Scientists in Hungary claim to have found new signs of a subatomic particle they’ve termed ‘X17’, which could explain dark matter and rewrite the laws of physics by revealing a ‘fifth force of nature’.

The current standard model of physics incorporates four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong interaction, and the weak interaction. If its existence is proven, this ‘fifth force’ could finally explain the mysteries surrounding the invisible substance dark matter, which is thought to account for around 85 percent of all matter in the universe.

The Hungarian team first claimed to have found evidence of the particle back in 2016 when conducting experiments with radioactive beryllium atoms, and recently published a new paper, yet to be peer-reviewed, giving more detail of their observations. The apparently elusive subatomic particle was dubbed ‘X17’, with ‘X’ denoting that it’s unknown and ‘17’ indicating that its mass was calculated by the team to have a mass of nearly 17 megaelectronvolts.

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