Recalculating

ScienceInsider is reporting that the source of the 60ns discrepancy in the recent faster-than-light neutrino measurements has been tracked down to a faulty connection between the experiment’s GPS units and its computers. If this turns out to be true, its a disappointingly mundane explanation, but in science, simple mistakes have happened before

UPDATE: Nature now has a story up reporting more details:

“But according to a statement OPERA began circulating today, two possible problems have now been found with its set-up. As many physicists had speculated might be the case, both are related to the experiment’s pioneering use of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals to synchronize atomic clocks at each end of its neutrino beam. First, the passage of time on the clocks between the arrival of the synchronizing signal has to be interpolated and OPERA now says this may not have been done correctly. Second, there was a possible faulty connection between the GPS signal and the OPERA master clock.

An anonymously sourced account on Science Insider today broke the news that OPERA may have made a mistake. That report says the faulty connection can account exactly for the 60-nanosecond effect. OPERA’s official statement stops short of that, saying instead that its two possible sources of error point in opposite directions and it is still working things out.”

Read here, including the full text of the OPERA statement.

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