CERN Reconfirms Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has reconfirmed the revolutionary September results of its historic experiment that detected neutrinos, a type of uncharged particle, moving faster than the speed of light, according to an announcement from the agency on Friday.

“One key test was to repeat the measurement with very short beam pulses from CERN,” the agency noted in a press release on its website. “This allowed the extraction time of the protons, that ultimately lead to the neutrino beam, to be measured more precisely…The new measurements do not change the initial conclusion.”

The initial experiment, carried out using CERN’s OPERA instrument in Gran Sasso, Italy, involved firing longer beams of neutrinos from CERN’s facility near Geneva, Switzerland, which each lasted 10 microseconds (10 millionths of a second) some 454 miles away to the facility in Gran Sasso.

The new experiment altered this model by firing 20 new, shorter pulses, each lasting 3 nanoseconds (3 billionths of a second), separated by intervals of 524 nanoseconds, in an effort to overcome the margin of error in the first experiment.

That experiment, the original one, detected neutrinos traveling at a speed of 2.39994 milliseconds (0.00239994 seconds) 60 nanoseconds (60 billionths of a second, 0.00000006) faster than the speed of light (2.4 milliseconds in this experiment, or 0.0024 seconds). This diagram from the BBC helpfully illustrates the degree to which the particles moved faster than the speed of light, an unimaginably small but significant amount.