CERN’s Neutrinos – Now Obeying Speed Limit

Its official – no “Faster than Light” Neutrinos at CERN.

CERN (not OPERA) Research Director Sergio Bertolucci announced yesterday at a Japanese conference that they have re-run the Neutrino experiments on four different machines and all neutrinos seem to be obeying the speed limit.

“Although this result isn’t as exciting as some would have liked,” said Bertolucci, “it is what we all expected deep down. The story captured the public imagination, and has given people the opportunity to see the scientific method in action – an unexpected result was put up for scrutiny, thoroughly investigated and resolved in part thanks to collaboration between normally competing experiments. That’s how science moves forward.”

This terse announcement was in sharp contrast to the original one in that there are essentially no back up papers or information documenting how CERN arrived at this new conclusion; not even a press conference.

The original spokesperson for the experiment Prof. Antonio Ereditato resigned some time after the first announcement.

Commentary:

 

Well, I appreciate how this adventure taught me a lot about Neutrinos and how the experiments are conducted.

I believe Prof. Ereditato handled the experiment, the announcement, the press conference and the intense media scrutiny properly and even admirably, in the true spirit of boldly exploring with science. He took pains not to overstate what they had found, to explain in detail how his project was not specifically designed to measure neutrino velocity. He magnanimously invited the world to help analyze the remarkable results.

I wish Prof. Ereditato well. I hope his replacement is not a timid bureaucrat.

References:

Precision measurement of the neutrino velocity with the ICARUS detector in the CNGS beam

Measurement of CNGS muon neutrino speed with Borexino
Faster Than Light or Faulty Wiring?

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