News

    Leader of Controversial 'Faster-Than-Light' Physics Experiments Resigns

    The leader of a European science team that erroneously recorded subatomic particles moving faster than light has resigned his post, amid growing controversy over the flawed experiments.

    Professor Antonio Ereditato recently stepped down as project coordinator of the research team known by the acronym, OPERA.  But the Italian scientist says he remains an active member of the 150-member team, which is based at the European Center for Nuclear Research, CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland.

    OPERA’s controversial experiments showed that tiny particles known as neutrinos exceeded the speed of light by 60 nanoseconds - or 60 billionths of a second.  Tensions within OPERA began mounting last September when Ereditato decided to publicly announce the group's puzzling findings before they could be independently confirmed or subjected to the traditional scientific peer-review process.  He was criticized despite openly acknowledging the need for more research at different facilities, and urging other scientists to challenge his team’s findings.

    The results stirred controversy within the global scientific community because the basic laws of physics dictate that nothing with mass - even the miniscule neutrino - can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.

    Reports by Nature.com and by Science20.com blog say Ereditato voluntarily submitted his resignation a few days after some of his OPERA colleagues rendered a "no confidence" vote against his leadership of the experiments.  The vote took place less than two weeks after a separate CERN-based team of scientists, the ICARUS collaboration, duplicated one of OPERA's neutrino experiments and announced it had recorded the particles moving exactly at light speed - the expected result.

    It turns out that two technical flaws identified in February - a loose fiber optic cable and mistiming by the experiments' master clock - were to blame for the erroneous faster-than-light measurements.

    In a statement released Friday, Ereditato said he stood by his decision to announce the controversial findings.  And he insisted that publishing the experiment's "uncomfortable" result was a normal step in the scientific process - forging ahead into the unknown, making corrections and learning from mistakes.

    Using CERN's atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the OPERA and ICARUS physics experiments involved firing a batch of neutrinos from a CERN laboratory a distance of 730 kilometers to an underground detector at the Gran Sasso lab in Italy.  More experiments are planned for later this year.

    If the original OPERA test results had been correct, they would have disproven Albert Einstein’s 1905 theory of special relativity - the cornerstone of modern physics.

    The acronym OPERA stands for Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tracking Apparatus.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora