Faster than light?

Gran Sasso

image credits: CERN

This is somewhat off-topic, but spectacular nevertheless. After rather uneventful first results of the LHC (see this summary on resonances), there are some new physics reported from CERN after all. Somewhat surprisingly, however, news do not originate from one of the large LHC collaborations, but from the Opera experiment located at Gran Sasso. Opera aimes at detecting tau neutrinos from myon oscillations.

After some earlier rumors, the opera team reported yesterday in its article “Measurement of the neutrino velocity with the OPERA detector in the CNGS beam” results that measure neutrino speed slightly faster than light with significance level of 6-sigma. The will be a live webcast from CERN today in which the results are presented. While statistical significance is quite high, there is of course still a reasonable chance of a systematic error in the experimental setup. However, if the results hold, this would be a spectacular discovery for particle physics. See also the coverage at Science, viXra, TRF or OPS.

UPDATE: With high probability, the anomaly was caused by a loose cable that connected the GPS receiver to the master clock. The spokesperson of the OPERA project Antonio Ereditato and physics coordinator Dario Autiero resigned after internal discussions following the discovery of this error. See a longer (and probably updated) account of this story on wikipepdia.

One thought on “Faster than light?

  1. Pingback: To Higgs or not to Higgs – and who owns the information? « theoretical ecology

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