Cisco Blogs

Einstein 1, Neutrinos 0

- October 17, 2011 - 2 Comments

Faster than the speed of light?

The biggest news to hit the world of physics recently was that neutrinos – “ethereal particles which pervade the universe but rarely interact with anything while they are doing so” – were shown in an experiment to have traveled faster than the speed of light. According to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, this is impossible.

The experiment was conducted at CERN in September. Researchers shot neutrinos from Switzerland to Italy and measured the time it took for the neutrinos to arrive. The results showed they were arriving 60 nanoseconds earlier than light would have taken.

Is Einstein wrong? Are the laws of theoretical physics about to come crashing down around us? Um, not so fast (pun intended).

Ironically, relativity disproves an experiment thought to disprove relativity. The speed of the neutrinos was being measured by GPS satellites, which were at a different reference frame than the scientists and neutrinos back on earth.  From the satellites’ reference frame, the neutrinos had less distance to travel, and this requires additional time to be added to the measurement to compensate for this disparity in relativity. That additional time? About 64 nanoseconds; and therefore, 4 nanoseconds slower than the speed of light.

Read here for a more thorough explanation.

Cisco and CERN

While reading about CERN, I was delighted to discover that Cisco has played a big part in CERN’s computing infrastructure.

CERN has employed Cisco routers, Cache Engines, and other hardware to enhance its computing and networking capabilities. In fact, a Cisco ASM/2-32EM router installed at CERN 1987 was one of the first IP routers deployed in Europe.

Remember, the World Wide Web was created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in 1991. So we here at Cisco can take a lot of pride in having been a part of that effort.

Without Manufacturing…

In several previous blogs, I have written about the importance of manufacturing in historical achievements as well as contemporary ones. Please take a look at CERN, with its 6 particle accelerators, Large Hadron Collider and 27 km circular tunnel located 100 meters underground. Would any of this be possible without the benefits of the manufacturing industry?

You don’t have to be Einstein to know the answer to that.


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  1. Hi Balaji, Thanks for writing. I'm glad Einstein was right, too! And yes, you're absolutely right: when it has to work, don't compromise. And that's where I think Cisco has one of its greatest strengths for customers.

  2. Firstly I am glad Einstein is still correct. Otherwise it will be a great challenge to get my money back from my middle and high schools :) ...Secondly being a mechanical engineer i googled 'CERN CAD Design'. Voila! just as i suspected...they do use the best of breed CAD/PLM tools and the best networking products ofcourse from Cisco. I feel proud doubly! When it absolutely positively has to work, and for everything else too, dont compromise. By the way, i am not joking...when i skimmed the news section in google about Neutrinos etc, i asked myself..."did they account for the earth's spin?" and then casually forgot to follow the news. And from the explanation it seems closely related!