It was one hundred and six years ago that Albert Einstein stated that the speed limit of the cosmos was the speed of light – 186,000 miles per second. The speed of light, the "c" in the equation E=mc2, has, since Einstein's Theory of Relativity, been accepted as a fundamental axiom of science. It is one of the foundations of quantum physics and much of scientific endeavor ever since.
This is why there has been such an uproar over the findings of a recent research project on neutrinos recently conducted at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research. Neutrinos, sub-atomic particles were measured as traveling a distance of 450 miles (720 kilometers) 60 nanoseconds faster than it would take a light beam. Even this miniscule difference raises the possibility that the speed of light is no longer the upper speed limit of the universe. Einstein himself once said that, if you could send a message faster than the speed of light "You could send a telegram to the past" [It is a commentary on the speed of the last century's pace of invention that Einstein used the word telegram, but that is something for another column, newsletter or even book]
So the science fiction possibility of actual time travel and longstanding ideas of cause and effect might now have to be reconsidered. The most published quote in reaction to these findings came from a theorist from CERN, Dr. Alvaro de Rujula: "If it is true, then we truly haven't understood anything about anything." He further went on to say "It looks too big to be true. The correct attitude is to ask oneself what went wrong."
The group that reported the results was the Oscillation Project with Emulsion Tracking Apparatus or Opera. The Opera group agreed with Dr. de Rujula and said they have published the findings in order to have them scrutinized. The findings are so astounding and fundamentally hard to accept that the hope is that they are either corroborated and confirmed with another experiment, or that some yet to be found flaw in the measurements of the experiment can be found. 100 years of scientific endeavor, training and thinking have been called into question.
Is this a moment such as finding out that the earth revolves around the sun or that the earth is round? Is this one of those times when totally accepted scientific thought is proven wrong? Is this one of those moments that decades and centuries from now will be looked upon as a breakthrough threshold of science?
Given that it was the Opera group that is asking the question, we have to say, sorry folks that it isn't over until another scientific team sings. If these findings are corroborated, then it will most likely be in 2012. What if it was corroborated on 12/21/12, the date that the Mayans said that the world as we know it will change?
[Note: This column was published in the most recent Shift Age Newsletter. You can sign up for a free subscription here.
David Houle is a futurist, strategist and speaker. He has always been slightly ahead of the curve. Houle spent more than 20 years in media and entertainment. Most recently, David is a featured contributor to Oprah.com. Check is out here www.oprah.com/davidhoule. David can be contacted at David@DavidHoule.com.
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