A new theory claims to have solved five of the biggest problems in physics all at once.
The theory was developed by a group of French physicists at the University of Paris-Saclay, and it introduces a few new particles in an attempt to unify multiple different theories to solve five of the biggest problems in physics: dark matter, cosmic inflation, the strong CP problem, neutrino oscillations, and baryogenesis. All of these problems in our current physics model are in some way related to the mysteries of quantum mechanics.
The theory, dubbed SMASH, expands the Standard Model of physics. The Standard Model is the catalog of every type particle that physicists know about. Included in the model are quarks (the building blocks of protons and neutrons), electrons and neutrinos, and a number of more exotic particles like the Higgs boson. All together, there are seventeen different types of particles in the Standard Model.
However, there are some problems in physics that the Standard Model can't solve. One of the biggest is the existence of dark matter. Dark matter is a mysterious form of matter that we can't see, but accounts for nearly all the calculated mass in the Universe. Physicists have long suspected that dark matter may be one of the more exotic particles from the Standard Model, but so far none of those particles seems a likely candidate.
Other physicists have proposed additions to the Standard Model, adding more hypothetical particles, but most of those changes to the model introduce hundreds of new particles that we can't detect. The SMASH theory, on the other hand, only adds six.
These six theoretical particles are three different kinds of neutrino, plus a fermion and two more called the axion and the inflaton. The axion is the proposed candidate for dark matter. The other particles solve many other current problems in physics, such as strange neutrino behavior, cosmic inflation, and the origin of all matter in the universe.
The best part is that this new theory can be tested relatively soon. Parts of this theory can be tested by the next generation of particle accelerators and telescopes that are due to come online in the next few years, possibly revealing the existence of these new, theoretical particles.
We may not have long to wait before many of the universe's mysteries become less mysterious.