1. NaCl

    NaCl Contributor Contributor

    Apr 30, 2008
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    VSL - Variable Speed of Light

    Discussion in 'Research' started by NaCl, Oct 19, 2008.

    Cosmologist João Magueijo proposes that during the early stages of the Big Bang, the speed of light was many times greater than it is today, as much as 60 orders of magnitude. His theory attempts to answer the horizon problem in the Big Bang Theory. He does not propose the actual physics for such a variable speed of light, only suggesting that such a change in our theory fits with the observations/measurements of universal CMB and cosmic inflation.

    Here is my question.

    If he is correct, is it reasonable in a story to postulate about his theory in such a way as to allow intra galactic space travel and possibly even intergalactic travel? Perhaps Star Trek's "Warp Factor such and such" could actually be possible if Magueijo's theory leads to an understanding of the underlying mechanism for multiple-c speeds.

    Note: many physicists regard Magueijo with skepticism for questioning the accepted notion that the speed of light is rigidly set, but I watched an hour long show about his theory and it made perfect sense to me.

    What do you think about using such obscure theories in our sci-fi writing?
  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    The Big Bang was the most significant singularity in the history of our universe. Indeed, it defined history. The transitional conditions of that event exist nowhere in the present universe - they can't. The laws of physics themselves were "under construction" during the Big Bang. Even in the most massive black hole singularity, you won't find ythose conditions today.

    You may be able to convince many readers with that theory, even if Magueio's theories end up having some corroboration, but this reader would have to suspend disbelief in a major way.

    If his theory an actual theory, or is it a speculative statement? By that, I mean is there a mathematical model that quantitatively predicts some independent phenomenon that can be measured?

    The biggest danger with using a theory like that in a story, is if it is publicized, then debunked. If it becomes a public embarassment, like the Pons-Fleischman cold fusion, your story becaomes a collateral acualty.

    My feeling is that it's best to describe only the consequences of a theory, rather than trying to explain its basis. Even that is fraught with landmines, but why pepper the story with technobabble that can be demonstrated as bullflops; especially with people like me out there who will feel compelled to dissect it! :)

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