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If them neutrinos are faster than light, physicists have a lot of work to do The story of the faster-than-light neutrinos is a rather unusual one. The good folks at Gran Sasso seem embarrassed by their own results. They had checked, rechecked, and re-rechecked their data, and investigated all the sources of systematic error they could think of, eliminating them all. Yet those pesky neutrinos were still arriving 60ns too soon. You might think this would be a cause for celebration—after all, finding exciting new physics on the horizon is supposed to be every physicist's dream, right?
The truth is that they knew they were not just getting close to a fire, but standing in the flames while taking a gasoline shower. The literature was going to fill up with papers that, in one way or another, stated they were wrong—very wrong. Two such papers have now come out, and they show just how hot the fire is going to get.
It's important to understand why this result is going to be aggressively attacked but the data probably won't. I don't think anyone has said the data is wrong; rather, they've suggested that the data has an intrinsic, but unknown, systematic error in it. A naive approach, when confronted with data that disagrees with fundamental models of how the Universe works, would be to say that this result shows that our model is wrong. In this case, we must toss out the standard model and replace it with something new. (ARS)
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