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No. 118: Jul-Aug 1998

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The Day The Laws Of Physics Changed

Well, maybe there weren't such things as "days" as we now know them back when the universe was very young. In fact, "time" then might have been different from "time" now. This sounds like so much physics-speak; but, seriously, during the birth pangs of the universe, there seems to have been what cosmologists call a "phase change," a mysterious moment when the laws of physics suddenly became more complex. You can reasonably ask: "How can supposedly immutable physical laws change?" The answer seems to be that anything can happen when something is being made from nothing!

This apparent plasticity in the laws governing the cosmos is suggested by observations of how galaxies in the early universe were distributed. The standard theory for the origin of the universe predicts that clumps of galaxies of all sizes were created early on. This is not what a survey by S. Sarkar et al, at the University of Oxford, found. A split second after the Big Bang, galaxies were organized in structures about 300-million light years across. The standard model of particle physics cannot account for this preferred size. The theorists' recourse is a phase change, a point in time when the warp and woof of the universe changed; that is, change the rules until they fit.

(Chown, Marcus; "In the Beginning," New Scientist, p.7, April 25, 1998.)

Comment. Hang onto your hats. If a phase change happened once, it can happen again. Things may fall up tomorrow. See SF#74 for item entitled: "Repent! The Phase Change is Coming."

From Science Frontiers #118, JUL-AUG 1998. 1998-2000 William R. Corliss