In modern physics, the interaction of all particles and objects is thought to be responsible for four basic forces: gravity, electromagnetism, and strong and weak nuclear forces. However, new observations from the Fermilab experimental laboratory in the US state of Illinois, according to scientists, suggest that muons interact with each other in an unprecedented way.
“We have found that the interaction of muons does not conform to the standard model,” said British professor Mark Lancaster, who is involved in the research. The standard model is a widely accepted theory that explains what particles matter is and how these particles interact with each other.
“It’s certainly very exciting, because it may point to a future with new laws of physics, new particles, and a new force that we haven’t seen before,” he added.
It could be a blind trail
However, the findings from Chicago cannot yet be declared a scientific discovery. There is still a one in 40 thousand chance that this is a statistical error. In order for an observation to be made a discovery, the chance that it is just a coincidence must be at least one in 3.5 million.
However, Professor Ben Allanach of Cambridge University, who was not directly involved in the US research, said he had no doubts about the authenticity of the discovery. “Throughout my career, I’ve been looking for forces and particles we don’t know yet, and this is it. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for and I won’t get much sleep now because I’m too upset, “he told the BBC.
Muons are elementary particles similar to electrons, but they are about 200 times heavier. In the Muon g-2 experiment, Fermilab sends muons around in a ring-shaped electromagnet with a diameter of about 15 meters, which has a very stable and accurately measured magnetic field. According to the standard model, muons should “oscillate” at a certain speed. However, the researchers found that they oscillate differently than would theoretically be expected. According to them, this could be due to the action of hitherto undescribed physical force.
Physicists also believe that the behavior of muons could be related to an as yet undiscovered particle smaller than an atom.
CERN brought similar results
Similar experiments that could lead to the discovery of new particles and physical forces are also being carried out by scientists at the European CERN laboratory near Geneva. A few weeks ago, scientists there announced that they had arrived at very similar results to American physicists now.
However, researchers warn that they will have to make a number of other measurements to confirm any conclusions.
If the findings about muons prove credible, the BBC says scientists could lead to solving some of the great physical mysteries of recent decades, such as clarifying the existence of so-called dark energy. According to some theories, this causes the rate of expansion of the universe to continue to accelerate instead of gradually decelerating.