Physicists may have found a fifth force in physics, or a new particle, or both, or something completely different. What they do know is that they’ve stumbled across something that doesn’t fit with our current best guess, the Standard Model of physics. While such a discovery may seem esoteric, which it is, such discoveries also lead to practical and fundamental changes in our lives. Newton’s understanding of gravity clarified our place in the solar system, and undermined centuries of thinking the Earth was the center of everything. Einstein’s understanding of relativity revealed the potential energies throughout the universe, and undermined the concept of time and space. Quantum mechanics enabled electronics, and undermined cause and effect. Mysteries persist, particularly about multiple dimensions, dark energy, and dark matter. This discovery may answer some of those mysteries; but if history is a guide, then we may also find old fundamental ideas undermined and new opportunities revealed. Stay tuned.
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