Fermilab physicists may have discovered a ‘new force of nature’

tevatron-fermilabPhysicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced this week that they have discovered what they believe to be a new elementary particle that could, some say, turn out to be an entirely “new force of nature,” The New York Times reports.

A “suspicious” deviation in the Fermilab team’s test results reveals what some believe is a version of the elusive Higgs boson particle, which could be “responsible for endowing other elementary particles with mass,” writes Dennis Overbye in the Times. An alternative explanation is that the “mysterious bump” in test data could be evidence of a new force of nature that fits in the same category as gravity, electromagnetism and nuclear forces.

“Nobody knows what this is,” Fermilab theorist Christopher Hill, who was not part of the particle discovery team, tells the Times. “If it is real, it would be the most significant discovery in physics in half a century.”

In fact, all experts seem to agree that, “if the evidence holds up,” this will be a extraordinary discovery. Whether or not it does withstand the stress of additional tests, however, remains to be seen.

The evidence so far amounts to about 250 separate instances in which scientists observed the physical anomaly. That equals roughly one quarter of 1 percent of all results — a statistical fluctuation with a high enough recurrence rate that scientists consider it a “three-sigma” result, which means it’s valid enough to signal a possible discovery, but not yet verified enough to declare full scientific victory.

The potentially groundbreaking discovery was made during tests using the Tevatron circular particle accelerator, located near Batavia, IL, which was once the world’s largest. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) took that title in 2010. Because of the LHC, however, the Tevatron has been rendered obsolete, and is scheduled to shut down in September due to lack of funding. Verifying the existence of this new particle/force could be the Tevatron’s final act.

Product Review

The design still says retro, but Fujifilm's X-T3 is all about the future

If the X-T2 brought Fujifilm into the modern era, the X-T3 is focused on the future. With a new sensor and processor, completely revamped autofocus, and vastly upgraded video, it's the new APS-C camera to beat.
Emerging Tech

Johns Hopkins’ lab-grown human retina could lead to big insights

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have successfully grown human retina tissue from scratch in a lab. The work could help with the development of new therapeutics related to eye diseases.

Nvidia is slowly rolling out its next generation of GPUs. Here's what you need to know about them

Nvidia's new RTX 2000 series graphics cards are impressive pieces of hardware, with some amazing advancements and some rather high price tags to match. Here's everything you need to know about Nvidia's new top-tier cards.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in October, from 'Mindhunter’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Shrimp eyes inspire new camera focused on helping self-driving cars see better

By mimicking the vision of mantis shrimp, researchers were able to make significant improvements on today’s commercial cameras. They hope their technology can help mitigate accidents by letting self-driving vehicles see more clearly.
Emerging Tech

This intelligent parachute system can bail out clumsy drone pilots

Parachutes can save drones when they unexpectedly fall from the sky. Among a number of such systems, Austrian firm Drone Rescue is this week showing off its latest design that automatically deploys when it senses trouble.

‘Bloodhound’ rocket car needs a speedy cash injection to survive

The rocket-powered Bloodhound car has driven into difficulties, with the company behind the project needing a multi-million-dollar cash injection to save its dream of attempting a 1,000 mph land speed record.
Emerging Tech

Tokyo robotic warehouse needs almost no human workers

Uniqlo has unveiled its first robot-powered warehouse that requires 90 percent fewer human workers to operate. The Japanese clothing giant plans to invest close to $1 billion dollars to convert all of its warehouses worldwide.
Emerging Tech

Curious how A.I. 'brains' work? Here's a super-simple breakdown of deep learning

What is deep learning? A branch of machine learning, this field deals with the creation of neural networks that are modeled after the brain and adept at dealing with large amounts of human-oriented data, like writing and voice commands.
Emerging Tech

Drop everything and watch Boston Dynamics’ robo-dog dance to ‘Uptown Funk’

After a few years of Earthbound training, Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini robot dog is ready to take on Mars. Bruno Mars, to be precise. Check out Skynet's future pet as you've never seen it before.
Emerging Tech

Self-correcting quadcopter can keep itself aloft even if one rotor fails

Most quadcopters won't fly unless all four rotors are functioning. But what happens if one gets damaged during flight? Researchers from the Netherlands think they've come up with a solution.
Emerging Tech

MIT is building a new $1 billion college dedicated to all things A.I.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced a new $1 billion college of computing designed to offer the best possible education to future machine learning A.I. experts.
Emerging Tech

This gadget lets you sleep on airplanes without snuggling a stranger

Odd gadget, or a hug for your face? The Napup Fly+ is a travel pillow, sleep mask, and personal speaker system all rolled into one, attached to the back of the headrest to hold your head up.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.