19 November 2011

Particles Travel Faster Than Light Again

18 March 2012
CERN UPDATE: ICARUS Experiment Indicate Neutrino Speed Consistent With Speed Of Light

Scientists at CERN conducted an improved version of their experiment involving particles moving faster than light. This version has confirmed the results of the first experiment. The particles do travel a little above the speed of light. They ran the test 20 times all with the same result.

In the experiment, particles called neutrinos are sent through the Earth's crust from CERN in Geneva towards Italy at the Gran Sasso laboratory 732km away. The experiment is named OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-Tracking Apparatus).

The first OPERA experiment used longer bunches of neutrinos which others thought could result in errors in measuring the speed. Those bunches lasted 10 millionths of a second. This time, OPERA used shorter bunches at just 3 billionths of a second long.

When the scientists at CERN took the measurements this time, they found it similar to the first experiment. The neutrinos were travelling 60 billionths of a second faster than light speed.

Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity states the nothing can go faster than the speed of light. This notion has been a solid foundation in physics. To refute this would have massive implications in the field of science.

Video: Antonio Ereditato of the University of Bern Dario Autiero CNRS on the OPERA experiment

The team's findings were posted to the Arxiv repository and have been submitted to the Journal of High Energy Physics, It has not yet been reviewed by the scientific community.

"So far no arguments have been put forward that rule out our effect. This additional test we made is confirming our original finding, but still we have to be very prudent, still we have to look forward to independent confirmation. But this is a positive result." Dr Ereditato said.

Next year, Borexino and Icarus, two other experiments at Gran Sasso will begin cross checking the results of Opera. The US and Japan will also test the observations with their Minos and T2K experiments.

It may take awhile before the other experiments will be able to report their findings.


OPERA website
CERN UPDATE: ICARUS Experiment Indicate Neutrino Speed Consistent With Speed Of Light
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