## Thursday, October 28, 2010

### Dawn of a New Physics?

While we are enjoying central Florida, the latest issue of New Scientist has on its cover "Dawn of a New Physics?" The article refers to the possibility of the Fine-Structure value changing. the fine-structure value $\alpha$ is important in atomic energy levels. It is composed of the electron charge e, the Planck value h, and the speed of light c. New Scientist describes the trials of Australia's John Webb, Michael Murphy, and Victor Flambaum, whom this blog has noted many times. Their work seems to indicate that $\alpha$ has varied over time. This is a big indicator that the speed of light itself has changed. Even if the variation in $\alpha$ proves to be an artifact, "changing constants" have become part of the vocabulary.

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