In a new paper, University of California, Riverside theoretical physicist Flip Tanedo and his collaborators have made new progress towards unravelling a mystery in the beryllium nucleus that may be evidence for a fifth force of nature.
Earlier this year, an experiment in Hungary reported very unusual behavior in the decays of beryllium-8 nuclei. The experimental collaboration suggested that their results may come from the effects of a new force of nature.
If confirmed, this would have far-reaching consequences on fundamental physics including grand unification, dark matter and the experimental strategy for pushing the frontier of human knowledge.
Intrigued, Tanedo, an assistant professor at UC Riverside, and his collaborators - all theoretical physicists - decided to investigate further.
In an paper posted earlier this year, the team did the first theoretical analysis of the Hungarian team's interpretation, and showed how usual assumptions of how a fifth force would behave don't seem to work in this case because of the high energy physics experiments that would otherwise rule it out. This represented the first steps to finding wiggle room for what it would take for the fifth force interpretation to work.