A Fifth Force of Nature Discovered?

Is there a fifth force? The four well known forces in nature are gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong forces between atoms. But recently a team of Hungarian researchers from the Institute of Nuclear Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences have published a paper on Arxiv.org titled “Observation of Anomalous Internal Pair Creation in 8Be: A Possible Signature of a Light, Neutral Boson”. They report that that in an experiment firing protons at lithium-7, they detected a super-light boson that was only 34 times heavier than an electron.

The team was looking for evidence of a “dark photon” which is theorized to make up 80 per cent of the universe, but that was not what they found.

Here’s an excerpt from a report at Nature:

Krasznahorkay says his group was searching for evidence of just such a dark photon – but Feng’s team think they found something different. The Hungarian team fired protons at thin targets of lithium-7, which created unstable beryllium-8 nuclei that then decayed and spat out pairs of electrons and positrons. According to the standard model, physicists should see that the number of observed pairs drops as the angle separating the trajectory of the electron and positron increases. But the team reported that at about 140º, the number of such emissions jumps — creating a ‘bump’ when the number of pairs are plotted against the angle — before dropping off again at higher angles.

Krasznahorkay says that the bump is strong evidence that a minute fraction of the unstable beryllium-8 nuclei shed their excess energy in the form of a new particle, which then decays into an electron–positron pair. He and his colleagues calculate the particle’s mass to be about 17 megaelectronvolts (MeV).

Whether this could be connected with LENR I don’t know, but I notice some similarity with what Andrea Rossi and Norman Cook stated in their paper titled ‘On the Nuclear Mechanisms Underlying the Heat Production by the “E-Cat”’ where they write:

“We argue that a major source of energy is a reaction between the first excited-state of 7Li4 and a proton, followed by the breakdown of 8Be4 into two alphas with high kinetic energy, but without gamma radiation.”