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How OPERA found the fast µ neutrino traveled faster than light?

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After the news of the neutrino travelling faster than light came, everyone is enquiring about this. Many students are of the opinion that “It is time to change the Physics Textbooks” But time has not come. It is just the first result pointing towards a possibility that some particles can travel faster than light. Here is an account of the result obtained by the researchers at OPERA.


Researchers on the Opera (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) experiment recorded the arrival times of ghostly subatomic particles called neutrinos sent from Cern on a 730km journey through the Earth to the Gran Sasso lab.

The trip would take a beam of light 2.4 milliseconds to complete, but after running the experiment for three years and timing the arrival of 15,000 neutrinos, the scientists discovered that the particles arrived at Gran Sasso sixty billionths of a second earlier, with an error margin of plus or minus 10 billionths of a second.

The measurement amounts to the neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light by a fraction of 20 parts per million. Since the speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second, the neutrinos were evidently travelling at 299,798,454 metres per second.

The result is so unlikely that even the research team is being cautious with its interpretation. Physicists said they would be sceptical of the finding until other laboratories confirmed the result.

Many think that IF neutrinos really traveled faster than light, the entire principles and theories proposed by Einstein would be proved wrong. But this is not true. One of the great dream of Einstein was the unification. This would pave way for the theory of unification of forces.

You can download the research report here
Learn all about Neutrinos


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