American Elephants

They Questioned Einstein’s Key Theory: It May Be A Bum Cable. by The Elephant's Child

Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN in Geneva,  last September, garnered the attention of the world when they made the startling announcement that they had recorded particles known as neutrinos apparently traveling faster than the speed of light.  This finding would challenge the work of Einstein, and upset the whole field of modern particle physics.

The neutrinos sent from a lab in Geneva to another lab 450 miles away had seemed to make the trip about 60 nanoseconds faster than it would have taken light to make the same journey. If your eyes just started to glaze over at the mention of nanoseconds and neutrinos — wait —  it turns out that a flawed cable could have been responsible for a questionable result.

The equipment of the experiment is a huge tangle of computers, plugs and wires. There are screws that you have to turn that may not be well-calibrated.  They will test it in May. “It’s a complicated machine. There are many places where an error could be hidden.”

That’s what science is supposed to be about. Einstein accepted, yes. In the face of innumerable experiments, his work seems to stand. But nothing is completely sure. Science is a process of discovery and everything can and should be challenged.  Remember that when they start talking about “consensus.”  In the meantime, they will let us know if the cables check out.

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