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"Some Regions of the Universe are Not Favorable for Life" (Holiday Weekend Feature)

24 Dec 2012, 16:50 UTC
"Some Regions of the Universe are Not Favorable for Life" (Holiday Weekend Feature)
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"The answer may be that other regions of the Universe are not quite so favorable for life as we know it, and that the laws of physics we measure in our part of the Universe are merely ‘local by-laws', in which case it is no particular surprise to find life here," says John Webb of the University of New South Wales .

One of the most cherished principles in science - the constancy of physics - may not be true, according to research carried out at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Cambridge in 2011.

The study found that one of the four known fundamental forces, electromagnetism - measured by the so-called fine-structure constant and denoted by the symbol ‘alpha' - seems to vary across the Universe.The first hints that alpha might not be constant came a decade ago when Professor John Webb, Professor Victor Flambaum, and other colleagues at UNSW and elsewhere, analysed observations from the Keck Observatory, in Hawaii. Those observations were restricted to one broad area in the sky..The research team, however, has doubled the number of observations and measured the value of alpha in about 300 distant ...

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