Two months after CERN released the staggering news emerged on 21st September last that light speed had – apparently – been exceeded, scientists are still checking and rechecking the experiment that produced the result.
The reason for all the checking is that if the speed of light was shown to be broken, it would overturn a huge chunk of our current understanding of physics, including Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity (1905), and, by correlation, the Universe.
So, the scientists at CERN have checked all possible points of error, and the result still stands. Next, the result will be checked by outside parties, to independently confirm the result, or not. That will take another six months or so.
Dr Ronan McNulty is a physicist at UCD, who also works at CERN, so he is well placed to talk about the experiment that showed light had – possibly – been exceeded a few months ago, and what has been happening since then.
Broadcast on 103.2 Dublin City FM 24.11.2011