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  • The Speed of Light May Be Less Constant Than We Thought

    Motherboard -- There are probably only a few things about physics non-scientists know, but that the speed of light is constant is one hopefully of them. Itís what we all--again, hopefully--learned in grade school and high school textbooks. But new research is saying that that might not be the case. Some scientists are exploring the possibility that the speed of light actually changes due to the nature of the vacuum of space. It might go against what we think we know about the Universe, but thatís just what two papers published in the European Physical Journal D are arguing.

    The speed of light, which beams along at about 670,616,629 miles per hour, is the backbone of many cosmological and astronomical theories. Itís the number astronomers use when measuring the size and age of the Universe, the distance between objects, and the qualities of the stuff that makes up everything around us. If the speed of light turns out not to be constant, it could mean that some pretty massive things, like the estimated size of the Universe, are different from what weíve long thought.

    Using different means, the two papers try to derive a the speed of light from the quantum properties of space itself. The key in both papers is that the scientists treat space not as a vacuum, but full of particles.

    One paper, led by Marcel Urban from the Universitť du Paris-Sud, focuses on the cosmic vacuum. According to laws of quantum physics, the science that governs all the tiny things in the Universe, space is full of particles that pop into existence, collide with their counterparts, and promptly pop out of existence. Itís what happens when matter and anti-matter particles collide: they annihilate each other.

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    Comments 6 Comments
    1. mkirkpatrick's Avatar
      mkirkpatrick -
      Many thanks Robert for this most interesting link, it could well lead to a fundamental change in the way we measure space and distance.

      regards michael.
    1. b_ron007's Avatar
      b_ron007 -
      Would also make sense of how lenz law would apply to heavenly bodies, would hopefully make people consider some "Electric Universe" mixed into a lot of thinking.

      Things flying through magnetic fields at high rates of speed produce their own magnetic fields. All kinds of electric fields here in space from the macro to the micro. I think Tesla was taping into this energy.

      the work of Christian Birkland demonstrates the aroura borealis, Tesla thought the earth to be nothing more than a metal ball with a current running through it.... :::what!!!::: if so that would explain the source of the magnetic field and the flow would come dc style from the sun.then like electric motors we have the left hand rule......that could make everything go around the earth as it appears....so then some how the moon is locked in the field and kept moving but can't touch earth because of lenz's law....can we say lev train?
      So then maybe the sun gets all super heated through Eddy currents? Wow.....i just wowed my self....all kinds of electric fields will be out there....and actually there are......and i think that maybe exactly how things are.......the freaken earth dont move

      I can almost imagine as they their orbits reach their most northern and southern latitudes, magnetic poles causing the sun and moon to orbit the way they do.

      Maybe the stars are causing a drag effect keeping the sun and moon in motion...relative motion maybe.....frame drag? Then the drag from the sun and moon are causing the tides...
      Can we throw away gravity....i dunno...but soo that's why they can say the earth is oblong...lol. That's were the tides happen.....duh :::slap:::
    1. b_ron007's Avatar
      b_ron007 -
      Bending of light from the heat of the planets vs the coldness of space? Magnetic fields play a role too....from the micro to the macro. The frame drag really just the string theory?

      Electrfied bodies zooming through space.....comets? Discharges that caused the double bullseye craters on the moon? We see lighting striking the same place more then once here on earth.

      How did this information get by, this causes havoc to their own belief system,.
    1. LibertyKrueger's Avatar
      LibertyKrueger -
      I've come to the same conclusion based on a completely different method. By comparing the historical measurements of the speed of light and the various methods to the modern method of time keeping, the atomic clock, I came to a startling conclusion. All of the previous measurements weren't actually measuring the speed of light. They were measuring the speed at which matter changes it's state. It's based on the published work of several different groups. The first is M. E. J. Gheurhty de Bray's 75 years of measurements that he made using the same equipment and always reported a slight decrease with each set of measurements. This gradual slowing trend is consistent with more than 160 other published measurements of the speed of light prior to the 1960s. In 1967 one second was redefined from 1/31,556,925.9747th of the average time that it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun, to 9,192,631,770 oscillations of the cesium-133 atom. Because all of the measurements of the speed of light using atomic clocks have so far shown no decreases at all, there are only two possible explanations for what is happening. Either the speed of light is truely constant and the gravitational constant is changing or gravity is the true constant and the value of 'C' is changing. Because the speed of light measurements stopped decreasing when they started using atomic clocks, the value of 'C' is either tied to the vibrational frequencies of matter by some unknown process or is itself just a measurement of those frequencies. To determine which of these possibilities is true, we can examine published works on the gravitational constant and the properties of the atom. T. C. Van Flandern's work on the gravitational constant among others show no change, while Alan Montgomery & Lambert Dolphin's statistical studies of the properties of the atom clearly show that at least four of the five properties are changing and in the right direction to indicate that the vibrational speeds of matter are changing at the exact same rate that the earlier measurements of the decreasing speed of light measurements indicated. This is convincing evidence that the speed of light isn't the constant that we have assumed it to be and that orbital clocks may be more accurate than the extremely precise atomic clocks in use today.
    1. dr9090's Avatar
      dr9090 -
      Gee.. who'd a thunk that when whoever defined the maximum velocity of photon (aka fastest known mass/energy phenomenon) as the speed of light in a vacuum that the "in a vacuum" part actually meant something???? I.E., that photons moving in a non-"TRUE" vacuum (e.g. a quantum vacuum exhibiting some form of mass/energy aka a vacuum carrying a field of some sort) would be moving mearsurably slower.

      The only novel cool thing here is that vis a vis some fields, the difference is measureable in hundreths of a femtometer.. which unfortunately (relative to quantum plank length) isn't really all that "accurate" and therefore not all that premise-quaking to any theories supposedly based entirely on observables.

      On the other hand, I think that Krueger's suggesting that observable SOL is generally not what it used to be, aka theoretically should be, is very interesting.. even if the change is only .00005 femtometers per year.

      donnie
    1. dr9090's Avatar
      dr9090 -
      Quote Originally Posted by LibertyKrueger View Post
      I've come to the same conclusion based on a completely different method. By comparing the historical measurements of the speed of light and the various methods to the modern method of time keeping, the atomic clock, I came to a startling conclusion. All of the previous measurements weren't actually measuring the speed of light. They were measuring the speed at which matter changes it's state. It's based on the published work of several different groups. The first is M. E. J. Gheurhty de Bray's 75 years of measurements that he made using the same equipment and always reported a slight decrease with each set of measurements. This gradual slowing trend is consistent with more than 160 other published measurements of the speed of light prior to the 1960s. In 1967 one second was redefined from 1/31,556,925.9747th of the average time that it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun, to 9,192,631,770 oscillations of the cesium-133 atom. Because all of the measurements of the speed of light using atomic clocks have so far shown no decreases at all, there are only two possible explanations for what is happening. Either the speed of light is truely constant and the gravitational constant is changing or gravity is the true constant and the value of 'C' is changing. Because the speed of light measurements stopped decreasing when they started using atomic clocks, the value of 'C' is either tied to the vibrational frequencies of matter by some unknown process or is itself just a measurement of those frequencies. To determine which of these possibilities is true, we can examine published works on the gravitational constant and the properties of the atom. T. C. Van Flandern's work on the gravitational constant among others show no change, while Alan Montgomery & Lambert Dolphin's statistical studies of the properties of the atom clearly show that at least four of the five properties are changing and in the right direction to indicate that the vibrational speeds of matter are changing at the exact same rate that the earlier measurements of the decreasing speed of light measurements indicated. This is convincing evidence that the speed of light isn't the constant that we have assumed it to be and that orbital clocks may be more accurate than the extremely precise atomic clocks in use today.
      I would argue against needing to consider either G or C as "true" constants (vs. some statistical average of a very large number of very similar processes). But in a theory where EM is emergent from G, then causally one expects that whatever floats or sinks G's boat necessary floats and sinks's EM's. And where the reaction rates may be mere handfuls of Planck secs.. variance betweeen G and C is NOT going to be a common or an easily achieved observable.

      Its too bad we can't go to another planet or another galaxy and do the types of experiments you've referenced under entirely and significantly different (non-Earth/Solar system) physical frames of reference. Then compare, e.g., fine structure constants down to somewhere above or very much above 'femtometer' accuracy.

      donnie
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