Friday, September 23, 2011

Nothing travels faster than the speed of light...

It's business as usual here in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton and no one seems really excited about the possibility of the discovery of particles traveling faster than the speed of light at CERN, as has been suggested in the news.

'It's most probably systematic error', said Dr Matthew Himsworth to me today. 'We're not going to be changing the laws of science because of the results of one experiment. Matthew's job involves slowing particles down by bombarding them with laser light in the Quantum Control Group.

Professor Peter de Groot - Head of the department and Chair of the IOP's Magnetism Group - suggested that often such discoveries are discredited within a month or so and are usually the result of experimental errors, but he said 'we're not familiar with the experiment, so we wouldn't want to judge'.

So no-one's re-writing the text books just yet, as we get ready for the new influx of students for the start of the term.

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