Putting time back in its box of light

Can anything travel faster than the speed of light? According to the Special Theory of Relativity, no. But, in September 2011, Italian scientists reported on an experiment which seems to suggest that some neutrinos may be capable of travelling faster than the speed of light which would raise the notion of time travelling backwards. The scientists admitted that the results were odd and needed further examination.

Shortly after the announcement of the initial results, I happened to be at a north London dinner party with the Cambridge University Lucasian Professor of Mathematics (as you do) and asked him his views on the experiment. He thought that the suggested outcome was extremely unlikely – and so it has proved to be. We now have the news that the original experiment was probably flawed as a result of faulty wiring.

I draw two lessons from this odd turn of events:

  1. Most IT problems can indeed be resolved by switching the machine off and then switching it back on again.
  2. The great strength of science is its reliance on evidence and its challenge to all to falsify the current paradigm.


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