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‘Madala boson’ to help reveal dark matter mystery


Johannesburg: Scientists, including researchers from India, have predicted the existence of a new boson that might aid in the understanding of dark matter in the universe.

Using data from a series of experiments that led to the discovery of Higgs boson at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 2012, the team led by the High Energy Physics Group (HEP) of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg established what they call “Madala boson”.

The experiment was repeated in 2015 and 2016, after a two-and-half years’ shut-down of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.

The data reported by the LHC experiments in 2016 have corroborated the features in the data that triggered the Madala hypothesis in the first place.

The Wits Madala project team consists of approximately 35 young South African and African students and researchers, along with theorists such as Professor Alan Cornell and Dr Mukesh Kumar.

Some of these scientists include Dr Deepak Kar and Dr Xifeng Ruan, two new academic staff in the group, who have years of expertise at the LHC.

“Based on a number of features and peculiarities of the data reported by the experiments at the LHC and collected up to the end of 2012, the Wits HEP group in collaboration with scientists in India and Sweden formulated the Madala hypothesis,” says Professor Bruce Mellado, team leader of the HEP group at Wits, in a statement.

The hypothesis describes the existence of a new boson and field, similar to the Higgs boson.

Boson is a subatomic particle, such as a photon, which has zero or integral spin and follows the statistical description given by theoretical physicists Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein.

However, where the Higgs boson in the Standard Model of Physics only interacts with known matter, the Madala boson interacts with dark matter, which makes about 27 per cent of the universe.

The theory that underpins the understanding of fundamental interactions in nature in modern physics is referred to as the Standard Model of Physics.

With the discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC in 2012, for which the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded in 2013, the Standard Model of Physics is now complete.

However, this model is insufficient to describe a number of phenomena such as dark matter.

“With the Madala hypothesis predictions of striking signatures are made, that is being pursued by the young scientists of the Wits HEP group,” the authors noted.


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