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Was a fifth force felt?

Was a fifth force felt?

Physicists have divided all the motions in the universe into the domains of four kinds of force: gravity, electromagnetism, the weak subatomic force and the strong subatomic force or color force. Each of these has its source in a different property of material objects --for example, the source of gravity is mass, while that of electromagnetic forces is electric charge. Now, a fifth force is suggested.

Such proposals tend to arise from experimental anomalies that suggest an unknown force may be acting. In the Jan. 6 PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, Ephraim Fischbach (temporarily at the University of Washington in Seattle), Daniel Sudarsky, Aaron Szafer and Carrick Talmadge of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and S. H. Aronson of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., propose that a fifth force was operating in a famous experiment done in Hungary in 1922 by Roland von Eotvos, D. Pekar and E. Fekete. The Eotvos experiment, as it is called, tested the law of gravity by measuring the gravitational attraction between the earth and various materials, including metals, woods and even grease or suet. Fischbach and his co-workers suggest that, unbeknownst to Eotvos and colleagues, slight differences in the responses of different materials indicate that in addition to gravity, a small, repulsive force was acting.

Fischbach and his co-workers relate this suggested force to a quality of matter called phpercharge or baryon number. The baryon number is related to the number of neutrons and protons, and therefore to the chemical composition of a material--thus explaining the difference in force for different materials. The researchers propose a formal similarity between this hypercharge force and electromagnetism. Just as electromagnetic forces are carried from object to object by intermediary particles called photons, so this hypercharge force would be carried by "hyperphotons.' A number of experiments could test for the existence of the hypercharge force, including a direct search for the hyperphotons themselves.
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Title Annotation:hypercharge or baryon number theory
Author:Thomsen, Dietrick E.
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 18, 1986
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