Force Five Adventure: Legend of the Wobble

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by Tiassa, Aug 27, 2023.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    The headline says scientists "may be on the brink", but it's probably a little too early to hype ourselves breathless about the latest episode in "the tantalising theory that a fifth force of nature could exist". The question arises, this time, per unexpected wobble in particle accelerator results. Guardian science correspondent Nicola Davis↱ explains:

    The data comes from experiments at the Fermilab US particle accelerator facility, which explored how subatomic particles called muons – similar to electrons but about 200 times heavier – move in a magnetic field.

    Patel says the muons behave a bit like a child's spinning top, in rotating around the axis of the magnetic field. However, as the muons move, they wobble. The frequency of that wobble can be predicted by the standard model.

    But the experimental results from FermiLab do not appear to match those predictions.

    Prof Jon Butterworth of University College London, who works on the Atlas experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Cern, said: "The wobbles are due to the way the muon interacts with a magnetic field. They can be calculated very precisely in the standard model but that calculation involves quantum loops, with known particles appearing in those loops.

    "If the measurements don't line up with the prediction, that could be a sign that there is some unknown particle appearing in the loops – which could, for example, be the carrier of a fifth force."

    The findings follow previous work from FermiLab that showed similar results.

    But Patel said there was a "fly in the ointment", noting that between the first results and the new data, uncertainty has increased around the theoretical prediction of the frequency.

    That, he said, could shift the situation. "Maybe what they are seeing is standard scientific thinking – the so-called standard model," Patel said.

    Uncertainty about what is uncertain can make things complicated. But even that isn't certain.


    Davis, Nicola. "Scientists may be on brink of discovering fifth force of nature". The Guardian. 11 August 2023. 26 August 2023.
    Pinball1970 likes this.
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  3. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    I think you should stick Muon g-2 in the title as not everyone will make the connection.
    There is a lot of controversy regarding these and previous results.
    IF correct they could looking at new physics, detractors have mentioned grants, PhD programs and incentives to invest further into larger particle accelerators.
    More measured commentary have suggested the SM is sound but there is an issue with the way the moment is calculated.
    2025 is the target for the next set of results at fermilab so we shall know then.
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