Like the four main cardinal elements or the four cardinal directions, there are four natural forces – those that cause particles to move in different ways, such as gravity and electromagnetism.
Through discoveries made while working with an elementary particle called muon, physicists working in Chicago recently put forward an argument for the fifth force of nature, something that would reverse physics.
Called the Muon g-2 experiment, conducted at the Fermi Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, the results could indicate an undiscovered particle or a completely new force acting in space – which would be far more exciting.
Breaking atoms together in a particle accelerator, an international team of researchers found that some particles “nodded” in ways that cannot be explained by the current theory of four forces: gravity, electromagnetism, and two nuclear forces: strong force and weak force.
A muon is about 200 times more massive than its cousin, the electron. Muons occur naturally when cosmic rays strike the Earth’s atmosphere.
“This amount we are measuring reflects the interaction of muons with everything else in space. But when theorists calculate the same amount, using all the known forces and particles in the Standard Model, we don’t get the same answer, ”he said. Renee Fatemi, physicist from University of Kentucky and the head of simulations in an official press release.
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Several mysteries permeate astrophysics that can be attributed to the as yet undiscovered force of nature, for example why galaxies spin faster than mathematical calculations suggest it should.
Professor Mark Lancaster of the University of Manchester told BBC News: “Clearly this is very exciting because it potentially points to a future with new laws of physics, new particles and a new force that we have not seen to date.”
However, for now, the experiment currently has “1” instead of “0” in the column labeled “chance that this may not have been anything but a coincidence.”
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The BBC reports that other experiments in Japan, the US and the Large Hadron Collider in Europe have produced experiments of a similar nature, and GNN can only imagine that physicists everywhere will re-rotate their particle accelerators to learn more about this 5th Force mystery – and potentially bring discipline into a new era.
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