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Christian95's avatar

What do you think about Joao Magueijo's variate speed of light concept?

Asked by Christian95 (3260points) October 23rd, 2009

this is a very interesting theory which came as the answer at horizon problem( It assumes that the speed of light isn’t constant. This implies rethinking today’s astrophysics(even E=mc2 should be rethink)

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10 Answers

aphilotus's avatar

Higher-end-physics is a couple different kinds of broken, but still totally fascinating.

I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next decade we have a couple of retreads back and forth across the ideas of non-locality, uncertainty, transfer-of-information-at-faster-than-light, etc.

I think the biggest thing that science assumes (that might be wrong) is reproducibility- that basic variables like the speed of light or the relative gravity an atom creates are constant over time.

Perhaps as time passes certain experiments have affected outcomes simply because they happened at different times in the universe’s life.

BhacSsylan's avatar

It is an interesting theory, but it seems that it’s making an odd jump, that light for some reason moved much faster at the beginning of time then now. I much prefer Jean-Pierre Petit’s model, which involves co-variance of all the physical constants. I believe it’s even been proved that at least one physical ‘constant’ has shifted over time. I think it was something denoted as ‘alpha’, but I don’t have the source. Anyone hear about this?

Anyway, It just seems to me unintuitive. Why would there be such a strange and uneven change in a constant like that? A gradual shifting would make sense, or a rapid shifting linked to a certain cause, but from the source I used, Magueijo’s theory doesn’t seem to contain these.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Also, @aphilotus, we have been testing physical constants for the last few years, and I think it was a major breakthrough that the ‘alpha’, whatever it was, was found to shift by a tiny degree. Any change in physical constants enough to actually change our observations of experiments have probably not occurred on on a timescale that would allow human’s to realize the difference. We’ve only been around a few thousand years. These things probably change over billions.

aphilotus's avatar

@BhacSsylan I’m specifically thinking of certain claims about psychic phenomena- divination, remote viewing, etc.

Many use “oh, well, it’s time-sensative and non-reproduceable” as an excuse as to why pseudo-science only “works” once.

But some of the issues those people bring up are, indeed, pressing and strange and affect things, like the alpha constant. So I guess there is a use for the new-agers after all.

jackm's avatar

What is cool is that if the speed of light has changed, humankind will figure out how to manipulate that fact and change it themselves.

Then there will be no limit to how far we could see or go.

Ria777's avatar

@jackm: if the speed of light has changed, that doesn’t automatically translate to humans knowing how to do it. we know about continental drift. that doesn’t mean we could do it.

though to a limited extent, scientists can already do it.

Ria777's avatar

by the way, I pointed out the variable speed of light theory as an example of how your worldview censors what you do or don’t notice or accept as real. once I went to a lecture by a creationist. I criticized young Earth creationism on the basis that it would contradict known astrophysics. the lecturer responded by explaining that the speed of light seemed to have slowed. so they came across an (if true) revolutionary idea simply because they felt open to discovering it.

(I don’t believe in creationism, by the way.)

jackm's avatar

Just because we can’t do it now, doesn’t mean we wont be able to.

Eventually we could come up with machines that can cause continental drift. To be honest, if causing our own drift would be very beneficial, we probably would have done it by now.

Ria777's avatar

@jackman: Just because we can’t do it now, doesn’t mean we wont be able to.


SmartAZ's avatar

Two conductors separated by an insulator form a capacitor and it will store an electric charge. Various experiments indicate that the charge is actually stored in the insulator. One is that the amount of charge stored depends on what the insulator is. The value of each material is called (Greek letter) eta. If the insulator is a vacuum the charge does not go to zero, so vacuum will store an electric charge. The value for a vacuum is called eta sub zero.

A moving electric charge produces a magnetic field. The value of the field depends on the material, called core, surrounding the path. The value of each material is called (Greek letter) mu. If the core is a vacuum, the field does not go to zero, so a vacuum will store a magnetic field. The value for a vacuum is eta sub zero.

Engineers use a simple formula to calculate the speed of a signal through a transmission line using the measured mu and eta for the line. If you plug mu sub zero and eta sub zero into that formula you get the speed of light, exactly.

So anyone who suggests that the speed of light varies must deal with variations in mu sub zero and eta sub zero, because the speed of light appears to be a basic property of the vacuum. I guess it’s possible, but nobody has addressed the problem yet.

SOURCE in two parts

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