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Is it possible that nature laws constants changed over time

  1. May 19, 2013 #1
    I am wondering ? is it possible that the constants that govern the laws of physics was different during other periods of our universe history ?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2013 #2

    mathman

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    It is possible. So far all observations concerning this issue have indicated no change, but experimentalists keep looking.
     
  4. May 19, 2013 #3
    Thanks, but is it really possible to observe such thing ?
    for example if the light speed in the beginning of the universe was different, then suddenly the already existing photons and the newly produced photons acted based on a different speed. Is such thing observable ?
     
  5. May 19, 2013 #4
    I believe that there is an entire philosophy behind questions which start off with Is it possible... This philosophy is based on the principle that no observation is logically inconsistent. What does that mean in practice? It means that we can't merely say with absolute certainty that certain things are true or false because its conceivable that some day, in some way an observation could prove something to be true where it was postulated to be false in the past. For example: Suppose someone who lived in the days when it was accepted that the earth was flat. The hypothesis then was the earth was flat and if one asked "Is the earth flat?" the one the person who answered in the positive was doing so in agreement with the hypothesis of that day. Not let's consider the question "Is the earth a sphere" but asked today. The answer is "Yes." But how would one answer "Is it possible that the earth is flat?" if it was also asked today? I would say not. It's not possible.

    I'm forming this idea from an insight shared in the article Possibility of Faster-Than-Light Particles by G. Feinberg, Physical Review, July 25, 1967. The author writes
    The footnote reads I am in debt to Dr. M. Tausner for this remark.

    So let’s be clear that if we say that something is possible it does not mean that it's true or a fact. What we may agree is possible may in fact be wrong. Is it possible that the president had only eggs for breakfast? Yes. Is it possible that the president had only bacon for breakfast? Yes.

    But all in all we have to be concerned with where this really gets us to. I.e. if a researcher believes that he can create a free-energy machine and we agree that such a thing is possible (in the sense that it's possible for a law of thermodynamics to be wrong) it doesn't mean we should believe it.

    There is a fruitcake on one of those “ancient aliens” programs that comes on TV every now and then. Erik Van Daniken is one of them. He starts posing questions “Is it possible that aliens visited our ancestors and built runways in the mountains and that’s where those straight lines we see there come from?” or “Is it possible that all those artworks that are only visible to beings in the air were drawn for ancient aliens? After all they can only be seen from high up in the air!”

    What Van Daniken neglects to say is that ancient people had gods which they worshipped and they believed that those gods resided in the “heavens.”
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  6. May 19, 2013 #5
    It is definitely possible. In the case of the vacuum energy of space, we are pretty sure it is a non-constant constant. I am not sure if this could be observed directly, but I imagine there would be clever indirect ways we might deduce such a thing, at least for some variables.

    The idea that constants change over space and time is in fact advocated by several prominent theorist including Leonard Susskind, Victor Stenger, and others. In these cases, the "universe" means the string-theory multiverse, and across this universe the constants of nature take on different values in different places in space, and can change over time.

    Susskind has a great book on this called "the Cosmic Landscape".
     
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