Added by Nigel Shelbourne on November 18, 2011
A new trial of a previous experiment that showed sub-atomic particles called neutrinos could travel faster than the speed of light appears to provide further evidence that the results may be conclusive, according to scientists on Friday.
The experiment could challenge the long-held Einstein theory that nothing in the universe could travel faster than the speed of light – a key aspect in our understanding on how the universe works.
In a statement, scientists said the new experiment excludes one effect that may have affected the original measurements taken earlier this year. The scientists said that had checked and rechecked anything that could have produced erroneous results or misreadings before making the announcement.
If confirmed by others repeating the same experiment, the findings could prove that Einstein’s theory of special relativity, where the speed of light as a cosmic constant, was incorrect in stating that nothing could travel faster than light. This could lead scientists and researchers to rethink theories about how the universe works and it could allow scientists to send information into the past.
Some researchers remain unconvinced, saying that the new experiment did remove some of the potential errors that occurred in the previous experiment, and that the search is not over, yet a number of other possible effects still need to be checked.
“Ultimately, full independent confirmation will be required before accepting this result as accurate,” said Christos Touramanis, a researcher involved in scrutinizing the results of the experiments.