Gravity May Have Thrown Off Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Calculations

The Earth has variable gravity (as seen in the “lumpy” image above) that you and I can’t feel. But could the faster-than-light neutrino experiments have been doomed by omitting this? From Forbes:

In any good heist, synchronized watches are essential for determining timing, so that a precision plan can go off without a hitch.  Similarly, the clocks in a speed measurement need to be synchronized to ensure that velocity is calculated correctly. The basic problem with OPERA’s calculations, Contaldi suggests, is that the clocks used to measure the neutrinos’ velocity weren’t properly synchronized.

In the case of the faster-than light measurements, the clocks were synchronized using GPS timestamps. But, argues Contaldi, that’s not good enough. That’s because the gravity on different places on the Earth isn’t constant. The gravity at the CERN site where the neutrinos left, for example, is actually slightly greater than the gravity at the OPERA detector site. As a consequence, time would appear to move more slowly at CERN from the vantage point of the OPERA detector. Failing to take this into account, Contaldi contends, means that “[t]he resulting measurement that the neutrino velocity differs from c is not only unsurprising but should be expected in their setup.”

(via Forbes)

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.