There are four fundamental forces that govern almost all phenomena observed in the universe. They are the gravitational, electromagnetic, weak nuclear and the strong nuclear forces. Lately, new discoveries on the existence of a fifth fundamental force has been grabbing attention of the scientific community. The existence of a fifth fundamental force had begun to be hypothesized after the discovery of dark matter and dark energy. These “dark” stuff together account for more than 95% of the universe’s mass. This 5th fundamental force might be able to explain dark matter, dark energy and other mysteries associated with them.
The X17 particle
The X17 particle, a hypothetical particle whose existence was first predicted by Hungarian physicist Atilla Krasznahorkay and his colleagues in 2015. So far, it has been the closest candidate in proving the existence of a fifth fundamental force. The X17 has been predicted to have a mass 34 times of the electron. (3.09719 x 10-29 kg or 17 mega electronvolts).
Atilla’s team at ATOMKI (institute of nuclear physics) claim to have found experimental proof for the existence of this particle. The team fired protons at a thin plate of lithium-7 which then formed unstable Beryllium-8 atoms. The Beryllium atoms then decayed into electrons and positrons (anti-electron particle- electron with positive charge). The team found that the unstable Beryllium atoms decayed to release more energy than anticipated. This excess energy equaled out to be almost 17 Mev. Thus, the researchers concluded that the extra energy is being released in the form of a new particle. This new particle is now called the X17. In 2019, Atilla’s team came across the same situation in the decay of stable helium atoms.
If the existence of the X17 particle is proved, we might unlock new doors for ourselves that will take our understanding of the universe to the next level and also possibly reveal even more doors to be unlocked in the future.