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Physicists maybe, just maybe, confirm the possible discovery of 5th force of nature

The discovery of a possible fifth fundamental force could change our understanding of the universe. – Image Credit: ESA/Hubble/NASA/Judy Schmidt

By Matt Williams

For some time, physicists have understood that all known phenomena in the Universe are governed by four fundamental forces. These include weak nuclear force, strong nuclear force, electromagnetism and gravity. Whereas the first three forces of are all part of the Standard Model of particle physics, and can be explained through quantum mechanics, our understanding of gravity is dependent upon Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

Understanding how these four forces fit together has been the aim of theoretical physics for decades, which in turn has led to the development of multiple theories that attempt to reconcile them (i.e. Super String Theory, Quantum Gravity, Grand Unified Theory, etc). However, their efforts may be complicated (or helped) thanks to new research that suggests there might just be a fifth force at work.

In a paper that was recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters, a research team from the University of California, Irvine explain how recent particle physics experiments may have yielded evidence of a new type of boson. This boson apparently does not behave as other bosons do, and may be an indication that there is yet another force of nature out there governing fundamental interactions.

Physicists maybe, just maybe, confirm the possible discovery of 5th force of natureImage from Dark Universe, showing the distribution of dark matter in the universe. – Image Credit: AMNH

As Jonathan Feng, a professor of physics & astronomy at UCI and one of the lead authors on the paper, said:

“If true, it’s revolutionary. For decades, we’ve known of four fundamental forces: gravitation, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter.”

The efforts that led to this potential discovery began back in 2015, when the UCI team came across a study from a group of experimental nuclear physicists from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Institute for Nuclear Research. At the time, these physicists were looking into a radioactive decay anomaly that hinted at the existence of a light particle that was 30 times heavier than an electron.

In a paper describing their research, lead researcher Attila Krasznahorka and his colleagues claimed that what they were observing might be the creation of “dark photons”. In short, they believed that they might have at last found evidence of Dark Matter, the mysterious, invisible mass that makes up about 85% of the Universe’s mass.

This report was largely overlooked at the time, but gained widespread attention earlier this year when Prof. Feng and his research team found it and began assessing its conclusions. But after studying the Hungarian teams results and comparing them to previous experiments, they concluded that the experimental evidence did not support the existence of dark photons.

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Signature of one of 100s of trillions of particle collisions detected by CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Image Credit: CERN

Instead, they proposed that the discovery could indicate the possible presence of a fifth fundamental force of nature. These findings were published in arXiv in April, which was followed-up by a paper titled “Particle Physics Models for the 17 MeV Anomaly in Beryllium Nuclear Decays“, which was published in PRL this past Friday.

Essentially, the UCI team argue that instead of a dark photon, what the Hungarian research team might have witnessed was the creation of a previously undiscovered boson – which they have named the “protophobic X boson”. Whereas other bosons interact with electrons and protons, this hypothetical boson interacts with only electrons and neutrons, and only at an extremely limited range.

This limited interaction is believed to be the reason why the particle has remained unknown until now, and why the adjectives “photobic” and “X” are added to the name. “There’s no other boson that we’ve observed that has this same characteristic,” said Timothy Tait, a professor of physics & astronomy at UCI and the co-author of the paper. “Sometimes we also just call it the ‘X boson,’ where ‘X’ means unknown.”

If such a particle does exist, the possibilities for research breakthroughs could be endless. Feng hopes it could be joined with the three other forces governing particle interactions (electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces) as a larger, more fundamental force. Feng also speculated that this possible discovery could point to the existence of a “dark sector” of our universe, which is governed by its own matter and forces.

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The existence of a fifth fundamental force could mean big things for the experiments being conducted with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. – Image Credit: CERN/LHC

“It’s possible that these two sectors talk to each other and interact with one another through somewhat veiled but fundamental interactions,” he said. “This dark sector force may manifest itself as this protophopic force we’re seeing as a result of the Hungarian experiment. In a broader sense, it fits in with our original research to understand the nature of dark matter.”

If this should prove to be the case, then physicists may be closer to figuring out the existence of dark matter (and maybe even dark energy), two of the greatest mysteries in modern astrophysics. What’s more, it could aid researchers in the search for physics beyond the Standard Model – something the researchers at CERN have been preoccupied with since the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012.

But as Feng notes, we need to confirm the existence of this particle through further experiments before we get all excited by its implications:

“The particle is not very heavy, and laboratories have had the energies required to make it since the ’50s and ’60s. But the reason it’s been hard to find is that its interactions are very feeble. That said, because the new particle is so light, there are many experimental groups working in small labs around the world that can follow up the initial claims, now that they know where to look.”

As the recent case involving CERN – where LHC teams were forced to announce that they had not discovered two new particles – demonstrates, it is important not to count our chickens before they are roosted. As always, cautious optimism is the best approach to potential new findings.

 

Source: Universe Today / Further Reading: University of California, Irvine

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30 Comments on "Physicists maybe, just maybe, confirm the possible discovery of 5th force of nature"

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Guest

Time is the most controversial element of possibility being manipulated but once it is conquered then space travel will be vast among the world all the richest people will pay tons of money to travel the universe just like real life Star Wars, then most likely about a century later middle class people may be able to afford the smaller personal space ships (obviously)

Guest

Yea, it’s Rosie O’Donnells breath..

Guest

Finally. .something that we have known for a very long time

Guest

Don’t get lost out in Space,, lol

Guest

lmao

Guest

Number one is man. We construct our own reality.

Guest

Interesting article.

Guest

Who took that pic

Guest

Lmfao u realise thats a pic of the galaxy many light years away how gullible can people be 😂😂😂

Guest

Guess only Hubble telescope by NASA can take such a picture.

kenneth Barron
Guest

Guy’s that’s great, more information ,that in the end is useless, in our day and time. Unless it pays your bills, focus on things that are important, God, family, friends, there’s your news. Jesus is knocking at the door to return, please get ready and hang up these types of ???

Guest

Scientists don’t know everything, the’re fond of boasting though.

Guest

Can’t they understand that the Ultimate energy in the Universe is the Divine Consciousness of Love ?…if they aren’t aware of this,they’ll never understant the existence of Life throughout the Cosmos!…

Guest

Wow, could not believe it!!!

Guest

Well if it’s just a maybe…..by all means mainstream scientists should follow the usual protocol and pretend it’s fact.

Guest

It looks like an acne postule

Guest

Intelligent Beings..

Guest

I am sure human got it all wrong if they still use propulsion to move. human must be able to teleport and to travel to stars with ease but they are so backward. they do not know physics they do not know shit. it is a disgrace when you still creeping to move from A to B. Wake up idiots

Guest

You want to know my special powers

Guest

What can you do

Guest

Good for u

Guest

With special powers

Guest

I am also an alien

Guest

Cesar Calderon Alonso of course i have

Guest

Do u have special powers

Guest

Noway Huzaih awesome

Guest

Cesar Calderon Alonso no hybrid

Guest

Are you an alien

Guest

They late anyway

Guest

Lol do u mean 5th element

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