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OPERA Experiment in the Gran Sasso Laboratory: Neutrinos Travel Faster Than Light?

Oct 3rd 2011

Yesterday at CERN, an international team of scientists published the initial results of the complex and precise analysis of data within the framework of the OPERA experiment, in which the following scientists from the Ruđer Bošković Institute participated: Ante Ljubičić, Ph.D.; Mario Stipčević, Ph.D.; Krešimir Jakovčić, Ph.D.; Budimir Kliček, B.S., and Julijan Babić, B.S. Analysis was performed with the goal of the unprecedented precise measurement of the speed of neutrinos emitted from CERN, 730 km away, at the underground Gran Sasso Laboratory.

OPERA Experiment in the Gran Sasso Laboratory: Neutrinos Travel Faster Than Light?

Over 15,000 neutrinos from CERN arrived at the Gran Sasso Laboratory and were detected 60 nanoseconds, approximately 20 parts per million, earlier than they would been if they had been traveling at the speed of light. Should these results be confirmed, this discovery will undermine a key element of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity from the year 1905, which states that nothing in the universe can travel faster than light.

The aforementioned RBI scientists worked on all the phases of the construction, testing and installation of the innovative RPC and GRPC particle detectors. They also developed several computer programs for monitoring the experiment and processing the data measured, thus contributing significantly to the collaboration and results achieved. On occasion, about a dozen scientific assistants and physics students also worked on the project, who thereby gained experience in participating in large international experiments. It should be noted that the staff members of the Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Weak Interactions have approximately twenty years of experience in the area of neutrino physics, which began in 1991 at CERN with the cofounding of the NOMAD experiment.

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