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Error Undoes Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Results

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by AphexDreamer, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. AphexDreamer

    AphexDreamer

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    It appears that the faster-than-light neutrino results, announced last September by the OPERA collaboration in Italy, was due to a mistake after all. A bad connection between a GPS unit and a computer may be to blame.

    Physicists had detected neutrinos travelling from the CERN laboratory in Geneva to the Gran Sasso laboratory near L'Aquila that appeared to make the trip in about 60 nanoseconds less than light speed. Many other physicists suspected that the result was due to some kind of error, given that it seems at odds with Einstein's special theory of relativity, which says nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. That theory has been vindicated by many experiments over the decades.

    According to sources familiar with the experiment, the 60 nanoseconds discrepancy appears to come from a bad connection between a fiber optic cable that connects to the GPS receiver used to correct the timing of the neutrinos' flight and an electronic card in a computer. After tightening the connection and then measuring the time it takes data to travel the length of the fiber, researchers found that the data arrive 60 nanoseconds earlier than assumed. Since this time is subtracted from the overall time of flight, it appears to explain the early arrival of the neutrinos. New data, however, will be needed to confirm this hypothesis.

    Source
     
  2. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    I knew it, it was inevitable. It'll take more than some fluke like this to prove Einstein wrong.
     
    Darkleoco says thanks.
  3. AphexDreamer

    AphexDreamer

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    Good to know our science is still safe and sound. Its been getting stuff right all this time it would just stuck to know it was all wrong lol.
     
  4. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Thing is, even if that result was correct, it doesn't mean that Relativity Theory needs to be thrown out wholesale. Many times, theories can be updated to take into account of the new physics or just used in a more restricted context. For example, Newton's laws of motion, while having no concept of Relativity Theory can be used to predict the motions of the planets in our solar system to a high degree of accuracy.

    Personally, I wish it had been correct, as we would then have seen an awesome new discovery, which would have kept us all fascinated with new developments over the coming decades.
     
  5. AphexDreamer

    AphexDreamer

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    Sure some of his theories would still stand but a major one it would interfere with is e=mc^2, which has played and plays a major role in the course of humanity.

    Personally I'm glad it isn't. We don't need a set back like that, we are just entering chapter 22 in the book Physics of the Universe, I'd hate to go back to chapter 10 or even just rewrite a few chapters.
     
  6. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Yes, I can see where you're coming from, it certainly makes sense. In some significant ways it could knock us back, too.
     
  7. Drone

    Drone

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    This error is actually a "good" thing. Human knowledge and technology can't be perfect we don't have to forget this. Yes I'm kinda glad that Al was right after all. His theory is awesome. Sure one day physics will be changed but it's amazing that General Relativity will celebrate it's 100th anniversary soon (2016) and it still rocks.
     

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