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But now, ScienceInsider is reporting that there was a good reason the measurements and reality weren't lining up: a loose fiber optic cable was causing one of the atomic clocks used to time the neutrinos' flight to produce spurious results. If the report is confirmed (right now, there's only one source), then it provides a simple explanation for the fascinating-yet-difficult-to-accept results. According to the new report, researchers are preparing to gather new data with the clocks properly hooked into computers, which should definitively indicate whether the loose connection was at fault.
Originally posted by calnorak
The implications for having something faster than the speed of light is impressive. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a down play so they can work on communications for space travel.
A loose cable? Tsk tsk. 10 points deducted and the most obvious and common cause of communication problems. I'm surprised the extremely well-educated and intelligent people working at CERN didn't think of that one.
After tightening the connection and then remeasuring the time it takes data to travel the length of the cable, researchers found that the data arrive 60 nanoseconds earlier than assumed, the website said. (More data will be needed to confirm this hypothesis, the site cautioned.)
"A measurement so delicate and carrying a profound implication on physics requires an extraordinary level of scrutiny," said Fernando Ferroni, president of the INFN.
"It's very hard to find an error by reading a paper," particle physicist Rob Roser of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Ill., said Friday at an annual science meeting.
"What you need is for someone else to make the measurement. We'll see what happens."
“The OPERA Collaboration, by continuing its campaign of verifications on the neutrino velocity measurement, has identified two issues that could significantly affect the reported result. The first one is linked to the oscillator used to produce the events time-stamps in between the GPS synchronizations. The second point is related to the connection of the optical fiber bringing the external GPS signal to the OPERA master clock. These two issues can modify the neutrino time of flight in opposite directions. While continuing our investigations, in order to unambiguously quantify the effect on the observed result, the Collaboration is looking forward to performing a new measurement of the neutrino velocity as soon as a new bunched beam will be available in 2012. An extensive report on the above mentioned verifications and results will be shortly made available to the scientific committees and agencies.”
The story almost has a smell on it, I mean did they not do this research twice
Faster-than-light neutrino result reportedly a mistake caused by loose cable