Letters | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

REAL SCIENCE. REAL NEWS.

Help us keep you informed.

Support Science News.


Letters to the Editor

Letters

By
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 only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content