2nd Test Finds Faster-Than-Light Particles

Result backs up much-hyped, and much criticized, earlier experiment

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 18, 2011 9:02 AM CST

(Newser) – The international physics team OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion Tracking Apparatus) has managed to recreate the result that shocked the physics world, again detecting a batch of subatomic particles moving faster than the speed of light, the Washington Post reports. The "positive outcome of the test makes us more confident in the result," one OPERA physicist said in a statement, though he added that "a final word can only be said by analogous measurements performed elsewhere in the world."

The team’s initial experiment—in which it shot neutrinos from CERN’s particle accelerator on the French-Swiss border to a detector buried in Italy, and saw them arrive 60 nanoseconds sooner than should have been possible—drew loads of criticism from skeptical scientists. They complained, among other things, that the neutrino batches were too wide to be properly measured. So OPERA tightened them this time, removing much speed-related uncertainty—and still observed faster-than-light speeds.

The globe of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, is illuminated outside Geneva, Switzerland.
The globe of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, is illuminated outside Geneva, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Opera spokesperson Antonio Ereditato, of the University of Bern, poses before a presentation in which he discussed his group's faster-than-light results, Sept. 23, 2011.
Opera spokesperson Antonio Ereditato, of the University of Bern, poses before a presentation in which he discussed his group's faster-than-light results, Sept. 23, 2011.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini)
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