Opera repeated, same result

The OPERA experiment that claimed they had detected neutrinos travelling faster than c has just been repeated – with the same results.

So far, this has not been independently confirmed, so I’m taking this with a grain of salt. Also, if it is true, it does not throw special relativity out the window! GPS units have to be programmed to account for time dilation, which is another part of special relativity, and they still work – so special relativity is not wrong, it is more likely incomplete. Of course, some people (I’m looking at creationists, believers in perpetual motion and other cranks) will take this to mean “my pet hypothesis that contradicts ALL the evidence must be right!”

Another possibility is that neutrinos are actually tachyons, which means they must either have imaginary mass but go forward in time; or they’re travelling backwards in time but have real mass!

If anyone’s interested, the paper released to the arvix server is here. One final note that the paper itself makes is that the anomaly is small enough to potentially be a very subtle error. As they put it themselves:

the relative
deviation from the speed of light c of the neutrino velocity due to its finite rest mass is expected
to be smaller than 10-19…a larger deviation of the neutrino velocity from c would be a striking result
pointing to new physics in the neutrino sector.

I almost hope this is wrong, and that we get something new out of this – but I’m still not convinced this will happen.


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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

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