Thanks to Sam for posting on the Journal of Nuclear Physics a link to an article from SciTechDaily about new results coming from researchers using CERN’s Large Hadron Collider which tend to indicate that a previously unknown “fifth force of nature” has been discovered.
In March of this year a potentially remarkable discovery was made by reserchers. The author of the article, Cambridge University particle physicist Harry Cliff, explains that “beauty quarks” one of six types of quarks (which are fundamental particles), were found to decay into electrons and muons at different rates — which was very unexpected.
Instead, my colleagues found that the muon decay was only happening about 85% as often as the electron decay. Assuming the result is correct, the only way to explain such an effect would be if some new force of nature that pulls on electrons and muons differently is interfering with how beauty quarks decay.
Cliff reports that further research has now confirmed these earlier results, but he emphasizes the need to be cautious before they can claim that there is the necessary degree of certainty to say that the fifth force is actually a reality.