Scientists may have discovered fifth force
Scientists in Hungary have discovered what they believe could be the fifth force of nature, which could be a vital clue to understanding dark matter.That’s what the Hungarian team, led by physicist Attila Krasznahorkay at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’s Institute for Nuclear Research in Debrecen, Hungary.To do that, they fired protons at thin targets of lithium-7, a collision that created unstable beryllium-8 nuclei, which then decayed into pairs of electrons and positrons. According to the standard model, physicists should see that the number of observed pairs drops as the angle separating the trajectory of the electron and positron increases.But that wasn’t what the team saw, at about 140 degrees, the number of these pairs jumped, creating a little bump before dropping off again at higher angles. This ‘bump’ was evidence of a new particle, according to Krasznahorkay and his team. They calculated that the mass of this new particle would be around 17 megaelectronvolts, which isn’t what was expected for the ‘dark photon’, but could be evidence of something else entirely.”We are very confident about our experimental results,” said Krasznahorkay. He added that the chance of this bump being an anomaly is around 1 in 200 billion.
However, looking at experts views, physics community appears pretty skeptical about these latest claims so far, especially seeing as the super-light boson wasn’t what anyone expected to find. That paper hasn’t been peer-reviewed as yet, so I can’t get too excited, but it was uploaded so that the other physicists could scrutinise the results and add their own findings, which is what’s happening now. There are currently four identified forces of nature: gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear, but they do not interact with each other in ways that can be explained by the current mathematical model of the universe.So scientists had been looking for evidence of a fifth force, which would go some way to explaining the discrepancy.Scientists at the Hungarian Academy of Science’s Institute for Nuclear Research were looking for evidence of dark photons, a force which they surmised could carry and therefore explain dark matter.They had been shooting protons at a strip of lithium, and in doing so created an unexpectedly high number of subatomic particles.They think this anomaly in radioactive decay could be the result of an entirely new particle, which may suggest the presence of a fifth force.In my view, this could explain discrepancies in the way the four previously known forces interact.
What we have at the moment is what’s known as the standard model of particle physics, and this is a mathematical description of the way the universe works.The particle physics model works “really, really well” to describe and explain three of the fundamental forces, electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear. But what I also know is that those forces don’t play well with gravity. Gravity is described by a completely different set of mathematics and people have tried for almost 100 years to make these forces work together.However, this could build upon the work that occupied Albert Einstein in his last years. The story goes that Einstein on his deathbed was still working on uniting gravity and electromagnetism.The problem we have is the mathematics worked really well and we don’t have many clues pointing to how we should, well even where we should look to unite gravity with these other forces.If physicists are able to unite these forces it may lead to a better understanding of dark matter, which they now understand to make up a significant part of the universe.In this latest experiment,the scientists were not quite getting what they’re expecting which could point to the existence of other forces yet to be accounted for. What this new force might actually do is another black hole of knowledge. What it’s telling us if it is correct is that there is something going on in the way that one particle talks to another particle that we haven’t got inside our mathematics at the moment.