. . . they seek those damn neutrinos everywhere!
Do you remember those pesky little neutrinos who had the infernal cheek to, as it were, stick two fingers up to 'our Albert' and go ever so slightly faster than the speed of light? Well, you can say what you like about the 'swots' but they do have an excellent sense of humour, even if it is somewhat unintentional. The particular 'swots' concerned spend all their time buried under a Swiss mountain chasing neutrinos - I know, I know, what a way to spend a life! - and when the little critters went faster than light it caused an emotional breakdown amongst the team. First, there was elation that they had, in the proper Popperian manner, falsified a theory; quickly followed by trembling anticipation of the bucket-loads of offal likely to be deposited on their heads when it was found that the Swiss cuckoo clock they used for timing was one 'koo slower than it should be and therefore gave a false reading!
Consequently, a suitably Swiss-like announcement of total neutrality was issued merely reporting 'the facts, Ma'am, nothing but the facts' and promising that rigorous checks would be made on the cuckoo clock and all the other equipment. The result, announced a few days ago and reported by Reuters, was so deliciously quantum physics-like as to be hilarious and indeed some people swear they heard the ghostly laughter of that great prankster and humourist (as well as Nobel Prize winner) Richard Feynman. You see:
The scientists at the Gran Sasso laboratory said tests on the equipment used in their experiment had led to two question marks over its sensational results, because of problems with possibly faulty cabling and separately with a timing mechanism.
The first "could have led to an underestimate of the time of flight of the neutrinos" while the second could have resulted in "an overestimate," said the statement by the Italian laboratory's OPERA group of neutrino specialists, relayed by the CERN particle physics research centre in Geneva.
The latest turn in the story, which set the scientific world in uproar when it first broke last September, left the basic question - did they or didn't they? - unanswered, with more tests set for the coming weeks and months.
My apologies to Reuters but they are wrong. The basic question has been answered, and indeed, it has been answered in perfect conformity with what I understand to be the very essense of quantum theory, that is, the naughty neutrinos went faster than light and slower than light - simultaneously! See? It's simple, really!
And if that convinces you that I'm as daft a brush let me quote Feynman:
I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.
As for 'our Albert', in anticipation he recorded his response years ago: