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Neutrinos travelling faster than light reading due to faulty wiring?

Posted on Thursday, February 23 2012 @ 20:01:32 CET by

Half a year ago CERN scientists had seen neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light. The team noticed that the neutrinos showed up 60 billionths of a second faster than light would have done over the same distance, and presented the finding to the scientific community in an effort to confirm or refute it, because if the reading is correct it would have massive implications for the field of physics.

However, BBC News now reports that the team has found two problems that may have affected their test; one in its timing gear and one in an optical fibre connection. Both issues would have opposing effects on the apparent speed, so we'll have to wait till May for new details to emerge from new tests.
A repeat of the experiment by the Opera team will now address whether the issues they have found affect the ultimate neutrino speed they measure. The two problems the team has identified would have opposing effects on the apparent speed.

On the one hand, the team said there is a problem in the "oscillator" that provides a ticking clock to the experiment in the intervals between the synchronisations of GPS equipment. This is used to provide start and stop times for the measurement as well as precise distance information. That problem would increase the measured time of the neutrinos' flight, in turn reducing the surprising faster-than-light effect.

But the team also said they found a problem in the optical fibre connection between the GPS signal and the experiment's main clock. In contrast, the team said that effect would increase the neutrinos' apparent speed.



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