Letters | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.

Letters to the Editor


2:41pm, March 9, 2012

Pondering speedy neutrinos
Regarding “Hints of a flaw in special relativity” (SN: 10/22/11, p. 18), there could be a simple explanation for neutrinos being measured as traveling faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. While a vacuum is typically defined as a space entirely devoid of matter, in fact a vacuum is a busy medium with virtual particles continually being created and destroyed. Light passing through a vacuum is affected by such activity. 
Neutrinos have such low interactions that they can pass through a lead wall several hundred light-years thick without slowing down. The ultimate speed in the universe is, therefore, that of neutrinos, not photons in a vacuum. It isn’t so much that neutrinos are faster than light in a vacuum, rather that light is slower than neutrinos whether or not the neutrinos are in a vacuum. 
As for special relativity, it relies on the constancy of the speed of light, not on

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content