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Study Suggests Laws of Physics vary in Universe
September 9, 2010
5:35 pm
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sandra
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Laws of Physics Vary Throughout the Universe, New Study Suggests
ScienceDaily (Sep. 9, 2010) — A team of astrophysicists based in Australia and England has uncovered evidence that the laws of physics are different in different parts of the universe.

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The team -- from the University of New South Wales, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Cambridge -- has submitted a report of the discovery for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters. A preliminary version of the paper is currently under peer review.

The report describes how one of the supposed fundamental constants of Nature appears not to be constant after all. Instead, this 'magic number' known as the fine-structure constant -- 'alpha' for short -- appears to vary throughout the universe.

"After measuring alpha in around 300 distant galaxies, a consistency emerged: this magic number, which tells us the strength of electromagnetism, is not the same everywhere as it is here on Earth, and seems to vary continuously along a preferred axis through the universe," Professor John Webb from the University of New South Wales said.

"The implications for our current understanding of science are profound. If the laws of physics turn out to be merely 'local by-laws', it might be that whilst our observable part of the universe favours the existence of life and human beings, other far more distant regions may exist where different laws preclude the formation of life, at least as we know it."

"If our results are correct, clearly we shall need new physical theories to satisfactorily describe them."

The researchers' conclusions are based on new measurements taken with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, along with their previous measurements from the world's largest optical telescopes at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

Mr Julian King from the University of New South Wales explained how, after combining the two sets of measurements, the new result 'struck' them. "The Keck telescopes and the VLT are in different hemispheres -- they look in different directions through the universe. Looking to the north with Keck we see, on average, a smaller alpha in distant galaxies, but when looking south with the VLT we see a larger alpha."

"It varies by only a tiny amount -- about one part in 100,000 -- over most of the observable universe, but it's possible that much larger variations could occur beyond our observable horizon," Mr King said.

The discovery will force scientists to rethink their understanding of Nature's laws. "The fine structure constant, and other fundamental constants, are absolutely central to our current theory of physics. If they really do vary, we'll need a better, deeper theory," Dr Michael Murphy from Swinburne University said.

"While a 'varying constant' would shake our understanding of the world around us extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. What we're finding is extraordinary, no doubt about that."

"It's one of the biggest questions of modern science -- are the laws of physics the same everywhere in the universe and throughout its entire history? We're determined to answer this burning question one way or the other."

Other researchers involved in the research are Professor Victor Flambaum and PhD student Matthew Bainbridge from the University of New South Wales, and Professor Bob Carswell at the University of Cambridge (UK).
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 004112.htm

“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
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September 13, 2010
12:29 am
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at1with0
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That's funny malai5 sent me this link ... good stuff. I have wondered why they think the laws of physics are the same everywhere in the entire multiverse just based on observations made from earth.

"it is easy to grow crazy"

September 15, 2010
7:01 pm
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sandra
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Well what I am guessing is that they will take much time to even consider the validity of the new research and throroughly examine all evidences considering the claims, and if proven solid they will move more towards this being a variation of another constant. However this really puts physics back into phase one, not surprised of this news after the new measurements of the proton. Physics is seeing alot of contradictions right now, and I only see that gaining momentum.
Some would say not more than what is ordinary for scientific research and I would disagree entirely.

“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

September 15, 2010
9:25 pm
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greeney2
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Seems like this would throw a monkey wrench into the Theories based on Science that God does not exists. If the Laws of Physics may change thoughout the Universe, a conclusion about God based on the Science we know on Earth, can not be a valid argument, if the Law of Physics could be variable, and not constant, it can not be used as a conclusive argument God does not exist becasue of earth experiments.

September 16, 2010
3:17 am
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sandra
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Yep thats an interesting point greeney, but thats the same reason why I'm thinking they will end up placing these measurements as a variation of another constant. Right now they see it as a variation, if they implement these numbers into theories they will just add it as another constant variation, they will fix the variations into applying to a set like a new law of physics. So it will no longer then be variations in the law of physics. Crooks. Although maybe they won't be able to!! You could be right, and maybe more variations will come from this study! 💡 But something soon enough will catch them by surprise that just will not fit anywhere, in any known theory, I'm waiting. Something that just totally annihilates the scientific method would be preferable all-together. Wouldn't ya say. 😕 :mrgreen:

“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

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