Scientists at the University of California, Irvine, announced recently that there might be a fifth force of nature. There are four known forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force. This new fifth force could help scientists understand how the other fundamental forces work together and better understand how the universe works, according to Voice of America (VOA).

The team of scientists at UCI based their findings on previously published data — the most notable of which is the data a group of Hungarian physicists produced when they discovered a new boson, which is a type of subatomic particle. This "X boson” seems to be a force-carrier boson. If it is, that means that a fifth force must also exist. The Hungarian team discovered the boson when they noticed an irregularity in radioactive decay in one of their experiments, according to Nature.

Physics and astronomy professor Jonathan Feng led the team at UCI that helped recognize the new potential force. Their findings were published in the journal Physical Review Letters. Feng said to VOA that others in the past hadn’t recognized the force as existing because it’s kind of weak.

"Its interactions are very feeble," he said.

According to Tim Tait, who coauthored the report, the force only acts on electrons and neutrons at a limited range. By publicizing their findings, Feng and his crew believe that they are giving others a starting place to conduct additional experiments and research.