I wonder when it comes to physics geeks if their dream in life is to prove one of Einstein’s theories as correct or incorrect. A group of physicists at a CERN lab near Geneva announced to the world last September that they had recorded particles that move faster than the speed of light. That discovery has grave implications for Einstein’s theory of special relativity that he proposed in 1905. That theory states that nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.
However, the researchers had announced that the recorded neutrinos are able to travel faster than the speed of light. The announcement kicked off a flurry of other studies and research a other physicists tried to figure out if the CERN researchers were correct. There were a number of theories, including one suggesting that the team possibly forgot to take into account time distortions introduced by GPS satellites in orbit. The reason for the incorrect findings is actually much simpler than many might expect.
The physicists at the research facility have announced that a bad connection between the GPS unit and computer is the likely source of particles seeming to travel faster than light. The report was published in Science Insider and the researchers found in testing that after tightening that specific connection data arrived 60 ns earlier than assumed over the fiber optic cable.
“[The] 60 nanoseconds discrepancy appears to come from a bad connection between a fiber optic cable that connects to the GPS receiver used to correct the timing of the neutrinos’ flight and an electronic card in a computer. ”
“After tightening the connection and then measuring the time it takes data to travel the length of the fiber, researchers found that the data arrive 60 nanoseconds earlier than assumed.”