Speed of Light, Density, Expansion of Universe
Name: Jerome G.
In General Relativity, Einstein cedes that the speed of light
is functionally related to mass density. Is it possible that as the
universe expands, the speed of light itself is "speeding up"; or,
conversely that in the past the speed of light was "slower" and thus the
galaxies that we observe today are much further away than we think they
are? And that the mathematical contradictions implicit in the "big bang"
may be resolvable?
There have been speculations about the constancy of the fundamental
constants, e.g. the speed of light. In fact, there is a book "Faster than
the Speed of Light" by Joao Magueijo (a mainstream theoretical physicist),
that specifically addresses the consequences of varying speed of light
and/or other "fundamental constants". The debate gets pretty heated, and
sometimes personal, but there is nothing scientifically wrong with asking
"what if" questions. Speculation is a valid part of the scientific
process. Many scientific theories begin as more speculation than ordered
logical mathematical constructions. In particular, quantum theory, and the
theory of relativity were both considered "speculation" be many
contemporary scientists in their early days. Having conceded that, the
weight of the scientific data supports the constancy of the fundamental
constants such as the speed of light, the fine structure constant, the
charge on the electron etc.
There are 5 "fundamental constants that are absolutely necessary: the
speed of light, the gravitational constant,
Planck's constant / 2pi, Coulomb force constant, and Boltzman's constant:
But lest you think that there is total agreement about what and how many
'fundamental' constants there are see:
or do a "Google" search on the term "minimal set fundamental constants",
and enjoy the discussions.
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Update: June 2012