Friday, September 23, 2011

Neutrinos Pass Through LIght Barrier

Neutrinos are shadowy particles that can pass right through the Earth. For a long time they were thought to be massless, now scientists know that neutrinos have a tiny mass. Neutrinos were found in three flavors: electron, muon and tau. Recently neutrinos were found to change from one flavor to another. These discoveries were not part of the Standard model of particle Physics.

CERN is known for the giant Large Hadron Collider. Built to discover the theorized Higgs boson, LHC has so far failed to find the Higgs. Scientists are beginning to doubt that the Higgs exists at all. If the Higgs boson is not found, the Standard model will be in jeopardy. Other experiments at CERN may be just as important for Physics.

Today researchers from CERN will announce that neutrinos can travel faster than light. From Nature.com:

Particles Break Light Speed Limit

The OPERA detector is located 1400 meters underground and 730 km from CERN. OPERA is designed to detect neutrinos emanating from CERN experiments. By timing neutrino travel over this baseline, researchers can say with confidence that they have exceeded the speed of light. For a long time that speed was considered an inviolable constant. As followers of this blog know, c is slowing down. All things change with time, and someday a constant speed of light will be seen as just a stipulation.