# Not so fast after all

1. Feb 22, 2012

### humanino

I came here thinking you would already be discussing. It is a just a rumor, but don't we love them ? Let us keep an eye, or an ear, on what will hopefully come out soon.

Faster-than-light neutrino result reportedly a mistake caused by loose cable

2. Feb 22, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

We're waiting for a formal announcement (press release) from CERN.

3. Feb 22, 2012

### humanino

Wise attitude. I am really just teasing, because this announcement will probably take a while. Despite the surrounding noise (which I am contributing today), CERN has been very cautious.

4. Feb 22, 2012

### Jimmy Snyder

5. Feb 22, 2012

### bp_psy

In before the CERN faster then light cover up conspiracy theories.

6. Feb 22, 2012

### humanino

Would not that be about 10 $\mu$s-light apart ? Where does your wife say you are ?

7. Feb 22, 2012

### humanino

Tell them a "neutrino walks in bar" joke. Meet somebody who works at CERN.

8. Feb 22, 2012

### Jimmy Snyder

Timbuctoo is in Westampton, just about 500 nanoseconds from Hainseport. My wife thinks I'm in the living room. Actually, I'm in the family room, but it's not prudent to contradict her so I'm moving.

9. Feb 22, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

10. Feb 22, 2012

### Jimmy Snyder

So my theory that the speed of light is actually d has been exploded?

11. Feb 22, 2012

### CaptFirePanda

explocec.

12. Feb 22, 2012

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Since the initial announcement, my bet has been on a detector error. Would this count as a detector error, or some other type of error? I just want to know if I can collect my bets if this ends up being the official explanation. (Oh, wait, I didn't actually place any cash bets...drat! I guess I don't care then. )

13. Feb 22, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

I'd call it a system error. Apparently the detector worked fine, but the transmission of the information was delayed.

There is a good reason that PF has a relatively strict prohibition on overly-speculative posts.

14. Feb 22, 2012

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Drat! Oh, wait, I didn't bet any real money, so it's all good. Really, the biggest mistake they made was the big press release of the initial report before they went through and double checked all of these systems for errors. On the other hand, it's a good lesson for the public about scientific method and that nothing is a foregone conclusion until it has been checked, checked again, and checked some more. And, even then, it's not a foregone conclusion.

15. Feb 22, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

The authors reported concerns about errors. I seem to remember some experimenters not putting their names on the released report. Quite a few folks here expressed the concern about error and the need to check each and every detail. Of course, others started speculating about FTL this and that, or the demise of special relativity.

I wonder if scientists succumbing to the pressure/temptation to be the first to announce a discovery - or to publish?

16. Feb 23, 2012

### DaveC426913

I am not surprised that the results turned out to be wrong. I have a lot of confidence in our current theories and the results they've been giving.

I am surprised that the error turned out to be something so embarrassingly avoidable.

I had assumed that a research team doing experiments like this (that will be scrutinized by the whole world) would be diligent enough to have more than one independent measurement system. I'd think they'd see a discrepancy in their two measurements and quickly get to the root of it. Surely they didn't just trust all their hardware software and processes without checks and balances?

I guess the answer is: yes they did and it is commonplace.

17. Feb 23, 2012

### Jimmy Snyder

Me too. Special relativity has withstood every experimental test for over a hundred years. I don't know of any other theory that has done so well for so long.