News24

New test finds neutrinos not as speedy

2012-03-17 11:31

London - New research suggests neutrinos that appeared to break a basic law of physics by travelling faster than the speed of light kept within the universal speed limit after all.

The latest measurement of the sub-atomic particles' time of flight from the Cern research centre in Geneva to Gran Sasso in central Italy contradicts an initial super-fast reading reported last September, which caused a scientific sensation.

Since then, more doubts have crept in about the original claims, especially after news last month that the first finding from the so-called Opera experiment may have been distorted by faulty cabling.

"The evidence is beginning to point toward the Opera result being an artefact of the measurement," Cern Research Director Sergio Bertolucci said in a statement.

The fresh analysis was done by researchers working on a separate experiment called Icarus. They used independent timing data and measured seven neutrinos in the beam sent from Cern. These all produced a time consistent with the speed of light, Cern said.

Many scientists had been sceptical about the original measurements, which flew in the face of Albert Einstein's 1905 Special Theory of Relativity which states that nothing in the universe can travel faster than light, an assertion that underpins much of modern physics and cosmology.

The Icarus team, working at the same Gran Sasso laboratory, north-east of Rome, as colleagues on the Opera project, had already queried the initial findings because the neutrinos did not appear to lose energy on their flight as would have happened if they had broken the light barrier.

Comments
  • Zion - 2012-03-17 11:50

    At least now we can sleep in peace knowing that Einstein was right all along. Probably somebody on these fora will now prove otherwise.

      thelittlegreenhouse - 2012-03-17 22:28

      "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong." Albert Einstein... ...but try not to lose too much sleep over it, there is One Who rightly claims to be the Truth.

  • Matthew Patrick - 2012-03-17 12:22

    Lol! There's also so many would-be economists, sports analysts, politicians and news editors in the comments sections so let's see if we get any 'budding' physicists.

      Matthew Patrick - 2012-03-17 12:22

      *always, not also

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-17 14:41

      We can't even explain light properly, and they want to play with Nutrinos. The dual slit test shows wave–particle duality, meaning, as we all know light is both, but it can't be but it is but it isn't. mmmm

      accomrie - 2012-03-17 15:42

      goyougoodthing, we understand light very well, and all of its properties are explained within the context of quantum mechanics. Looking for analogies in the macroscopic world, such as particles or waves, is simply to aid visualisation. Of course, these analogies will break down at some point, because we are trying to look at microscopic phenomena in the context of macroscopic ones.

  • Se-a Spencer Ikeremm - 2012-03-17 13:11

    I wish these people would finish up already and find a cure for cancer...

  • Se-a Spencer Ikeremm - 2012-03-17 13:14

    And yes @Zion. Honestly that talk about Einstein's theory being wrong scared the sh*t outta me. It shocked me how excited people were about it.

      TSR01 - 2012-03-18 23:15

      Imagine how shocked people were when they found out the world isn't flat. :) Progress should never be hindered by fear or ignorance. If humankind's understanding of the workings of our universe progresses, it should not be shunned or treated as heresy. That is not to say that accepted facts should be disregarded, since they might be disproven, but rather, that we should accept that accepted facts might only be smaller pieces of a bigger picture, and thus, expanded upon. As always, I submit the theoretical context of black hole's gravitational well absorbing sunlight, due to the black hole's immense gravitational mass, and thus hyper-accelerating the energy (sunlight) in the black hole's gravitational vortex, whereby the particles must be compressed in a vortex/tornado fashion, until the acceleration of the gravity cycle (center point rotation) causes the energy to break free from the force of the black hole due to inertia / momentum. Such energy or particles would penetrate solid, liquid, and gaseous matter at such a great rate, that it would not be in-phase with the particles, thus not cause any notable interactions with other particles on an observable scale. The existence of such hyper-accelerated energy could provide an environment for other conditions, such as out-of-phase phenomena, including alternate quantum physics. Inverted forces and energy, such as polar opposites of our current set of physics, could be a possibility. Science tests real theories, not nonsense.

      TSR01 - 2012-03-18 23:18

      P.S. The latter conclusion of my sentiments draw to the topic of anti-gravity. "Any force has an equal and opposite force." - including sunlight, gravity, etc., in theory.

  • Loodpil - 2012-03-17 14:01

    I majored in physics (came 2nd in my class too). And all I learnt was that I know nothing of physics.

      thelittlegreenhouse - 2012-03-17 22:33

      Thank you for this rare display of honesty :-)

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-03-17 14:38

    The only thing that move faster than the speed of light is Malema's bank balance.

  • Johan - 2012-03-17 15:35

    Einstein was wrong. If we look back in space and the speed light is constant(even relative speed) how come we have red shift? After the Big Bang how did we get here in time to see these events? Think about it !!

      zaatheist - 2012-03-17 15:51

      Been polishing up on your creation science again have you? Should be easy for you as it is the study of nothing. http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmology_faq.html

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-17 18:04

      Yes Johan, and the sky fairy is going to reward you for saying your prayers and paying your tithe. Then a 2000 year old dead guy, who only faintly possibly may have existed, will lead you into paradise, which is on earth, apparently, we just can't see it. And while you are in paradise, the gracious god will punish, burn and torture millions who didn't pray, just because he can.

      piet.strydom - 2012-03-17 21:19

      @Johan - we have red-shift, because the frequency of the light has changed, not the speed. It is similar to a car approaching and then passing, the sound changes in pitch. But the speed at which the sound travel doesn't change.

  • arthurbrigg - 2012-03-17 16:11

    I eat Neutrinos for breakfast.

      Grant Howard - 2012-03-17 19:47

      Well they are nutritious but flippin high GI.

  • Grant Howard - 2012-03-17 19:45

    There is only one thing faster than the speed of light and that is Horatio Caine's guns.

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