A 'Law of Physics' is only so if it cannot be disproven. In the 1920's Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity which has stood its ground for nearly 100 years. Scientists in Switzerland's CERN nuclear laboratory seem to have made particles smaller than atoms travel faster than light... or have they?
Einstein pronounced the apparently unshakeable law that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in the 1920’s. The Theory of Relativity was pronounced a ‘Law of Physics’ and was held as a major law of how the universe works. Science is about proof, and if you can disprove something you lose its certainty.
The particle accelerators at CERN in Switzerland are basically huge circular tubes round which particles smaller than an atom are fired. Particles called Neutrinos were fired around it and they travelled faster than the speed of light. According to Einstein this would be impossible.
CERN is a European nuclear laboratory. It uses the very best brains in the world from 113 universities to essentially find out how the universe works. In Einstein’s time they could only use mathematics. Now they can test the mathematics in experiments.
Imagine you came up with a theory that no road legal car could ever top 300 mph. You ‘proved’ it with some algebra. Someone builds a road legal car and attempts to drive it faster than 300 mph. If he makes 301 mph measured with very precise instrumentation, someone else will have to build exactly the same car and use their own very precise speed measurement system to test your theory. If they beat 300 mph, and others succeed as well, so your theory is blown out of the water. If however no one ever succeeds over a number of years to get a road legal car to go faster than 300 mph? Your mathematical theory can’t be disproven and so it stands as a theory that other mathematicians will use as a benchmark for their own studies.
CERN does that with theories about how the universe works. Famously using the Large Hadron Collider they are trying to find out what happened milliseconds after the Big Bang that they think created the universe. They have lots of ideas about what happened, but seeing it, and getting other scientists to replicate their experiments to achieve the same results will be to prove their ideas on how the universe formed.
There are some ideas floating around about what happened in the neutrino experiment. A leading scientist said on BBC Radio that the neutrinos may have crossed into a 4th dimension and ‘taken a short cut’ from A to B. A 'worm hole' in science fiction. In the same way the shortest route from Sydney to London is to dig a hole and go straight through the earth – you are still governed by the same laws of physics as you would by flying round the world but would get there quicker. If the neutrinos went through a 4th dimension so they would still be governed by Einstein’s Law but the scientists will have accessed a part of the universe no one had ever seen.
What also may happen is the two other labs, in Japan and the US, may not be able to replicate the experiment and show that someone made a mistake somewhere. CERN would be wrong – not Einstein. It has taken nearly 100 years before the first serious challenge to the Theory of Relativity has come up. Everyone will now try their damndest to disprove this unshakeable law. But if the experiment is replicated and other people achieve it? Our fundamental understanding of the universe will change forever.