Photo: Sebastian Niedlich (Flickr)
Indiana University physics professor Alan Kostelecky began studying the possibility of faster than light particles more than 25 years ago. His suspicions seemed to be confirmed this week.
“The collaboration has spent two years pinning everything down, double checking everything to find out what might be going on,” Kostelecky said. “And their finally declaring look, you know this is what we see and they’re opening it up to the scientific community to see if they can spot something that’s going on or reproduce the results.”
Many physicists are skeptical of the findings – saying it could just be a timing error in the billionths-of-a-second range. Kostelecky said critic’s doubts are valid given how difficult the experiment is.
“These neutrinos travel the 730 kilometers in something like two and a half seconds. And what they’re doing is measuring the time it takes within ten billionths of a second so it’s an extraordinarily accurate measure in time.”
According to Kostelecky, it will take at least several months until physicists can duplicate the experiment. Still he says, even if the findings are true, there is no reason to throw out Einstein’s Theory of Relativity because in nearly all equations it will still hold true.