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The recent result that neutrinos appear to travel faster than light could be tested at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), according to a pair of physicists in the US. Although the European particle accelerator would not be able to fully confirm or refute the result, it would be able to test a mechanism that is thought to occur when neutrinos move faster than light.

The result that neutrinos may travel faster than light came in September, when physicists at the OPERA experiment in Italy reported that neutrinos travelling 730 km underground appeared to arrive 60 ns too early. If the result is correct, it will contradict Einstein's theory of special relativity, which says the speed of light is the maximum speed possible.

Indeed, many physicists have pointed out that the OPERA result should be incompatible with other reported neutrino behaviour. In 1987, for example, a wave of neutrinos arrived at Earth as a result of a distant supernova explosion three hours before astronomers saw the light from the event. However, if neutrinos were as superluminal as the OPERA result suggests, their arrival would have been early not by three hours, but by more than three years.

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