The Speed of Light Revisited | The Institute for Creation Research

The Speed of Light Revisited

In the December 2011 issue of Acts & Facts, I reported that recent experiments in Europe showed that neutrinos can travel faster than the speed of light.1 The OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion tRacking Apparatus) researchers at CERN (European Centre for Nuclear Research) laboratory reported that Einstein’s limit on the speed of light had been broken.2 Although many in the group were skeptical of the results, they decided to report them after unsuccessful efforts to find any errors in their experiment.

However, in March 2012 the ICARUS experiment (Imaging Cosmic and Rare Underground Signals) refuted the OPERA results that neutrinos travel faster than the speed of light. ICARUS is a second international team of scientists who operate at CERN. They used the same neutrino beam and found that the neutrino energy distribution for the ICARUS events agreed with the expectations of an unperturbed spectrum and corresponded with particles traveling at the speed of light and no more.3 They also argued that the neutrinos would have lost most of their energy if they had travelled at even a tiny fraction faster than the speed of light.

The OPERA team now reports that a faulty connector and an oscillator in a global positioning system used to provide time stamps could have led scientists to incorrectly estimate the neutrinos’ times of flight. Many scientists were skeptical about the original measurements that contradicted Albert Einstein’s 1905 Special Theory of Relativity. The theory states that nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of light, an assertion that underpins much of modern physics and cosmology. Additional experiments are likely to be conducted to check and double-check the results.

Scientists were also critical of the OPERA project for releasing their results prematurely. “Edward Blucher, chairman of the Department of Physics at the University of Chicago, said the original finding would have been breathtaking if it had been true….‘Maybe they should have waited a few more months [to release them],’ he added.”4

References

  1. Vardiman, L. 2011. Has Einstein’s Limit on the Speed of Light Been Broken? Acts & Facts. 40 (12): 22-23.
  2. Adams, T. et al. 2011. Measurement of the neutrino velocity with OPERA detector in the CNGS beam. arXiv:1109.4897v1.
  3. Antonello, M. et al. 2012. A search for the analogue to Cherenkov radiation by high energy neutrinos at superluminal speeds in ICARUS. arXiv:1110.3763v3.
  4. Could Einstein be right after all? Scientists admit errors in ‘relativity-busting’ test. Reuters, February 23, 2012.

Image credit: CERN Neutrino Accelerator.

* Dr. Vardiman is Senior Research Scientist, Astro/Geophysics at the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Vardiman, L. 2012. Speed of Light Revisited. Acts & Facts. 41 (5): 18.

The Latest
NEWS
Aerial Engineering and Physics of the Dragonfly
Dragonflies (order Odonata) are perhaps one of the most studied and appreciated insects in the world today. Like the hummingbird, the dragonfly is a master...

NEWS
Seafloor Spreading Matches Creation Predictions
Evolutionary scientists recently determined that seafloor spreading has been slowing down.1 And they are not exactly sure of the reason. However,...

NEWS
Remembering Patti Morse
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from...

CREATION PODCAST
What Happened with Washington's Violent Volcano? | The Creation...
How did a 1980 volcanic eruption change our understanding of geology? What impact did this event have on the age assignments of sediments? Join us for...

NEWS
Fossil Insect Predation Shows No Evidence of Evolution
Some recent science news stories have come out describing fossils of insects feeding on plants supposedly many “millions of years ago.” What...

NEWS
Adaptive Genetic and Epigenetic Changes in Plants
Being sedentary organisms, plants are essentially stuck where they are planted and need to dynamically adapt to the conditions around them to not only...

NEWS
Dr. Tim Clarey Awarded Adjunct Professor of the Year
Congratulations to ICR Research Scientist and geologist Dr. Tim Clarey! He received the Adjunct Professor of the Year award from King’s University,...

NEWS
Mars Rover Records Dramatic Solar Eclipse
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover has filmed the Martian satellite (or moon) Phobos eclipsing the sun, and this short but impressive video may be viewed...

CREATION PODCAST
Darwin or Design? CET Pt. 2 | The Creation Podcast: Episode 22
How does design provide a better explanation for biological functions and adaptations than natural selection? And how can engineering principles help...

NEWS
Resurrecting “Ancient” Enzymes?
The most abundant protein on Earth is probably an enzyme (biological catalyst) called RuBisCO (or Rubisco) designed by the Creator to function in photosynthesis.1...