icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
11 Dec, 2019 13:00

Shedding light on dark matter: Scientists claim new evidence of ‘5th force’ of physics

Shedding light on dark matter: Scientists claim new evidence of ‘5th force’ of physics

Scientists in Hungary claim to have found new signs of a subatomic particle they’ve termed ‘X17’, which could explain dark matter and rewrite the laws of physics by revealing a ‘fifth force of nature’.

The current standard model of physics incorporates four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong interaction, and the weak interaction. If its existence is proven, this ‘fifth force’ could finally explain the mysteries surrounding the invisible substance dark matter, which is thought to account for around 85 percent of all matter in the universe. 

The Hungarian team first claimed to have found evidence of the particle back in 2016 when conducting experiments with radioactive beryllium atoms, and recently published a new paper, yet to be peer-reviewed, giving more detail of their observations. The apparently elusive subatomic particle was dubbed ‘X17’, with ‘X’ denoting that it’s unknown and ‘17’ indicating that its mass was calculated by the team to have a mass of nearly 17 megaelectronvolts.

Also on rt.com Honey, I shrunk my head! Scientists discover prolonged stay in Antarctic has chilling effect on brain

Other scientists have greeted the claims with open skepticism though, particularly as no one else – not even the team at CERN – has managed to find any trace of this supposed ‘fifth force’. 

“I’m skeptical. I think, as an experimentalist, that’s my natural position when I see something like this, but I think it needs to be investigated,” Richard Milner, physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Live Science. He added that if proven, it would be a “tremendously important” discovery.

Other physicists voiced their uncertainty on Twitter, with one joking: “I am too old to waste time on ‘big fish’ physics stories told by drunken Hungarian fishermen.”

Some scientists said they are certainly willing to believe in the possibility, but they’ll hold off on celebrating it until it’s been independently verified.  

If you like this story, share it with a friend!