Neutrinos just don’t seem to be cooperating with our cosmological constant.
Back in September, physicists working on the OPERA project fired neutrinos from CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, to Gran Sasso Italy. Afterwords, they discovered the neutrinos had arrived 60 seconds before light would have, a finding that could, if true, greatly undermine our current physics models.
After they announced their findings in October, there was an understandable amount of skepticism. In good old scientific fashion, they requested that everyone take a look at the results and run their own experiments. They, too, would have another go at it.
Well, today those same physicists returned with their latest findings.
The Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) claims to have reached the very same results as their previous tests after running the experiment again. This despite making modifications to the proton beam in order to ensure accurate measurements of the neutrinos’ starting time.
They’re still not completely convinced, though Fernando Ferroni, president of the INFN, said he is “confident” in the results.
The test only accounted for one potential measurement error, however, so further testing needs to be done.
“A measurement so delicate and carrying a profound implication on physics requires an extraordinary level of scrutiny,” Ferroni said, adding that, “A final word can only be said by analogous measurements performed elsewhere in the world.”
Other physicists agree, including those at Fermilab, who still question the OPERA project’s accuracy of their time measurements. They may still need to take into account the time differences between CERN and the GPS used to make them.
Update – November 23, 2011 – Physicist Jim Al-Khalili still isn’t convinced, and while his bet still stands, he won’t be eating his shorts just yet. Read more about his views on the scientific process and the idea of faster than light neutrinos @ The Guardian: Faster than the speed of light? We’ll need to be patient