Switzerland's CERN exhibit

CERN And Other Accelerators Revealed Signs Of A Fifth Force: Could Dark Matter Be Explained Away?

CERN and other particle accelerator colliders have been getting some unexpected results that could rewrite the Standard Model of physics by adding a fifth force. The results point to possibilities physicists were not expecting at all if a recent report on their findings proves true and CERN collider results continue to be consistent, as they now have been for years.

CERN had hoped to discover actual dark matter and prove the dark matter theory which has taken a firm hold in theoretical physics in recent years. Dark matter is one way to explain anomalies in observations of distant galaxies of the universe.

However, repeated experiments at the SLAC National Accelerator in California in 2012, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, CERN in Switzerland, and at the High Energy Accelerator in Japan in 2015, have all reported the same or very similar results, and though they were looking for dark matter it seems, for now at least they have found something else, which could be a fifth force.

CERN has apparently not found dark matter but something else entirely, according to California researchers. The University of California, Irvine is currently studying all the data and have been making some revolutionary preliminary conclusions, based on a strange collider result explained in The Scientific American.

“[The] particle accelerator rammed together electrons and their antimatter equivalents, known as positrons. The collisions produced many composite particles that were heavy but unstable: They acted like absurdly radioactive uranium atoms, lasting just fractions of a nanosecond before decaying into smaller and smaller particles. The final products spewed out into the accelerator’s detectors, allowing scientists to reconstruct the chain of particle decays.”

These reactions produced by CERN and other particle accelerators do not fit the Standard Model at all, nor does the result point to dark matter. Particles should behave in the same way but these leptons behaved differently than other types of particles in repeated experiments. Further, the Taus produced were far more common than they should have been. The experiment seems to prove a difference between Taus and Electrons beyond mass. These results point to a fifth force.

According to the Scientific American, though, more proof is needed to establish a fifth force theory.

“The evidence to date is not insubstantial. Combining all the data, the probability that the tau/electron deviations are just statistical flukes now stands at about one in 10,000. For any everyday question, that would more than suffice. But particle physicists are a skeptical bunch; the community will not consider a discovery confirmed until there’s just a one-in-3.5-million chance of a false alarm.”

CERN and other particle accelerators also called colliders explore physics using tiny test subjects like electrons but the magnitude of this cannot be lost for a moment due to the size of the test subject. Any change to the Standard Model of physics would change the way scientists understand and explain the world around them, including how they view the entire universe and everything within it.

The dark matter hypothesis could especially be impacted by results from CERN and other colliders if a fifth force is discovered and no evidence is found for dark matter. While it is obviously possible that both dark matter and a fifth force could coexist, the fact that no evidence of dark matter has yet been found on earth, even within subatomic particles is daunting.

While CERN and other particle accelerators explore the subatomic microcosms of our universe, astronomy explores the macrocosms, and both fields are currently contemplating both the fifth force hypothesis and the dark matter hypothesis.

CERN in Switzerland explores fifth force and saarches for dark matter
CERN in Switzerland explores fifth force and searches for dark matter. [Images by Anja Niedringhaus/AP Images]

Evidence of dark matter was first observed in 1932, when Jan Oort, a Dutch astronomer, calculated that the stars within the Milky Way Galaxy moved too quickly in relation to the observable mass of the galaxy based on the Tully-Fisher relation, according to Live Science.

“The Tully-Fisher relation, compares the visible, or ordinary, matter of a galaxy to its rotational velocity. In very simplified terms, scientists have found that the more massive (and therefore brighter) a spiral galaxy is, the faster it spins.”

The Dark Matter theory and the far less preferred rival the fifth force were born of many later observations of many similar phenomena. It is especially true that there are anomalies in the speed of stars on the outer edges of galaxies, according to Live Science.

Two seemingly rival theories defined in Live Science were born in an effort to explain these odd variations.

“[Dark matter] – That a type of matter that doesn’t interact with light at all yet exerts a gravitational pull, permeates the universe.

“[The fifth force] – Implying a force beyond gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces.”

Dark matter remains a hypothetical model with no tangible evidence to support it. The possibility of a “fifth force,” has not been fully explored, while the dark matter hypothesis has gained a lot of attention. Yet surprisingly, it appears the fifth force might be easier to prove using CERN and other colliders.

While evidence of a fifth force is not yet conclusive, theorist Mark Wise of the California Institute of Technology states that if conclusive evidence is presented it would be extremely significant. Scientific American quotes Mark Wise.

“It would be a complete revolution.”

The Standard Model includes 12 elementary particles and four forces. The four forces are gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force. Those have been considered the four forces of nature.

If the fifth force is proven to exist, then what of the dark matter hypothesis? Will the fifth force explain phenomena previously attributed to dark matter? Will CERN eventually find dark matter as well?

University California of Riverside Chancellor visits CERN
University California of Riverside Chancellor visits CERN. [Image by Martial Trezzini/AP Jmages]

Jonathan Feng, a professor of physics and astronomy, is quoted in Phys Org explaining the potential significance of a fifth force.

“If true, it’s revolutionary, For decades, we’ve known of four fundamental forces: gravitation, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter.”

Dr. Feng believes that the findings just might fit within the quest for dark matter even though it seems more likely at the moment to be indicating a fifth force. It is possible that the two are not mutually exclusive.

“It’s possible that these two sectors talk to each other and interact with one another through somewhat veiled but fundamental interactions. This dark sector force may manifest itself as this protophobic force we’re seeing as a result of the Hungarian experiment. In a broader sense. It fits in with our original research to understand the nature of dark matter.”

CERN and other particle accelerators explore the smallest particles of the universe. By colliding particles in particle accelerators, scientists are discovering the smallest particles, but these particles are the building blocks of the entire universe. How these particles react and what they release when smashed could reveal previously unknown factors in all areas of science.

If CERN and the other particle accelerators continue to repeat the experiment with the same results, the data will still need to be thoroughly analyzed and melded into a working theory, including how the fifth force works, and if it relates at all to dark matter. There is much to learn from these results.


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Will CERN eventually reveal proof of a fifth force, evidence of dark matter, or both?

[Featured Image by Anja Niedringhaus/AP Images]

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