BBC News reports an experiment with subatomic particles by physicists at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has yielded results. When sending neutrinos through the ground from CERN toward the Gran Sasso laboratory 732 kilometers away, the scientists noticed that the particles showed up a few billionths of a second sooner than light would over the same distance, a result that defies Einstein's relativity theory which holds that nothing can exceed the speed of light.
The team measured the travel times of neutrino bunches some 15,000 times, and have reached a level of statistical significance that in scientific circles would count as a formal discovery.
But the group understands that what are known as "systematic errors" could easily make an erroneous result look like a breaking of the ultimate speed limit, and that has motivated them to publish their measurements.
"My dream would be that another, independent experiment finds the same thing - then I would be relieved," Dr Ereditato said.
But for now, he explained, "we are not claiming things, we want just to be helped by the community in understanding our crazy result - because it is crazy".
"And of course the consequences can be very serious."