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Scientists: Nature's Fundamental Laws May Be Changing
ScienceLive via Fox News ^ | July 13, 2006 | Michael Schirber

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 ...


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Reference; Science
KEYWORDS: crevo; lawsofnature; physics; science; stringtheory
I tried to see if this had been posted earlier, but didn't find it.

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?

Cheers!

1 posted on 08/12/2008 8:56:29 PM PDT by grey_whiskers
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To: Soliton; lepton; Robert A. Cook, PE; snarks_when_bored
"Way above my pay grade" *PING*.
2 posted on 08/12/2008 8:57:17 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

bttt


3 posted on 08/12/2008 8:57:55 PM PDT by ConservativeMan55 (Obama is the Democrats guy. They bought the ticket, now they must take the ride.)
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To: grey_whiskers
If it is inflation, this may be the universe's only hope.

Photobucket

4 posted on 08/12/2008 9:00:26 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer ("I'm trying to save the planet!" - Nancy Pelosi ..........ROTFLMAO! What a dumbass!)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

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.


5 posted on 08/12/2008 9:03:10 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: grey_whiskers
bttt
for later reading
6 posted on 08/12/2008 9:04:20 PM PDT by 50cal Smokepole (John Gard for Congress; WI 8th CD)
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To: grey_whiskers

I have hard enough time understanding this dimension.


7 posted on 08/12/2008 9:04:45 PM PDT by Dallas59 (Banned Once for Trolling After 5 Years...Go for Twice?)
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To: grey_whiskers

Are you hijacking your own thread?


8 posted on 08/12/2008 9:08:38 PM PDT by eyedigress
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To: Dallas59

> 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.

Highly recommended!


9 posted on 08/12/2008 9:08:39 PM PDT by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: grey_whiskers

inconsistant constants are fun


10 posted on 08/12/2008 9:10:22 PM PDT by woofie
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To: grey_whiskers
This section of the article might help:

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!

11 posted on 08/12/2008 9:10:33 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: eyedigress
No, that'd be like this:

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?

12 posted on 08/12/2008 9:11:45 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

Ping to read later


13 posted on 08/12/2008 9:13:42 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Coyoteman
Sorry, last post for the night-- it's after 11 and I have to get up at 4:00 to take my son to go to Boy Scout Camp in Florida.

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)?

Cheers!

14 posted on 08/12/2008 9:14:34 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

Jerry Rivers is all I can guess. Good Cover. :^)


15 posted on 08/12/2008 9:15:29 PM PDT by eyedigress
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To: grey_whiskers

bfl


16 posted on 08/12/2008 9:18:08 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: grey_whiskers
Are the changes in the constants related to inflation? If so, did the how did the changes in the constants affect the inflation?

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:
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/cosmo.html#c5

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 principles—or 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-tuned—like 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." "
http://www.symmetrymag.org/cms/?pid=1000045

17 posted on 08/12/2008 9:30:01 PM PDT by ETL (Lots of REAL smoking-gun evidence on the ObamaRats at my Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl)
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To: Secret Agent Man

That may have been the cause of the original “Big Bang.”


18 posted on 08/12/2008 9:34:16 PM PDT by PLMerite ("Unarmed, one can only flee from Evil. But Evil isn't overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper)
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To: grey_whiskers

Luboš Motl


19 posted on 08/12/2008 9:36:08 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture™)
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To: grey_whiskers
I think the reverse could just as likely be true - that the inflation we perceive may not be what we think it is, if 'constants' have actually been changing.

Most of our theories of the size of the universe, rate of expansion, age, estimated distances of stars - in essence, all of cosmology - are based largely on the assumptions that these fundamental constants don't change. If they actually DO change, then the universe could be much older or much younger than we think, much larger or much smaller than we think, etc., depending on how these constants might have changed. Things really could get quite messy.
20 posted on 08/12/2008 10:06:42 PM PDT by beezdotcom
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To: ETL

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...


21 posted on 08/12/2008 10:15:37 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (God exists. What impact does that fact have on your plans?)
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To: grey_whiskers
The universe was much simpler back when Pi was only 3.13.

-PJ

22 posted on 08/12/2008 10:19:05 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (Obama's "citizen of the world" is the 2008 version of Kerry's "global test.")
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To: DieHard the Hunter
... it gets no better than Edwin Abbott Abbott’s “Flatland”.

I beg to differ! Cf. AK Dewdney's THE PLANIVERSE, which is "along the same lines". This affected my mind.

23 posted on 08/12/2008 10:23:38 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: woofie
First Three Laws of Computing:

1. Constants aren't.
2. Help doesn't.
3. Variables don't, or at least not in the way you want them to.

24 posted on 08/12/2008 10:52:40 PM PDT by SAJ
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: grey_whiskers
But the only constant is change.
26 posted on 08/12/2008 11:08:09 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: grey_whiskers

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.


27 posted on 08/12/2008 11:17:04 PM PDT by djf (Get ready! Buy Cheez Wiz! It goes with anything!)
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To: EternalVigilance

No problem. Just run it through a climate model. Then it’ll say whatever they want it to. :^P


28 posted on 08/12/2008 11:23:59 PM PDT by uglybiker (I do not suffer from mental illness. I quite enjoy it, actually.)
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To: grey_whiskers; AdmSmith; bvw; callisto; ckilmer; dandelion; ganeshpuri89; gobucks; KevinDavis; ...
Nice! Thanks for posting that and adding the keyword.

29 posted on 08/13/2008 12:07:35 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_______Profile hasn't been updated since Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: steve86; grey_whiskers
Thanks for the correction. I should really be getting ready to leave now. (< 5 hrs sleep!)

Cheers!

30 posted on 08/13/2008 2:11:45 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Smokin' Joe
But the only constant is change.

"We are the change...uh, um...we have been waiting for."

Do you realize that this means -- Obama really is the Messiah! /Daily Kos>

Cheers!

31 posted on 08/13/2008 2:13:40 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

The biggest problem if that happens is where do you get a spare?


32 posted on 08/13/2008 3:49:16 AM PDT by sig226 (Real power is not the ability to destroy an enemy. It is the willingness to do it.)
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To: grey_whiskers
Do you realize that this means -- Obama really is the Messiah! /Daily Kos>

Ummm. Duuude. That, like, changed, duuude.

/burnout

33 posted on 08/13/2008 4:52:00 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: Coyoteman; grey_whiskers

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).

Regards,


34 posted on 08/13/2008 5:57:41 AM PDT by valkyry1
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To: grey_whiskers
Will this one do?


35 posted on 08/13/2008 10:33:33 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: grey_whiskers

So much for “fine tuning.”


36 posted on 08/13/2008 10:37:20 AM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138

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.


37 posted on 08/13/2008 10:58:59 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: grey_whiskers
I personally like this one better

but this one is also very nice

38 posted on 08/13/2008 11:03:20 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: js1138
So much for “fine tuning.” ???

Related to anthropic principle?

39 posted on 08/13/2008 4:20:46 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: MHGinTN

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.


40 posted on 08/13/2008 4:36:03 PM PDT by js1138
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To: MHGinTN; js1138; Coyoteman
I posted the thread more with

in mind.

I saw it on the dust jacket of the copy of Warped Passages which I got from the library.

Cheers!

41 posted on 08/13/2008 4:51:03 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers
I had to buy a copy because when I read a non-fiction book I mark it up ... I know, it's a sacrilege to mark up a book, but it allows me to dive in while maintaining a place beside the pool.
42 posted on 08/13/2008 5:35:18 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: js1138

Ah, you fallen for the deceit that the fine tuning happened only the once, at the start of it all.


43 posted on 08/13/2008 5:37:04 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: grey_whiskers

44 posted on 08/13/2008 8:41:37 PM PDT by csense
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