Scientists from the Hungarian Academy of Science claim to have found a fifth force of nature which they believe holds the answer to the existence and nature of dark matter. The new discovery comes after lead researcher Attila Krasznahorkay and his team were studying how an excited helium atom emitted light as it decayed.
The particle has been named ‘X17’ by Krasznahorkay and his team because it has a mass of 17 megaelectronvolts. The Hungarian scientist believe X17 could be a sign of what connects our world with mysterious dark matter.
While speaking to CNN, Krasznahorkay said “X17 could be a particle, which connects our visible word with the dark matter.”
Current understandings of physics centre around the theory that the universe is makeup of four fundamental forces. The weak nuclear force, the strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity.
In 2016, Krasznahorkay and his team published a similar paper in Physical Review Letters, stating that the team had been studying the decay process of another isotope, beryllium-8. The research team saw electrons and positrons splitting off the atom at similar angles to that of the helium atom. This was the first time scientists have witnessed this event happening.
Professor Jonathan Feng from the University of California told CNN that he’s been ‘following the Hungarian teams work for years’ and believes that if the results can be replicated this would be “a no-brainer Nobel Prize”
To prove the existence of a fifth force of nature, the Hungarian scientists would need to recreate what they saw back in 2016, and thats exactly what they did earlier this month.