According to a paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, physicists at the University of California, Irvine, may have discovered a previously unknown subatomic particle that’s evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature. Space.com reports: “[Professor of physics and astronomy Jonathan Feng] and his colleagues analyzed data gathered recently by experimental nuclear physicists at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, who were trying to find ‘dark photons’ — hypothetical indicators of mysterious dark matter. Dark matter is thought to make up about 85 percent of all matter in the universe, but it neither absorbs nor emits light, so it’s impossible to detect directly. ‘The experimentalists weren’t able to claim that it was a new force,’ Feng said. ‘They simply saw an excess of events that indicated a new particle, but it was not clear to them whether it was a matter particle or a force-carrying particle.’ The new work by Feng and his team suggests that the Hungarians found not a ‘dark photon’ but rather a ‘protophobic X boson’ — a strange particle whose existence could indicate a fifth force of nature. The known electromagnetic force acts on protons and electrons, but this newfound particle apparently interacts only with protons and neutrons, and then only at very short distances, researchers said. The potential fifth force may be linked to the electromagnetic and strong and weak nuclear forces, as ‘manifestations of one grander, more fundamental force,’ Feng said. It’s also possible that the universe of ‘normal’ matter and forces has a parallel ‘dark’ sector, with its own matter and forces, Feng added. ‘It’s possible that these two sectors talk to each other and interact with one another through somewhat veiled but fundamental interactions,’ Feng said. ‘This dark-sector force may manifest itself as this protophobic 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.'”
Locke2005 writes: I’ve always speculated that there might be forces of nature that we never observed because they were on a much larger or smaller scale than we could detect easily. But now Jonathan Feng, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, is suggesting there may actually be a fifth force. Of course, this might vanish just like the Higgs Boson evidence did. Can anybody explain better what it was they detected, and why it is being interpreted as evidence of a previously unknown force?
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