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New Force of Nature

All of the forces we experience every day can be reduced to just four categories: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force. Scientists now think that we may be on the brink of a new era of physics after the discovery of a potential fifth force of nature.

From sticking a magnet on a fridge door to throwing a ball into a basketball hoop, the forces of physics are at play in every moment of our lives. Now, physicists say they have found possible signs of a fifth fundamental force of nature.

The findings come from research carried out at a laboratory near Chicago on the interaction of miniscule sub-atomic particles called muons. The four fundamental forces - gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force - govern how all the objects and particles in the Universe interact with each other. For example, gravity makes objects fall to the ground, and heavy objects behave as if they are glued to the floor.

The UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) said the result "provides strong evidence for the existence of an undiscovered sub-atomic particle or new force".

Prof Mark Lancaster, who is the UK lead for the experiment, told BBC News: "We have found the interaction of muons are not in agreement with the Standard Model [the current widely-accepted theory to explain how the building blocks of the Universe behave]."

The finding is the latest in a string of promising results from particle physics experiments in the US, Japan, and most recently from the Large Hadron Collider on the Swiss-French border.

There is currently a one in a 40,000 chance that the result could be a statistical fluke. No wonder the scientists are getting wildly excited and think they may be on the brink of a new era of physics.


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