travels faster than the speed of light.
Einstein’s theory of relativity (E=MC2) relies on the speed of light as the maximum speed in nature. Without this theory, explanations of the Big Bang to black holes become shrouded in doubt. The discovery is awaiting verification expected to take place in the US and Japan. MSNBC reports:
“CERN says a neutrino beam fired from a particle accelerator near Geneva to a lab 454 miles (730 kilometers) away in Italy traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light. Scientists calculated the margin of error at just 10 nanoseconds, making the difference statistically significant.” According to John Ellis, a theoretical physicist at CERN, special relativity is relied upon by “pretty much everything in modern physics.” The neutrinos in question are reported to have broken the speed barrier of 186,282 miles per second.
Humankind may have yet another great mystery to consider.