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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

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987