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Fifth dimension
Photography Marco Mons, via Unsplash

Scientists say there’s a portal to the fifth dimension

A new study claims to have found an explanation for dark matter, but relies on the discovery of a particle which leads to another dimension

In the latest chapter in The End of the World As We Know It (2020-present), scientists have proposed the existence of a particle that can act as a portal to a fifth dimension.

The sci-fi hypothesis was published in a new study in The European Physical Journal C. It suggests that the particle can provide an explanation for dark matter, which has never been observed directly but is thought to account for most of the universe’s mass. Researchers say particles can travel across the whole universe, including to the fifth dimension.

Scientists have been questioning our universe’s known four dimensions for years. These are: three of space (up and down, left and right, back and forth – AKA 3D) and one of time. This extensive research has produced 5D equations, which, according to VICE, “express the implications an extra dimension would have on the universe, and reality itself”. 

Speaking to VICE, the study’s authors – Adrian Carmona, Javier Castellano Ruiz, Matthias Neubert – said their original intention was to “explain the possible origin of fermion (particle) masses in theories with a warped extra dimension”.

While researching the 5D equations in relation to fermion particle masses, the scientists sketched out a new scalar (a physical quantity that is completely described by its magnitude) associated with the fermion, which they claim is similar to the Higgs field and Higgs boson particle.

“We found that the new scalar field had an interesting, non-trivial behaviour along the extra dimension,” the researchers told VICE. “If this heavy particle exists, it would necessarily connect the visible matter that we know and that we have studied in detail with the constituents of dark matter, assuming the dark matter is composed out of fundamental fermions, which live in the extra dimension.”

The authors described the particle as “a possible new messenger to the dark sector”.

However, hypothesising the particle is the easy bit (kind of). Now, the scientists need to actually look for it. To put it into context: the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the Higgs boson wasn’t until 2012, despite being first proposed in 1964. The Higgs boson was spotted by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. It wouldn’t, however, be large nor powerful enough to find this new particle, which is too heavy for current colliders.

Still, the researchers are hopeful that the particle could be detected more indirectly. They told VICE: “This new particle could play an important role in the cosmological history of the universe, and might produce gravitational waves that can be searched for with future gravitational-wave detectors.”