Error in OPERA experiment?
The rumor mill in particle physics has gone rather wild. Lubos rumored just some time ago that CDF will provide additional sigmas for Higgs at 125 GeV. It turned out that CDF had found no evidence for the signal. Lubos rumored also about support for stop: not even indications had been actually found. The latest rumor is that OPERA collaboration has detected two errors in the experiment suggesting super-luminality of neutrinos: the first error would be technical and second one related to the analysis. I could not however make head or tail of the published popular pieces of text.
The reader is encouraged to find whether he/she can make any sense of the following cryptic piece of text (which is "popular" and should be therefore easy to understand!).
According to sources familiar with the experiment, 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. Since this time is subtracted from the overall time of flight, it appears to explain the early arrival of the neutrinos. New data, however, will be needed to confirm this hypothesis.
As those bloggers who are unable to image modifications of Einstein's theory (see for instance this) do not hesitate to take the rumor as a final truth, and have no difficulties in forgetting that also other experiments have seen indications for the super-luminality. Sad to see that so many science bloggers behave as third rank politicians. This tends to give totally wrong view about people working in the field. My day was saved by Cosmic Variance, where the rumor was taken as a rumor and nothing else.
In TGD framework one has sub-manifold gravity and the operationally defined maximal signal velocity varies and can depend on particle species. I am however unable to fix the magnitude of the variation from the maximal signal velocity for photons quantitatively so that the possible neutrino sub-luminality cannot kill TGD whereas super-luminality can only support the notion of sub-manifold gravity. One must just wait and see.
Addition: There is now a New Scientist article about the possible measurement error. Two errors with opposite effects have been identified. The first error relates to a mis-functioning signal cable communicating the time measured by CERN clock to Gran Sasso clock and 60 ns lapse in signal transfer would mean that neutrinos seem to arrive 60 ns earlier than they should. For me this is not a question about whether Einstein was or TGD is wrong or right and it is interesting to see what the final answer will be. No need for ranting;-)!
Addition: New Scientist contains another popular article with title Lights speed limit is safe for now. Is some-one threating some-one? Why a possible anomaly which could have extremely far reaching consequences allowing to generalize Einstein's theory rather than destroy it, is seen as a threat? How people with this attitude can make objective decisions? How many scientific decision makers and researchers have this defensive attitude?
Addition: Matt Strassler has excellent blog posting about the situation in Opera experiment.