Scientists, including those from India, have predicted the existence of a new fundamental particle – Madala boson – which may help solve the mystery of the elusive dark matter in the universe.
Using data from a series of experiments that led to the discovery and first exploration of the Higgs boson at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 2012, the group established what they call the Madala hypothesis, in describing a new boson, named as the Madala boson.
The experiment was repeated last year and this year, after a two-and-a-half year shut-down of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, said researchers at the High Energy Physics Group (HEP) of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
The data reported by the LHC experiments this year have corroborated the features in the data that triggered the Madala hypothesis in the first place.
“Based on a number of features and peculiarities of the data reported by the experiments at the LHC and collected up to the end of 2012, the Wits HEP group in collaboration with scientists in India and Sweden formulated the Madala hypothesis,” said Professor Bruce Mellado, team leader of the HEP group at Wits.
The hypothesis describes the existence of a new boson and field, similar to the Higgs boson. However, where the Higgs boson in the Standard Model of Physics only interacts with known matter, the Madala boson interacts with dark matter, which makes about 27 per cent of the universe.
The theory that underpins the understanding of fundamental interactions in nature in modern physics is referred to as the Standard Model of Physics.
With the discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC in 2012, for which the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded in 2013, the Standard Model of Physics is now complete.
However, this model is insufficient to describe a number of phenomena such as dark matter.
The universe is made of mass and energy. The mass that we can touch, smell and see, the mass that can be explained by the Higgs boson, makes up only 4 per cent of the mas-energy budget of the universe.
The rest of the mass in the universe is simply unknown, yet it makes about 27 per cent of the world around us.
The next big step for the physics of fundamental interactions now is to understand the nature of dark matter in the universe, said scientists including Deepak Kar and Xifeng Ruan, who have years of expertise at the LHC.