Yesterday, we reported that the faster-than-light neutrinos, one of the bigger science news buzzes of 2011 may have been an artifact of mechanical failure. Friend of Uncommon Descent Rob Sheldon shares a sense of unease about the whole thing,
Every experimentalist makes a lot of errors, he just hopes to have caught the major ones before he goes to print. This one escaped notice for just long enough. It is forgiveable, but the OPERA collaboration is on notice not to do it twice.
The nagging feeling is that they may have already known about this error, but ignored it because of the increase in attention and funding it provided. Then when the funding was secured, the “mistake” was revealed. That is to say, if you know that the Swiss are going to take their accelerator down for a year or two, and you won’t be collecting any more data, the reasonable thing to do is to take the equipment apart and reassemble it for the next experiment. But if you are taking it apart, why would you notice a loose connection that you were removing anyway? Wouldn’t that imply you were assembling it? It seems a tad too coincidental to be finding this problem now, and at this spot.
It’s disquieting to think that that is why they might have behaved so well about the science.
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