2011 Science News of the Year: Atom & Cosmos | Science News

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2011 Science News of the Year: Atom & Cosmos

12:10pm, December 19, 2011

Not so fast, neutrinos

News of particles zipping along faster than light (SN: 10/22/11, p. 18) was met with universal skepticism — including from the physicists in Italy who reported the results. But the Gran Sasso National Laboratory’s OPERA team hasn’t found any source of error that could explain how the neutrinos appeared to shave 60 nanoseconds off of light-speed travel time while covering the 730 kilometers from the CERN physics laboratory near Geneva to Gran Sasso.

Einstein’s special theory of relativity says such speeds shouldn’t be attainable. And even if they were, the neutrinos would have shed observable energy during flight, report physicists at Boston University (SN: 11/5/11, p. 10). Critics suggest that at the different locales gravity may have pulled on the clocks w

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