Albert Einstein has been vindicated – Einstein will sleep easy tonight. E = MC2

Neutrinos not faster than light

Updated: 18:08, Friday, 16 March 2012

New research suggests neutrinos that appeared to break a fundamental
law of physics by travelling faster than the speed of light actually
keep within the universal speed limit after all.

New research suggests neutrinos that appeared to break one of
Einstein’s fundamental theories by travelling faster than the speed of
light actually keep within the universal speed limit after all.

The latest measurement of the sub-atomic particles’ speed of flight
from the CERN research centre in Geneva to Gran Sasso in central Italy
contradicts an initial super-fast reading reported last September,
which caused a scientific sensation.

Since then, more doubts have crept in about the original claims,
especially after news last month that the first finding from the
so-called OPERA experiment may have been distorted by faulty cabling.

The fresh analysis was done by researchers working on a separate
experiment called ICARUS. Using independent timing data and measuring
seven neutrinos in the beam sent from CERN, they found the time was
exactly consistent with the speed of light.

Sandro Centro, an expert in high-energy physics and spokesman for the
ICARUS experiment, said he believed the results of the new tests were
conclusive.

“The speed of light and speed of neutrinos are the same,” he said in a
telephone interview after the team’s findings were published online
today.

The earlier controversial OPERA study had clocked neutrinos covering
the 730km from CERN to Gran Sasso 60 nanoseconds – or 60 billionths of
a second – faster than light.

“The evidence is beginning to point towards the OPERA result being an
artefact of the measurement,” CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci
said in a statement.

But he added that the scientific community needed to be rigorous and
further tests were planned in May using more pulsed beams from CERN to
provide the final verdict.

Many scientists had been sceptical about the original measurements,
which flew in the face of Albert Einstein’s 1905 Special Theory of
Relativity, which states that nothing in the universe can travel
faster than light, an assertion that underpins much of modern physics
and cosmology.

The ICARUS team, working at the same Gran Sasso laboratory, northeast
of Rome, as colleagues on the OPERA project, had already queried the
initial findings because the neutrinos did not appear to lose energy
on their flight as would have happened if they had broken the light
barrier.

The ICARUS scientists used a vast chamber of liquid argon to detect
the arrival of the neutrinos at the Gran Sasso laboratory, which is
dug deep in a mountainside.

The details of the experiment were posted on the scientific website
http://arxiv.org/abs/1203.3433