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Q & A: Are the laws of physics the same in the whole universe?

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Most recent answer: 08/14/2013
Are the laws of Physics same in whole of the universe?
- Yogeesh (age 15)

Hi Yogeesh,

Yes, the laws of physics are the same throughout the universe. If we found out that a certain law didn't apply in a certain situation, we'd be very curious why, and we'd work hard to modify the law(s) until they were once again universal. 

We tend to assume that the laws we already believe in apply everywhere. For example, we concluded that the universe is expanding largely based on Doppler shifts of light from distant galaxies. If laws like those of gravity or electrodynamics somehow turned out to be wrong or to not apply everywhere, then our understanding of the universe would be way off base.

So far, though, we have assumed that the laws hold everywhere, and have built a fairly consistent picture of our universe.

So that's nice!

David Schmid


One of the most compelling arguments is the value of the fine structure constant:

\alpha = \frac{e^2}{\hbar c}

Astronomers can determine  α by careful measurements of the fine structure of spectral emissions from the stars far-far away.  The value involves elements of electromagnetism, special relativity, and quantum mechanics. It's value is the same in all directions and at all distances. 


(published on 08/14/2013)

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