Scientists May Have Found Evidence of Fifth Force of Nature

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The Facts

  • Scientists at the US particle accelerator facility Fermilab have found potential evidence that sub-atomic particles, called muons, are behaving differently than expected based on the current theory of sub-atomic physics, suggesting that a fifth force of nature — separate from gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force, or the weak force — could be at play.

  • The researchers sent the muons, which are similar to electrons but 207 times the size, around a 46-foot magnetized ring at Fermilab. The experiment revealed that the particles wobbled in uncharacteristic ways than what is expected under the "Standard Model" of how particles interact.

The Spin

Narrative A

While many physicists agree that there are more forces of nature out there, especially regarding dark matter, we shouldn't let news like this get our hopes too high. Groups of researchers have claimed to have discovered the fifth force for decades now, all of which were eventually debunked. Science is, of course, about trial and error, but the evidence has to be unequivocally clear before such claims can be made.

Narrative B

Though researchers are still stuck at the 1 in 40K chance of being wrong, they have consistently seen this unpredictable wobbling for over two years now. There is more work to be done, but we should all be excited as the Fermilab grows closer and closer to officially discovering a fifth force of nature.

Metaculus Prediction

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