Scientists at the High Energy Physics Group of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg predict 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 and first exploration of the Higgs boson at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in 2012, the group established what they call the Madala hypothesis, in describing a new boson, named as the Madala boson.
The Wits Madala project team consists of approximately 35 young South African and African students and researchers who are currently contributing to the understanding of the data coming out of the LHC experiments, along with phenomenological investigations from theorists such as Prof. Alan Cornell and Dr. Mukesh Kumar and support in the area of detector instrumentation from Prof. Elias Sideras-Haddad. The hypothesis describes the existence of a new boson and field, similar to the Higgs boson.
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% of the Universe.
The next big step for the physics of fundamental interactions now is to understand the nature of Dark Matter in the Universe: what is it made of? How many different types of particles are there? How do they interact among each other? How does it interact with the known matter? What can it tell us about the evolution of the Universe?
The discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC at CERN has opened the door into making even more ground-breaking discoveries, such as the observation of new bosons that are linked to forces and particles unknown before.
“With the Madala hypothesis predictions of striking signatures are made, that is being pursued by the young scientists of the Wits HEP group.” 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. Provided by: Wits University.