Beata Ignoranza

I see the Italian education minister is now claiming the Italian government funded the tunnel [sic] from Geneva to L’Aquila along which the neutrinos in this week’s news appeared to travel fractionally faster than the speed of light.

For just 45 million euro — what a bargain! — this fantastic piece of civil engineering has led to the discovery of superluminal velocities, in her words an “epochal victory”.

Personally I’d like to know who the contractor was on the tunnel, because a tunnel of (veery roughly) some 500 miles (that’s more than 20 times longer than the channel tunnel), presumably running a couple of miles below the surface of the earth in consequence, sounds like a pretty good bargain. Especially when one estimate of the Channel Tunnel costs put them at £4650 million in 1985 money.

That gives you a construction cost of .. let’s see… £90,000/mile, compared to the Channel Tunnel costs of £148,000,000/mile (3 s.f.), or one one-thousand, six hundred and forty-fourth of the cost. I knew Italian builders were good, but this really does take the biscuit.

Also — who knew neutrinos needed a tunnel?