Muons: A Potential New 'Force Of Nature'

Cloudbusting

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Muons: 'Strong' evidence found for a new force of nature
[Source - BBC article]


All of the forces we experience every day can be reduced to just four categories: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force. Now, physicists say they have found possible signs of a fifth fundamental force of nature.

The UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) said the result "provides strong evidence for the existence of an undiscovered sub-atomic particle or new force".

There is currently a one in a 40,000 chance that the result could be a statistical fluke - equating to a statistical level of confidence described as 4.1 sigma.

A level of 5 sigma, or a one in 3.5 million chance of the observation being a coincidence, is needed to claim a discovery.

Prof Mark Lancaster, who is the UK lead for the experiment, told BBC News: "We have found the interaction of muons are not in agreement with the Standard Model [the current widely accepted theory to explain how the building blocks of the Universe behave]."

The University of Manchester researcher added: "Clearly, this is very exciting because it potentially points to a future with new laws of physics, new particles and a new force which we have not seen to date."

The finding is the latest in a string of promising results from particle physics experiments in the US, Japan, and most recently from the Large Hadron Collider on the Swiss-French border.

Prof Ben Allanach, from Cambridge University, who was not involved with the latest effort, said: "My Spidey sense is tingling and telling me that this is going to be real.
In my opinion this may not only be an exciting development for physicists, but also those of us with an interest in fortean topics. If this discovery is indeed real, then perhaps it could explain some fortean phenomena or the mechanisms behind it (admittedly this is pure speculation on my part).
 

Trevp666

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"a future with new laws of physics"

That's the bit I doubt. I expect it is more likely that we will add to the existing laws of physics, not replace them with 'new laws'.
 

Mikefule

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"a future with new laws of physics"

That's the bit I doubt. I expect it is more likely that we will add to the existing laws of physics, not replace them with 'new laws'.
Absolutely.

In fact, if it has taken this long to detect this possible new force, that implies that it will be irrelevant to most calculations relating to things we deal with day to day. We have managed pretty well without factoring it in and have got things like sophisticated medicine, electronics, space travel, and computers to work reasonably predictably and consistently.

This will be of more interest to specialist physicists.

I don't think we can reasonably say, "Look, a new force of physics! Everything we thought we knew was wrong! So maybe there are inter-dimensional shape shifting cat lizards after all!"
 

Cloudbusting

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Absolutely.

In fact, if it has taken this long to detect this possible new force, that implies that it will be irrelevant to most calculations relating to things we deal with day to day. We have managed pretty well without factoring it in and have got things like sophisticated medicine, electronics, space travel, and computers to work reasonably predictably and consistently.

This will be of more interest to specialist physicists.

I don't think we can reasonably say, "Look, a new force of physics! Everything we thought we knew was wrong! So maybe there are inter-dimensional shape shifting cat lizards after all!"
I agree it will probably be of more interest to physicists who specialise in certain research areas, but nevertheless it could lead to some interesting discoveries. You do have this strange situation currently where we use classical physics realiably in practical day to day situations then on the other hand there's quantum mechanics and all the craziness that comes with it... I'm sure there's plenty to discover!
 

Trevp666

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Hey, an uninvolved scientist said his Spidey sense was tingling, so it must be important!
Probably caused by quantum entanglement.
 

ChasFink

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Anyway, in keeping with the forum's philosophy of not just making jokes, the idea of a fifth force not only sounds exciting, it has the potential of upsetting the apple cart of all "theory of everything" work. Personally, I often wonder if the subatomic world is one of turtles all the way down. Or at least potential turtles.
 
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