Feeds

Not so fast: Italian boffins say neutrinos not faster than light

Pistols at dawn at Hotel Gran Sasso?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A team of 68 scientists led by the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy claims to have refuted the OPERA faster-than-light neutrino result, even as the OPERA researchers are generating a new buzz by releasing their newer, more-finely-calibrated short-pulse tests that seem to confirm their original statement.

Over the weekend, the OPERA team announced that its new neutrino experiment, which used much shorter pulses to try and remove a potential systematic error from the set-up. To make sure that they could prove the time correlation between the received neutrinos and the originating event, the latest test used pulses three nanoseconds long, with more than 500 nanoseconds between pulses.

Although only independent verification would constitute a “proof”, the new experiment still claims that the neutrinos arrived 57.8 ns (±7.8ns) too early.

However, the Gran Sasso group isn’t so sure. In this Arxiv paper, the ICARUS collaboration says it has refuted the faster-than-light result, based on an analysis of 2010 data from the ICARUS experiment which uses the same neutrino beam from CERN as OPERA.

Their claim is that in getting to superluminal velocities, the neutrinos should lose energy by producing photons and electron/anti-electron pairs (“e+e- pairs”), in a process “analogous to Cherenkov radiation” (the “blue glow” in nuclear reactor water, so beloved of movie-makers).

“A very significant deformation of the neutrino energy spectrum and an abundant production of photons and e+e- pairs should be observed,” the ICARUS group says.

This hasn’t happened, they assert: “We find that the neutrino energy distribution of the ICARUS events … agrees with the expectations for an undisturbed spectrum of the CERN neutrino beam.

“Our results therefore refute a superluminal interpretation of the OPERA result,” the group writes.

In other words, and if the ICARUS calculations are correct: the neutrinos should have lost a lot of energy getting to superluminal speeds; their spectrum seems to demonstrate that they didn’t lose that energy, therefore they can’t be passing the speed of light.

If there’s a better grand show than watching gold-standard peer-review play out in public, The Register would have trouble nominating what it could be. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.