CERN has confirmed that a shock result from its Gran Sasso Laboratory was indeed the result of a mechanical error.
The group said that re-tests have confirmed that a faulty piece of fibre-optic hardware caused the OPERA experiment to suggest that neutrinos could be accelerated to velocities beyond the speed of light.
Upon re-examination, a set of four different experiments all found that neutrinos did, in fact travel at the speed of light. The findings re-affirm Einstein's assertions that faster-than-light travel is not possible.
"Although this result isn’t as exciting as some would have liked, it is what we all expected deep down," said CERN research director Sergio Bertolucci.
"The story captured the public imagination, and has given people the opportunity to see the scientific method in action, an unexpected result was put up for scrutiny, thoroughly investigated and resolved in part thanks to collaboration between normally competing experiments."
Researchers have been searching for an answer to the results since last September, when the neutrinos were first reported to be traveling faster than light. The matter baffled scientists for months, until a breakthrough was made in the case earlier this year.
In February, scientists suggested that a possible fibre optic cable error was the possible cause of the unexpected results. CERN then agreed to re-conduct the experiments with the issues corrected.
While the results wipe out a potential breakthrough in physics, CERN is still hoping to win headlines in the near future. The group is raising the power input of its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) as part of an effort to uncover evidence of the elusive Higgs-Boson particle.
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