Experimental Quest to Test Einstein’s Speed Limit

After Big Bang

Albert Einstein’s assertion that there’s an ultimate speed limit — the speed of light — has withstood countless tests over the past 100 years, but that didn’t stop University of California, Berkeley, postdoc Michael Hohensee and graduate student Nathan Leefer from checking whether some particles break this law.

The team’s first attempt to test this fundamental tenet of the special theory of relativity demonstrated once again that Einstein was right, but Leefer and Hohensee are improving the experiment to push the theory’s limits even farther — and perhaps turn up a discrepancy that could help physicists fix holes in today’s main theories of the universe.

“As a physicist, I want to know how the world works, and right now our best models of how the world works — the Standard Model of particle physics and Einstein’s theory of general relativity — don’t fit together at high energies,” said Hohensee of…

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