Friday, May 4, 2007

Changing fundamental constants? (Repost from AMNAP 1.0)

It looks like the eternal, unchanging universal fundamental constants of physics may not be quite so unchanging after all. Wim Ubachs and Elmar Reinhold have collected evidence that suggests that mu, a constant determining the scale of the strong nuclear force, has varied over cosmic history:

Measured today, the ratio indicates that a proton weighs (just roughly speaking here) 1836.15267261 times more than an electron.

The study team compared the value of mu measured today to the value measured in the light from a pair of quasars, thought to be super-massive black holes sucking in huge amounts of gas and star dust. The quasars' light was measured by study team members at a European Southern Observatory telescope in Chile. Since the quasars are about 12 billion light years away, it has taken 12 billion years for their light to reach Earth, making them indicators of conditions when the universe was only about 1.7 billion years old.

By combining today's mu measurement with the mu measurement from the chemical spectrum of light from the quasars, the European team suggests that mu has dropped by 0.002% over the last 12 billion years.

Rupert Sheldrake's theory of formative causation through morphic resonance suggests that "natural laws" evolve over time, and Dr. Sheldrake has predicted that the so-called universal constants are probably variable, in contrast with most scientific models which have postulated eternal, unchanging natural laws.

1 comment:

rboerner3 said...

While this research certainly casts doubt on the allegedly rock-solid foundations of physics (again), it doesn't actually do it in the way Ubachs and Reinhold think it does.

Astronomer Halton Arp has been pointing out for decades that high-redshift quasar are physically connected to low-redshift "foreground" galaxies, falsifying the redshift-distance relationship and therefore making big bang cosmology collapse at its foundation.


What this means is that those quasars are not 12 billion light years away, and the measurements made on them do not represent the state of our universe 12 billion years ago. If Harp's ideas about redshift are correct, then these objects are relatively close (in cosmological terms) and consist of newly created matter that operates according to a set of of different physical constants (as this very research indeed shows), which over time are going to evolve into their familar values.

So yes, modern physics is wrong. But just how wrong is beyond the wildest imagination of the physicists who made these measurements.