Reports of particles traveling faster than light may be due to be equipment error and not a breakthrough discovery, but more tests are needed, researchers said on Thursday.
The world of fundamental physics was in for a shock in September, when researchers reported neutrinos crossing the distance from the CERN laboratory in Geneva to the Gran Sasso laboratory near L'Aquila in Italy 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light.
The result put the Theory of Relativity, the foundation of modern physics, into question, as one of its basic rules is that nothing travels faster than light.
But the unorthodox result could have been achieved due to a bad connection between a fiber cable and a computer used in the experiment, which resulted in neutrino speed being overestimated, CERN researchers said.
However, a faulty GPS unit could have also distorted the measurements the other way, downplaying the speed of neutrinos, already exceeding the speed of light, the researchers said.
A new round of tests expected to clarify the matter is set for May.