Feb 23 2012

Collider team examining possible component flaw that led to superluminal measurements

Scientists working at the super collider that measured neutrinos seeming to beat Einstein’s cosmic light speed barrier a few months ago say they have uncovered at least two issues with the high-tech gear used to clock the speedy particles. It could boil down to faulty wiring:

(BBC) — 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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  1. 1

    I’m not surprised by this. As cool as it would be if something did break the light barrier I’ve been expecting them to find an error somewhere in their process for a while now.

  2. 2

    Yeah, yeah.

    Sign the ticket and tell it to the judge.

  3. 3

    Unfortunately, some fundies earlier latched onto this “exception to the laws of physics” and even though it now seems a straightforward error, they’ll almost certainly cling to it as one more (now falsified) “proof” of their nutty claims.

  4. 4

    With a result that would change the laws of physics it is always best to check the equipment. We can always hope for a “that’s odd” moment but equipment error is far more common.

  5. 5

    @ davidct:

    Something Pons and Fleischmann should of done from the get go for their cold fusion experiments – now they will be remembered as “incompetent/sloppy” in their rush to put out results.

  6. 6

    What’s all this I’m hearing about endangered feces?

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