Thursday, February 23, 2012

Score one for Einstein

Last year there was quite a kerfuffle on the internet about an experiment at CERN that showed neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light.  This was a big deal of course if true but mostly the reporting was "Einstein was wrong!!11!!" with a picture of Einstein with big crazy hair.  The odds on bet of course was that the experiment was slightly flawed in some way rather than 'physics is all wrong' and now it sure seems like this is the case.  Apparently the GPS equipment for the experiment wasn't working correctly which would explain the assumption of faster than light travel.

Of course this isn't about Einstein and it was obvious from the outset that the experiment itself made some kind of error whether it be mechanical or mathematical.  The experimenters certainly deserve credit because they stated (paraphrasing here) that clearly they must be wrong but they couldn't figure out where and the result was incredible if true.  Score one up for science:  Get a crazy result, publish with appropriate misgivings, find your error, admit it.  In this case it is just the internet and the reporting at fault, not the scientists.  The speed of light really is the limit, Star Trek fantasies notwithstanding.

Now we need a collection of incredulous articles titled "Einstein was right after all!"

No comments:

Post a Comment