Sep 11 2010Laws Of Physics Not So Law-Like After All?


Some crackpot scientists (it's a bad day for scientists) are claiming the laws of physics might not be as constant as once thought (which was VERY constant FYI), and may vary from location to location within the universe. Personally, I don't believe it and think somebody forgot to carry a 1 or something during a calculation.

The report describes how one of the supposed fundamental constants of Nature appears not to be constant after all. Instead, this 'magic number' known as the fine-structure constant -- 'alpha' for short -- appears to vary throughout the universe.

"After measuring alpha in around 300 distant galaxies, a consistency emerged: this magic number, which tells us the strength of electromagnetism, is not the same everywhere as it is here on Earth, and seems to vary continuously along a preferred axis through the universe," Professor John Webb from the University of New South Wales said.

"The implications for our current understanding of science are profound. If the laws of physics turn out to be merely 'local by-laws', it might be that whilst our observable part of the universe favours the existence of life and human beings, other far more distant regions may exist where different laws preclude the formation of life, at least as we know it."

Still not buying it. For one thing: aliens. If the laws of physics are so different in other galaxies how did they evolve to look so similar to humans? "Because you built a rocketship-timemachine and went back and had sex with a whole bunch of them?" Haha, I did do that, didn't I? Yeah it was pretty cool.

Laws of Physics Vary Throughout the Universe, New Study Suggests [sciencedaily]

Thanks to nathan and Ford, who only abide by one law: their own. Well damn, cowboys!

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Reader Comments

double rainbow!!!


What a bunch of BS. Bacon can exist wherever it wants.

colorful sperm swimming towards little planet earth with robot arms, if that's not conception I don't know what is

Because electricity doesnt actually exist -.- It's all magentic current flow.

I read about this in a briefer history of time. Seems feasible? trippy to think about anyway.

Someone divided by 0!!! WHY?!?!!? Now our physics are all variable-like and our robots are becoming decepticons :O

It's also true that zero and one are irrational in other parts of the multiverse. And that pi is about 37.

I read that in "A Brief History of Thyme" by Herb J. Hawking. Spicy. I'm an expert at Fizzicks.

omfg magnets! what are they? How do they work? majiks! miricals!

the "laws of physics" aren't getting thrown out with this observation, This only challenges the ASSUMPTION that alpha is constant. Basically if we can figure out why alpha is changing, we would just be adding another layer of complexity to an already complex understanding of the universe. In other words wrapping our concept of reality in another layer of abstraction in order to generalize about the universe as a whole.

bahahahahahaha you don't say?! You mean the rest of the universe doesn't work just like Earth, and adhere to the bizarre numbers we MAKE UP for everything? BLOW MY MIND

Check out the string theory. Even though most of it has been disproved on expanded on it's still food for thought


So that means less pump action in jerking off... outside the milky way.
Although I'm still kinda wondering what it's like in uranus belt. Uranus belt... or just uranus. Either way, I'm still curious.

aww crap who put the portable hole in the bag of holding?

What, has this guy never heard of the Doppler Effect and red/blue phase shifting? Maybe that applies to magnetic waves too.

Besides, we scientists get off on having holes torn in our theories. It's how we find out things like the Earth is round and revolves around the sun.

well D'UH!!!

@14 ha ha tearing holes

I'm going with the GW on this one, I think someone fucked up.

that's because, when you study physics, you learn that there are no "laws." it's just someone opbserving, "HEY! IT HAPPENED AGAIN!" this is why all science is a farce: we don't know anything. not one damn thing. once we, "KNOW," something, it turns out to be wrong. why? BECAUSE THIS IS A DREAM AND YOU'RE ALL WALKING AND POKING AROUND IN AN ILLUSION. the projector is the sun. watch the sun's activity. when it, "freaks out," all "hell" breaks loose, but there is no hell, save for this running trillion year illusion. there's a lot more, but it'd probably take your head clean off. bottom line: the more you search for "truths" in the illusion, the more you find that most "truths" aren't even close. oh, hell, buy this book and shut up:

and no, it's not my book. just trying to help.


Seems like sound logic to me.

listen to comment 18... nigga's spot on


lol, sounds like you came up with a lot of that yourself

the concept is right though. science must be falsifiable; if you cant disprove it, it isnt science. when GW describes the laws in terms of how constant they are, he is right. the laws that you can remember or think of may be referred to as the laws of nature, but they only relate to nature, they are our laws that we use to predict the future. the laws try to explain how nature operates, but the methods of nature cant be explained directly in terms that we can understand, so you will never know a set of 'laws' that match nature precisely.

laws of physics not so constant afterall? just discovered? hope someones told the Large Hardon collider this, because they're predicting the machine to be safe, based on these not-so-constant laws

This is not a new idea. Just that we're seeing more and more evidence in support of it.

@ 18: Actually 1 = 1, you can never change that no matter what you do. So we do know something, only in the grand scheme of all things, our knowledge is negligible.

0K... u cannot calculate the area of a sphere nor the hypotenuse of an equilateral side size 1 and yet they believe the laws of electrofumagnetism r 4evermore. It's all about "time" my friends... should finally break into that...

@18 you again? get the fuck outta here!

holy shit, wat an arrogant asshole!

based on an unexplained observation, he's gonna conclude that his research will change all the laws of physics?

@14: doppler shifts would make all the lines go to the right/left side of the spectrum equally. these shifts are "blown apart", so it can't be doppler.

I still don't believe it (yet) though.

lets just send a monkey to another galaxy if it changes because the laws of physics are different there then we know. if the monkey is ok where fine but if the monkey explodes then were stuck in the milky way.

Maybe if you'd have watched more Trek and less Wars, you'd already know this.

@18: Ironic that you type out "science is a farce" on the internet, a method of communication that would not be possible without a sufficient understanding of science.

Science is a means to predict and control the world around us, it is entirely irrelevant (at least in terms of scientific investigation) if we live in a "dream" or not (however you're defining that).

It doesn't matter if the physical models we come up with actually match any real physical mechanism present in the universe, science is "true" in the sense that it can predict and control phenomena. Science is not a farce: it is useful.
Although, sadly, useful is all it can ever fully be.

That being said, science is the only means we have to get close to "knowing" the structure and mechanism of the universe, and such should be respected.

You're being silly.

@31 Science isn't merely pragmatic. It's also descriptive. Consider, for example, paleontology. It makes claims about what kinds of organisms existed in the past. The truth of these claims isn't reducible to some sort of technological ability to control the environment.
Or consider the difference between special relativity and Lorentz-Fitzgerald theory. They are exactly the same for prediction and control, but they're very different theories. One leads to the relativity of simultaneity and one doesn't. One revolutionizes our understanding of the connection between space and time and the other doesn't.
To be sure, I completely agree that prediction and control are important elements of science. But there's are additional important elements.

@9 That's exactly what I was thinking. It doesn't (necessarily) mean that the laws of physics vary. It just means that you need a more general law which describes how they vary. (Except, what if it doesn't vary in a systematic way? If it's random variation, then would it still make sense to say that it's described by a law?)

@5 Almost right. Magnetism doesn't exist. There's just electric current (and relativity). That is, it's always possible to find a frame of reference in which the magnetic field is zero (locally) and forces are entirely due to the electric field.

And the axis magically passes through earth!!! Or there's something wrong their measurements.

@18 You're crazy.
@23 What is a 1?

Good point!! I wish I had thought of that.

Gordie la-forge is please to know 'seeing', not that necessary outside the Milky Way

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Numbers are the Supreme Court of science. However Godel proved that we may not prove everything. There are Physics Foibles!!

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