# New force of nature discovered?

• I

## Summary:

Posted on more pseudescience related sites is a story about, a group that claim to have discovered evidence of a new force of nature, with a claimed sigma of 7,7.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.10459

## Main Question or Discussion Point

Posted on more pseudescience related sites is a story about, a group that claim to have discovered evidence of a new force of nature, with a claimed sigma of 7,7.

The arxiv paper have not yet been peer-reviewed, so I am not sure if it is allowed.

If not I am sorry, and will understand.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.10459

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Related Beyond the Standard Model News on Phys.org
mfb
Mentor
It's the same working group that claims to find a particle every other year or so. Follow-up measurements usually ignore the previous claims but claim evidence for a new particle with different properties. Looks like the mass value is compatible this time, to be expected that it happens given the large number of claimed discoveries. A few publications are listed here.

Okay and thank you.

I did notice, that the group previously had posted claims of discoveries, that later got shot down.

What perhaps confuses me then, is the sigma rating.

I know it is a measure for how probable a claim is, and I always thought, that above sigma 5 meant serious dang

And since they claim 7,4 or something like that, I got interested

Ibix
I know it is a measure for how probable a claim is, and I always thought, that above sigma 5 meant serious dang
I don't know anything about this group, so can't comment on their reliability. But if you take a dataset and perform twenty independent statistical tests on it, the chances that one of them will be significant at the 95% confidence level are $1-0.95^{20}$, or about 64% (i.e. better than your chances of winning a coin toss). The same principle applies to any confidence level, although the actual numbers obviously vary. This is called the "look elsewhere" effect, and had serious implications in the early 1990s when someone found a cluster of childhood leukaemia cases around power lines, but failed to account for the multiple tests they'd done.

As I say, I don't know anything about this group. Maybe they correct for multiple tests. But @mfb's post made me think of xkcd's lengthy gag on the topic: https://xkcd.com/882/.

mfb
Mentor
The significance is only valid if all uncertainties are estimated correctly. You can find 100 sigma significance that the Sun has stopped shining - if you look for sunlight at night.

Wonder why it suddenly gets so much media attention though...is something different this time or people simply didn't do enough due diligence and research?...even CNN is on the bandwagon...slow news day probably...

IH

Scientists may have discovered fifth force of nature, laboratory announces (Independent)
Article said:
Various retests at the same lab confirmed the results, and a year later, the same experiment was repeated, with the same results in America.
which seems to refer to a replication in another lab. Does anyone here know anything about this replication?
I am going to search for info about it.

I am going to search for info about it.
I've been looking around on the net for the supposed replication and I haven't found any info about it yet.

I will post here about it if and when he replies to me.
Hi again, I've already got a reply from the journalist. He said he was referring to a part in the May 2016 Nature article (third paragraph):

Has a Hungarian physics lab found a fifth force of nature? (Nature), quote:

Nature article said:
On 25 April, a group of US theoretical physicists brought the finding to wider attention by publishing its own analysis of the result on arXiv2. The theorists showed that the data didn’t conflict with any previous experiments – and concluded that it could be evidence for a fifth fundamental force.
and lower down
Nature article said:
“We are very confident about our experimental results,” says Krasznahorkay. He says that the team has repeated its test several times in the past three years, and that it has eliminated every conceivable source of error."
I've read the entire Nature article in which there is also this paragraph:

Nature article said:
Researchers there were sceptical but excited about the idea, says Bogdan Wojtsekhowski, a physicist at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia. “Many participants in the workshop are thinking about different ways to check it,” he says. Groups in Europe and the United States say that they should be able to confirm or rebut the Hungarian experimental results within about a year.
(my bolding)
So it seems to me the experiment has not been replicated yet. Edit: In another lab, I mean.

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Staff Emeritus
, that above sigma 5 meant serious dang
"Sigma" is a statement that says if the background is calculated perfectly correctly what is the probability that it would fluctuate to an apparent signal at least as large as is seen. This is not the same thing as a discovery.

MathematicalPhysicist
Gold Member
This raises a good question:
If technology keeps on increasing will the number of interactions found in experiments increase as well, as in instead of unification of mere 4 forces we will get a myriad of forces, which if the universe is infinite means there are an infinite number of forces?

mfb
Mentor
The article explains how the NA64 experiment didn't see any sign of an X17 and set exclusion limits.
They look for particles in that range anyway, they are probably happy about publicity.

Staff Emeritus
Wonder why it suddenly gets so much media attention though
The snarky answer is "for the first time, the ATOMKI group got the same answer twice".

The less snarky answer is because this result had some theorists at Irvine wrote a paper saying this may fit in to a larger picture. Then Irvine put out an over-the-top press release saying "UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature" which was picked up by the mainstream press. The latest ATOMKI result is one more step on this path.

Seems CERN starts to take it serious:
Of course they do. Yes, it's "almost certainly wrong", but that's not the same as "certainly wrong". If you are already set up to test this (like NA64 and a few other experiments worldwide), of course you run the test.

This made me curious, what kind of tests do you run to make sure your detector doesn't always get an excess?

ohwilleke
Gold Member
This made me curious, what kind of tests do you run to make sure your detector doesn't always get an excess?
Usually, the very first thing that you do when you start using a new experimental apparatus, before you collect any actual data, is to do a lengthy series of "calibration runs" that are intended to generate data that should match reliable, low error margin results from previous experiments.

Summary:: Posted on more pseudescience related sites is a story about, a group that claim to have discovered evidence of a new force of nature, with a claimed sigma of 7,7.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.10459
Posted on more pseudescience related sites is a story about, a group that claim to have discovered evidence of a new force of nature, with a claimed sigma of 7,7.
The arxiv paper have not yet been peer-reviewed, so I am not sure if it is allowed.
If not I am sorry, and will understand.