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Speed of Light

26 Sep

I was reading a science material about a group of CERN scientists who found that when they were doing some experiment in the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), they found some neutrinos which broke the speed of light. I said, “wow, if this is true, it’s gonna be big”. Then, one of my friend in a forum said, “well, that’s not a new story, Cherenkov Radiation was said to be caused by particles which moves faster than light”. I’m not sure if he really understand about what he said, but I don’t want to argue with him at that moment.

Here’s the thing, When those scientist found out that some neutrinos were moving zero point hundredth of thousands nano-second faster than light, they were inside the LHC, which means, they are moving in a vacuum. That’s what makes it different from the Cherenkov Radiation phenomena where the particles are moving in the water. A common misunderstanding among people is, they think light is moving at the same speed everywhere, but the truth is, it’s not.

You all must be familiar with Einstein’s equation E=Mc². The speed of light represented with “c” in that equation is the speed of light in a vacuum, which is approximately 299.292 Kilometers per second, this is the so-called, the ultimate speed, and nothing can exceed this speed. If light is moving in a medium, hence not in a vacuum, for example water, the speed of light moving in the water is slower (less than c) around 225.056 Kilometers per seconds, that’s what happened with Cherenkov radiation in a nuclear reactor, the particles are moving faster than “light in the water”, but it still moving under the speed of light in a vacuum.

Other example for a medium is glass, a real world material nearest to pure glass is, as far as I know, the glass in fiber optic cable, light would travel 90 kilometers per second slower than “c”, it’s around 299.202 Kilometers per second. So yeah, so far, I never heard anything surpasses the speed of light. So when I heard the news from CERN, it’s fascinating, it’s a long shot, but the beauty about science is it can be falsified, so if there’s really something which could move faster than light, it would be a huge breakthrough. Although, so far it is mathematically impossible.

 
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