Geneva, 23 September 2011. The OPERA1 experiment, which observes a neutrino beam from CERN2 730 km away at Italy’s INFN Gran Sasso Laboratory, will present new results in a seminar at CERN this afternoon at 16:00 CEST. The seminar will be webcast at http://webcast.cern.ch. Journalists wishing to ask questions may do so via twitter using the hash tag #nuquestions, or via the usual CERN press office channels.
The OPERA result is based on the observation of over 15000 neutrino events measured at Gran Sasso, and appears to indicate that the neutrinos travel at a velocity 20 parts per million above the speed of light, nature’s cosmic speed limit. Given the potential far-reaching consequences of such a result, independent measurements are needed before the effect can either be refuted or firmly established. This is why the OPERA collaboration has decided to open the result to broader scrutiny. The collaboration’s result is available on the preprint server arxiv.org: http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.4897.
The OPERA measurement is at odds with well-established laws of nature, though science frequently progresses by overthrowing the established paradigms. For this reason, many searches have been made for deviations from Einstein’s theory of relativity, so far not finding any such evidence. The strong constraints arising from these observations makes an interpretation of the OPERA measurement in terms of modification of Einstein’s theory unlikely, and give further strong reason to seek new independent measurements.
“This result comes as a complete surprise,” said OPERA spokesperson, Antonio Ereditato of the University of Bern. “After many months of studies and cross checks we have not found any instrumental effect that could explain the result of the measurement. While OPERA researchers will continue their studies, we are also looking forward to independent measurements to fully assess the nature of this observation.”
“When an experiment finds an apparently unbelievable result and can find no artefact of the measurement to account for it, it’s normal procedure to invite broader scrutiny, and this is exactly what the OPERA collaboration is doing, it’s good scientific practice,” said CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci. “If this measurement is confirmed, it might change our view of physics, but we need to be sure that there are no other, more mundane, explanations. That will require independent measurements.”
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As far as I've read (in German/Swiss media), they don't really have trust in their own results ...
The betting of scientists on the whole for now seem to be that there is some error that is being overlook in measurements.
This kind of remind me of the deep space probes that seems to had have very small but unknown force acting on them.
It took years and some better computer modelings to come up with the solution that did not call for fitting in a new force into physics.
But lord emotionally I would love it to be true.
The tales science tells about the universe star one steadfast hero: the velocity of light. With Einstein, the space and time of Newton's day lost their uniformity, even the solid idea of matter melted into air. But the steady speed of electromagnetic radiation (the c in E = mc2) proved a sturdy enough foundation stone for the old genius to be able to reconstruct physics, and thereby rescue basic notions of cause and effect. Now Professor Antonio Ereditato, a man with singularly apt initials, is reporting that the tiny neutrinos that his team have been blasting under the Alps have clocked up a superluminal pace. A mistake? Very likely, which is why Ereditato and co are releasing their data in the expectation that someone out there will find a flaw, and restore the conceptual order. But what if the finding, which is based on 15,000 observations and has passed all the ordinary statistical tests, is instead confirmed? That would be insensible, which is to say profs would be muttering "does not compute"; but the history of science cautions against branding it unthinkable. That was once the verdict passed on heretical talk of the Earth spinning round the sun, as opposed to the other way round. Recall, too, that it was the then inexplicable Michelson-Morley experiment which encouraged the spread of Einstein's early ideas, and the baffling perihelion precession of Mercury which lent support to his general theory. The first thing in science is to face the facts; making sense of them has to come second.
The researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN, claim to have exported subatomic particles from Switzerland to Italy at greater than the speed of light!
yes, yes, we all know that; but what would the alternative be?
Sub-atomic particles can exceed the speed of light in a specific medium.
The medium in this case is air.