June 11, 2012
CERN Confirms Neutrinos Not Faster Than Light
Einstein´s Theory Of Relativity Preserved
Physicists working at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland on Friday concluded once and for all that neutrinos are definitely not faster than the speed of light, preserving Einstein´s Theory of Special Relativity that was challenged by earlier experiments.The challenge was first made last year when researchers published results of an experiment that seemed to indicate that neutrinos were moving about 3.7 miles per second faster than light. The findings from the experiment threatened to uproot Einstein´s famous 1905 theory of relativity, which states that light is the fastest matter in the universe.
The initial findings led to a whirlwind of excitement and skepticism from scientists around the globe, and physicists closer to home took it upon themselves to rework the experiments to either replicate the findings or disprove the claims.
After a second round of tests, physicists found that the neutrinos were behaving as they should and didn´t seem to show any signs of record breaking velocities.
And now, after another round of tests -- conducted by Borexino, ICARUS, LVD and OPERA -- researchers have confirmed that neutrinos´ cannot achieve speeds faster than light.
The news was delivered at the 25th International Conference on Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics in Kyoto, Japan on Friday, in a discussion called: “The neutrino velocity measurement by OPERA experiment.”
“Although this result isn't as exciting as some would have liked, it is what we all expected deep down,” said the center´s research director Sergio Bertolucci. “The story captured the public imagination, and has given people the opportunity to see the scientific method in action.”
“An unexpected result was put up for scrutiny, thoroughly investigated and resolved in part thanks to collaboration between normally competing experiments. That´s how science moves forward,” he added.
The neutrinos in question were timed during their journey from CERN´s underground lab in Geneva to the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy, traveling some 454 miles underground in a 2011 experiment. The neutrinos should have made the trip in 0.0024 seconds, but were recorded as hitting the detectors in Italy 0.00000006 seconds sooner than expected.
After months of investigation, physicists have ruled that the speedy neutrinos observed were likely due to a faulty connection in an optical fiber of the Master Clock.