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Joao Magueijo's Big Bang

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#1    Lt_Ripley


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Posted 15 May 2008 - 06:44 AM

Joao Magueijo's Big Bang

anybody catch it ?

Cosmologist Joćo Magueijo has tried to make sense of the universe for the past 20 years. For his efforts in cosmology, Magueijo has been called an anarchist, a heretic, a radical and even a moron by his peers. All because of his proposed solution to the Horizon Problem – a fatal flaw of the Big Bang Theory which states that distant areas of space cannot have similar physical properties due to the immense distance between each area relative to the speed of light. The Horizon Problem is commonly accepted as solved in by Alan Guth’s theory of Cosmic Inflation. Now, however, Joao has sent shockwaves through the scientific community by challenging Cosmic Inflation and claiming instead that one of the central tenets of Einsteinian physics is wrong.


Joćo Magueijo is a cosmologist and professor in Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London.

He is a pioneer of the varying speed of light (VSL) theory of cosmology, which proposes that the speed of light was much higher in the early universe, of 60 orders of magnitude faster than its present value. It is presented as an alternative to the more mainstream theory of cosmic inflation. The model was first proposed by John Moffat, a Canadian scientist, in 1992.

Magueijo discusses his personal struggles pursuing VSL in his 2003 book, Faster Than The Speed of Light, The Story of a Scientific Speculation.

Magueijo is the host of the Science Channel series, Joćo Magueijo's Big Bang, which premiered on May 13, 2008.

it was really good - was wondering how many saw it and what you thought .

#2    Torgo


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Posted 15 May 2008 - 11:02 AM

Having just studied a bit of cosmology in my astrophysics course (my final is in an hour, wish me luck!) I think I can safely comment on this a bit.

Inflationary theory is of course very complicated, but I can outline the observations that support it.  The "horizon problem" about how the universe is isotropic at large scales is of course one.  However, there is also the spot size on the cosmic microwave background radiation - I do not know enough details to tell you the physical reason for this, but inflationary theory predicts that the density fluctuations we see in the microwave background are just about the exact size as the ones we see.

As for varying speed of light cosmologies - these present some problems.

Observationally, if it varied according to wavelength you might expect to see the effects of this on images of very far away galaxies (granted the effect could be small at the wavelengths emitted post-big-bang but that doesn't stop us from looking).  If it varied according to time, you get all sorts of problems with determing the geometry of things in the early universe - were this true it would need to be a variation that has little to no change during the observable history of the universe (back to 380,000 years and only changing appreciably before then.

Theoretically, how does relativity fit into this?  Relativity's predictions have been very closely confirmed regarding time dilation and frame dragging and gravitational lensing - and the magnitude of these effects depend on the speed of light.  Were the speed different for different wavelengths, what wavelength would you use for C to calculate energies and time dilations?  In addition, Maxwell's equations predict a constant speed for light (unless the fine structure constant changes).  You also have the problem of E=MC^2 meaning that if you increase the speed of light either your total mass or total energy in the universe goes down - a major theoretical problem because as near as we can tell energy is always conserved.  

It is, of course, POSSIBLE that somehow the speed of light varied in the very early universe.  We simply don't know for certain.  However, as the saying goes, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."  Inflationary cosmology has a couple of observations going for it while varying speed of light cosmologies are constrained to those where we cannot see the effect at all in the visible universe, duplicate the effects of an inflationary cosmology, and have the aforementioned theoretical problems.  The only evidence I see for varying speed of light cosmologies are the horizon/isotropy problems, with no other corroborating lines of evidence.  If anyone knows of other lines of evidence could they post them??

Sorry  but I didn't see the show, looks like I would've enjoyed it.

Edited by Torgo, 15 May 2008 - 11:15 AM.

#3    Lt_Ripley


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Posted 16 May 2008 - 02:12 AM

It really was interesting ! and I hope you passed with flying colors !

#4    mrtoke


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Posted 05 June 2008 - 02:17 AM

I think the speed of light isn't always the same. It would probably be faster if there wasn't any interference. For instance i believe they say when you shine light through water it slows down. So why wouldn't it slow down through oxygen? come to think about it how do we know the true speed of lights any way? Unless they tested it in space and then you got to question if the test was done in a clean environment. If I'm not mistaken there's particles in space. That might slow it down too.

This is out there how ever i got a lizard cage its 2 feet deep with a wood back and glass front. When i shine a laser pointer in the cage i see the light on the wood and not on the glass. The weird thing is the identical dot that's on the back of the glass is also on the other side of the room on the wall. But you can't see the light reflect because you cant see actual light only what it reflects off of. so it makes me ask if its possible for this to work on a astronomical scale.

Edited by mrtoke, 05 June 2008 - 02:26 AM.

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