Two leaders of "Faster-Than-Light" Neutrino Team Resign

On the morning of September 22, 2011, OPERA spokesperson Antonio Ereditato announced to the world that members of the OPERA experiment had observed neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. The next day, experimental coordinator Dario Autiero presented the team's findings at an internationally broadcasted presentation. Today, it is being reported that Ereditato and Autiero have both resigned.

Science is reporting that the pair's resignation came after 16 of 29 leaders from within the OPERA collaboration sided against them with a vote of no confidence. An unnamed source from within OPERA told Science that many members of the collaboration were unhappy with the way Ereditato and Autiero handled the announcement. Even though collaboration rules state that a two-thirds vote is required to remove any leaders from their positions within the experiment, Ereditato reportedly resigned within minutes of the vote. Autiero is said to have waited until today to step down.

Their resignations come on the heels of two major blows to the team's faster than light findings, the first being the revelation that the discrepancy in timing may have been caused by a faulty cable connection; the second, results attained earlier this month by an independent research group (but housed in the same lab as the OPERA experiment) that contradict September's FTL claim.

All news outlets are reporting that neither Ereditato nor Autiero has been available for comment. [Reuters | Science]
Top images courtesy of CERN