Professor Antonio Ereditato, the man who found neutrinos traveling faster than light late last year, has resigned from his job at the Gran Sasso physics laboratory in Italy. Attempts to reproduce the amazing superluminal result were not successful, and the finding was eventually blamed on a loose cable.
In a major step for truly wireless communications, scientists have figured out how to send a message with neutrinos, transmitting a single word through 780 feet of bedrock and translating it at the other end. It’s just a first step, but the message suggests that someday, submarine crews and maybe average civilians will communicate by sending chargeless, ghostly particles through any obstacle. The message? “Neutrino.”
Neutrinos may or may not move faster than light, but regardless, they're special little things. They speed through the planet, and through you, and through everything; but, chargeless and puny, they interact with their surroundings so minimally that other particles hardly take notice.
These subatomic particles are so tiny and so imperturbable they're almost impossible to see, but they originate in some of the most violent and disruptive processes in the universe. Energetic neutrinos that originate in deep space, known as astrophysical neutrinos, escape from the dark centers of the universe's most powerful places — gamma ray bursts, blazars and quasars, and black holes at the centers of galaxies. They can serve as cosmic messengers from these tumultuous places, but first we have to find them, and this is excruciatingly difficult. So European scientists are planning to construct the second-largest structure ever built by humanity, just to look for them.
Another new twist in the science of scofflaw neutrinos: A second Italian physics group now says they are not moving faster than light after all. So the foundations of modern physics appear safe for now — but this debate will likely not be settled for some time.
Remember in September when neutrinos were observed moving faster than the speed of light, potentially overturning everything we thought we knew about physics? It was met with all sorts of skepticism and dubiety, so the physicists decided to replicate their experiment and take new measurements.
Well, the new results are in, and they confirm the original findings.
The physicists who claimed to see neutrinos moving faster than light are moving quickly to replicate their experiment, hoping to substantiate their results before submitting them for publication. Since announcing their bizarre, seemingly impossible findings last month, physicists around the world have offered a few possible explanations. But perhaps the best test will be a retest.