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CERN confirms neutrinos don't break light speed

Faulty fibres flamed for fatuous FTL finding

Space age, or what? Credit: NSF

Neutrinos are most definitely not faster than light after all, says CERN.

The laws of physics got the good news last Friday at the 25th International Conference on Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics in Kyoto, in a talk titled “The neutrino velocity measurement by OPERA experiment”.

Slides (PDF) accompanying the talk say the faster-than-light results generated in 2011 were likely the result of “Faulty connection of the optical fibre to the Master Clock artificially increasing the neutrino anticipation by ~74 ns.” The slides also say OPERA had another problem, namely “Internal Master Clock frequency off by Δf/f = 1.24x10-7 (124 ns/s) artificially decreasing the neutrino anticipation by ~15 ns.”

The conference also heard about four experiments - Borexino, ICARUS, LVD and OPERA - on neutrino velocity, the results of which all re-instate the speed of light as neutrinos’ upper limit.

CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci said, in a press release, that ”Although this result isn’t as exciting as some would have liked, it is what we all expected deep down.”

“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.” ®

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