News & AnalysisSpecial Relativity

From Geneva to Italy Faster Than a Speeding Photon?

Science  30 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6051, pp. 1809
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6051.1809

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When news spread last week that physicists in Europe had spotted subatomic particles called neutrinos traveling faster than light, some of their colleagues reacted with incredulity. After all, the observation would contradict Einstein's special theory of relativity, which says that nothing can travel faster than light. Jim Al-Khalili, a theorist at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, even vowed to eat his boxer shorts on live television if the result holds up. But if it does, physicists won't be quite as bewildered as such reactions imply. Some have already developed a theoretical framework that can handle faster-than-light neutrinos and all other potential breaches of special relativity.