Scientists at the famed European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland may have some explaining to do, in light of revelations that recent major research findings regarding the speed of light may have been compromised due to a poor cable connection.
In September 2011, CERN researchers claimed that neutrinos (sub-atomic particles) zapped from Geneva to a laboratory in Gran Sasso, Italy traveled the 450 mile distance about 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light, or about 186,000 miles per second. If validated, such a finding would have called into question the basis for many scientific theories, including Einstein’s theory of relativity and the theory of gravity.
However, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets are reporting that researchers are planning to rerun the experiment this May to check the original work. The reason? It appears that there might have been a problem with the optical fibre connection between the GPS signal and the main clock used to time the experiment. Or, as the BBC delicately put it, “a cable not quite fully plugged in.”
A separate problem related to the oscillator used in the experiment was also discovered. However, since that problem would have had the effect of decreasing the apparent speed of the traveling neutrinos, according to researchers, the faulty cable connection seems the likely culprit for the breakthrough findings that may prove untrue in the end.