clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Faster-than-light neutrinos may not be so fast after all

New, 18 comments

The OPERA team behind the famous faster-than-light neutrino experiment is reporting that its results were affected by a faulty oscillator and optical fiber.

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

cern opera
cern opera

A lot of scientists have been working hard to debunk faster-than-light neutrinos, but it looks like we might not need them after all — the group behind the initial experiment has found two problems that could have affected its results. Initially, the OPERA team gained prominence for finding its neutrinos at CERN traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than light would have over an equivalent distance. The two problems the researchers are reporting would affect the experiment in opposing ways. On the one hand, the group noticed a problem with the oscillator used to time the neutrinos' flight, which would overestimate the particles' flight time (making them appear slower). The other effect would make the neutrinos appear faster, and is related to the optical fiber connecting the GPS signal and the team's main clock. While tests to check these two issues are scheduled for May, the actual neutrino velocity question won't be re-examined until some time later in 2012.