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CERN stunned the world when it announced last week it had clocked neutrinos moving between CERN labs in Switzerland and San Grass, Italy faster than the speed of light.Since then physicists have been busy running calculations to confirm the findings, while also looking at data from 2007.
The four-year-old information comes from the Fermilab National Accelerator in Illinois and their MINOS experiment in Soudan, Minnesota that produced the same results found at CERN.
Because the Fermilab results were within a margin of error, no announcements were made at the time. CERN’s results, however, are such a statistical certainty that were it not such an earth-shaking event, the news would already be considered a new discovery.
The teams are now combining 10 times more data for new experiments to reproduce last weeks results. Those tests will be done at Fermilab, this time using more accurate measuring tools, with teams aware they’ll be searching for one of the most crucial discoveries in human history.
“The MINOS experiment has plans to update their original 2007 measurement with a number of improvements, including 10x more data,” wrote MINOS spokesperson Jenny Thomas, a professor of particle physics at University College London in an email to TPM’s Idea Lab (via idealab).
“We should have a result in 4-6 months as the data is already taken. We just have to measure some of our delays more carefully,” she added.
A Fermilab team of 4 to 5 people in Minnesota will perform the measurements with a better GPS, an Atomic clock, and LED lights to detect the neutrino stream fired from the main lab in Batavia, Illinois.
The CERN announcement comes just in time for Fermilab to contribute as it will begin shutting down September 30 — the result of federal budget cuts.
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