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Researchers at the Fermilab near Chicago, a world famous particle accelerator, have found an unexplainable signal in one of their series of experiments. The Fermilab is a physics laboratory investigating the basic principles of existence, dissecting the forces governing the smallest of particles in the universe, smaller than atoms – hardly imaginable and only explicable with complicated mathematical formulations.
At the beginning of April, some signals did not fit at all into current mathematical models. After vigorous recalculations of the experiments, they could only just verify that they may have discovered a natural force than cannot be explained by current mathematical models. The signal could only be attributed to a fifth natural force as it did not fit at all into the know categories of forces, namely:
(1) Gravity (i.e. the attraction of two greater objects, such as the apple falling to the floor)
(2) Electromagnetism (the attraction of negatively and positively charged objects and particles)
(3) Strong nuclear force (holds the nuclei of atoms together)
(4) Weak nuclear force (it forces unstable atomic nuclei to decay)
The new calculations in the Fermilab would explain how smaller particles are held together at extremely low distances. However, such a find would revolutionise the current thinking of physics and may even help research in fields such as: propulsion research and alternative energy sources.
The researchers were investigating the forces involved in the collision of protons and anti-protons (both very small particles in the core of matter and anti-matter) with almost the speed of light in order to elucidate natural forces and get more answers to the forces that were involved at the early stages of the universe after the Big Bang. They saw some signals 250 times greater than expected with the current model. This data would only make sense, if small particles 160 times smaller than protons, were present. The particles would have no mass per se, but mass would be conferred to them by bigger particles.
This phenomenon was explained by the British physicist David Miller: Members of a political party are distributed equally in a room. Suddenly, Margaret Thatcher enters the room and people will slowly flock to her, giving her surrounding a greater mass. Now, if some person spreads a rumour about her, people will automatically flock to that person. Although, the rumour itself does not have a mass, the mass near the people spreading the rumour would increase, equally to that of the former premier minister herself.
More research will be necessary to either explain the phenomenon with the current understanding of physics, or to change our current model. It will be fascinating to watch the news on this topic.
Image reproduced from: www.spiegel.de
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Filed Under: Science
About the Author: Sebastian Müller was born and raised in Leipzig/Germany and moved to England as an adolescent. He is a trained research chemist and geneticist and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut Curie in Paris/ France working in cancer research. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and is still actively involved at the university today. He is fluent in English, German and French and has many fortés and interests including science, philosophy, linguistics, history, competitive sports such as rowing, fitness and nutrition. He is one of the co-founders of City Connect. He is a freelance writer also drawing from his experience as an author in peer-reviewed scientific journals. "I love writing and putting my thoughts down on paper. The written word to me is one of the most powerful ways of conveying thoughts and initiating discussions."