“Multiverse” subscribers believe there are other crazier universes beyond ours that could potentially boast their own unique physics. That’s one theory. Another floated this week is that the laws of physics in this universe aren’t so constant either.
Using a colourful graphic and Greek letters, like alpha, professor John Webb from the University of New South Wales proceeded to blow minds with talk that out in the ether our unbreakable laws are bending (note: alpha as it appears here is the “fine-structure constant” that binds all physical laws):
“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,” Webb 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.”
The apparent fluctuation from galaxy to galaxy is minuscule – about one part in 100,000 – but apparently that’s enough. Webb theorises that if his theory is correct we will need entirely new physical theories to replace the current ones. Theoretically. [Science Daily via Geekologie]