By now, you must have heard about the “BREAKING NEWS” that neutrino velocity measurement conducted by the OPERA experiment was flawed because of a faulty cable connection.
If you think about this, a loose/faulty connection (as mentioned in various media outlets) would result in a delay in the signal. So, one would record a greater time measurement than the actual value. If one rectifies it, the new measurement should show a shorter time measurement than the one previously recorded. As we all know that speed is distance/time, a smaller corrected time value should give a HIGHER value of the speed and not smaller.
But there is more to this story. According to this report in Nature, there is another mistake in measurement. It is caused because of a faulty oscillator which synchronizes the GPS clocks. OPERA is out of sync! I don’t know the details, but as stated in the report, fixing it would increase the time measurement and therefore REDUCE the neutrino speed.
So, now we have two opposite effects. One would increase the speed and the other would decrease it. Would these effects cancel out? Calculations will tell! I am sure, the quantitative analysis will soon tell us how these two mistakes are going to affect the measurement, but the actual measurements need to be made again and we probably will have to wait for a couple of months for the results. In the mean time, people are coming up with their theories on why neutrinos can and can’t travel faster than light. Here is a link for your entertainment.