Last week we revisited the anniversary of the breaking of the speed of sound. It was a great accomplishment, which changed the way we thought about limits.
This week we have to look at the recent CERN experiment.
For those not familiar, it seemed that the speed of light is not an absolute limit. The scientists at CERN sent a neutrino across the continent. The neutrino arrived 60.7 nanoseconds before expected.
Does this mean the speed of light has been broken?
CERN itself is not speculating. In fact, they have asked the scientific community to repeat the experiment and see if the results hold up. So far, as far as I can tell, not one has agreed to do so.
There has been rampant speculation as to how the results have been skewed by one thing or another. There has been talk of how the scientific method has not been adhered to. But there has no one to accept the challenge that CERN has put forth.
I was first introduced to the neutrino by the writings of Isaac Asimov. In researching this article, I found that he published a book in 1975 titled Neutrino: Ghost Particle of the Atom. I am quite sure that this doesn’t read as well as his fiction works, so I never attempted it.
The neutrino was first thought of in 1930 by Wolfgang Pauli. The neutrino is thought to be very low mass or even no mass, which would make it a particle of pure energy. Pure energy, according to Einstein is the only thing that can achieve the speed of light.
Some have suggested that the neutrino did not exceed the speed of light, but traveled through another dimension. This would be a stretch for most scientific thought, but kudos for those of us who understand the concept of alternate universes.
In short, this news from CERN may well be one of the first cracks in the absolute limit of the speed of light. Will it allow man to travel faster, or maybe just a way of communicating at higher speeds. Perhaps it will be a way of maintain instantaneous communication with outposts in the further reaches of our solar system, or even the galaxy.
Maybe Sprint, ATT or Verizon can use this technology to speed up phone service, and have fewer dropped calls. The travel of the neutrino is not affected by objects of mass. Cell phone towers could go the way of the dinosaur.
Neutrino technology could be the next greatest steps of mankind. The atomic age may pass and the dawn of the neutrino age could be upon us!
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