CERN's Loose Cable To Blame For Proving Einstein Wrong

23/02/2012 13:13 | Updated 24 April 2012

Note to Einstein naysayers - check your equipment before trying to prove the chief geek wrong.

A loose wire may be to blame for CERN's claim late last year that Einstein's theory of special relativity, proposed in 1905, was actually incorrect.

The theory states that nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.

It took just 2.3 milliseconds for light to travel between the Geneva and Gran Sasso laboratories.

CERN showed that the accepted speed of light could be broken by 60 nanoseconds, or more precisely that neutrinos arrived 60 nanoseconds too early than if they were travelling at the speed of light, breaking the speed of light itself by 0.00248%. Two experiments reached the same conclusion.

The Telegraph reports that a loose wire at CERN might mean Einstein is not wrong.

Sources close to the international experiment told Science Insider that the 60 nanoseconds discrepancy between Einstein's rule and CERN's finding, might be due to "a bad connection between a fiber optic cable that connects to the GPS receiver".

The first experiment was carried out between the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland and a laboratory at Gran Sasso in Italy.

Scientific findings are not set in stone, and even at the time, CERN doubted its own findings. They agreed that the finding could be an error, saying that even the tiniest of shifts in the earth between the two measuring points could have changed the results.

Proving Einstein wrong on the speed of enutrinos raised stiff competition between the US end EU.

When the finding was announced, Jenny Thomas, co-spokesman for the Chicago-based lab's own neutrino experiment, MINOS said: "OPERA's observation of a similar time delay with a different beam structure only indicates no problem with the batch structure of the beam, it doesn't help to understand whether there is a systematic delay which has been overlooked."

In her blog on the Huffington Post, Anais Rassat, Astrophysicist and Science Communicator wrote: "Two main issues are that to measure a speed, you need to measure the precise distance travelled, as well as the exact time it took to travel that distance. This is no easy feat, and this is where the largest possible blunders can lie."

"And though we all want to witness a scientific revolution, it is overly optimistic to start re-writing physics textbooks," she said.


Suggest a correction