By Pallab Ghosh, Science correspondent, Published 2 days ago
Scientists just outside Chicago have found that the mass of a sub-atomic particle is not what it should be.
The measurement is the first conclusive experimental result that is at odds with one of the most important and successful theories of modern physics.
The team has found that the particle, known as a W boson, is more massive than the theories predicted. The result has been described as “shocking” by Prof David Toback, who is the project co-spokesperson.
The discovery could lead to the development of a new, more complete theory of how the Universe works.
“If the results are verified by other experiments, the world is going to look different.” he told BBC News. “There has to be a paradigm shift. The hope is that maybe this result is going to be the one that breaks the dam.
“The famous astronomer Carl Sagan said ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’. We believe we have that.”
Physicists have known for some time that the theory needs to be updated.
It can’t explain the presence of invisible material in space, called Dark Matter, nor the continued accelerating expansion of the Universe by a force called Dark Energy.
Nor can it explain gravity.