How Radiation Nearly Broke Physics

It was the heady days of the early 1900s, and radiation was all the rage. Researchers had just found a kind of radiation called "beta decay," and they discovered that it did something that seemed to smash one of the basic tenets of physics. Here's how the lowly neutrino saved the entire field. » 3/02/15 6:30am 3/02/15 6:30am

A Weird Phenomenon That Might Change How We See Neutrinos

Neutrinos are the ninjas of the universe. They don't interact with other particles very often, but when they do, they obliterate them. Until now. Scientists have observed a new way that neutrinos interact with the world. » 12/31/14 11:15am 12/31/14 11:15am

Are High Energy Neutrinos from Outer Space Really a Big Deal?

It may seem as though every new day brings an announcement of a scientific breakthrough of the highest order. Should you freak out about every new record-breaking neutrino? In this week's "Ask a Physicist," we'll find out. » 6/23/14 12:00pm 6/23/14 12:00pm

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2013

From intergalactic neutrinos and invisible brains, to the creation of miniature human "organoids," 2013 was a remarkable year for scientific discovery. Here are 17 of the biggest scientific breakthroughs, innovations and advances of 2013. » 12/20/13 10:49am 12/20/13 10:49am

Italian physicists want to use 2,000 year-old lead ingots recovered from a Roman shipwreck to investigate the properties of dark matter and neutrinos. Roman lead is perfect for conducting such experiments owing to their purity and low levels of radioactivity. But archaeologists say it's ethically questionable research… » 12/02/13 12:40pm 12/02/13 12:40pm

Unprecedented neutrino discovery is a "Nobel Prize in the making"

By drilling a 1.5 mile hole deep into an Antarctic glacier, physicists working at the IceCube South Pole Observatory have captured 28 extraterrestrial neutrinos — those mysterious and extremely powerful subatomic particles that can pass straight through solid matter. Welcome to an entirely new age of astronomy. » 11/22/13 12:45pm 11/22/13 12:45pm

This may be the best scientific paper abstract ever written

The title of the paper: "Can apparent superluminal neutrino speeds be explained as a quantum weak measurement?" The abstract? See for yourself: » 7/10/13 7:20am 7/10/13 7:20am

What are neutrinos, and how do they come from beyond our solar system?

A couple months ago, scientists with IceCube, an Antarctica-based neutrino observatory, discovered two very high-energy neutrinos — named Bert and Ernie — that appeared to have originated from beyond our solar system. This is amazing news, and we talked to the researchers about what it means. » 6/14/13 11:37am 6/14/13 11:37am

It's official: Neutrinos can't go faster than the speed of light after…

Foolish humans. Such hubris to think that we could dethrone Einsteinian special relativity, by virtue of a single experiment. Now it's official: the notion that neutrinos could travel faster than the speed of light really was the result of a "faulty kit". » 6/08/12 5:00pm 6/08/12 5:00pm

Tomorrow's stocks could be traded via neutrino beam

Neutrinos may not travel faster than light, but that doesn't mean they can't be put to good use. By sending encoded pulses of neutrinos on a 10,000 km shortcut directly through the Earth, financial firms and high-frequency trading companies think they can get a 44-millisecond communication advantage over their… » 5/01/12 2:59pm 5/01/12 2:59pm

Two leaders of "Faster-Than-Light" Neutrino Team Resign

On the morning of September 22, 2011, OPERA spokesperson Antonio Ereditato announced to the world that members of the OPERA experiment had observed neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. The next day, experimental coordinator Dario Autiero presented the team's findings at an internationally broadcasted… » 3/30/12 12:12pm 3/30/12 12:12pm

Neil deGrasse Tyson to host tonight's Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate,…

Every year, in memory of Isaac Asimov, the American Museum of Natural History invites leading scientists from around the world to debate the finer points of questions and problems that are emerging at the frontiers of scientific discovery. » 3/20/12 8:45am 3/20/12 8:45am

Physicists explain technical glitches behind those faster-than-light…

Yesterday, rumors were circulating that last year's faster-than-light neutrino results had been undone by a simple mechanical mishap: one of the fiber optic cables connecting a GPS unit to a computer may have been loose. » 2/23/12 8:00am 2/23/12 8:00am

Faster than light neutrinos may have just been disproven

This could be it, folks. Last September, physicists watching neutrinos travel from the CERN laboratory in Switzerland to Italy's Gran Sasso laboratory announced that they had detected the subatomic particles making the trip 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light dictates is possible. Now, rumors are flying that… » 2/22/12 2:26pm 2/22/12 2:26pm

New data confirms: Neutrinos are still traveling faster than light

When physicists announced in September that they had observed neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light, the scientific community was justifiably skeptical. » 11/18/11 8:00am 11/18/11 8:00am

Neutrinos do something even stranger than breaking the speed of light

Amidst the dubious news of neutrinos potentially traveling faster than light, it's easy to lose sight of something even stranger: neutrinos are in a constant identity crisis, oscillating between different types. Why is this? In this week's "Ask a Physicist" we'll find out. » 11/16/11 9:00am 11/16/11 9:00am

Physicists to re-run the experiments that produced faster-than-light…

Results from independent cross-checks of last month's FTL neutrino findings wont start rolling in for at least a few more months. In the meantime, however, physicists at the OPERA lab who made the initial observations will be running their experiment yet again — only this time they'll be measuring things a little… » 10/28/11 1:37pm 10/28/11 1:37pm

Do faster than light neutrinos let you change the past?

There's been a lot of hubbub about the possibility of FTL neutrinos. But would breaking the light barrier really be such a big deal? Hell, yes, it would! In this week's "Ask a Physicist," we'll find out why. » 10/06/11 9:12am 10/06/11 9:12am

The problem is that for both of these things to be true, measurements of time and space…

10 Things You Didn't Know About Light

A week ago, who among us would have guessed that light, the universe's ultimate speed demon, would be observed getting outpaced by a bunch of reckless neutrinos? Yes, these observations will obviously need to be checked and rechecked, but it just goes to show that you rarely know as much about something as you think… » 9/26/11 10:34am 9/26/11 10:34am

Scientific breakthrough: Physicists at CERN have recorded particles…

Looks like Einstein may have been wrong — An international team of scientists at CERN has recorded neutrino particles traveling faster than the speed of light. » 9/22/11 10:37am 9/22/11 10:37am