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posted by martyb on Monday September 13, @07:13AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the did-the-ground-actually-break? dept.

Groundbreaking technique yields important new details on possible 'fifth force':

A group of researchers have used a groundbreaking new technique to reveal previously unrecognized properties of technologically crucial silicon crystals and uncovered new information about an important subatomic particle and a long-theorized fifth force of nature.

The research was an international collaboration conducted at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dmitry Pushin, a member of the University of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing and a faculty member in Waterloo's Department of Physics and Astronomy, was the only Canadian researcher involved in the study. Pushin was interested in producing high-quality quantum sensors out of perfect crystals.

By aiming subatomic particles known as neutrons at silicon crystals and monitoring the outcome with exquisite sensitivity, researchers were able to obtain three extraordinary results: the first measurement of a key neutron property in 20 years using a unique method; the highest-precision measurements of the effects of heat-related vibrations in a silicon crystal; and limits on the strength of a possible "fifth force" beyond standard physics theories.

[...] The Standard Model describes three fundamental forces in nature: electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear force. Each force operates through the action of "carrier particles." For example, the photon is the force carrier for the electromagnetic force. But the Standard Model has yet to incorporate gravity in its description of nature. Furthermore, some experiments and theories suggest the possible presence of a fifth force.

The researchers are already planning more expansive pendellösung measurements using both silicon and germanium. They expect a possible factor of five reduction in their measurement uncertainties, which could produce the most precise measurement of the neutron charge radius to date and further constrain — or discover — a fifth force. They also plan to perform a cryogenic version of the experiment, which would lend insight into how the crystal atoms behave in their so-called "quantum ground state," which accounts for the fact that quantum objects are never perfectly still, even at temperatures approaching absolute zero.

Journal Reference:
Benjamin Heacock, Takuhiro Fujiie, , Robert W. Haun, >et al. Pendellösung interferometry probes the neutron charge radius, lattice dynamics, and fifth forces, Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.abc2794)


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  • (Score: 2, Offtopic) by Username on Monday September 13, @07:20AM (3 children)

    by Username (4557) on Monday September 13, @07:20AM (#1177375)

    But the Standard Model has yet to incorporate gravity in its description of nature.

    That's an odd way of saying we don't know how gravity works.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @07:31AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @07:31AM (#1177376)

      general relativity is how gravity works. we do know that, to the best precision available.
      the standard model doesn't need to incorporate gravity in order to explain available experimental data.

      so it's perfectly reasonble to say "we don't know how to incorporate gravity in the standard model", because there are infinitely many ways of doing it which are compatible with experiments.

      note: there are good signs that cosmology may have something to say about this, because there are a whole bunch of contradictions there between experiments and various theories, but the data isn't good enough yet to clarify the issues.

      • (Score: 2) by jelizondo on Monday September 13, @09:33PM

        by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 13, @09:33PM (#1177511) Journal

        general relativity is how gravity works. we do know that, to the best precision available.

        We know since Newton how gravity works but not even Einstein has anything to say about why matter bends spacetime or thru what means it does.

        So we can measure the effects of gravity but can't explain it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @03:59PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @03:59PM (#1177440)

      Gravity sucks, and Texas A&M blows.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @10:16AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @10:16AM (#1177383)

    Just as plausible as dark matter and dark energy..

    • (Score: 2) by EJ on Monday September 13, @02:07PM

      by EJ (2452) on Monday September 13, @02:07PM (#1177408)

      No dark force was what Dark Helmet used.

      Perhaps the fifth force is the plaid force.

  • (Score: 2) by corey on Monday September 13, @12:15PM (1 child)

    by corey (2202) on Monday September 13, @12:15PM (#1177389)

    I think these researchers will eventually figure out it’s all about element 115, which Bob Lazar was going on about. Just a matter of time…
    /s

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday September 13, @02:00PM

      by Freeman (732) on Monday September 13, @02:00PM (#1177406) Journal

      Now that reminds me of X-COM, Alien Power Source fuel, Elerium / Element 115.

      --
      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Samantha Wright on Monday September 13, @02:08PM

    by Samantha Wright (4062) on Monday September 13, @02:08PM (#1177409)

    The study is better seen as proof against the possibility of a fifth force. They found no evidence of such a thing, and established a tighter upper bound for the strength of any possible fifth force based on the assumption that it must be too weak for their instruments to detect, if it exists at all. Desperate science journalists took the bait of a suggestive article title and hallucinated a whole universe of dishonest nonsense to hype up an altogether rather incremental piece of research.

  • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Monday September 13, @02:20PM (1 child)

    by ikanreed (3164) on Monday September 13, @02:20PM (#1177418) Journal

    The assumptions about my level of basic scientific literacy go up and down like a goddamned carousel throughout that article.

    Is there even one human being on the entire goddamned planet who knows there are four fundamental forces, but doesn't know what a neutron is?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @02:30PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @02:30PM (#1177422)

    { Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Fifth Element }

    { Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Space Force }

    { Gravity, Weak Nuclear, Strong Nuclear, Electromagnetic, Fifth Force }

    --
    "Big ba-da boom!"

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by EJ on Monday September 13, @02:46PM (4 children)

      by EJ (2452) on Monday September 13, @02:46PM (#1177428)

      I am confident that gravity isn't a force, but simply an effect of something we still don't understand.

      Think centrifugal "force" as an example. From your perspective, it feels like a force is pushing you against the wall of the chamber, but it's just the centrifugal effect.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @02:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @02:53PM (#1177430)

        Well, that's one way to spin it.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @05:04PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @05:04PM (#1177444)

        yes. it's an effect of space-time curvature, if you insist.
        literally the same effect that gives us the centrifugal force.

        • (Score: 2) by EJ on Monday September 13, @05:25PM (1 child)

          by EJ (2452) on Monday September 13, @05:25PM (#1177445)

          Maybe. That's why I said I'm confident that you're correct, but not certain.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @10:52PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @10:52PM (#1177526)

            it is about as certain as what will happen when i let go of this apple over your head.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @10:57PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @10:57PM (#1177530)

    where are your insightful comments on this subject? A fifth 'dark' force if you will must be responded to by those who possess the knowledge asap.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @11:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, @11:17PM (#1177533)

      They're in the same place as all of Gaaaaark's other "insightful" comments about physics: the inside of a black hole.

  • (Score: 1) by jman on Tuesday September 14, @02:26PM

    by jman (6085) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @02:26PM (#1177697) Homepage
    The fifth force of nature is, of course, Chuck Norris [liveabout.com]
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