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Scientists soon to test Albert Einstein's speed of light theory

Under a constant speed of light every hypothesis and theory Einstein made were proven correct. Image Credit Youtube Under a constant speed of light every hypothesis and theory Einstein made were proven correct. Image Credit Youtube
Carmela Zoppi | 27 Novembre, 2016, 18:23

For a long time, Einstein's theory about the light traveling at a constant speed has been part of astronomy. The constancy of the speed of light is a powerful assumption in many fundamental areas of physics, including cosmology, quantum mechanics, and electromagnetism. Einstein's theory could be challenged by a new theory if it's proved true. The speed of light would have then dropped in a predictable way as the density of the universe changed.

Einstein observed that the speed of light remains the same in any situation, and this meant that space and time could be different in different situations. Different parts of the universe were influenced by each other and all expanded at the same rate, keeping the CMB almost constant.

All structures in the universe today were created when fluctuations occurred in the early universe. A record of these early fluctuations is imprinted on the cosmic microwave background - a map of the oldest light in the universe - in the form of a "spectral index". Now, one of this theory's originators, Professor João Magueijo from Imperial College London, working with Dr. Niayesh Afshordi at the Perimeter Institute in Canada, has made a prediction that could be used to test the theory's validity.

Working with their theory that the fluctuations were influenced by a varying speed of light in the early universe, researchers used a model to put an exact figure on the spectral index.

Cosmologists are now getting ever more precise readings of this figure so that prediction could soon be tested - either confirming or ruling out the team's model of the early universe. Their figure is a very precise 0.96478.

Professor Magueijo said that when they first proposed the theory in the 1990s, it was so radical, but he added that numerical prediction would help cosmologists to test if their theory is true. "If true, it would mean that the laws of nature were not always the same as they are today". Professor João Magueijo and Professor Niayesh Afshordi, who are both theoretical physicists at Imperial College in the United Kingdom and the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics in Canada respectively, claim that the speed of light could have been faster during the early universe. This allowed light to bridge the distant edges of the universe as it expanded, according to the Imperial College London's site. One of these theories is the inflation theory, wherein it states that the early universe expanded rapidly until it evened out at some point in time. An inflation field is a set of conditions that existed only at the time.

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