OPERA May Have Ignored Einstein for Neutrino Speed Calculation
“Less than two weeks after the revelation that ghostly particles called neutrinos had been spotted travelling faster than the speed of light, physicists are saying they have found flaws in the analysis that would stop the claim in its tracks…
Since the OPERA group’s 22 September announcement, more than 30 papers attempting to explain the result using various exotic theoretical models have been posted to the physics preprint server at arXiv.org.
But one paper2, posted on 28 September by theorist Carlo Contaldi of Imperial College London, bears the distinction of being the first to challenge the experimental calculations.
The OPERA team timed the neutrinos using clocks at each location that were synchronized using GPS (Global Positioning System) signals from a single satellite. Contaldi’s paper says the group’s calculations do not take into account one aspect of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity: that slight differences in the force of gravity at the two sites would cause the clocks to tick at different rates.
Because of its location relative to the centre of Earth, the CERN site feels a slightly stronger gravitational pull than Gran Sasso. Consequently, a clock at the beginning of the neutrinos’ journey would actually run at a slower rate than a clock at the end. “It would reduce the significance of the result,” Contaldi says.”