CERN Results Casting Doubt on Theory of Relativity Due to Faulty Cable

CERN Results Casting Doubt on Theory of Relativity Actually Due to Faulty Cable

CERN Results Casting Doubt on Theory of Relativity Actually Due to Faulty Cable

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Feb. 23 2012 4:41 PM

Nice Move, Einsteins: CERN Results Casting Doubt on Theory of Relativity Actually Due to Faulty Cable

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(The Globe of Science and Innovation is seen at the entrance of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) on December 13, 2011 in Geneva.)

Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Well, there's your problem right there!

It seems even quantum physicists are subject to the same little technical annoyances as the rest of us—except a bad cable can alter their entire theoretical paradigm.

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In September of 2011, scientists from the OPERA collaboration discovered that neutrinos traveling 450 miles from experiments at the CERN Large Hadron Collider near Geneva Switzerland arrived 60 nanoseconds earlier than expected, suggesting they moved faster than the speed of light. The findings threw Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which states light is the speediest thing out there, into doubt.

But Einstein’s ghost might get the last laugh. OPERA researchers have discovered that there was a faulty connection of the GPS's fiber optic cable to the experiment's master clock. A faulty cable. OK guys, you don’t need a degree in quantum physics to fix this issue. Just disconnect it and reconnect it, or give it a jiggle … usually works for us.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.