Fool Me Once …

Neutrinos Travel Faster Than Light, According to One Experiment

I chose this particular link because of the headline, specifically the addendum According to One Experiment. If it’s not reproducible, then it will go down in the annals of science as a fluke measurement.

[T]he result would be so revolutionary that it’s sure to be met with skepticism all over the world. “I suspect that the bulk of the scientific community will not take this as a definitive result unless it can be reproduced by at least one and preferably several experiments,” says V. Alan Kostelecky, a theorist at Indiana University, Bloomington. He adds, however, “I’d be delighted if it were true.”

It’s important to note that the experimenters are not claiming to have overturned relativity and are calling for independent confirmation. If you read otherwise, that’s the journalists or editors trying to show some scientific cleavage.

Another reason I chose this article was that they mentioned how the timing was done, because that’s a likely candidate for introducing error.

Jung, who is spokesperson for a similar experiment in Japan called T2K, says the tricky part is accurately measuring the time between when the neutrinos are born by slamming a burst of protons into a solid target and when they actually reach the detector. That timing relies on the global positioning system, and the GPS measurements can have uncertainties of tens of nanoseconds. “I would be very interested in how they got a 10-nanosecond uncertainty, because from the systematics of GPS and the electronics, I think that’s a very hard number to get.”

Some other commentary: This Extraordinary Claim Requires Extraordinary Evidence!

Update: Here is the CERN press release

Given the potential far-reaching consequences of such a result, independent measurements are needed before the effect can either be refuted or firmly established. This is why the OPERA collaboration has decided to open the result to broader scrutiny. The collaboration’s result is available on the preprint server

3 thoughts on “Fool Me Once …

  1. One should also note that neutrino experiments are generally difficult to do. Neutrinos interact very weakly with matter, this coupled with neutrino oscillations makes experiments unreliable. Everyone should be a little sceptical when it comes to neutrino experiments.

    I am sure that almost everybody expects some error to be found, the timing sounds a very likely candidate to me also.

  2. Perhaps the signal was chirped. If so, the statistical time of arrival shift is a harmless artifact. If so, theory must find a differential interaction to chirp the pulse as it propagates.

    Deeply relativistic neutrinos are chiral. The vacuum is observed achiral toward photons. The vacuum is observed chiral toward mass all the way down (accommodated with symmetry breakings inserted into mirror-symmetric theory). A fundamental massed sector vacuum left foot differentially interacting with a population of chiral neutrinos minutely reshapes the signal, phase velocity versus group velocity.

    A geometric parity Eotvos experiment opposing enantiomorphic atomic mass distributions detects massed sector vacuum chirality to 5×10^(-14) difference/average. Crystallography provides mathematically perfect, chemically and macroscopically identical, enantiomorphic atomic mass distributions (opposite shoes on a vacuum left foot). Opposite shoes on a vacuum left foot will vacuum free fall non-identically,
    They can look and know everything rather than endlessly talk and know nothing.

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