Skip to comments.Scientists: Nature's Fundamental Laws May Be Changing
Posted on 08/12/2008 8:56:29 PM PDT by grey_whiskers
Public confidence in the "constants" of nature may be at an all-time low.
Recent research has found evidence that the value of certain fundamental parameters, such as the speed of light or the strength of the invisible glue that holds atomic nuclei together, may have been different in the past.
"There is absolutely no reason these constants should be constant," says astronomer Michael Murphy of the University of Cambridge. "These are famous numbers in physics, but we have no real reason for why they are what they are."
The observed differences are small roughly a few parts in a million but the implications are huge.
The laws of physics would have to be rewritten, and we might need to make room for six or seven more dimensions than the four the three spatial ones, plus time that we are used to.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Are the changes in the constants related to inflation? If so, did the how did the changes in the constants affect the inflation? And what determined which dimensions remained compactified and which ones didn't?
Just don’t overinflate. Then the middle part of the universe will wear out faster than the inner and outer edges. That, or the universe may explode from too much heat and pressure.
I have hard enough time understanding this dimension.
Are you hijacking your own thread?
> I have hard enough time understanding this dimension.
If you want a really good, entertaining short read on the subject of multiple dimensions, it gets no better than Edwin Abbott Abbott’s “Flatland”.
It was written in the late 1800’s and takes about an afternoon to get thru, and is almost as much fun as Alice in Wonderland.
inconsistant constants are fun
A popular alternative to relativity, string theory which is actually an untested hypothesis predicts inconstant constants.
It assumes that sub-atomic particles are in fact one-dimensional vibrating strings and that the universe has 10 or more dimensions.
According to string theory, the extra dimensions are hidden from us, but the "true" constants of nature are defined in all dimensions.
Therefore, if the hidden dimensions expand or contract, we will notice this as a variation in our "local" three-dimensional constants.
Even if string theory is not correct, the current model of gravity will likely need to be revised to unite it with the other three fundamental forces, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces.
"We have an incomplete theory, so you look for holes that will point to a new theory," Murphy says.
Varying constants may be just such a hole.
The other side
Not all quasar data is consistent with variations.
In 2004, a group of astronomers including Petitjean found no change in the fine structure constant using quasar spectra from the Very Large Telescope in Chile. No one has yet explained the discrepancy with the Keck telescope results.
"These measurements are so difficult, and at the extreme end of what can be achieved by the telescopes, that it is very difficult to answer this question," Petitjean says.
Other experiments outside astronomy have found no evidence for variation in the fine structure constant (alpha), although they do not examine the same very old period of time that quasars represent.
In other words, stay tuned!
Evolution disproved by Paris Hilton/Hillary Clinton Love Child in Homosexual Al-Qaeda linked Global Warming Scam, Reports Daily Kos -- Special Expose by WorldNetDaily. /hijack>
Did I miss anything?
Ping to read later
I *saw* the string theory connection. Unfortunately Luboc Motl (I won't look up the Ascii HTML code for the accents on his name at this hour) is not a FREeper so I don't know if I'll get any qualified commentary on it.
However, is it too much to beg for a complimentary photo of Lisa Randall (goddess-Harvard)?
Jerry Rivers is all I can guess. Good Cover. :^)
Inflation is basically a concoction to explain away the several serious problems with the Big Bang Theory, namely...
1. The Horizon Problem
2. The Flatness Problem
3. The Galaxy Formation Problem
4. The Antimatter Problem
Here is an excellent source which explains in layman terms what these problems are:
And here are some things I found some time ago on inflation theory...
Alan Guth [inventor of Inflation theory]: "Those 'little creatures'[cosmic microwave background photons], however, would have to communicate at roughly 100 times the speed of light if they are to achieve their goal of creating a uniform temperature across the visible Universe by 300,000 years after the Big Bang." http://nedwww.ipac.caltech.edu/level5/Guth/Guth2.html
As Albrecht, now at the University of California at Davis, puts it, inflation is not yet a theory: "It is more of a nice idea at this point."...
"The model in Guth's original paper, published in Physical Review D in 1980, admittedly did not work. Michael Turner of the University of Chicago, who took part in Bardeen's calculation of the density perturbations, says Guth had been brave. "One of the striking things about [Guth's] paper," Turner says, "was that he said: 'Look, guys, the model I am putting forward does not work. I can prove it doesn't work. But I think the basic idea is really important.' "
In fact, Guth's "old" inflation ended too soon, and too messily. A "graceful exit" was needed to make the universe look remotely similar to ours. In 1982 Paul Steinhardt, another co-author of Bardeen's calculation, solved the graceful exit problem together with Andreas Albrecht; Linde also found a solution independently. Their "new" inflation worked by adjusting the shape of the potential function, a sort of mathematical roller-coaster that defines the properties of the inflation.
Most of the mechanisms proposed ever since rely on carefully adjusting the shape of the hypothetical potential function. None, it seems, has been too convincing. "All these models seem so awkward, and so finely tuned," says Mark Wise, a cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology.
Physicists would like a theory that avoids such gimmicks, one that shows how things ought to be from first principlesor at least with the smallest possible number of assumptions. "Fine tuning" is the opposite.
It was two fine-tuning problems, two such implausible balancing acts, that inflation was supposed to have solved. "You're trying to explain away certain features of the universe that seem fine-tunedlike its homogeneity, or its flatness," says Steinhardt, now at Princeton University, "but you do it by a mechanism that itself requires fine tuning. And that concern, which was there from the beginning, remains now." As Albrecht, now at the University of California at Davis, puts it, inflation is not yet a theory: "It is more of a nice idea at this point." "
That may have been the cause of the original “Big Bang.”
Translated as “we have no idea what we’re talking about, and no matter how much we massage the data, our fancy computers can’t even spit out something that makes it seem like we know what we’re talking about.” Back to the drawing board...
I beg to differ! Cf. AK Dewdney's THE PLANIVERSE, which is "along the same lines". This affected my mind.
1. Constants aren't.
2. Help doesn't.
3. Variables don't, or at least not in the way you want them to.
I have personally conjectured this many times in the past, and routinely take a pounding from a few of the egghead wannabees around here.
In fact Newtons gravitational constant itself is measured in centimeters cubed per gram. Per second squared.
The first part is the inverse of the density. The second part, per second squared, tells us it is an acceleration.
The last couple years I have been intrigued by the idea that momentum itself is a stand alone fundamental physical measurable property. In other words, momentum can exist without there being any mass. Sounds goofy, I know, but there are some equations you can look at and the only way to make them consistent over all frames of reference is to have a stand-alone momentum quantity.
No problem. Just run it through a climate model. Then it’ll say whatever they want it to. :^P
"We are the change...uh, um...we have been waiting for."
Do you realize that this means -- Obama really is the Messiah! /Daily Kos>
The biggest problem if that happens is where do you get a spare?
Ummm. Duuude. That, like, changed, duuude.
Science has Determined that Nature’s Fundamental Laws May Not Be Constant, but there are two Absolutes in Darwininsm that never change. One being the God of Natural Selection by Random Mutation, and the other that apes dropped out of the trees and became Man (or man is just an advanced ape).
So much for “fine tuning.”
Now that is a really astonishing leap into absurdity! If the ‘constants’ are changing yet radioactive decay seems to be a consistent rate, don’t you see how that could actually be even more of ‘fine tuning’? Of course you can’t, you’re so nailed to your preconceived notions that there is no sliver of opening for anything different.
but this one is also very nice
Related to anthropic principle?
If physical constants change without ripping the universe apart, then fine tuning is bogus.
The fact that the changes are in the sixth decimal place indicates that radiometric dating is valid. The error bars in dating techniques are several percent, for any single sample.
I saw it on the dust jacket of the copy of Warped Passages which I got from the library.
Ah, you fallen for the deceit that the fine tuning happened only the once, at the start of it all.