Einstein may be wrong, relatively speaking
Published 23/09/2011 | 05:00
IT is the most famous scientific equation of them all but late last night it emerged Eistein's theory of special relativity may be wrong.
The science world was left in shock when workers at the world's largest physics lab announced they had recorded subatomic particles travelling faster than the speed of light -- a feat that Einstein said was impossible.
If the findings are proven to be accurate, they would overturn one of the pillars of the Standard Model of physics, which explains the way the universe and everything within it works.
Einstein's theory of special relativity, proposed in 1905, states that nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.
However esearchers at the CERN lab near Geneva now claim that they have recorded neutrinos, a type of tiny particle, travelling faster than the barrier of 186,282 miles (300,000 kilometres) per second.
The results have so astounded researchers that American and Japanese scientists have been asked to verify the results before they are confirmed as a discovery.
Announcing the discovery last night Antonio Ereditato, spokesman for the team of researchers at the lab, said: "We have high confidence in our results. We have checked and rechecked for anything that could have distorted our measurements but we found nothing."
Scientists agree that if the results are confirmed, that it would force a fundamental rethink of the complete laws of physics.
Reacting to the momentous discovery yesterday John Ellis, who is a theoretical physicist but who was not however, involved in the latest experiment, said that in his opinion Einstein's theory underlies "pretty much everything in modern physics". (© Daily Telegraph, London)