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Doubts linger on faster-than-light neutrinos experiment

November 22, 2011 - London

The concept of sub atomic particles, neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light has been strongly refuted by a team of researchers, who work in the same lab as the team that made the original claims.

The team of physicists at the INFN-Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy had announced that Einstein's theory of special relativity was wrong after they measured the faster-than-light speeds in neutrinos sent from Cern, 730km away.

But a new report by a different team has cast doubt on the shocking result, suggesting that neutrinos cannot move faster than the speed of light.

The Icarus team at the Icarus experiment has asserted that because the neutrinos sent from Cern do not appear to lose energy on their journey, they must not have exceeded the speed of light along the way, the BBC reported.

The idea that nothing can move faster than the speed of light is a central principle in modern physics, forming among many other things a critical part of Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity.

Critics have claimed since the very beginning that the experiment by the Opera collaboration, who published the first striking results, must be flawed in some way.

In one of the first objections to the experiment, Prof Glashow and Andrew Cohen argued that particles moving faster than light should emit further particles as they travel - in the process losing energy until they slow down to light-speed.

The Icarus team already had measurements of the spread of energies in neutrinos, detected in their underground instruments at Gran Sasso.

They revealed that the neutrino energies they measure are consistent with slower-than-light-speed travel.


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