Last year, physicists at the CERN collider excitedly announced to the world that they had observed quantum-level particles moving faster than the speed of light. The speed of light has always been the cosmic speed limit, ever since Albert Einstein first proposed that nothing could move faster. The discovery was astounding and was prepared to help rewrite the physics books, but a few months later, CERN said that maybe the history-making discovery wasn’t completely accurate. When trying to duplicate the results, they were unable to do so, leading to the theory that the observation was in error.
Today, CERN scientists have officially confirmed that the announcement was premature and that no objects, even at that mind-stretchingly small level, have been observed to travel faster than the speed of light. The retraction is disappointing to many. The speed barrier keeps a lot of things from being possible that are popular staples in science-fiction novels and movies. For one, it makes the concept of time travel impossible. It also makes the idea of humans one day being able to visit other stars unlikely. Even if mankind were able to devise a way to travel at the speed of light, it would still take millions of years to reach even the closest stars in our own galaxy.
The scientists conceded that the announcement was made out of the pure excitement without making sure that everything had been fact-checked and duplicated in other tests. It is a little hard for us ordinary folks to understand why these guys, who we know are geniuses no doubt, would make such a dramatic finding public when they had not done the due diligence of making sure it was correct. CERN has faced its share of criticism from the start. Billions of dollars in, it has yet to produce any meaningful discovery to the rest of the world, and its maiden run was a disaster. The machine failed and initial testing had to be put off for months. Now, this latest guffaw is only going to make people even more skeptical of anything coming from CERN.