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By Frank Close To readers of Neutrino , rest assured: there is no need yet for a rewrite based on news that neutrinos might travel faster than light. I have already advertised my caution in The Observer , and a month later nothing has changed. If anything, concerns about the result have increased. The response to my article created some waves. There were a couple of cogent remarks on The Observer’s comments section .
More Science :: News :: October 13, 2011 :: :: Email :: Print Most physicists are betting against the idea that neutrinos can pierce the cosmic speed limit, but that has not stopped some researchers from exploring the implications By Charles Q. Choi
A week ago the world went wild over CERN's tentative claim that it could make neutrinos travel faster than light . Suddenly, intergalactic tourism and day trips to the real Jurassic Park were back on the menu, despite everything Einstein said. Now, however, a team of scientists at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands reckons it's come up with a more plausible (and disappointing) explanation of what happened: the GPS satellites used to measure the departure and arrival times of the racing neutrinos were themselves subject to Einsteinian effects, because they were in motion relative to the experiment. This relative motion wasn't properly taken into account, but it would have decreased the neutrinos' apparent journey time. The Dutch scientists calculated the error and came up with the 64 nanoseconds. Sound familiar?
A neutrino ( pron.: / nj uː ˈ t r iː n oʊ / ; Italian pronunciation: [neuˈtriːno] ) is an electrically neutral, weakly interacting elementary subatomic particle [ 1 ] with half-integer spin . The neutrino (meaning "small neutral one" in Italian) is denoted by the Greek letter ν ( nu ). All evidence suggests that neutrinos have mass but that their mass is tiny even by the standards of subatomic particles. Their mass has never been measured accurately.
According to Einstein's theory of special relativity nothing – not even neutrinos – can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. Photograph: Cine Text/Allstar The scientists who last month appeared to have found that certain subatomic particles can travel faster than light have fine-tuned their experiment to check whether the remarkable discovery is correct. Their modified experiments – which are the result of suggestions from other physicists about potential flaws in their research – should be completed before the end of the year. The original experiment, reported last month, involved firing beams of neutrinos through the ground from Cern near Geneva to the Gran Sasso lab in Italy 720 kilometres (450 miles) away. The neutrinos seemed to arrive sixty billionths of a second earlier than they would if they had been travelling at the speed of light in a vacuum.