Finestructure constant not constant?

  • Thread starter Bossieman
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  • #1
Finestructure constant not constant?!?

I was at a lecture in "Hot topics in Astrophysics" and it seems from the analyzis of the spectrum from quasars that the the finestructure constant is not constant. Thé results cant be explained by "errors in the measurements".
There is no clues yet about what constant/constants that are variating. So far the theoretical people thinks it is either c or e but not h that is variating. I will post a link to the source ASAP.
BTW: Finestructure constant=e^2/(hc)=1/137

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  • #2
This has always been

a "Hot Topic" for me. Like many others interested in the Scheme of Things I've spent quite a few hours of pocket calculator time and brainstorming trying to find a reason and value for α to no avail and finally decided it must be related to the logarithm of the age of the Universe expressed in Proton mass units.

And I've delved into the possibilities. Now neither h or h-bar can vary because h represents 2π radians of quantum mechanical phase and h-bar represents one radian of QM phase per radian of plane angle. So that leaves e^2 and c, so you can have fun cranking them into your measurement equations and find that all kinds of quantities change when you change them, like the size of the atoms your yardsticks are made of, the rates of various clocks, etc., and after you've sorted it out by comparing a number of measurements you may be able to find the guilty party.

Another problem is the mode of variation. I think most people will automatically suppose it will be continuous and infinitesimal, but in a Quantum Mechanical world I think not! First, every thing that changes does so through some kind of mechanism (the problem with most hoaky theories is that their authors have no sense of mechanism, especially the abstract kind that Nature displays) and we should look for that mechanism in Nature. I suspect the change will be episodic and dramatic, and there are many such events in Nature, such as those that occur in Solar Activity. Predicting and finding that mechanism might be an even better way of confirming the variation of α.
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  • #3
You might want to look in to the work of Joao Maguiejo (sp?), who did most work regarding this. Basically, he theorises a varying value of c in relation to the average photon energy of the universe, justified theoretically by DSR.
  • #4

Originally posted by Bossieman
Finestructure constant=e^2/(hc)=1/137
Write this down as e2=hc/137, or better as e=(hc)1/2/11.7

Now it is just one step to assumption that e is variable (because 11.7 is quite odd number). So, most likely actual value of e is (hc)1/2 or (hc)1/2/2 or so, but what we see as e at far distance (compared to size of charge) is aberration due to some physical effect (like vacuum polarization, etc).

So, most likely c and h are fundamental but e and fine structure constant (FSC) are derivatives of c and h.