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Nestor Blokhin
Nestor Blokhin

An Unknown Compelling Force Image

Per press release, "An Unknown Compelling Force digs deep into the so-called Dyatlov Pass incident, which took place in the Ural Mountains in 1959. After a group of hikers failed to report back, search parties led by their peers and the Soviet Government uncovered their grizzly remains, which were found a mile from their shredded tent. It appeared as though the hikers fled into the freezing temperatures without their winter clothes or boots. Adding to the mystery, many of the bodies had suffered inexplicable injuries, and some even showed traces of radiation. The case was closed by investigators at the time, who declared that the hikers died from 'an unknown compelling force.' In the ensuing six decades, all manner of conspiracy theories have sprung up, involving everything from UFOs to a government murder and cover-up. The New Yorker recently explored the strange deaths in an exhaustive article that posited several explanations."

An Unknown Compelling Force image

115. Soldiers in the trenches before battle, Petersburg, Va., 1865. National Archives Identifier 524576, Local Identifier: 111-B-157. (The Petersburg identification appearing in the official caption for this photograph received by NARA from the Army Signal Corps has been disputed. Civil War historians and photo-historians have uncovered documentary evidence suggesting that this image of Union forces was taken by Andrew J. Russell just before the Second Battle of Fredericksburg in the spring of 1863. For more information, please see the item in the National Archives Catalog.)

If the various leptons really behave differently, the only explanation would be some previously unrecognized force. Under the Standard Model, larger particles decay into leptons (and other products) via the "weak force," the same force that causes radioactive decay. But the weak force treats all leptons equally. If more taus are coming out than the weak force should produce, then some unknown force, associated with some undiscovered attendant force-carrier particle, must be breaking down the larger particles in a way that favors taus. Finding such a force would be as fundamental as the discovery of electromagnetism, albeit with much less effect on our daily lives. "It does actually constitute, with little exaggeration, a revolution in physics," says Hassan Jawahery, a University of Maryland, College Park, physicist and a member of the LHCb collaboration.