Laws of physics may just be 'local by-laws'

In summary, a recent finding has shown that the fine-structure constant alpha varies by a small amount (1 part in 100,000) across the universe. This contradicts the commonly accepted notion that physical laws and fundamental constants are consistent throughout the universe. However, further investigation is needed to determine if this variation is a result of experimental error or a true phenomenon. Regardless, this finding highlights the importance of falsifiability in scientific claims.
  • #1
ikos9lives
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Although it is commonly accepted that physical laws and values of fundamental constants are the same throughout our universe, a recent finding, in which the fine-structure constant alpha has been found to vary by a small amount (1 part in 100,000) going from one end of the universe to another, i.e. surprisingly the variation seems to be unidirectional. Here's the web link to the news article on this:

http://www.gizmag.com/laws-of-physics-may-vary-throughout-the-universe/16329/".

Comments? (I'd wonder myself about some sort of systematic experimental error, but the article doesn't give details about the experiment.)
 
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  • #2
Someone once said, "Every new astronomy headline contradicts the last". That's a bit of an exaggeration, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
 
  • #3
So what if it is true?

The point of generalizations made in physics is that they should be falsifiable.

This means that such generalizations, if they are to be worth anything, necessarily must be shaped in such a way that they assert how something-not-already-checked is going to behave.

In this case, a vague idea about variability of a "constant" is a worthless scientific claim, even if it is "truer" than a claim saying it IS constant, or a claim that it varies in some highly precise manner.
 
  • #4
I wonder if the 2 telescopes have something to do with this observation. Maybe consistent errors based on the equipment or a different methodology.
 
  • #5
wuliheron said:
Someone once said, "Every new astronomy headline contradicts the last". That's a bit of an exaggeration, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
True.
But its amazing that we have been able to understand so much as it is. Our brains were not designed (and I just mean that as a manner of speaking, I am not an ID proponent!) to understand the universal constants or the theories of relativity.
 

Related to Laws of physics may just be 'local by-laws'

1. What does it mean for the laws of physics to be 'local by-laws'?

When we say that the laws of physics may just be 'local by-laws', we are suggesting that these laws may only apply within a certain region or context. This idea challenges the traditional belief that the laws of physics are universal and apply everywhere in the universe.

2. How does this concept differ from the traditional view of laws of physics?

The traditional view of laws of physics is that they are fundamental and apply universally, regardless of the context or location. However, the idea of 'local by-laws' suggests that these laws may only be applicable within a specific region or set of conditions.

3. What evidence supports the idea of 'local by-laws'?

There is ongoing research and debate about the concept of 'local by-laws' in the scientific community. Some evidence that has been proposed includes anomalies in the behavior of particles at extremely high energies or in extreme environments, which may suggest that the laws of physics are not as universal as previously thought.

4. How would this idea impact our understanding of the universe?

If the laws of physics are indeed 'local by-laws', it would challenge our current understanding of the universe and how it operates. It would require us to reconsider the fundamental principles that govern the behavior of matter and energy, and could potentially lead to new discoveries and theories.

5. Are there any potential implications of this concept for practical applications?

While it is still a highly debated and speculative idea, the concept of 'local by-laws' could have significant implications for practical applications in areas such as space travel and particle physics. It could also lead to new technologies and advancements as we continue to explore and understand the laws of physics in different contexts.

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