by Jan W '13 by Ricardo A '13

A Word on Science: Neutrinos

Until recently, it was a widely accepted notion that the fastest possible speed was the speed of light at 299,792,458 m/s. But new information about neutrinos, subatomic particles, has surfaced revealing that its own speed may be faster than the speed of light. These tiny particles whose mass is close to 0 penetrate all mass in the known universe, including the sun.
Neutrinos were first postulated in 1930 by Wolfgang Pauli, known for his contributions to the field of electron configurations. The first image of a neutrino was taken with the aid of a hydrogen bubble chamber, in which a neutrino hit the proton of a hydrogen atom on November 13, 1970. This occurrence was thereafter known as “The Neutrino Event.” The method’s of neutrino isolation have received among many, the 1995 Nobel Prize. These particles are still being investigated by scientists to this very day. One group of European physicists has recently provided suitable evidence that may or may not defame Einsteins’s energy-mass equivalence theorem, E=MC2, in which M is Mass, E is Energy and C is the speed of light. According to those present at the meeting in the CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research), neutrinos racing from a particle accelerator intently observed by many gaping scientists and professors, defied the widely believed ideology that mass cannot travel faster than the speed of light, or ‘C.’ The tiny law-defying particles traveled from the CERN center from Geneva to a cavern under Gran Sasso, Italy, a total of 450 miles, about 60 seconds faster than it would have taken a beam of light. This means that the neutrinos traveled at a speed that was approximately 0.0025% faster than the speed of light. The consequences of such a discovery can affect the way media consumers think of using their technology. Should scientists devise a method to control the circumstances under which neutrinos are able the break the speed of light, e-mail data packets could travel through time within a timespan of a few years. Space crafts would become time transports, and wireless networks would operate at speeds much faster than those of the most technologically advanced corporations and institutions.
Imagine being able to submit a paper on turnitin 4 nanoseconds before the time that it’s due. Imagine sending emails that are the size of a Windows operating system in a matter of milliseconds. These seemingly ‘far-fetched’ possibilities conceived in the 1960’s are now transcending what we thought was directly, humanely and physically possible.


By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

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