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Neutrinos Doing Faster than the Speed of Light
is not a Problem for
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.


Recently scientists at CERN reported measuring neutrinos going faster than the speed of light. The amount is only 20 parts per million or faster than light. Given that the speed of light is 299,792,458 m/s these neutrinos were going 6 km/s faster than light which could easily be an experimental error. What they actually measured was the neutrinos traveled 732,251.52  meters (455 miles) in less time than light would make the same trip

However even if it is not experimental error it is not a problem for Special Relativity since not traveling at or faster than the light only applies to particles with a real non zero rest mass. A particle like a photon that has a zero rest mass travels at the speed of light. Particles that travel faster than light have been speculated for years under the name tachyons. Tachyons would have a negative imaginary rest mass giving it a real non zero mass at speeds above the speed of light.

There is also another way around the light barrier. There are quantum effects like quantum tunneling that allow particles to instantly skip over an area of space without actually going through it while traveling sub light through the space it does go through thus not violating Special Relativity. In this case the neutrinos would have had to has jumped over a total of 14.645 meters. (48 feet)


 

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