Inquisitive

Why do humans exist on earth? Major new ‘fifth force’ discovery to reveal all

The fifth force will rewrite science as we know it

In a stranger than fiction twist of fate, a new force of nature has been discovered.

While that might sound like a tagline for a sci-fi film, it means that science as we know it is potentially incorrect.

Currently, there are said to be four fundamental forces of nature; gravity, the electromagnetic force, strong nuclear force, and weak nuclear force.

[Credit: Fermilab]

If you bunked that physics lesson where they were explained, we’ve got you covered.

Force one: Gravity is perhaps the most widely understood natural phenomenon, whereby all things with mass or energy are brought toward one another.

Force two: The electromagnetic force involves electricity and magnetism as objects attract or repel. It is best visualised by seeing how a magnet connects or disconnects with other items.

Force three: The strong nuclear force, this simply holds a core of atoms together.

Force four: In contrast to above, the weak nuclear force is involved in breaking atoms apart and happens in types of radiation.

Together, these forces explain how the world works; everything from why the sun shines to why things fall over. However, now a fifth force appears to exist.

[Credit: Shutterstock]

It was discovered at a laboratory near Chicago in America by smashing atoms together to create smaller subatomic particles. One of these subatomic particles is known as a muon.

The muon is similar to an electron, which is a negatively charged particle of an atom, but with a mass of up to 200 times greater.

While this might sound like science jargon, stay with us as this is where it gets interesting.

The experiment involved sending the muons around a ring and then applying a magnetic field. Under the current laws of physics, the muons should have wobbled at a certain rate.

However, the scientists found that the muons wobbled at a faster rate than expected and behaved in ways that cannot be explained by current theory.

This could be because of a new force of nature completely unknown to science.

[Credit: Greg Rakozy]

Speaking about what happens if a fifth force is found, the BBC report that we could end up with more answers than questions about why we are here on earth.

They stated: “It will be a huge deal because it could explain some of the mysteries that have been baffling astronomers for some time; such as why galaxies spin faster than they should or why stars and planets and everything on them, including us, exist at all.

“While scientists are yet to establish the answer, if they find it the current theory will have to be rewritten and it’ll be the start of a new era of scientific discovery.”

Professor Mark Lancaster, who is the UK lead for the experiment, said: “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].

“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.”

Okay, off to have a drink now to process it all.

May the force be with you.

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