No - no particles travel faster than light in a vacuum, absent repeated demonstrations of this anomoly, down the road. The expansion of the universe itself is the expansion of space/time, not the matter within it exceeding FTL. Example - inflation near in time to the big bang itself, if accurate in general, expanded the baby Universe at a prodigious rate that explains a number of otherwise puzzling characteristics we see today. An example would be the "flatness" of the observed universe as opposed to a curved geometry. Image a balloon's surface as it is inflated. Sitting on the surface, you could first see the curve of it quite easily. However, if it were inflated enormously, your local filed of view would - like the surface of the earth from where you now sit or stand -look flat to the horizon. But in reality, it is still a curved surface. There are many other aspects of inflation theory that make it useful in explaining what we observe; that's just one that comes to mind.
The reviews at the presentation by the guys who made the recent experiment have been pretty good. That is, no one had immediate deal-killers regarding the experimental setup and apparatus. The carful rechecking of measurments and corrections of them for the many aspects of the experiment that have to be precise within extremely narrow tolerances have been judged well done. Nevertheless, if you look at the experiment itself, the measurements ARE required to be incredibly precise, and there are many corrections for a host of things that each have to be within tolerances that are next to flat out amazing.
Replicating the result is a gold standard, and that remains to be done. Will likely take additional years, just as this experiment did.
For your consideration, here is one possible fly in the ointment, along the lines of "Does this result pass the Face Validity Test?" The suggestion that these neutrinos travel slightly faster than the speed of light in a vacuum has immediate implications for other contemporary observations. You may recall recent supernova explosions which have been detected by a variety of means. Detectors for both visible light and neutrinos were active for at least one recent supernova. If neutrinos do travel slightly faster than light, then over the vast cosmic distances - lightyears - the reported difference in speed would result in neutrinos from the supernova arriving at our detector a specific and significant number of seconds sooner than the arrival of light from the same supernova. That did not happen. Both detectors registered the supernova more or less at the same time (the neutrinos from the heart of the supernova progenitor have to escape through a number of layers of the imploding star before they reach the surface; the progenitor is enormous, so there is an enormously tiny but measurable fraction of a second difference with the light from the supernova).
There may be alternative explanations; for instance perhaps something happened over the lightyears to the supernova neutrinos that eliminated the FTL difference. There may be other observations that also conflict with the anomolous experimental result, besides issues of the many carefully done but incredibly precise corrections necessary in the experimental design, that have been sketched out in the presentation. The lab result not only has to be replicated, but will have to be tested observationally outside the lab, such as in supernova detections. At this point, the two don't match.
Edit: The issue of being able to see to the end of the universe is explained by not enough time elapsing since the big bang for light to travel further than it has. Inflation of the universe itself - space/time - theoretically expanded the universe far beyond our visible light horizon. Different cosmologists have different theories about the actual extent of this universe, anywhere from twice the current light horizon all the way to an infinite extent.
Edited by Eugene (09/23/11 05:58 PM)
Edit Reason: See to end of universe
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