Re: Cosmic Laws Like Speed of Light Might Be Changing, a Study Finds

Date: Fri Aug 17 2001 - 00:32:39 EDT

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    From Moorad Alexandrian's post:

    > The magnitude of the change apparently observed by the group is minute,
    > amounting to just 1 part in 100,000 in a number called the fine structure
    > constant over 12 billion years. That constant, also referred to as alpha,
    > is
    > defined in terms of more familiar quantities like the speed of light and
    > the
    > strength of electronic attractions within atoms.
    > But even that small change would rock physics and cosmology, said Dr.
    > Sheldon
    > Glashow of Boston University, who received a Nobel Prize in physics in
    > 1979.
    > The importance of such a discovery, Dr. Glashow said, would rank "10 on a
    > scale of 1 to 10."

    As I recall, the experimental precision is on the order
    of 12 decimal places (two photon absorption measurements),
    most of the proposed change is thought to be early in the
    history of the universe, c is thought to be decreasing, and
    c has changed little over the last 12 billion years.

    Nevertheless, depending on the rate of slowing down,
    it might be possible to check if over the course of
    say 10 years, the fine structure constant is changing
    (particularly if this direction of change can be assumed).

    by Grace we do proceed,

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