A fifth fundamental force of nature could soon be added to the four known forces of the universe: gravity, electromagnetism, strong, and weak nuclear forces. Physicists have detected a protophobic boson that could result in a fifth fundamental force of nature (O’Connell). Although this theory is speculative, the discovery of a fifth force could also be the key to discovering a Grand Unified Theory; as well as providing an approach to detecting dark matter (Cartlidge). In the long run, the universe would be better understood and would pave paths for future scientific endeavors.
Since this boson was not found to be affiliated with previous experiments, it was theorized that it could be the force-carrying particle for a fifth force (O’Connell). This force could be the bridge between our understanding of particle physics and dark matter, and could provide an approach to uncover this invisible substance. The unmasking of dark matter would help us better understand our universe, such as the fast rate at which our universe is expanding and how galaxies are rotating at extremely high speeds despite observable mass (NASA). If only discernable mass were accounted for, our universe would be contracting and galaxies would be tearing themselves apart. Dark matter could provide an explanation for imperceptible mass needed in order to generate extra gravity galaxies need to stay intact. However, dark matter doesn’t just account for unobservable matter; it can also serve as a unifying force.
This fifth force could be the key to coalescing the effects of the electromagnetic, strong, and weak nuclear forces into a grander, more fundamental force called the Grand Unified Theory (Enochs). If that discovery were made, scientists would be able to figure out how electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces work together. It would also offer a much more elegant understanding of the organization of the cosmos and result in a simplification of the Standard Model; which could then point scientists to future areas of study that would further scientific advancement (Enochs). Quite unfortunately for the cosmology enthusiasts, there is not enough evidence to prove this theory.
However, if this fifth force were proven with substantial evidence, textbooks would be rewritten. Education in science would be revised to incorporate these new findings with what’s already been discovered, thus allowing us to better understand the universe. Our children and our children’s children may have a whole different perspicacity of the macrocosm than we did when we were their age. New studies in science may also pique the interests of myriads of students, nudging them to explore a career in the scientific field. With the influx of bright young minds aspiring to understand the universe on a physical level, science would rapidly advance.
Although today there is miniscule evidence for the boson that could lead to a “fifth force;” evidence could rapidly accumulate. It would provide another means to study high-energy particle physics and new macroscopic fields of gravitational strength (O’Connell). Dark matter would finally be detected, forces would be unified, and most importantly, science would be advanced through ubiquitous evidence.
Cartlidge, Edwin. “Nature | News Sharing Has a Hungarian Physics Lab Found a Fifth Force of Nature?” Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group, 25 May 2016. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.
Enochs, Kevin. “A Fifth Force of Nature” VOA. 20 Aug. 2016. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.
Feng, Jonathan L., Bartoxz Fornal, Iftah Galon, Susan Gardner, Jordan Smolinsky, Tim Tait, and Phiip Tanedo. Protophobic Fifth Force Interpretation of the Observed Anomaly in 8Be Nuclear Transitions. Diss. U of California, 2016. Cornell University Library. 25 Aug. 2016. Web. 3 Oct. 2016. <https://arxiv.org/abs/1604.07411>.
NASA. “Dark Energy, Dark Matter.” NASA. NASA, Web. 19 Oct. 2016.
O’Connell, Cathal. “Have Physicists Discovered a Fifth Force of Nature?” Cosmos Magazine. 22 Aug. 2016. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.