For much of last year the physics world lived with the possibility that a group of scientists had detected neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light. Unfortunately it turned out not to be the case. Far from the explanation being scientific, or due to some error in the measurements it all came down to the most mundane of explanations a faulty connection.
Although full details are still to emerge it is clear that in the excitement of the observation an arguably less than thorough check of the experimental set-up was conducted. As a result, Prof Antonio Ereditato who oversaw the release of the results from the OPERA consortium has resigned.
Maybe he was pressured, maybe it was his own choice, but it seems a little cynical if we have reached a state in scientific investigation that failure means leading scientists resigning from positions. While mistakes have obviously been made in the experimental set-up, throwing the baby out with the bath water will hardly encourage others to push back the frontiers of science.
Sadly, science has always overtly defended the establishment view of the truth (even if that truth has turned out to be wrong). While the late 90s and the turn of the century have seen greater sharing of knowledge through the internet and crowd-sourcing, the recent squeeze on funding may force scientists to become more conservative in their research - especially if resignation is the only way out at the end.