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Current Affairs

Fifth force of nature

Date: 25 November 2019 Tags: Space

Issue


A fifth force of nature is claimed to have been discovered after scientists carried out an experiment which could revolutionise our understanding of the world.

 

Background

Physics centres on the theory that four forces control our universe - gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, and the strong force.

But scientists from Hungary have published groundbreaking findings which show what appears to be a fifth force at work

 

Details

  • Researchers studied how an excited helium atom emitted light as it decayed. They noticed that the particles split at the unusual angle of 115 degrees , a phenomenon which cannot be explained by our current knowledge of physics.

  • Presuming it was not the result of an error by scientists in the laboratory, it could be an unknown force which caused the particles to separate in the strange way they did.

  • Scientists have described it as a "protophobic force" because the behaviour of the particles , named X17 showed they were afraid of protons.

  • If physicists are able to achieve the same result in the laboratory again, they can then work on understanding how that force operates and develop ways of harnessing its power.

 

Four fundamental forces of nature

Gravitational force

Gravity is the attraction between two objects that have mass or energy, whether this is seen in dropping a rock from a bridge, a planet orbiting a star or the moon causing ocean tides. Gravity is probably the most intuitive and familiar of the fundamental forces, but it's also been one of the most challenging to explain.

 

Weak nuclear force

The weak force, also called the weak nuclear interaction, is responsible for particle decay. This is the literal change of one type of subatomic particle into another.

The weak force is critical for the nuclear fusion reactions that power the sun and produce the energy needed for most life forms on Earth.

 

Electromagnetic force

The electromagnetic force, also called the Lorentz force, acts between charged particles, like negatively charged electrons and positively charged protons. Opposite charges attract one another, while like charges repel. The greater the charge, the greater the force. And much like gravity, this force can be felt from an infinite distance.

 

Strong nuclear force

The strong nuclear force, also called the strong nuclear interaction, is the strongest of the four fundamental forces of nature. It binds the fundamental particles of matter together to form larger particles. It holds together the quarks that make up protons and neutrons, and part of the strong force also keeps the protons and neutrons of an atom's nucleus together