A Refreshing Change in Science News Coverage

I was reading the Wichita Eagle over breakfast Thursday and saw a fascinating story that Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity” might be proven false.

European researchers said they clocked an oddball type of subatomic particle called a neutrino going faster than the 186,282 miles per second that has long been considered the cosmic speed limit.

The claim was met with skepticism, with one outside physicist calling it the equivalent of saying you have a flying carpet. In fact, the researchers themselves are not ready to proclaim a discovery and are asking other physicists to independently try to verify their findings.

“The feeling that most people have is this can’t be right, this can’t be real,” said James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, which provided the particle accelerator that sent neutrinos on their breakneck 454-mile trip underground from Geneva to Italy.

Going faster than light is something that is just not supposed to happen according to Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity — the one made famous by the equation E = mc2. But no one is rushing out to rewrite the science books just yet.

It is “a revolutionary discovery if confirmed,” said Indiana University theoretical physicist Alan Kostelecky, who has worked on this concept for a quarter of a century.

Stephen Parke, who is head theoretician at the Fermilab near Chicago and was not part of the research, said: “It’s a shock. It’s going to cause us problems, no doubt about that — if it’s true.”



The entire story is here.

It was so refreshing to read about someone challenging conventional science without terms like “denier” or “skeptic” or other pejoratives. Nice job, Eagle. 

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