That's faster than the speed of light, you idiot!  SEP 23 2011

Physicists at CERN believe they have observed neutrinos moving at speeds faster than the speed of light, a feat previously assumed to be impossible.

Thousands of experiments have been undertaken to measure it ever more precisely, and no result has ever spotted a particle breaking the limit.

But Dr Ereditato and his colleagues have been carrying out an experiment for the last three years that seems to suggest neutrinos have done just that.

Neutrinos come in a number of types, and have recently been seen to switch spontaneously from one type to another.

The team prepares a beam of just one type, muon neutrinos, sending them from Cern to an underground laboratory at Gran Sasso in Italy to see how many show up as a different type, tau neutrinos.

In the course of doing the experiments, the researchers noticed that the particles showed up 60 billionths of a second sooner than light would over the same distance.

This is a tiny fractional change, but one that occurs consistently.

The team measured the travel times of neutrino bunches some 15,000 times, and have reached a level of statistical significance that in scientific circles would count as a formal discovery.

If true, saying this is a significant discovery is a doubly significant understatement.

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