It seems that scientists at OPERA may have finally managed to explain-away that superluminal neutrino:
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 the article says, this hypothesis still needs to be confirmed by experiment, but for my money it looks like it’s probably curtains for the faster-than-light neutrino.
Is it wrong that I’m kind of disappointed by this news? I mean, I had known intellectually that it was probably a mistake all along, and surely, as a physicist, I should be willing to accept whatever facts about the natural world emerge from the scientific method. But still: I think that most physicists (or at least most of the young ones), if the given the choice between an experimental result which confirmed widely-accepted paradigms and one which turned those paradigms utterly upon their head, would choose the latter everytime.
What’s more, and this might be childish of me to say, but…well…I was looking forward to having interstellar starships! Especially with all of these exciting new extrasolar planets cropping-up all over the place these days! *Sigh* Ah well. I guess there’s always the Alcubierre spacetime.
I can’t say I’m terribly broken-up about the fact that time travel is still impossible though.