New Physics? Fundamental Cosmic Constant Now Seems Shifty

A fundamental constant of the universe may not be so constant after all, according to a new study. Recent observations of distant galaxies suggest that the strength of the electromagnetic force – the so-called fine-structure constant – actually varies throughout the universe. In one direction, the constant seemed to grow larger the farther astronomers looked; in another direction the constant took on smaller values with greater distance. If confirmed, this revelation could reshape physicists' understanding of cosmology from the ground up. It may even help solve a major conundrum: Why are all the constants of nature perfectly tuned for life to exist?

2010-09-14

 physics constant astronomy cosmology life philosophy

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