Hullo my lil’ Black Sheep. BadBabbler here. Dunno if you heard, but those ridiculous scientific minds and possible black hole creators at Switzerland’s CERN have found that certain particles called Neutrinos are able to travel faster than the speed of light.
Let me explain firstly however, that I am in no way a scientific authority, nor do I have anything resembling an academic certificate in anything even closely related to particle physics. I just find this shit interesting.
The CERN facility is most famous for it’s Large Hadron Collider, a machine whose job is to throw subatomic particles at each other at near the speed of light in hopes of smashing them apart and then taking scientific readings of the debris that comes spilling out. The eggheads hope to discover the building blocks of our universe and answer some fundamental questions on how reality itself began. They do this for shits and giggles, obviously.
This particular experiment involved sending a neutrino beam 450-odd miles of solid rock from Geneva to Italy. The particles appeared to arrive at the detector 60 billionth of a second faster than light would have taken to cover the same distance, hence the light speed aspect. The experiments have been carried out by the Opera collaboration – short for Oscillation Project with Emulsion (T)racking Apparatus. Which y’all totally needed to know.
This is interesting and revelatory because of Einstein, whose theory of relativity posits that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light within a vacuum. It is one of the tenants of physics and without it our understanding of the universe falls from ‘We really don’t know much’ to ‘we know fuck all.’ So lots of scientists were a bit angry about it. In fact, this fool, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, a physicist from the University of Sussex, England, announced on Newsnight (the BBC’s popular nightly news analysis show) that if the results were repeated, he’d eat his boxer shorts live on air. Well guess what kids? The results were repeated with an even greater degree of accuracy. WHERE’S MY VIDEO OF A PHYSICIST EATING HIS UNDERWEAR? HMM? Ahem… anyway, I love this part mostly because the guy’s acting like our scientific understanding has never, ever undergone a radical upheaval ever in the history of the world. The arrogance is delicious.
As for the ramifications of this discovery, well no-one’s sure yet of course. This is all cutting edge physics involving billion pound equipment that is 27 kilometres long. And has almost certainly proven that our understanding of physics is incorrect. Antonio Zichichi, head science cheese at the University of Bologna, Italy elaborates further for the stupid chimp brains of the newspapers who contacted him;
“If you give up the speed of light, then the construction of special relativity falls down.”
Thanks for that Antonio.
As for practical, everyday applications, well, we’re in early days aren’t we? But come on! Its LIGHT SPEED. As in Faster Than Light, or FTL or Hyperspace or Warp Speed! I’m basically starting up a fund that will pay for my intergalactic cruise to Alpha Centurai. I expect to go before my 70th birthday. I’d better not still be on this fetid ball of water and dust by then, or I WILL be angry.