Whew! My physics education is safe.
The Last Nail in the Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Coffin
Rest easy, folks. Einstein’s legacy and theories are safe. CERN released a statement today reporting that several follow-up experiments have made it clear that last year’s claims of neutrinos being clocked at faster than the speed of light were incorrect (my collected posts on the whole saga).
It wasn’t relativity, or strange physics, or the movement of the Earth’s crust that led to the odd result, either. It was a loose cable.
I’m not sure what the fallout will be for people’s trust in science, or science news, or boys crying wolf. People paid attention to something very exciting, and many of us learned something new about physics that we never would have. But part of it was a result of people overblowing overblown overblownalities. A trade-off of integrity and education. I tend to agree with CERN’s Sergio Bertolucci:
The story captured the public imagination, and has given people the opportunity to see the scientific method in action – an unexpected result was put up for scrutiny, thoroughly investigated and resolved in part thanks to collaboration between normally competing experiments. That’s how science moves forward.
And move forward we will. Just not faster than the speed of light.