Feb 23, 2012 5:04 AM GMT
The sensational result that neutrinos can travel faster than the speed of light may be undone by nothing more than a simple mechanical error.
Scientists from the OPERA collaboration at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy have “identified two issues that could significantly affect the reported result,” wrote OPERA spokesman Antonio Ereditato in an email.
The first issue is a faulty connection of the fiber-optic cable bringing the GPS signal to the experiment’s master clock. The experiment’s GPS may also have been providing the wrong timestamps during synchronization between events.
“These two issues can modify the neutrino time of flight in opposite directions,” Ereditato wrote.