One more force?

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In January 2016, Dr. Attila Krasznahorkay (at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’s Institute for Nuclear Research in Debrecen, Hungary) and his colleagues published a paper announcing he had found a dark photon by firing protons at lithium-7, which created unstable beryllium-8 nuclei that then decayed into pairs of electrons and positrons. The particle’s mass was 17 megaelectronvolts (MeV), earning it the name 17-MeV.
 

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  • #2
berkeman
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In January 2016, Dr. Attila Krasznahorkay (at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’s Institute for Nuclear Research in Debrecen, Hungary) and his colleagues published a paper announcing he had found a dark photon by firing protons at lithium-7, which created unstable beryllium-8 nuclei that then decayed into pairs of electrons and positrons. The particle’s mass was 17 megaelectronvolts (MeV), earning it the name 17-MeV.
Link to the paper?
 
  • #4
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But 17.6 MeV is so low, shouldn't it have been observed in the last say five decades at various places?
 
  • #5
OmCheeto
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But 17.6 MeV is so low, shouldn't it have been observed in the last say five decades at various places?
I'm not a particle physicist, so I'm not quite sure.
All I know, is that if someone observes something new, and unexpected, they should report the finding.

I saw the article yesterday, via Scientific American. [ref]

Fun "Omic" thought process:

...this January in the journal Physical Review Letters. But the report – which posited the existence of a new, light boson only 34 times heavier than the electron—was largely overlooked.
aka, "whackadoodle". Ignore it.

Then, on April 25, a group of US theoretical physicists brought the finding to wider attention by publishing its own analysis of the result on arXiv. 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.
Yay!

As a mere intellectual mortal, I have no problem with new "stuff", explaining, or trying to explain, the unexplained.
 
  • #6
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All I know is that the sciencealert site isn't very trustful. They are a kind of Yellow Press among scientific alerts. I'm curious and open to new stuff as well and think there are really some fundamental discoveries to be made before we can lean on a "final" theory that properly describes spacetime or the symmetry breaks in the SM. I think new ideas are far too often labeled "crackpot" just because it needs an open mind to consider them. But this is probably as old as science itself. Nevertheless, 17.6MeV seems to be a lab size energy and it makes me wonder that something on this scale should have been overlooked by so many and over so many years.
 
  • #8
George Jones
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  • #9
George Jones
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  • #10
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As a mere intellectual mortal, I have no problem with new "stuff", explaining, or trying to explain, the unexplained.
Fair enough, but be careful of Occam's razor.
 
  • #11
sophiecentaur
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Occam's razor is, however, a human artefact. It is there because we like things that way. Of course, it does seem to work well in practice so we sort of rely on it. But can we always do so?
 
  • #12
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Occam's razor is, however, a human artefact. It is there because we like things that way. Of course, it does seem to work well in practice so we sort of rely on it. But can we always do so?
The way people use Occam's razor today, makes it indispensable. People don't just say simplest is best, that would be stupid because the main criterion is to explain the experimental observations accurately. So people say among the theories that all explain the data accurately, the simplest should be accepted. In the level that there is no theory that explains the observations, it means you shouldn't make unnecessary assumptions and add unnecessary entities to your theory. But still, the main criterion of explaining the observations is there, its just a criterion to choose between theories that do explain the data. This way, I can't see how using Occam's razor can do any harm!
Using Occam's razor on this new piece of data means that if existing assumptions and entities in our theories can explain it, we shouldn't add anything, but if they don't, we have to add something but should do it in a minimalistic way.
 
  • #13
ohwilleke
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For reference purposes, this paper has been discussed at some length in at least two recent prior threads in this forum:

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/implications-of-a-new-17-mev-vector-boson-on-higgs-susy.875311/
and
https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/new-particle-to-explain-lithium-7-big-bang-prediction.878545/

I've discussed the topic there and won't repeat myself. Suffice it to say that I'm highly skeptical and that this hypothesis is not widely accepted at this point.

Also, for what it is worth, while it is canonical to talk about four fundamental forces (EM, Weak, Strong, Gravity), the Higgs field really deserves "force" status as well, so if there were a new force I think it would be fair to call it a sixth force.
 
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