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Fifth fundamental force: fact or fiction? (Synopsis)

1 Sep 2016, 14:01 UTC
Fifth fundamental force: fact or fiction? (Synopsis) E. Siegel, from his new book, Beyond The Galaxy.
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

“A careful analysis of the process of observation in atomic physics has shown that the subatomic particles have no meaning as isolated entities, but can only be understood as interconnections between the preparation of an experiment and the subsequent measurement.” -Fritjof Capra
For most living humans on the planet, the Standard Model and General Relativity, the theories that govern the four fundamental forces, have encompassed all of the known particles and their interactions for our entire lives. We know they can’t encompass all there is, but the search for the first particle beyond the Standard Model or the first force/interaction beyond the four known, understood ones has been elusive.
The best-fit for a new particle given the experimental results of the Hungarian team is a new particle of mass 17 MeV/c^2. Image credit: A.J. Krasznahorkay et al., 2016, Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 042501.
Ironically, it might not be a high-energy experiment that reveals the next step in understanding the fundamental nature of reality, but a low-energy, high-precision one. Last year, an experiment looking at the decay of an excited state of beryllium-8 noticed an excess of events at a particular electron/positron opening angle, perhaps indicative of a new particle and ...

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