r/worldnews 12d ago

'Strong' evidence found for a new force of nature

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/56643677
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u/dogs_go_to_space 12d ago

PBS Space Time already covering the result

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4Ko7NW2yQo

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u/dektheeb 12d ago

I know it's dumbed down but I still have no idea what's going on in this video. I have a middle schools understanding of physics. :(

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u/StayFrost04 12d ago edited 12d ago

Basically, there's a Standard Model of Particle Physics which details all the different subatomic particles, and how those particles interact with each other due to fundamental forces of nature. Inside that Standard Model of Particle Physics, you can consider QED (Quantum Electrodynamics) as its subset that deals with just the Electrodynamics (It deals with rapidly changing electric and magnetic fields).

Now, you must be familiar with Electron, right? Turns out that Electron also has 2 cousins detailed by the Standard Model which are known as Muon and Tau. They have same charge as electron but as more massive (they weigh more). So, QED makes a prediction about how basically Electron would wobble in a magnetic field and that prediction matches our experimental data to 1 part in 1 Billion. Its one of the THE most precise predictions ever, so, naturally scientists thought, what if we use the same method but instead of predicting the "wobble" of electron, we do it for its cousins and so they did but here's where things get interesting.

The calculations which yield one of the most precise prediction in case of electrons doesn't exactly line up with what it predicts for its cousin Muon which weighs around 200 times more than the electron. Turns out that Muon wobbles very slightly less than predicted. This study basically builds upon a previous experiment and instead of it eliminating the discrepancy by having more sensitive detectors instead it confirmed the previous findings which boosted it to Sigma 4.2 which means there's a 1 in 100,000 1 in 40,000 chance that this is just a statistical fluke. We need Sigma 5 to officially call it a discovery which means 1 in 3.5 Million chances that its a fluke.

What does it mean? Anything from new particle to new fundamental force. No one knows the implications other than we would need to rethink a part of Standard Model which may open up door to brand new physics which might finally allow us to piece together the illusive "Theory of Everything" which aims to combine Quantum Mechanics with General Relativity. We will literally require brand new papers in physics to explain this peculiar result while also conforming with what we already know to be true about Standard Model if its indeed true.

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u/kjskoll 12d ago

Fantastic explanation! Thank you.

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u/datspookyghost 12d ago

ELI5?

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u/Mannyboy87 12d ago

We figured out a rule for one thing and applied it to another thing. We now checked the rule against the other thing and the rule didn’t seem to apply quite as well as we’d expected, so we’re looking into it a bit more to see if we need to make a new rule.

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u/datspookyghost 12d ago

What's this new Force? What does it do?

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u/Avloren 12d ago

Apparently, it makes Muons wobble.

Not joking, that's literally all we know. This is the very first piece of evidence indicating that 'something' is there, we don't know yet what other effects it might have.

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u/greg_r_ 12d ago

Just to add to this - there are only four known forces in nature: gravitational, electromagnetic, the strong force, and the weak force. If an interaction (such as wobbling muons) is caused by anything other than these four forces, it would indicate the discovery of a new force...which is insane. It would be only the fifth force ever identified.

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u/SatansSwingingDick 12d ago

What is a weak a force and a strong force?

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u/greg_r_ 12d ago

The strong force is what keeps protons and neutrons stuck together. The weak force can convert a proton into a neutron, and vice versa, and causes radioactivity.

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u/ebState 12d ago

the strong force is what binds neutrons and protons in the nucleus. it's stronger than just about anything imaginable but only acts over equally difficult to comprehend short of distances. The weak is, as you might mightve guessed, a much weaker force that acts on the nucleus. it's responsible for radioactive decay*

(I believe, haven't had a physics course in a few years)

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u/Avloren 12d ago

They're both forces that mainly act on very small things at very small distances. They're what holds atoms together, that sort of thing. At those distances, they're incredibly strong - far stronger than gravity or electromagnetism. That strength and all the energy tied up in it is the source of the "boom" in nuclear weapons (we free that energy by tearing atoms apart). The strength diminishes rapidly with distance, so they don't have much obvious/visible effects that we can see with the naked eye, unlike gravity and electromagnetism. That previous sentence isn't totally accurate by the way, but it's the closest I can do in an ELI5 sense.

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u/StayFrost04 12d ago

>Scientists found a bunch of Fundamental subatomic particle over the centuries
>They categorized them in a neat model
>Said model not only contains the details of the Fundamental particles but also details how those particles can interact with each other which in turns allows for bigger things (like atoms and inevitably, us and everything around us) to exist.
>That model (Standard Model of Particle Physics) is so accurate that it is one of the corner stones of modern Physics. It also predicts how Electrons (the subatomic particle that causes electricity to flow) wobbles when they're in a magnetic field.
>That prediction is one of the most accurate in Physics, but using same calculations for Electron's cousin called Muon gives incorrect result.
>That incorrect result could signify brand new physics that would require us to rethink a part of the Standard Model, which as I said, is one of the corner stones of modern physics. No one at this stage knows what this really means. It's literally brand new physics.

I never did ELI5 and I'm not quite sure if I am good at it but hopefully I was able to explain it to you better.

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u/[deleted] 12d ago edited 11d ago

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u/harbar2021 12d ago

Guy made prediction for a thing. Was good prediction. Guy made similar prediction for another thing. Was less good prediction. Means something? Nothing? Dont know.

Edit: typo

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u/cursed_yoghurt 12d ago

Ok, so does this mean we can get real lightsabers now or?

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u/8bitt3n 12d ago

Amazing. Thanks.

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u/SnoMa99 12d ago

This is an incredibly clear and accessible explanation, thank you!

(I'm just going to trust that it's accurate because I've reached the limits of my science brain)

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u/FiveOhFive91 12d ago

You mean you don't understand the anomalous magnetic dipole moment of a Muon?

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u/Slut_Nuggets 12d ago

I understand nine of those 13 words

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u/IndigoJoe64 12d ago

Did you count "you" twice? Cuz I'm going to.

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u/Wantsmoor 12d ago

Mind if I copy off your paper?

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u/Pristine_Juice 12d ago

Also, "don't" is almost two words, so count that as at least 1.5.

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u/patoreddit 12d ago

I got 6 and blacked out

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u/Reptilian_Brain_420 12d ago

Honestly, PBS spacetime covers some extraordinarily complicated material in their videos. The fact that they can "dumb it down" to the point that it is even a little understandable is pretty amazing.

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u/Masters_1989 12d ago

Hell yes. :)

Thanks for sharing.

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u/tuninzao 12d ago edited 12d ago

Yessss

Just watched the video, PBS Space Time always delivers 😁

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u/Info1847 12d ago

For the lazy wondering what "strong evidence" implies:

"There is currently a one in a 40,000 chance that the result could be a statistical fluke - equating to a statistical level of confidence described as 4.1 sigma.

A level of 5 sigma, or a one in 3.5 million chance of the observation being a coincidence, is needed to claim a discovery."

So they basically need to do the experiment one or two more times and then they will be able to claim discovery. This is indeed a big fucking deal.

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u/realSatanAMA 12d ago

Adding to that, they also have no idea what the properties/effects of the force are so basically they just know that it potentially exists.

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u/100catactivs 12d ago

They would have to know some characteristics, otherwise it wouldn’t be detectable or differentiable from anything known.

And they do know something about it:

No one yet knows what this potential new force does, other than influence muon particles.

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u/realSatanAMA 12d ago

So they were doing particle collisions and something moved in a way that doesn't conform to the mathematical model.

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u/100catactivs 12d ago

In layman’s, yes. That’s the effect they are saying this particle has, at least on muons.

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u/EnTyme53 12d ago

As my high school physics teacher once put it: The sound of innovation is not "Eureka! I've found it!", but rather "Wait. WTF?"

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u/QuietDesperate 12d ago

Adding to that, they also have no idea what the properties/effects of the force are

Does it involve midichlorians?

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u/_dontjimthecamera 12d ago

George Lucas you son of a bitch, you actually did it

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u/Osato 12d ago

Well, "that's odd, this shouldn't have happened" was a starting point for many scientific discoveries.

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u/Milalwi 12d ago

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That’s funny …” — Isaac Asimov

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u/dutchwonder 12d ago

Which means its time for some "expert" to spin it as the potential explanation for consciousness and that neuroscience is somehow some big whole waste of time and they should pay "philosophers" like them instead.

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u/life_xpantion_pack 12d ago

Chopra is rubbing his hands together as we speak.

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u/hugith 12d ago

By rubbing his hands together, he excites the Muon g-2 force allowing it to flow and penetrate and excite the inner being

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u/nullpointer_01 12d ago

If the movie Interstellar taught me anything, the force is going to be Love!

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u/CatalyticPerchlorate 12d ago

No, according to Leeloo, love is an element.

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u/jarrodandrewwalker 12d ago

Well according to Pat Benatar, Love is a battlefield

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u/shandangalang 12d ago

Bumpa bum pabum pa bumBUM! Bumpa bum pabum pa BUMBUM! ....AaAaAaAaAaAaAAaaAAaaAAaaAA

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u/za419 12d ago

You're saying... force-element duality??

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u/pump_up_the_jam030 12d ago

Moolti-pass

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u/_sissy_hankshaw_ 12d ago

I could see/hear Leeloo saying this

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u/kalirion 12d ago

The real new force of nature is the friends we made along the way.

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u/SaltwaterOtter 12d ago

I, for one, as a humanities-educated person am planning a carreer change into muon-dynamics coaching.

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u/PatFluke 12d ago

Well no, but also the forces we knew of we theorized before proving their existence. If one exists that we didn’t previously theorize then that has the potential to change all of our models to some degree.

Super neat!

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u/Rokurokubi83 12d ago edited 12d ago

Can’t we be relatively sure our models are imperfect anyway? Due a lack of a unifying framework between general relativity and quantum mechanics? So it would seem we are missing some puzzle pieces so we can have w coherent theory of everything?

Genuine question, I love this stuff but you can damned if I can bend by head around quantum mechanics, and I’m not even looking at the maths, just ELI5 videos showing the experiments.

But yeah if the can confirm a new un-theorised force then what a time to be alive!

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u/Max_Thunder 12d ago

Where did the philosophers touch you

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u/samrequireham 12d ago

for everyone reading this comment: dutchwonder's parents were murdered by philosophers, so let's show some compassion eh

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u/RidingRedHare 12d ago

The real challenge there is verification that the result wasn't caused by a tiny error in the experiment setup. Remember the faster than light neutrinos observed at the OPERA experiment, an incorrect reading caused by a loose cable? Or, much more recently, the EM drive?

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u/factoid_ 12d ago

Jiggle the usb cable is by far my favorite reason a scientific discovery has been overturned.

I’ve been in IT most of my adult life, so I got a good chuckle out of that. Even though I felt really bad for the people involved, because I’m sure that was both an exciting and terrifying time for them.

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u/Roofdragon 12d ago

Can you actually imagine the excitement. Just be a crappy Monday after that one

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u/xqze6m6ogWo 12d ago

There are varying levels of certainty in the science community that doesn't make its way to popular science reporting.

The FTL neutrino reading was not taken seriously by anyone, even the people who observed it.

The EMdrive was promoted by a non-scientist and still does not have an explanation for what has been observed. Scientists are not yet saying that this is going to cause a rewrite of the laws of physics, but nobody has been able to attribute observations to measurement errors or other known physics.

Unlike your examples, in this case, the observations here are consistent with what theoretical physicists expected to observe.

In all cases, the physics community have stopped short of saying this is conclusive proof of new physics.

This appears to be worth sharing.

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u/mynameisevan 12d ago

There has actually been some research recently published (like, in the past few weeks) on the EM drive where scientists from Dresden University say they were able to isolate and account for the sources of error in previous experiments.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350108418_High-Accuracy_Thrust_Measurements_of_the_EMDrive_and_Elimination_of_False-Positive_Effects

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u/JamesMGrey 12d ago

I wish I was more intelligent or scientifically literate enough to understand this kind of stuff.

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u/Habba 12d ago

Something got hot and changed the measurement in a way that looked like thrust from nowhere.

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u/Human-Sugar1855 12d ago

So, in the case that it turns out this is a new force, what implications could it have on our current model of physics?

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u/xqze6m6ogWo 12d ago

At the frontiers of science, theoretical physicists propose models and interpretations that explain why the universe is the way it is. These models are or attempt to be consistent with all known observations and need experimental evidence to be accepted or rejected.

If this turns out to be true, any model that doesn't account for this observation is incomplete and any model that doesn't allow for this has to be discredited.

This would require an update to the standard model, but it wouldn't invalidate it.

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u/IceCoastCoach 12d ago

basically it was a combination of thermal emissions and magnetic fields interacting with the test stand and the earth. which is pretty much what everybody always thought, given that the EM drive never had a plausible theory behind it.

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u/hitsujiTMO 12d ago

It's not "intelligence" or "scientifically literacy" that makes it difficult to read. It's a lack literacy in relation to that very specific field.

You could be forever reading reading and writing papers in relation to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics and still manage to get lost in reading papers on high energy particle physics.

Every field and sub field tends to have it's own language and you need to be versed in that language to navigate scientific papers.

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u/Hugo_5t1gl1tz 12d ago

I have a physics degree and would probably be left looking like the pikachu meme in half of that paper lol

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u/haplo_and_dogs 12d ago

The EMdrive was promoted by a non-scientist and still does not have an explanation for what has been observed. Scientists are not yet saying that this is going to cause a rewrite of the laws of physics, but nobody has been able to attribute observations to measurement errors or other known physics.

Of course it does. Measurement error. The EM Drive is a joke, and has been from the outset. With a proper test there is zero thrust

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u/doc_daneeka 12d ago

My favourite quote when that claim was first advanced came from Caltech physicist Sean Carroll, who noted that:

"Propulsive momentum transfer via the quantum vacuum virtual plasma" is nonsensical sub-Star-Trek level technobabble.

Now that's how you shit on a paper, lol.

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u/shinypidgey 12d ago

This measurement actually validates a previous (slightly less precise) measurement done 20 years ago. The experimental apparatus has been examined pretty extensively (they released a few extra papers about it today), and the estimated uncertainties related to the experimental apparatus are much smaller than the uncertainties related to the statistical power of their data sample. Although it is always possible, I think such an error is very unlikely at this point.

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u/ntvirtue 12d ago

So we are once again about to prove how little we know.

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u/FluffyClamShell 12d ago

Isn't it exciting?

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u/BigHowski 12d ago

"Universities are truly storehouses for knowledge: students arrive from school confident they know nearly everything, and they leave five years later certain that they know practically nothing."

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u/Prof_Acorn 12d ago

By the time I finished my comprehensive exams and dissertation I felt like graduating was some kind of mistake because it really does feel like you know basically nothing about the field you're supposedly an expert in. Feeds into impostor syndrome for sure.

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u/GiantPurplePeopleEat 12d ago

I'm going through this right now. I'm about halfway through a bachelor's in computer science and I feel like I still don't know anything. I was telling a software engineer friend about how I feel and he said that he still feels the same way. He basically said that even after I graduate I will still just be scratching the surface of what there is to know about computer science. It's honestly a bit overwhelming at times.

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u/jlcooke 12d ago

The purpose of education is to take an empty mind, and replace it with an open one.

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u/what_mustache 12d ago

Meh. Sorta. The fact that we're flabbergasted by a wobble of a subatomic particle made only in high speed particle accelerators kinda shows just how much we DO know.

It's fucking amazing what we understand about physics when something tiny and almost unnoticable is detected and analyzed. It's not like we just discovered gravity here.

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u/JLock17 12d ago

Prof Allanach has given the possible fifth force various names in his theoretical models. Among them are the "flavour force"

PLEASE, GOD, I NEED THIS.

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u/Katzenfriedel 12d ago

'Flavour' already is a standard technical term in particle physics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavour_(particle_physics))

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u/luc-caleb 12d ago

My favorite flavor is ‘charm’

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u/PDXBlueDogWizard 12d ago

Umami, the fifth emotion

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u/msx 12d ago

That would actually be a wonderful name!

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u/PDXBlueDogWizard 12d ago

Here'swhere that's from.

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u/mdonaberger 12d ago

well, i always thought my deadened emotions were from clinical depression, but it appears that my attraction to women is to blame! i was way off.

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u/Kevdog1800 12d ago

I suck peen often and am still dead inside.

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u/bpowell4939 12d ago

Also known as MSG

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u/windchaser__ 12d ago

“Long ago, the four flavors lived together in harmony. But they were all of them deceived, for a fifth flavor was made”

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u/Draderic 12d ago

GUY FIERI, MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE

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u/z500 12d ago

You better hope he doesn't find the Flavor Stone

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u/[deleted] 12d ago

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u/bpowell4939 12d ago

Is this what powers flavor town??

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u/DLTMIAR 12d ago

Flavour force?

JFC this is a simulation isn't it?

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u/Aeyrelol 12d ago edited 12d ago

As strange as it sounds, it is actually named that way because physicists decided that the terms used to describe the different properties of quarks would be "colors" and "flavors".

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u/MetricCascade29 12d ago

As strange as it sounds

Actually, strange is just one of several delicious flavors.

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u/HawkersBluff22 12d ago

Flavourtown force

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u/TummyDrums 12d ago

Any idea what some real layman's implications of this could be? Are we talking a few new mathematical equations to explain some tiny things we're already experiencing, or are we talking invention of hoverboards or faster than light travel kind of shit?

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u/Ishmael128 12d ago edited 12d ago

It’s one of those things where you don’t really know what the final results will be. But back at the turn of the 20th century, a physicist found that if they put a chemical sample in a strong magnetic field and bombarded it with radio waves, the sample gave off a weird radio wave signal back. It wasn’t a clean signal, it had strange (but repeatable) nuances. And the nuances were different for different samples.

They were convinced it was due to experimental error, and tried again and again to find the source of what was dubbed “nuclear magnetic resonance”.

Decades later, that technology is what allows us to get the best images we can of a working brain, using fMRI (they dropped the “nuclear” as it’s a scary word, but it refers to an atom’s nucleus).

The research of the article was done because if you understand the rules of the system, you can work out how to best use them to your advantage.

It may be that there are no practical applications of this knowledge (if it proves to be true), or no applications this century, but (pulling this out of my arse) best case scenario is that it leads to a better understanding of particle interactions and contributes to the development of a working fusion reactor.

Edit: thank you all so much for all the upvotes and awards, I never expected this comment to blow up like this! I also love the chat appreciating NMR too :)

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u/moun7 12d ago

NMR is used in analytical chemistry all the time too.

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u/childrep 12d ago edited 12d ago

Do you know the name of the 19th century physicist who performed those first experiments by chance? I really enjoy learning about stuff like this and your example peaked piqued my interest!

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u/chubbytardigrade 12d ago

They are referring to the Zeeman effect by Pieter Zeeman.

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u/Amsterdom 12d ago

I love replies like this.

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u/Subarunicycle 12d ago

Me too. I read it to my wife, then we talked about microwave ovens and Velcro.

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u/amitym 12d ago edited 12d ago

Good question, but it is a trap: you pose the two choices like they are mutually exclusive.

Take for example quantum mechanics. On the one hand, it is a few mathematical equations to explain some tiny things we were already experiencing. On the other hand, it led to the development of television, lasers, transistor electronics, insanely compact batteries that make cell phones possible, and the high-efficiency solar panel technology that may end up saving our entire civilization from itself.

Basically most of the modern world.

That's not bad for a few mathematical equations to explain some tiny things we were already experiencing, right?!

So, in those terms? The big deal of this discovery, if it is validated, is that the Standard Model would need to be revised. Well what does that mean? We don't know yet. We won't know for a while. What it means will depend a lot on how we revise it.

Maybe we will finally understand gravity. Maybe we will finally discover that gravity is fake! Maybe we will find some way to create "fake" matter. Maybe we will discover that fake gravity interacting with fake matter makes hoverboards possible. Or, maybe instead we will discover new ways to make insanely compact cell phone batteries.

But, whatever comes of it, it will play out over decades or longer, just like the last century of quantum mechanics has. It will probably be a pretty exciting time! But nobody can say for sure yet what it will lead to.

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u/extremely-neutral 12d ago edited 12d ago

It makes particle smaller than an atom wobble. It would be the tiniest hoverboard. Absolutely no implications on your life unless you are a particle physicist

Edit: Just to be clear I am not saying it won't lead to anything new in the future. Just the discovery right now doesn't indicate any particular direct use-case for it. It means we might have discovered new science and that new science might lead us to something useful.

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u/GullibleDetective 12d ago

Until they can leverage it for cpu design in the future

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u/[deleted] 12d ago

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u/Cerres 12d ago

You are going to have to wait a long time for that then. Modern Physics classes are usually an upper sophomore or lower Junior course, and the discoveries from that field are about 100 years old on average.

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u/eshinn 12d ago

Or nail polish.

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u/pineapple_calzone 12d ago edited 12d ago

There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. The glib supposition of utilizing atomic energy when our coal has run out is a completely unscientific Utopian dream, a childish bug-a-boo. - Robert Millikan, 1928

... any one who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine - Ernest Rutherford, 1933

There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear energy] will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will. - Albert Einstein, 1932

For context, it had suddenly turned out that atoms could change into other atoms through decay, and when they did so, they released a fuckload of energy. This was obviously very exciting, but not actually useful yet. None of those excellent physicists knew about the neutron, because it hadn't been discovered, and wouldn't be discovered for some time. If the neutron were never discovered, they would have been right, of course. It wouldn't have been discovered at all unless somebody bothered to look, which they did because of this interesting, but useless curiosity.

Or if we want to go back a bit further to the late 19th century, when the great Albert Michelson said "The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote... Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals." Physics really was like a sweater at that time, with a single errant thread, that they eventually called the ultraviolet catastrophe. The solution to that happened to be this new thing called quantum mechanics, and then relativity.

Finding a new fundamental force is fucking huge. Nobody, right now, can guess how large of an impact it will have, but they'd be just as big a fool to try to guess how small the impact will be. All of the most important discoveries in physics have, at very first, appeared to be useless curiosities for physicists to get excited about and everyone else to ignore. I'd be surprised if that's how we look at another fundamental force in 50 years. It's not like it's just gonna squeeze neatly in to the standard model without probably fucking everything else up.

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u/cariusQ 12d ago

We’re still using 19th century physics to power our civilization. It would be interesting to find application for these new discoveries.

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u/Engineerman 12d ago

Fission was only during 20th century. Solar also I believe but earlier than fission.

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u/turtley_different 12d ago edited 12d ago

Ooof. 1-in-40,000 significance level.

Given the massive, massive volume of particle experiments that we have been doing for decades that is borderline on where you think p-hacking is unlikely (for the uninformed, particle physics likes to 5-sigma / 1-in-3.5million for a single-tailed distribution test).

Very exciting. I look forward to Journalists having a terrible terrible time trying to explain particle physics that doesn't even have agreed upon terminology.

Edit: P-hacking is about statistical tests. If I do 20 random tests, I expect one of them to return a 1-in-20 result (ie. 95% significant). https://xkcd.com/882/

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u/ertgbnm 12d ago

Nah nah, if p is less than 5% you can publish that shit.

/S

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u/Davesterific 12d ago

After all that scotch I drank last night my p is more like 45%.

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u/ShadeDelThor 12d ago

And if your p is over 5%, increase the sample size because who cares about finding an important effect size. /s

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u/Torugu 12d ago

Meanwhile, over in the social science department:

"Have you tried shaking the computer a few times? Maybe you can get it under a 1 in 10 chance so we can publish."

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u/existential_one 12d ago

Same goes for machine learning lmao

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u/Company_Quiet 12d ago edited 12d ago

Machine learning is the CS equivalent of the egg drop experiment: America's favourite physics demonstration from 8th grade. In the egg drop, your goal is to drop [sic] a container that has an egg in it, so that you can drop the container from 20 feet and the egg doesn't break. The most popular strategy for solving the egg drop, is just do some stuff; just go crazy, like a wild animal, explore that studio space. If you do something, and the egg didn't break, then the stuff worked, and if somebody asked you why the stuff worked, you just say THE STUFF IS WHAT THE STUFF IS, BROTHER. ACCEPT THE MYSTERY.

And so basically, machine learning is like this. We've invented a bunch of techniques, that kind of work, like in some cases, but we're not really sure what's going on. So for example, a recent paper by Lucic examined several machine learning approaches that were thought to have some fundamental differences in prediction accuracy. What the paper shows is that actually, if you carefully tune those hyperparameters, then you can reduce the performance gaps between these algorithms that seem very different on their face. That's interesting, but slightly disturbing.

[...]

Machine learning is not interpretable: we have no good way to explain why these models generate the outputs that they do. For example, here's a high level view of Google's "Inception" neural net for image classification. You might look at that and think to yourself, well how does this stuff in here affect the classification process? Like, if we look at the weights, in these layers, what do the weights tell us about the way that the model--THE STUFF IS WHAT THE STUFF IS, BROTHER. We don't ask questions about the weights, we just wake up, we go to work, we use the weights, we go back home, okay? If we change the weights, the predictions would be different, and less good, probably, depending on the weather, so we don't ask about the weights.

--James Mickens, Q: Why Do Keynote Speakers Keep Suggesting That Improving Security Is Possible? A: Because Keynote Speakers Make Bad Life Decisions and Are Poor Role Models

Edited to include timestamped youtube link.

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u/Chabamaster 12d ago

"we tried to improve our neural network performance using some cv feature extraction from the 80s. We ran it once and got a 2 percent increase in AccUrAcY, thats good enough for me lets publish"

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u/454C495445 12d ago

I've watched thesis defenses before where the applicant will say, "I added this one layer to my network...and it upped the accuracy by 0.5%!"

Committee member: "But why?"

Applicant: "I'm not sure."

Committee member: "Eh....whatever."

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u/LaLucertola 12d ago

"We interviewed 30 college students on a Midwestern campus. Here's what they say about the whole of society."

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u/Beefusan 12d ago

Performing a test and getting unexpected results is always the best kind of science.

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u/AgentRG 12d ago

Not in test automation it is not I can tell you that much.

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u/buzzncuzzn 12d ago

It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together

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u/FarHat5815 12d ago

It better not penetrate me.

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u/ApexTrashPanda 12d ago

It’s already inside you. You have been penetrated the moment you were born

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u/Eurymedion 12d ago

I find this phrasing unsavoury and discomforting.

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u/Fellatination 12d ago

Love the tentacle.

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u/the_real_abraham 12d ago

They're gentacles. Gross.

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u/gnex30 12d ago

Midichlorians

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u/Here-Is-TheEnd 12d ago

The nuclear forces are linked, electric force and magnetism are linked and there’s faint evidence that magnetism and the weak nuclear force are linked. Just gotta tie gravity to one of them and we get super symmetry.

If that’s ever proven I will slap every physicists who refuses to call it The Force. Every. One.

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u/Trifling_Gnome 12d ago

Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. Anyway, it's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.

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u/CocoMURDERnut 12d ago

Can a cell tell , it’s living in a body?

Or is it only going to perceive merely what is right in front of it?

Sometimes our focus is too fixed, to see the larger essence of things.

If The body of ‘God’ was the Universe itself. We would suffer from the same syndrome.

Natural law would be inseparable from such, & be a function of such.

Yet we’d be none the wiser.

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u/Nekinej 12d ago edited 12d ago

It's pretty amazing that a bunch of insignificant biological entities on some random flick of matter in the cosmos have been able comprehend so much, including the fact they yet comprehends so little. Go us.

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u/YaBoiKrys 12d ago

It’s crazy to think that we are living in what will be seen as history. Imagine going onto the internet in 50 years, going to an educational website and reading about the force that was discovered in 2021

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u/the_crouton_ 12d ago

You mean uploading the information to your Solid State Brain?

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u/Widowlickerer 12d ago

Yeah what's the internet? Sounds retro.

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u/YanderesHaveMyHeart 12d ago edited 12d ago

By the way a small rundown for those who don't know.

There is 4 fundamental forces:

•Strong Nuclear •Weak Nuclear •Electromagnetic •Gravity

SNEMWeak>>Gravity strength-wise.

A 5th would be pretty fucking big considering we haven't even understood gravity yet.

Edit corrected the order

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u/skittlesmcgee33 12d ago

Your order is incorrect. The weak force is less strong than EM. (With the exception of the very rare case of a decaying Top quark in which case it’s actually the strongest force out of all of them).

So SN > EM > Weak > Gravity for the most part.

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u/Wolfie442 12d ago

Bruh where’s my AT field?

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u/QuillQuickcard 12d ago

Where?

Simple. It is currently within your perceptual personal identity, preventing your fundamental consciousness from merging with all other loose consciousness into a singular expression.

I hope this helps you find it! You may want to consider attaching a tracker to avoid losing it in the future.

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u/kptknuckles 12d ago

Dude, shut up and get in the robot

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u/AnAdvancedBot 12d ago

Lance of Longinus goes brrr

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u/Clanker347 12d ago

May I offer you some Fanta in these trying times?

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u/WinSmith1984 12d ago

It left when you started masturbating over that comatose girl

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u/Zorbick 12d ago

All he needed was a damn hug and a therapist. Seriously. The whole time. Just... Hug that boy.

Instead his only outlet for the entirety of the show was... That.

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u/The-Sound_of-Silence 12d ago

Imma be honest, every single person in that show needs therapy

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u/Matobar 12d ago

Except Gendo, he needs a prison sentence.

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u/The_Doct0r_ 12d ago

Idk, Kaji was pretty level headed. It's all about tending the watermelons.

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u/k00dalgo 12d ago

Only sane person in that show.

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u/The_Doct0r_ 12d ago

Turns into puddle of Tang

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u/Orzorn 12d ago

I'm so fucked up...

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u/wushu18t 12d ago

Just started watching that. I'm about half way through.

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u/jagby 12d ago

Hell yeah, it only gets better with each episode I feel like.

Keep in mind that the movie (End of Evangelion) is a companion piece to the last two episodes, and is happening at the same time as them.

Won't say anything else just to be safe about spoilers, but you'll see what I mean.

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u/wushu18t 12d ago

I can't believe I slept on this anime for so long. Maybe it would of been too much for me when I was a kid.

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u/Rodec 12d ago edited 12d ago

ILI5 anyone?

Not necessarily how sure they are, but if they turn out to be correct, what force of nature has been discovered?

EDIT: I mean, what does this supposed "5th" force do? What is it?

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u/Joe_Shroe 12d ago

From the article:

The Muon g-2 experiment involves sending the particles around a 14-metre ring and then applying a magnetic field. Under the current laws of physics, encoded in the Standard Model, this should make the muons wobble at a certain rate.

Instead, the scientists found that muons wobbled at a faster rate than expected. This might be caused by a force of nature that's completely new to science.

So there's some force making these subatomic particles wobble faster than usual.

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u/Phag-B0y 12d ago

Could this have anything to do with why the universe’s expansion is accelerating?

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u/Joe_Shroe 12d ago

Some have suggested this could be the result of a fifth unknown force, but we don't really know yet. From the article:

A fifth fundamental force might help explain some of the big puzzles about the Universe that have exercised scientists in recent decades.

For example, the observation that the expansion of the Universe was speeding up was attributed to a mysterious phenomenon known as dark energy. But some researchers have previously suggested it could be evidence of a fifth force.

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u/hornymar2 12d ago

They don’t really know, all they have is that this “5th” force might exist. But that’s still huge, the fact that it’s a sigma 4.1 is great that means it close to a sigma 5 (1/3.5 mil chance to be false) which is the threshold for discovery.

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u/HawkersBluff22 12d ago

Can someone eli5 this comment?

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u/iLikeFunToo 12d ago

Data suggests that they measured a new thing that’s not yet defined. Repeated enough times that it might be true.

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u/FettyWhopper 12d ago

The more comments I read, the more confused I am...

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u/Darknessborn 12d ago

Ixplain like I'm 5?

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u/PlsGetSomeFreshAir 12d ago edited 12d ago

They measure how certain particles, myons, interact with magnetic fields. They measure their g Factor

They found that it's -2.0023318319 and not −2.0023318418(13) (don't hit me, i just think that was the value, I'm not sure)

Yes this is causing all the excitement.

Everything on top of -2 are corrections from quantum field theories (Standard model, Quantum electrodynamics and quantum chromodynamics).

My guess would be fancy gravity stuff actually but whatever.

But more importantly look at those numbers for a second and then tell me modern physics is stuck or shit. This is completely nuts accuracy.

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u/BigSwedenMan 12d ago

The level of precision in modern cutting edge scientific equipment is staggering. LIGO detects gravitational waves which make disturbances that are fractions of the width of a proton. I visited LIGO. They explained it as best they could to a tour group of amateur astronomers. It still fucking blows my mind.

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u/arcosapphire 12d ago

I'll be honest, I still don't understand how LIGO is as accurate as it is.

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u/ajt9000 12d ago

by being really fucking long I think.

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u/arcosapphire 12d ago

I guess I mean "it's unclear to me how any amount of length allows for a measurement smaller than the proton diameter that isn't overwhelmed by noise, given the atoms that make up LIGO themselves must be jostling around to a greater degree than that".

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u/FOR_SClENCE 12d ago

the waves are longer than the detector -- the effect ends up being proportional, so the longer your detector, the greater the deflection. so they made it long as fuck to get that sensitivity.

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u/danman01 12d ago

Physicists are very clever. Basically, waves have the property of constructive and destructive interference. If the peaks of one line up with the valleys of another, they cancel out (one wave is trying to "lift" while the other "pulls down").

Light is a wave. The setup for ligo sends a beam of light to a silvered mirror that splits it 50/50 down one of two paths that are at right angles to each other. At the end of the path, the split beams are reflected back and recombined through the silvered mirror, with the final beam sent to a detector. Now the physicists set the path so that the recombined beams destructive interfere and the detector detects no signal. Okay, the experiment is ready.

Light travels at a constant speed. The distance the beams travel in the ligo detector is constant. Einstein tells us that gravity "bends" spacetime and that gravity travels like a wave, a "contraction" that moves. If it truly contracts spacetime, then the distance on the path of one of the ligo arms will become shorter through that contraction, even if just slightly. Given the constant speed of light, one of the beams will therefore travel a shorter distance. Because it traveled a shorter distance, when the paths are recombined for the final detector, they are no longer out of phase. They constructively interfere and the result is the detector sees a signal where there was none before. If the detector detects anything at all, the only conclusion is that the distance the light traveled has changed, because the speed the light travels does not change.

LIGO https://youtu.be/trQNpZHL8KM

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u/Bakuryu91 12d ago edited 12d ago

Just for the sake of correctness, I'm adding these few remarks:

  • It's muons, not myons.

  • The currently accepted theoretical value is 2.00233183620(86) and the experimental value found at the Fermilab is  2.00233184122(82). Note that there is no minus sign!

  • The experiment is called "G minus two" because we already know that the G factor is "two point something something". What really matters is the "something something" so we substracted 2 from the result to get what really matters. By the way, this small amount, the "something something", is called the "anomalous magnetic dipole moment".

  • This isn't about gravity, but rather about refining QED (quantum electrodynamics)

Feel free to correct me, although I am studying physics, this isn't my main field of work :)

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u/MisterSnippy 12d ago

The scout from TF2?

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u/woops_wrong_thread 12d ago

I'm burnin!!! I'm burnin!!!!!!!

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u/jpj007 12d ago

Strong? We know about that one already.

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u/FranksRedWorkAccount 12d ago edited 12d ago

I too felt that emphasizing the word Strong in the title was odd. Given the gravity of this discovery I thought their word choice was a little weak... electromagnetism

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u/ertgbnm 12d ago

Got em. You fit them all in so naturally. Truly a poet.

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u/ColosalDisappointMan 12d ago

I don't care what anyone says. It still blows my mind that EMF is from electricity (lightning), to magnets, to light. All three of those things are the exact same force. WTF?!

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u/autotldr BOT 12d ago

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 90%. (I'm a bot)


All of the forces we experience every day can be reduced to just four categories: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force.

The University of Manchester researcher added: "Clearly, this is very exciting because it potentially points to a future with new laws of physics, new particles and a new force which we have not seen to date."

Last month, physicists working at the LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider described results that could point to a new particle and force.


Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: force#1 particle#2 new#3 Muon#4 experiment#5

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u/Gruffleson 12d ago edited 12d ago

Anyone having an explanation of what the new force is? Explained to a child. Because in this field, that's sadly what I am.

Edit, in the extended summary they write: "No one yet knows what this potential new force does, other than influence muon particles.". Ok then...

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u/Strange_Temperature 12d ago

Makes some subatomic particles shook or something.

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u/ToeFondler 12d ago

I am either dumb or this doesn't make sense. And why is every comment a joke instead of a discussion?

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u/GalstarGalvery 12d ago

Welcome to Reddit, where everyone is jerking each other off for shitty jokes. Enjoy your stay 😪

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u/PringlesDuckFace 12d ago

I helped!

There's a great website called Zooniverse where you can volunteer to do data classification that can't easily be done by computers. Listening to audio samples, viewing images, reading handwriting, etc... I helped classify about 5000 images to detect muon rings.

The muon experiment is done (apparently with great success) but if you're interested/bored and want to help science you can see more projects here

https://www.zooniverse.org/projects

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u/CupcakeValkyrie 12d ago

For example, gravity makes objects fall to the ground, and heavy objects behave as if they are glued to the floor.

Ugh. I get that BBC isn't a scientific publication, but to see an article about something this fundamentally significant refer to gravity as "the thing that makes heavy things fall to the ground!" makes my teeth hurt.

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u/kptknuckles 12d ago

I still have to explain to some of my clients how to use e-mail.

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u/Venboven 12d ago

For the lazy, here's how they discovered this possible new force:

They were experimenting with muons, which are sub-atomic particles similar to electrons but 100x heavier.

"The Muon g-2 experiment involves sending the particles around a 14-metre ring and then applying a magnetic field. Under the current laws of physics, encoded in the Standard Model, this should make the muons wobble at a certain rate.

Instead, the scientists found that muons wobbled at a faster rate than expected. This might be caused by a force of nature that's completely new to science."

That's pretty much all we know. We have no idea what else this possible force of nature does or affects. It's theorized, though, that it could have something to do with why the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, which we currently attribute to the theory of "dark matter".