Just three weeks ago, a team of scientists from European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) shocked the world by claiming to have found neutrinos moving faster than light. Now others have challenged the finding, saying the particle's speed is equal to that of light or maybe even less.
Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, which states that nothing in universe can move faster than light, came under major threat when a team of physicists ran almost 15,000 beams to prove that neutrinos moved 60 nanoseconds faster than light. The finding was sensational but raised questions about the experiment.
In September, CERN researchers in Switzerland announced that they had been firing particles for years from their particle research facility to the particle detectors at Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy. Distance between these two research facilities is 450 miles and neutrinos traveling through air, water and rock, reached Gran Sasso 60 nanoseconds before light.
The calculation was done by the Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus (OPERA), a 1,300-metric-ton particle detector.
It's a straightforward time-of-flight measurement, said Antonio Ereditato, a physicist at the University of Bern and spokesman for the 160-member OPERA collaboration. We measure the distance and we measure the time, and we take the ratio to get the velocity, just as you learned to do in high school.
Latest Research Negating CERN Researcher's Claim
Now a study, Time of Flight Between a Source and a Detector Observed from a Satellite, by Ronald A.J. van Elburg counters the claim of the CERN physicists, saying the apparent velocity of the neutrino is not significantly different from the speed of light.
Theoretical physicist Matt Strassler explained in his blog that electrons can make neutrinos faster than light but to do that the electron also has to move faster than light, which is impossible.
Another study, New Constraints on Neutrino Velocities, by Nobel laureate Sheldon L. Glashow with his colleague Andrew G. Cohen, refuted the superluminal interpretation of the OPERA result based on their detailed study on the Standard Model of Physics.
The latest researches not only reject the claims of the CERN scientists but also confirms the validity of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The debate apparently will not die soon, but whatever the result, ultimately science and not mere speculation would win.