Update, November 19, 2011: Remember this post below where a bunch of neutrinos were sent from Switzerland, through 454 miles of rock, to a lab in Italy? And it took them 0.0024 seconds, which was 60 billionths of a second faster than light would have taken (assuming light was traveling not through rock but through a vacuum)? Well, scientists conducted the experiment 20 more times and found the same thing:
Neutrino Experiment Repeat At Cern Finds Same Result, BBC
Originally posted September 22, 2011:
(The photo to the right shows tracks of a subatomic particle called a neutrino, which have just been found to be traveling faster than the speed of light.)
I'm not going to pretend that I understand, or even know very much about, Einstein's theory of relativity. But I was exposed to E=mc2 in University. In this equation, energy (E) is related to mass (m). That is, they are different forms of the same thing, and are related by c, the speed of light ... which is a constant. Or at least it was thought to be.
Faster Than Light Particles Found, Claim Scientists
Particle physicists detect neutrinos travelling faster than light, a feat forbidden by Einstein's theory of special relativity, The Guardian, September 22, 2011
Subir Sarkar, head of particle theory at Oxford University, said:
"If this is proved to be true it would be a massive, massive event. It is something nobody was expecting.
The constancy of the speed of light essentially underpins our understanding of space and time and causality, which is the fact that cause comes before effect.
Cause cannot come after effect and that is absolutely fundamental to our construction of the physical universe. If we do not have causality, we are buggered."