OPERA Blames the Blogosphere

It had to happen, OPERA has blamed its woes on the blogosphere, or perhaps not. Maybe it is just NewScientist trying to stir up trouble. This what they say in their editorial from 7th April

Perhaps the only way to have avoided the fuss would have been to keep the result under wraps for even longer than the three years it took to become public. Its flaws might have been uncovered more discreetly. But word was leaking into the blogosphere; OPERA physics coordinator Dario Autiero, who also stood down, says concealment was untenable

So it’s all our fault guys. If we had not leaked the story they could have kept it secret for a few more years until they found the loose cable and Autiero would be a hero.

In case anyone hasn’t noticed there are several flaws with this argument but not least is the observation that OPERA had planned its public presentation at CERN and already primed the press before the first hints of a rumour reached any blog, If NewScientist had checked the blogosphere they could have found a conveniently detailed timeline of the events here.

 


39 Responses to OPERA Blames the Blogosphere

  1. ComeOn says:

    I don’t see anything in that quote that can be interpreted as “blaming the blogosphere”. These guys are getting heat from people saying they shouldn’t have made a public statement until they were 100% sure nothing was amiss. He’s now saying the reason they released their results is because it’s almost impossible to prevent them being leaked out into the public domain, so might as well make it official. Pretty reasonable…

    I generally like your blog, Phil, but here it’s you stirring up trouble, not New Scientist.

  2. carlmott5520 says:

    i have many doubts about experience made against the opera.
    these neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light would open
    deep loopholes in STR and GTR still without theory to ocupy the place of str.

  3. woit says:

    I agree with Philip. The only thing leaking into the blogosphere was the news that there was a paper, press release, public talk, embargoed press stories, etc underway. If OPERA had done what they should have, made no public claims and kept working on finding their mistake, the silly hullabaloo would never have happened. Some physicists on the experiment might have leaked the fact that they thought they might be seeing something odd, possibly on a blog. The reaction though would have been “so what? experimentalists think they see something unusual all the time, then it goes away when they understand their experiment better. Let us know when you’re sure you’re seeing something.”

    At my own blog, about the only coverage of OPERA was to explain that it was virtually certainly a mistake and should be ignored. On the whole the blogs did a good job of making this kind of point, unlike the experimentalists, who went to the press much earlier than they should have.

  4. ComeOn says:

    Sure, you can argue they shouldn’t have publicly announced their results, and to be honest I agree with you. But they are not now “blaming the blogosphere”, so the title of Phil’s post is pretty unfair on them.

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      Come on ComeOn. The NS quote clearly tries to say that the problems arose because they were forced to announce because the info was leaking. The Autiero quote suggests that this sentiment came from OPERA. It is possible that NS has quoted out of context and embelished, but it is certainly made to look like they are blaming the fact that the results were leaking onto the blogosphere. It is outrageous because they had in fact kept it secret for three years and decided to announce before there was any sign of a leak on the blogs. As Woit says, if it has leaked they could just have said that they had an anomaly and were still looking for systematic errors. Clealry they went public because some of them thought there was a fair chance that it could be correct, not because of the fear of a leak. It looks like a feable attempt to find a scapegoat and if NS has misrepresented what Autiero says he should make a public statement to clear it up.

    • Paul Hoiland says:

      By the way Fernando, Have redone the older online ebook on Warp Drive and beyond. It has newer stuff like the NWD idea and you’re hyperdrive idea. It will be out next month on Amazon.com along with my first book out there on Politics called Dark Forces that can already be got there.

  5. Lubos Motl says:

    If I could take a lot of credit for speeding up this process, I would proudly accept it. More modestly, however, I think that the critical leaks appeared in Science Now etc.

    Whether someone blames someone else or not, I think it’s fine if not great that the (wrong and spectacular) results were published, it’s great that the glitch was found rather quickly (in December), leaked within two more months (in February), and I also think it’s great that those two bosses were de facto fired simply because they failed to supervise the proper technical job, not to speak about the fact that they apparently enjoyed the (unjustified) enhanced exposure in the media (and they were apparently trying to hide the glitch and feel important for several more months if not years by planning further tests even though they already knew they were unnecessary).

    So at the end, this story surely has a happy end. The processes worked in the right way in which science should work. If Autiero suggests that people like me helped others to understand in advance that the result was almost certainly wrong and helped his foes in OPERA to get rid of him, well, I think it’s true. I tried hard. It’s much more important for the people to know that relativity is true than to know some sloppy particular experiment with loose cables and it’s Einstein, not the likes of Autiero, who should be primarily famous when it comes to discussions about the speed of neutrinos.

    People should also learn that ICARUS actually did a better job than OPERA and deserves to be more famous – but things unfortunately don’t work in this way.

    • carlmott5520 says:

      is very strange the tentatives to adjust the values of opera to save
      the STR.do not exist any theory to substitute TO THE STR.we are always learning that the symetry theories are fragiles,as observe
      in the expewriments with neutrinos and antineutrinos,and meson Bs
      where perceive that the symetry cp must to be violated in extremes parts.
      MR.LUBOS DOESN’T TO BELIEVE IN SUPERSTRINGS THEORY
      AND EXTRADIMENSIONS OF SPACETIME.BUT IF THEY EXIST,THE CONSTANCY OF SPEED OF LIGHT OR SPEED-LIMIT WOULD BE
      important
      and the speed of light is constant and limit due the her proper essence ? or is originated of dynamical symmetry breaking ?

      • Lubos Motl says:

        Apologies, I don’t understand. Sprichst du Deutsch?

      • carlmott5520 says:

        MR.LUBOS.I THINK THAT THE CONSTANCY SPEED OF LIGHT IS ORIGINATED OF DYNAMICAL SYMMETRY BREAKING .IT IS THE
        CONSTANCY AND LIMIT OF SPEED OF LIGHT IS NOT DUE FOR EXAMPLE THE STRONGER VIOLATION OF CP( OR CPT),AS WEEL AS THE VIOLATION OF CP IS INTRINSICALLY RELATIONATED TO THE TIME DILATION AND CONTRACTION OF SPACE(REPRESENTING THE LORENTZ’S TRANSFORMATIONS).
        THE PROPERTY OF SPEED OF LIGHT IS NOT DUE TO THE UNIVERSE,BUT DUE THE SYMMETRY BREAKING.

        THE RESULTEDS OF OPERA IS NOT FALSE.BUT THE STR HAS MANY LOOPHOLES IN IT CONSTRUCTION

        DO YOU UNDERSTOOD?

      • JFringe says:

        This promises to be entertaining

  6. It is a very good thing that communication is better these days as in the middle ages. Every opinion is important surely when it are opinions of scientists who are concerned to find the truth, what we call a BLOG today is the instantanoues reaction of a multitude of consciousness.

    think free
    Wilhelmus

  7. Mike says:

    So what about MINOS? If we can get excited about a Higgs at 2.5 Sigma, why can’t we accept MINOS at the same confidence level (also 2.5 sigma) and I don’t see any problems with their experiment. Also, rerun OPERA results still shows neutrinos flying at c (http://press.web.cern.ch/press/PressReleases/Releases2011/PR19.11E.html) – kind of hard if they have a mass?

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      The combined Higgs results are over 4 sigma and show excellent consitency over different experiments and channels. There is more work to do but it is certainly worth getting excited about.

      The limits on the mass of the neutrino would means that direct measurements of its speed should not detect any difference from the speed of light so there is no inconsistency. Supernova observation, ICARUS and now OPERA contradict the MINOS result so we are a lot less excited about it.

  8. Dirk Pons says:

    I was sceptical at first, but now I think they did the right thing by releasing the superluminal neutrino result: it was a good way to stir up some interest in society in general. A lot of physics is otherwise very removed from society, and hence perceived to be irrelevant. So it is good to have an opportunty to communicate findings that are interesting to the public. And show the process of physics working. It probably sparked many healthy classroom discussions.

    I’m surprised the project manager had to step down: that seemed a bit of a vindictive response. Hardly a sackable offense in any normal organisation. Is this a pride thing: members feeling their reputations had been jeopardised by association with doubtful physics?

    Anyway, they had sat on the results for some time, so perhaps they had run out of ideas and needed fresh insight from outside the team. A form of peer-review has taken place, and possibly a more healthy one -certainly more transparent- than any journal submission process. We should celebrate that, not condemn them.

  9. here is the final form ot the wikipedia page about the OPERA

    they decided not to delete the page since OPERA was wrong because due to many implications(eg 200 papers in arXiv or HAL on the subject) and the entry in wikipedia will remain a historical record

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faster-than-light_neutrino_anomaly

    from there it is now stated that OPERA was wrong

    —————————————————————————
    The faster-than-light neutrino anomaly was the mistaken reporting by the OPERA experiment of subatomic particles, neutrinos, appearing to travel faster than light. It was considered anomalous since speeds higher than that of light in a vacuum are generally thought to violate special relativity, a cornerstone of the modern understanding of physics for over a century.[1][2]

    This result was publicly announced in September 2011 with the stated intent of promoting further inquiry and debate. Later the team reported two flaws in their equipment set-up that had caused errors far outside of their original confidence interval: A fiber optic cable attached improperly, which caused the apparently faster-than-light measurements, and a clock oscillator ticking too fast.[3] The errors were first confirmed by OPERA after a ScienceInsider report;[4] accounting for these two sources of error eliminated the faster-than-light results.[5] OPERA spokesperson Antonio Ereditato and physics coordinator Dario Autiero resigned on March 30, 2012.[6]

    In March 2012, the colocated ICARUS experiment reported neutrino velocities consistent with the speed of light in the same short-pulse beam OPERA had measured in November 2011.

    —————————————————————————–

    • carlmott5520 says:

      It is an absurd.there are three types of neutrinos and we know not if
      for all there are the countpart:antineutrinos.
      the STR has many loopholes,as the two postulates of STR.
      Is possible that some types travel with speeds greater than the speed of light.the speed of light as constant and limit is not given by whim of the nature,but due to strucure of world of 4-dimensions.then the speed of light is due to dynamical symmetry breaking,from where appear all the constant and affinities of the nature’s laws
      DON’T BELIEVE THAT THE OPERA BE WRONG.
      THEY ARE TO ADJUST VALUES TO THAT THE NEUTRINOS TRAVEL WITH SPEED EQUAL TO C._BUT C MUST TRAVEL ALWAYS WITH CONSTANT SPEED BY ALL THE CURVATURES
      OF THE SPACETIME 4-DIMENSIONAL NANIFOLDS

  10. HHu says:

    Unrelated but interesting: “Weird! Quantum Entanglement Can Reach into the Past” http://news.yahoo.com/weird-quantum-entanglement-reach-past-153007765.html

  11. well i am not here to unsheate my sword but i think i must post this comment

    it is up to Dr Gibbs to unsheate his sword

    suppose that other people comes here and see what i am seeing

    they will think viXra blog is of poor quality filled by cranks blablablablablabla etcetcetc

    quoting carlmot5520 in 24 April in a post to Lubos Motl

    ————————————————————-
    MR.LUBOS.I THINK THAT THE CONSTANCY SPEED OF LIGHT IS ORIGINATED OF DYNAMICAL SYMMETRY BREAKING .IT IS THE
    CONSTANCY AND LIMIT OF SPEED OF LIGHT IS NOT DUE FOR EXAMPLE THE STRONGER VIOLATION OF CP( OR CPT),AS WEEL AS THE VIOLATION OF CP IS INTRINSICALLY RELATIONATED TO THE TIME DILATION AND CONTRACTION OF SPACE(REPRESENTING THE LORENTZ’S TRANSFORMATIONS).
    THE PROPERTY OF SPEED OF LIGHT IS NOT DUE TO THE UNIVERSE,BUT DUE THE SYMMETRY BREAKING.

    THE RESULTEDS OF OPERA IS NOT FALSE.BUT THE STR HAS MANY LOOPHOLES IN IT CONSTRUCTION

    DO YOU UNDERSTOOD?
    ————————————————————

    quoting carlmot5520 again in 21 April in a post to Lubos Motl

    ————————————————————
    MR.LUBOS DOESN’T TO BELIEVE IN SUPERSTRINGS THEORY
    AND EXTRADIMENSIONS OF SPACETIME.BUT IF THEY EXIST,THE CONSTANCY OF SPEED OF LIGHT OR SPEED-LIMIT WOULD BE etc etc etc
    ————————————————————

    how can carlmot 5520 says that Lubos dont understand or believe in the strings theory….????? perhaps carmot5520 is a PhD in superstrings theory with works on arXiv or HAL or even in peer-review

    perhaos carmot5520 is a nominated for the Nobel Prize

    if this is the case i would like to examine carlmot 5520 works

    because a people that comes to a blog to use caps lock is the equivalent of shouting ..in that case or carlmot5520 is a PhD from Caltech or MIT or Harvard..a genius that would dwarf Einstein or Feynmann or in the other case he is behaving like a crank i favor the second opinion

    and viXra blog dont need just another one more crank

    i am not concerned on carlmot5520 i am concerned on what outside onlookers watching this blog would think about viXra

    i am 100% side by side and shoulder by shoulder with Dr Gibbs and viXra

    now the things have gained another countour

    now carmot5520 is shouting against me

    and with me this another question

    quoting again carlmot 5520

    ———————————————-
    It is an absurd.there are three types of neutrinos and we know not if
    for all there are the countpart:antineutrinos.
    ———————————————-

    i would advice carmot5520 to browse the Particle Data Group tables at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the antineutrinos in order to update his knowledge on the subject…

    and now the dessert of this delicious dinner..strawberry cheesecake..hmmmmm delicious

    again quoting carlmot5520

    ——————————————
    DON’T BELIEVE THAT THE OPERA BE WRONG.
    THEY ARE TO ADJUST VALUES TO THAT THE NEUTRINOS TRAVEL WITH SPEED EQUAL TO C._BUT C MUST TRAVEL ALWAYS WITH CONSTANT SPEED BY ALL THE CURVATURES
    OF THE SPACETIME 4-DIMENSIONAL NANIFOLDS
    ——————————————

    this is completely nonsense

    if c travels with a constant speed which is c in a 4d spacetime manifold then at least the neutrino must travel with a speed close to c but not exactly c because the neutrino have a non-zero rest mass

    so unfortunately a neutrino cannot go FTL.(Faster Than Light)….using normal topologies of General Relativity

    a non-trivial topology of General Relativity would be required (eg a Wormhole or a Warp Drive) but unfortunately it seems that a broken cable caused a neutrino to go “FTL” (Failure Total Looser)

    look i am the first to pray for FTL(Faster Than Light) neutrinos because i have works in the best mathematical institute of France on this subject..

    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/INSMI/hal-00630737/fr/
    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/INSMI/hal-00637783/fr/

    unfortunately OPERA is wrong

    perhaps instead of shouting carlmot5520 should indicate to ourselves poor creatures some of his works of supreme wisdom and knowledge to see if we can learn soimething really useful

    ps:i am not wasting my time with carlmot5520 i am worried about what potential outside onlookers would think about viXra blog after reading some of the last posts

    like i said

    ki am 100% side by skide and shoulder to shoulder with Dr Phillip Gibbs

    hasta la vista baby

  12. Does OPERA (still?) plan to rerun the experiment? Have they already?

  13. i am afraid not…..the hardware is too expensive..the Head scientists resigned .after a motion of no confidence by other CERN scientists

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faster-than-light_neutrino_anomaly

    ——————————————————————
    Ereditato and Autiero resigned their leadership positions on March 30, 2012. The resignations followed a vote of no confidence among the more than thirty group team leaders.[6][65]
    ——————————————————————

    all the 200 works on arXiv or HAL about the subject many are compromized

    ———————————————————————
    Many other scientific papers on the anomaly were published as arXiv preprints or in peer reviewed journals. Some of them criticized the result, while others tried to find theoretical explanations, replacing or extending special relativity and the standard model.[61]
    ———————————————————————

    .other experiments with neutrinos eg ICARUS contradicted the results of OPERA …OPERA will remain a lesson about how bureucratic and institutional science has becomes

    a guy with neutrinos at his “home backyards” using a “barbecue grill” and no one would have believed in FTL.neutrinos..but CERN is CERN..or better CERN was CERN

    OPERA is a lesson to all of us

    ps:if we ever someday spot a non-zero mass particle at FTL many of the works developed by OPERA with its mathematical techniques will be valid as legitimate scientific works again

  14. Christophe nicolas says:

    RElax, la solution de tout ce remu-ménage est à l’étude chez les meilleurs scientifiques français. En plus cela résout la matière sombre, l’énergie noire, la sonde pioneer et pleins d’autres petits problèmes… tout cela grace à OPERA. Icarus trouve un résultat différent mais on sait tous que l’Oservateur influe sur le résultat de la mesure, n’est ce pas ? Alors Dario Autiero, non seulement on va lui faire des excuses mais en plus il va avoir le Nobel ! Mais ce n’est pas le plus important. Le plus important c’est ce qui va suivre, l’unification de la Mécanique quantique et de la relativité. La relativité va se transformer, parce qu’effectivement, la vitesse de la lumière n’est pas constante, elle diminue lorsque l’émetteur et le récepteur ont des vitesses relatives. Dans le cas d’Opéra, on chronomètre à partir du point d’émission, mais l’émetteur continue à avancer jusque dans la roche… 100 m après la source, du coup on a un petit gain par rapport à c.
    Chut… , ne le dites à personne… les pontes sont en train d’examiner cela.
    J’oubliais… Quand un objet accélère par un processus interne, la relativité s’inverse. Il se passe l’inverse de ce que l’on observe dans un accélérateur de particule.
    Zut , Einstein n’avait pas prévu cela…
    Mais patiente, la physique c’est comme une fille, il ne faut pas tout voir tout de suite…

  15. —————————————————————I
    Icarus trouve un résultat différent mais on sait tous que l’Oservateur influe sur le résultat de la mesure, n’est ce pas ? Alors Dario Autiero, non seulement on va lui faire des excuses mais en plus il va avoir le Nobel !
    —————————————————————

    dear Christophe i dont speak French

    this is unforgivable because France is the home Country of some of my best publications INSMI/CNRS Institut Nationale des Sciences Mathematiques/Conseil Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique de France

    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/INSMI/hal-00630737/fr/
    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/INSMI/hal-00637783/fr/

    my French is the French of the high-school or in French Le Lycee

    as for Dario Authiero i regret everything ..he did not needed to resignate…he did this because he is a man of science..a real scientist….i admire him…..how many times science went wrong and the scientists did not resignated ???

    by the way browse the last section of my French article for Conseil Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique de France

    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/INSMI/hal-00637783/fr/

    i left there a message to Dario Authiero…

    • Christophe nicolas says:

      Sorry,

      I understand nothing is what you say. Back in 1905 and looks for hidden variables in relativity. It is mathematically simple. It is difficult for the concepts. But do not bother too much, everything is already done but I promised not to tell before the Ascension, the time that some people look at my essai.Tout what I can tell you is that you be simple and that is what is very difficult. I can also tell you also some consequences. From a scientific point of view: unification theories, not the standard model. From a philosophical point of view: a single first principle beyond our reach and determinism. From a human perspective: space vehicles travel without worry as far as one wants. From a sociological point of view: more solidarity between peoples and men. From the perspective of the universe: No big bang, no dark energy, not dark matter and perhaps no black holes.
      There are about 50 people to date, This now probably more. Normally Autiero Dario knows.

    • Christophe nicolas says:

      Sorry, I was a little faster. The technical problem comes from mathematics. The derivative of a function is a problem. It does not work. This is why my essay about 30 pages have very little mathematics. We must reason with the concepts. Currently, it does the opposite. Doing mathematics and concepts are the result. So everything is false. We must understand the potential fields. We must understand the basic exchanges. we need to understand quantum mechanics. Only then we can find the hidden variables of relativity. Only then we can interpret the experiments. Good night.

      • carlmott5520 says:

        i believe what there are hidden variables in relativity theory,and those variables are linked to superluminal events.i think that the proper constancy and limit of speed of light in one 4-dimensional manifold is due the stronger violation of cp ( contraction of space and time dilatation) deforming the spacetime,generating curves of spacetimes,originated by opposite rotational systems,no totally
        symmetrics,where the invariance of spacetime is given by the lorentz’s metrics.that is the differences of left-right handed spinors.
        there are hidden variables in str with the spacetime splitted by two times.

  16. rufousbettong says:

    Hello,
    If I may make the following comment(s). Nothing new, it’s very old stuff, but I’d like to share my (by now) long experience as a scientist.

    To go back to the OPERA stuff, there seems to be an ambiguity. First, if you read carefully the original article, they just summarized their measurements and asked the community to help to settle the question. Nothing wrong with this, that’s the way science advances. Second, they played to the gallery when adressing the media at public conferences. They had to know that for such an important information, the average journalist (even if he is scientific) will distort the story : the media timescale is not the scientific timescale. Media have to sell, they have to capture their audience, and it’s easier to do when announcing that Einstein is an idiot than when working on the details of a difficult experiment. Maybe that’s where something went wrong. Look at how careful CERN was in december when announcing they have seen something which could look as a Higgs.
    So in fact, going public was the right thing to do. But it had to be done with great care.

    Second comment. Goethe said : “Doubt grows with knowledge.”
    And Feynman said that science advances in three steps. First you make a hypothesis. Then you work out the consequences. Finally, you compare the consequences to experiments. At each step you have to question yourself. To challenge your own knowledge. By reading some of the comments above, they look sometimes as religious aphorisms, leaving little room to scientific doubt.
    A hypothesis is only a hypothesis. It’s not because I personnaly believe in something that it becomes reality. Scientific reality builds up with consensus. So you need to share and exchange information. You may be convinced of some idea, and scientists are enthusiastic kind of guys, but it becomes reality only if you come to a consensus. So always step back and ask yourself if what you think may have a chance to be true.
    Checking again and again a difficult experiment which seems to give a surprising result is a basic behavior for any scientist. Most important, you have to check how it fits in all the other experiments. It’s the coherence of the global picture which gives you the clue. Not an individual result. It’s not fiddling around or cheating to recheck everything. Especially for a difficult experiment.

    Hope all this makes sense.

  17. nameab says:

    have you received my e-mail “feasibility of Bohr orbit quantization for multi-electron”?

  18. Joe Ricci says:

    Hi, I’m an average joe.
    It seems to me that a loose optic cable is a convenient excuse, pardon my french. Whenever I find nice numbers like ’60′ billionths of a second I tend to think it unlikely that, that is as chance would have it, as ‘loose’ must imply. And, a loose cable of such timing significance? Shouldn’t there have been torqued, inspected, tested, log book proof of an impossible thing like a loose time-base cable? Wouldn’t a loose cable have necessarily caused resonance and thus, obvious signal issues forward and back, such as power loss, jitter, high reflection, etc etc? And what about all the errors inevitible for every other measurement made?
    It just seems to me that one would have to not have had any maintenance of instrumentation protocols in effect for days, weeks, months and maybe years with not one clue that something intermittent, or distorted about the time base signal. I can’t see how a loose cable only produced one kind of error.

  19. carlmott5520 says:

    i think that the existence of antimatter is intrinsically relationed to asymmetry of space and time of STR,then the stronger violation of cp or better of pt explain the non-existence of antimatter,and the antiparticles being sub-product of the transformations of mass into energy and viceversa.the antiparticles are due the the asymmetry of pt,or transformations of particles into antiparticles violating the totational invariance-that is calcuted by the asymmetry of space and time-generating the curvatures of spacetime to 4-dimensional
    manifolds with two distinct helicities.then the metrics of curvatures of spacetime are generated by rotations systems with differences between right-left handed systems
    then the existence of velocities gratesst than the speeed of light are corrects

  20. Amazing says:

    ahhhh….it all makes sense now

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