Now playing
01:02
What you should know about the Nobel Prize
Barrie
Barrie's aunt speaks about how the police brought her the news about the death of her nephew Ibrahima.
PHOTO: VTM
Now playing
01:26
Aunt of Black man who died after arrest in Belgium: We want justice
screengrab US social media
screengrab US social media
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
04:35
Tech companies ban Trump, but not other problematic leaders
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13:  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presides over the vote to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump for the second time in little over a year in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted to impeach Trump on the charge of "incitement of insurrection," 232-197 after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol where Congress was working to certify the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden on January 6. 10 Republicans voted to impeach. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presides over the vote to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump for the second time in little over a year in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted to impeach Trump on the charge of "incitement of insurrection," 232-197 after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol where Congress was working to certify the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden on January 6. 10 Republicans voted to impeach. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Now playing
02:35
How the world is reacting to Trump's second impeachment
Indonesia sriwijay air crash search for victims wang pkg intl hnk vpx_00000920.png
Indonesia sriwijay air crash search for victims wang pkg intl hnk vpx_00000920.png
Now playing
02:21
Family members wait in anguish as search for crash victims continues
africa china coronavirus vaccine diplomacy lu stout pkg vpx _00025522.png
africa china coronavirus vaccine diplomacy lu stout pkg vpx _00025522.png
PHOTO: CCTV
Now playing
03:09
How China is hoping to use its vaccine as a diplomatic tool
PHOTO: CIRO FUSCO/AFP/ANSA/AFP via Getty Images
Now playing
00:38
Huge sinkhole appears in Italian hospital parking lot
TOPSHOT - Rescue workers carry recovered debris at the port in Jakarta on January 10, 2021, during the search operation for Sriwijaya Air flight SJY182 which crashed after takeoff from Jakarta on January 9. (Photo by Dany Krisnadhi / AFP) (Photo by DANY KRISNADHI/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Rescue workers carry recovered debris at the port in Jakarta on January 10, 2021, during the search operation for Sriwijaya Air flight SJY182 which crashed after takeoff from Jakarta on January 9. (Photo by Dany Krisnadhi / AFP) (Photo by DANY KRISNADHI/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Dany Krisnadhi/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:16
Indonesian jetliner crashes after taking off from Jakarta
 HONG KONG PRO DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST VENTUS LAU BEING ESCORTED BY POLICE.
HONG KONG PRO DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST VENTUS LAU BEING ESCORTED BY POLICE.
PHOTO: VENTUS LAU FACEBOOK PAGE/Reuters
Now playing
03:15
See Hong Kong police arrest former pro-democracy lawmakers
Tensions between the United States and Iran are likely to further escalate once again after Tehran seized a South Korean-flagged chemical tanker in the Persian Gulf, according to semi-official Iranian news agencies, and announced it had resumed enriching uranium to 20% purity, far beyond the limits laid out in the 2015 nuclear deal. President Donald Trump walked away from the agreement in 2018. CNN
Tensions between the United States and Iran are likely to further escalate once again after Tehran seized a South Korean-flagged chemical tanker in the Persian Gulf, according to semi-official Iranian news agencies, and announced it had resumed enriching uranium to 20% purity, far beyond the limits laid out in the 2015 nuclear deal. President Donald Trump walked away from the agreement in 2018. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.
PHOTO: YJC
Now playing
02:37
Footage shows chemical tanker seized by Iranian forces
A European health worker prepares a shot of the coronavirus vaccine.
A European health worker prepares a shot of the coronavirus vaccine.
PHOTO: Reuters
Now playing
02:14
Frustration in Europe over pace of coronavirus vaccine rollout
Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attends the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system. Shanghai, China, 24 October 2020.

Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attended the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system.No Use China. No Use France.
Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attends the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system. Shanghai, China, 24 October 2020. Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attended the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system.No Use China. No Use France.
PHOTO: Zhao Yun/Oriental Image/Reuters
Now playing
03:05
Chinese tech tycoon has not been seen in months
Now playing
02:19
Country has 2nd highest Covid-19 cases. See their vaccine plan
Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg arrives for a meeting at the Europa building in Brussels on March 5, 2020. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP) (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)
Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg arrives for a meeting at the Europa building in Brussels on March 5, 2020. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP) (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:24
Greta Thunberg urges public to listen to the experts (2020)
Now playing
01:00
Boris Johnson condemns Trump's actions
Bystanders and a soldier stand near a damaged portion of the airport of Yemen
Bystanders and a soldier stand near a damaged portion of the airport of Yemen's southern city of Aden's after an explosion, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. The blast struck the airport building shortly after a plane carrying the newly formed Cabinet landed on Wednesday. No one on the government plane was hurt. (AP Photo/Majid Saleh)
PHOTO: Majid Saleh/AP
Now playing
02:27
See moment of deadly explosion at Yemen airport
(CNN) —  

Physics centers essentially on four forces that control our known, visible universe, governing everything from the production of heat in the sun to the way your laptop works. They are gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, and the strong force.

Physicist Attila Krasznahorkay, right, works with a fellow researcher at the Institute for Nuclear Research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Physicist Attila Krasznahorkay, right, works with a fellow researcher at the Institute for Nuclear Research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Attila Krasznahorkay

New research may be leading us closer to one more.

Scientists at the Institute for Nuclear Research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Atomki) have posted findings showing what could be an example of that fifth force at work.

The scientists were closely watching how an excited helium atom emitted light as it decayed. The particles split at an unusual angle – 115 degrees – which couldn’t be explained by known physics.

The study’s lead scientist, Attila Krasznahorkay, told CNN that this was the second time his team had detected a new particle, which they call X17, because they calculated its mass at 17 megaelectronvolts.

“X17 could be a particle, which connects our visible world with the dark matter,” he said in an email.

Jonathan Feng, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California at Irvine told CNN he’s been following the Hungarian team’s work for years, and believes its research is shaping up to be a game changer.

If these results can be replicated, “this would be a no-brainer Nobel Prize,” he said.

Hungarian scientists are building on 2016 results

Three years ago, the Hungarian researchers published a similar paper in Physical Review Letters, one of the most prestigious journals in physics.

The nuclear physics experimental team had been studying another isotope, beryllium-8, as it decays down to a ground state. They saw electrons and positrons splitting off from the atom at unusual angles.

Those findings, which showed particles coming off beryllium-8 at around a 140-degree angle, were strange and new.

“We introduced such a new particle, which nobody saw before, and [whose] existence could not be understood by the widely accepted ‘Standard Model’ of particle physics, so it faced scrutiny,” Krasznahorkay said in an email.

The findings by Krasznahorkay’s team didn’t get much attention at first, but they raised Feng’s eyebrows. He said he “didn’t want to leave potentially revolutionary results just sitting on the table.”

Physicists in California developed a theory to explain the unusual results

In short, it could change physics as we know it, or it could have just been a simple lab error.

“Some people said they screwed up,” Feng said.

But he believed the Hungarians were for real. His research group published a paper on the heels of the Hungarians’$2 2016 work, laying out a theory to observe what Krasznahorkay’s experimental team had seen.

They referred to this unseen fifth force in action as a “protophobic force,” meaning that it was as though the particles were “afraid of protons.”

Meanwhile, nuclear physicists around the world set to work looking for errors in the Hungarians’ work, and have come up empty-handed over the past few years.

“Some very well-known nuclear physicists have done that exercise,” Feng said.

The numbers seemed to add up, and no one could find ways their equipment was calibrated incorrectly.

And Feng said his own team was comparing the Hungarian experiments “with every other experiment that’s been done in the history of physics.”

The only way to explain X17 was a hitherto undetected “fifth force.”

The findings point toward the Holy Grail of physics

To move their breakthrough idea from 2016 forward, the Hungarians would need to repeat the results again. That’s exactly what their 2019 results do.

Feng says that, barring experimental error, there was only a one-in-a-trillion chance that the results were caused by anything other than the X17 particle, and this new fifth force.

He added that if another research group could repeat these results with a third type of atom in addition to beryllium and helium, “that would blow the cover off this thing.”

Experimental research groups have already been contacting him, hungry to do that.

More sightings of the fifth force could lead to scientists settling on a specific name for it, understanding its workings more deeply, and developing practical applications for how to harness its power.

They’re leading us closer to what’s considered the Holy Grail in physics, which Albert Einstein had pursued but never achieved. Physicists hope to create a “unified field theory,” which would coherently explain all cosmic forces from the formation of galaxies down to the quirks of quarks.

But the universe isn’t giving up its secrets easily.

“There’s no reason to stop at the fifth,” Feng said. “There could be a sixth, seventh, and eighth force.”