From Philip Ball at Nautilus:
The hypothesis of a fifth force is, then, anything but exhausted. In fact it’s fair to say that any observations in fundamental physics or cosmology that can’t be explained by our current theories—by the Standard Model of particle physics or by general relativity—are apt to get physicists talking about new forces or new types of matter, such as dark matter and dark energy. That’s simply the way physics has always worked: When all else fails, you place a new piece on the board and see how it moves. Sure, we haven’t yet seen any convincing evidence for a fifth force, but neither have we seen a direct sign of dark matter or supersymmetry or extra dimensions, and not for want of looking. We have ruled out a great deal of the territory that a fifth force might inhabit, but there is still plenty of terrain left in shadow.More.
A layperson feels prompted to ask, if things that just gotta be true ain’t, could we just be on the wrong track? Hidden assumption guiding the search could mean getting nowhere faster than ever.
See also: Physics flowering — yet in one of its “deepest funks”?
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