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Fraser
2008-Jun-20, 09:10 PM
Although we haven't figured out everything in the universe by a long shot, we're getting a pretty good a handle on how things work in our world, and how the laws of nature operate here at home. One big question we have is, would laws of nature as we know them function the same [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/06/20/are-the-laws-of-nature-the-same-everywhere-in-the-universe/)

BigDon
2008-Jun-22, 05:39 AM
I must apologize.

The significance of the proton-electron mass ratio isn't in my education.

Tim Thompson
2008-Jun-22, 04:10 PM
See Strong Limit on a Variable Proton-to-Electron Mass Ratio from Molecules in the Distant Universe (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2008arXiv0806.3081M); Murphy, Flambaum, Muller & Henkel; Science 320(5883): 1611-1613, 20 June 2008:
Abstract: The Standard Model of particle physics assumes that the so-called fundamental constants are universal and unchanging. Absorption lines arising in molecular clouds along quasar sightlines offer a precise test for variations in the proton-to-electron mass ratio, µ, over cosmological time and distance scales. The inversion transitions of ammonia are particularly sensitive to µ as compared to molecular rotational transitions. Comparing the available ammonia spectra observed toward the quasar B0218+357 with new, high-quality rotational spectra, we present the first detailed measurement of µ with this technique, limiting relative deviations from the laboratory value to |µ/µ| < 1.8 x 10–6 (95% confidence level) at approximately half the universe's current age—the strongest astrophysical constraint to date. Higher-quality ammonia observations will reduce both the statistical and systematic uncertainties in these observations.
The ratio of the Mp/Me = µ is roughly the same as the ratio of scales of the strong force to weak force, where the strong force dominates nuclear fusion processes, and the weak force can be important in beta decay nuclear fission processes, both of which are of astrophysical importance. If the mass ratio is different, that will also strongly affect the strength of chemical bonds and therefore alter the way chemistry works.

BigDon
2008-Jun-22, 11:43 PM
Alright, thank you Mr Thompson. That is indeed, significant.

Jerry
2008-Jun-23, 05:07 AM
"By comparing the ammonia absorption with that of other molecules, we were able to determine the value of the proton-electron mass ratio in this galaxy, and confirm that it is the same as it is on Earth," says Christian Henkel from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, an expert for molecular spectroscopy and co-author of the study.

While I am not an advocate of age-variable mass, I don't see how this proves anything. I don't see how you can assume that the ratio of ammonia absorption to 'other gases' should be different if the mass fractions change with time. Shouldn't all the mass fractions change at the same rate? Is there a reason for assuming ammonia protons would 'age' at a rate different from other molecules?

folkhemmet
2008-Jun-23, 12:04 PM
Let's face it. Jerry is hostile to both the subject of astronomy and those who practice it. I am far from the only one on this forum who thinks this.

I believe the crucial point here is that the ammonia spectra in this galaxy is very very similar to ammonia in Earth-based laboratories. Isn't this precisely the kind of test we should be doing, Jerry? You just advocated looking to see if physical properties measured on Earth are the same in other parts of the cosmos. Bam! A group does precisely this kind of study and you disagree with the conclusion because it implies that humanity is getting somewhere in terms of understanding the Universe. Wow, Jerry not agreeing with a study because it strongly suggests that we understand something about the universe's laws-- a big surprise there!

Jerry
2008-Jun-25, 02:09 AM
I believe the crucial point here is that the ammonia spectra in this galaxy is very very similar to ammonia in Earth-based laboratories. Isn't this precisely the kind of test we should be doing, Jerry?
Yes. It is a good test! But is there any reason, any alternative theory, that suggests ammonia would likely reveal an unexpected proton/electron relationship? Yes I am antagonistic, especially when theory is 'confirmed again' by an observation, even though there is no outstanding argument that would have predicted otherwise. It is like saying: We proved the skeptics wrong again: We found water on Mars, just as we predicted. It is the wording of the results I object to, not the science.

There are many, many observations that are clearly not as-anticipated; or were not anticipated, when the roots of today's prevailing theories were hatched: The Balwin effect (spectral lines getting narrower, rather than wider with increasing distance.) The Zeeman effect in solar gases (demonstrating unexpectedly strong electromagnetic fields), The Butcher-Oemler effect; and the usual list. Good science is always skeptical science, always looking carefully at the partitions that just might mean more than most of us suspect. There are too many Carl Sagans in the astrophysical world today, and not enough Fred Hoyles.

folkhemmet
2008-Jun-25, 05:19 AM
Yes. It is a good test! But is there any reason, any alternative theory, that suggests ammonia would likely reveal an unexpected proton/electron relationship? Yes I am antagonistic, especially when theory is 'confirmed again' by an observation, even though there is not outstanding argument that would have predicted otherwise. It is like saying: We proved the skeptics wrong again: We found water on Mars, just as we predicted. It is the wording of the results I object to, not the science.

Black or white thinking Jerry, let's try to avoid it. Aren't you one of the ones who has tried to stear us away from a simplistic either/or mentality? So, out with the cheelerleaders of scientific triumphalism as well as those adopting the other extreme, like you Jerry, who are unduly pessimistic about the human prospects for coming to know the Universe. I am not of the view that astronomers have figured it all out wrt to the stars, planets, and galaxies, and super-clusters. There is so much to learn, but it is rediculously pessimistic to maintain, as you persistently do, that everything-astronomy is shrouded in mystery. Let's not forget that it's only been for approximately a century that we've even know about the existence of huge conglomerations of stars lying at vast distances. It was not all that long ago that we did not know about Neptune and Pluto. Neptune's existence was inferred from the very physical science that Jerry so often says is hopeless flawed and incorrect. Speaking of planets, in accordance with expectations, multiple teams of astronomers using different instruments and different experimental techniques have taught us in less than a generation that, yes, planets exist around other stars in vast numbers. So again, it is incorrect to maintain, as you do, that astronomy is a hopelessly flawed enterprise and we know next to nothing about the Universe.

Also, Jerry has spent oodles of time talking about how his gravity idea has been "confirmed again" and again by spacecraft anomalies. Maybe this means, in accordance with his previous post in this thread, that he is being antagonistic toward himself? No, this is not likely. It means, as I've demonstrated before, he is being selectively skeptical. Jerry constantly bashes others’ experimental efforts when the results of such experiments don’t jive with Jerry’s idea(s), but had the VERY SAME experiments given “anomalous” results then Jerry would undoubtedly be gleefully citing the experiment as more evidence that modern physical science is bunk.

Carl Sagan not a skeptical critical thinker, is that what you are implying? Clearly you don't know the facts. Sagan mentioned Arp's work in Cosmos in a non-pejorative way, helped de-bunk the Zeta Reticuli map, and encouraged scientists to defy conventional thinking about possibilities for life in the Universe-- such as floating beings living in the atmosphere's of gas giants. Also, there are other definitions of what it means to be a good scientist-- one of them is getting the public excited about the Universe and there are few out who were as good at Sagan at this (If all scientists were as pessimistic and naysaying about our efforts to know more about the Universe as Jerry, then I am pretty sure people's interest in astronomy would plummet precipitously. Oh, but I am forgetting that Jerry really does not like astronomy so such a plummeting might not be such a bad thing afterall in his book) Thus, Sagan encouraged critical thinking as well as imaginative thinking in science and he still found time in a busy career to share/explain the results with millions so you are clearly way off base and slandering this late astronomer's good name!

Maybe instead of spending so much time slandering astronomers, bashing the subject, and employing distortions and faulty logic in an astronomy forum, you should perhaps spend a little more time trying to figure out why, if physical science is one big free-for all, your field (rocket science) is moving forward at a snail's pace.

dhd40
2008-Jun-25, 11:56 AM
Although we haven't figured out everything in the universe by a long shot, we're getting a pretty good a handle on how things work in our world, and how the laws of nature operate here at home. One big question we have is, would laws of nature as we know them function the same [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/06/20/are-the-laws-of-nature-the-same-everywhere-in-the-universe/)

Are the Laws of Nature the Same Everywhere in the Universe?

I´ve never understood this question!
I would understand the question "Are the laws of nature different in different places of the Universe"
If you put it this way, you immediately would have to explain WHY. I don´t think that there is any logic in "not beeing the same everywhere" (let alone that there is no evidence).

Jerry
2008-Jun-27, 02:36 AM
Nice essay!, folkhemmet. Especially the defense of Carl Sagan - A man who inspired many, and is still a principle force in the space exploration program...is there anything out there named after Sagan?



...Maybe instead of spending so much time slandering astronomers, bashing the subject, and employing distortions and faulty logic in an astronomy forum, you should perhaps spend a little more time trying to figure out why, if physical science is one big free-for all, your field (rocket science) is moving forward at a snail's pace.

I'm really an instrumental analysis dude - the guy who tries to squeeze all the information you can out of a sensor, probe or an experiment. I work with limits, and I don't always succeed.

There are absolute limits in how much energy, how much acceleration you can squeeze out of a chemical reaction, or particle acceleration - Newtonian limits - that may or may not be sliding limits elsewhere (the Pioneer probes seem to be setting their own agenda). There have been major advances in energetics in the last two decades. The current 'pad' limits are driven more by cost, safety margins and legacy than energetic material limits. There is also a kinder, gentler and safer family of chemicals used in the automotive airbag industry that has quietly evolved in the last two decades.