Everything in our Universe is held together or pushed apart by four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, and two nuclear interactions. Physicists now think they’ve spotted the actions of a fifth physical force emerging from a helium atom.
It’s not the first time researchers claim to have caught a glimpse of it, either. A few years ago, they saw it in the decay of an isotope of beryllium. Now the same team has seen a second example of the mysterious force at play – and the particle they think is carrying it, which they’re calling X17.
The team seems to discover a new particle the characteristics of which suggested it had to be a completely new kind of fundamental boson. We currently know of four fundamental forces, and we know that three of them have bosons carrying their messages of attraction and repulsion.
This new boson couldn’t possibly be one of the particles carrying the four known forces, thanks to its distinctive mass of (17 megaelectronvolts, or about 33 times that of an electron), and tiny life span (of about 10 to the minus 14 seconds).
But physics isn’t keen on celebrating prematurely. Finding a new particle is always big news in physics, and warrants a lot of scrutiny. Not to mention repeated experiment. (1)
Humans lost in their quest for more knowledge.
New… whatever we know already.
Modern physics looks the cosmos through its own lenses. And interprets everything accordingly. When something is not in place, it seeks to fill in the puzzle with a new piece. And it searches for that new piece in – where else? – this things it already knows. So like a stupid uroborus ofis (Gr. Ουροβόρος όφις) it keeps on verifying itself by looking for answers back to… itself.
Don’t you see?
There is nothing which you see that you have not seen already…
And in the beginning you were blind.
It is just that we need a new Einstein to tell us so.