Saturday, September 24, 2011

Unseating Einstein, 08.24.11

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider research facility in Cern have made a discovery that, if proven true, would literally be the greatest scientific discovery of the last 100 years. The researchers are asking other facilities around the world to take their findings and test them to see if they glean the same results. The shocking discovery? They have made the unsettling observation that a certain type of particle is capable of travelling faster than the speed of light.
The particles in question are neutrinos, electrically neutral, weakly-interacting subatomic particles. They can often be found in the emissions from our own star, the sun. They tend to stream directly through things without making hardly any impact, which, with more study, could be the key to something big.
Ever since Albert Einstein published some of his physics theories in 1905 on the basis that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, physics and astronomy calculations have grown and matured around that idea. For the past three years though, Cern has conducted various experiments with over 16,000 of the neutrino particles, and the stunning part is the it was such a simple time of travel calculation. If the results from Cern are confirmed, though, everything will change. Never have scientists ever been so nervous about asking their peers to check their math.
Big deal, you say, so the things move fast. What does this mean for me? Remember that big thing we mentioned earlier that could come about because the neutrinos pass through material with little to no interaction? Scientists are actually hypothesizing that the particles are able to travel as fast as they are because they are actually travelling in between different dimensions. Yeah, we said it; different dimensions. As in, alternate realities. The kind of stuff you only wonder about and see in science fiction. If these findings are confirmed, not only will scientists finally have something to work with to get us started on a path for lightspeed space travel, but travel to alternate dimensions.
If you remember from grade school, many of the “educated” hundreds of years ago believed that everything in our solar system orbited around Earth. Then, more observations were made and the theory was put forward that maybe we weren’t the center of it all, that maybe we orbit the Sun instead. There was huge uproar, some people were ostracized from society and the scientific community, the church had a tendency to call such theories heresy…you get the picture. Eventually, though, people opened up their minds just a bit and started to look at the situation with that little “what if” bug nibbling at the back of their minds, and eventually people came around and began to see how very silly the other idea that they had followed for centuries had been. While it is not confirmed yet – and even the scientists who made the observations are skeptical about it – IF it is confirmed, this discovery would be on that same scale. It would rock the world. So, sit back and grab onto something while some serious math gets done. We’ll keep you posted for tremors.

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