British scientist Peter Higgs poses in front of a photographic image of the Atlas detector at the Science Museum in London November 12, 2013. Reuters/Toby Melville

In 2015, a team of Hungarian scientists kicked up a storm in the scientific community when they claimed that they have found a fifth force of nature. The paper escaped publicity then, although a recent analysis of data by University of California researchers has brought the paper back into limelight. The laboratory experiment in Hungary spotted an anomaly in radioactive decay that may be the sign of a previously unknown fifth fundamental force of nature.

Attila Krasznahorkay and his colleagues at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’s Institute for Nuclear Research in Debrecen, Hungary, reported their incredible find on the arXiv preprint server in 2015. This January, they published their findings in the journal Physical Review Letters. However, the study, which revealed the existence of a new, light boson, 34 times heavier than the electron, was overlooked.

However, on April 25, US theoretical physicists brought the revolutionary find to wider attention by publishing their analysis of the result. The lead author of this report, Jonathan Feng, from University of California, said that the data never conflicted with any previous experiments. He concluded that it could well be the fifth fundamental force of nature. Now, scientists are trying various ways to verify the findings. It is believed that researchers will be able to rebut or confirm the Hungarian find within a year.

The inability of particle physics’ standard models to explain dark matter has led many scientists to search for new forces apart from the four fundamental forces known to physics. An invisible substance is thought to cover 80 percent of the Universe’s mass. The Hungarian team looked for dark matter by firing protons at a thin slice of lithium-7. This produced beryllium-8 nuclei that emitted pairs of positrons and electrons as they decayed.

The number of pairs created a slight bump as they jumped at 140 degrees and then dropped off as the angle increased. The Hungarian scientists said that the bump is the evidence of a new particle with unique force.

“Perhaps we are seeing our first glimpse into physics beyond the visible Universe,” a theoretical physicist at MIT, Jesse Thaler told Nature.