Looking Closely At The “Faster Than Speed of Light” Neutrinos
“Last night, in response to a worldwide surge in interest, the OPERA experiment released a paper that describes the experiments that appear to show neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light.
And today, CERN broadcast a live seminar in which one of the work’s authors described the content of the paper. Both of those emphasized the point of our initial coverage: figuring out whether anything is traveling beyond the speed of light requires incredibly accurate measurements of time and distance, and the OPERA team has made an extensive effort to make its work as accurate as possible.
As a spokesperson for the MINOS neutrino experiment told Ars yesterday, there are three potential sources of error in the timing measurements:
- distance errors,
- time-of-flight errors,
- and errors in the timing of neutrino production.
The vast majority of both the paper and the lecture were dedicated to discussing how these errors were reduced (the actual detection of the neutrinos was only a small portion of the paper).”