Archive for September 2011
It has been a lot of fun following the reactions to the OPERA release https://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23mundaneneutrinoexplanations
Update: People come here searching for “neutrino jokes”. So in addition to the above twitter link, may I recommend some fun anagrams: fast neutrinos – “sensation turf”, “a funniest sort”, and more.
The funniest thing to me is that this is an experimental discovery with an extraordinarily high level of statistical certainty (6 sigma!). But people joke about it. Even the media hype is unusually tactful. I am too very skeptical about the result, but I decided to take the time and do the homework.
I now understand some details of the experiment setup, and realize that there are some erroneous claims in the media. Please keep in mind that I have no formal training in physics whatsoever
I read the official paper by the OPERA collaboration http://static.arxiv.org/pdf/1109.4897.pdf . Parts of it are surprisingly accessible to a layperson like me. I didn’t understand many things. The major things that I didn’t understand are: 1) how exactly GPS was used, and 2) why they averaged the data for all the sessions (“spills”) in their analysis – couldn’t this lead to a loss of potentially significant information? (more on this below).
Btw, I mentioned the OPERA experiment before: https://bbzippo.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/neutrino-oscillation-directly-observed/ and mentioned that Neutrino is an anagram of “inner out”
Now, my “findings”: