Theory Challenging Einstein’s Physics May Soon Be Tested



   •     A theory positing that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is not absolute is finally at the stage where it can be tested by physicists.

   •     While there is a chance that the theory may contain errors or miscalculations, if it turns out to be true, physics as we know it will need to be reinterrogated.




1. 一個指出愛因斯坦的相對論並不是絕對的理論,終於可以被物理學家檢驗。


2. 雖然這個理論可能有錯誤或是誤算,但是如果它成真,我們已知的物理學將需要被重新審視。







Obviously, challenging a theory that has held its own for decades—a theory that is essentially the cornerstone of physics as we know it—is no easy task. The fact that this particular theory was postulated by none other than the Father of Modern Physics makes the challenge even more daunting.




However, that is precisely what several scientists are doing.

In the 1990s, cosmologist and theoretical physicist João Magueijo, in collaboration with astrophysicist Niayesh Afshordi, proposed that the speed of light may have been faster in the very early universe, right after the Big Bang. Yes, they propose that the speed of light may not have always been constant. This is contrary to what Einsteins theory of general relativity dictates: That the speed of light is, and always has been, the same.

They believe that the violent events following the Big Bang resulted in regions with fluctuating or erratic variations in density, and that these fluctuations were powered by varying speeds of light. These early fluctuations are imprinted on the cosmic microwave background(CMB)—the earliest radiation that fills the universe.




1990 年代,宇宙學家和理論物理學家João Magueijo 與天體物理學家Niayesh Afshordi 合作,提出,在大霹靂(Big Bang)後,很早期的宇宙中,光的速度可能更快。是的,他們提出光的速度非恆定。這與愛因斯坦的相對論相反:「光的速度永遠恆定。」


他們相信大霹靂(Big Bang)後的激烈事件,造成了不同密度的波長和不穩的區域,同時這些波長是由不同速度的光造成的。這些早期的波長被印在宇宙微波背景cosmic microwave backgroundCMB)中,CMB 為最早充滿宇宙的輻射。






Now, the theorists published a predictionusing a model that they used to pinpoint an exact figure on the spectral index for primordial speed of light: 0.96478. The theory, which we first proposed in the late-1990s, has now reached a maturity point it has produced a testable prediction. If observations in the near future do find this number to be accurate, it could lead to a modification of Einsteins theory of gravity,Magueijo says.

The idea that the speed of light could be variable was radical when first proposed, but with a numerical prediction, it becomes something physicists can actually test. If true, it would mean that the laws of nature were not always the same as they are today.





Magueijo :「我們在1990 年代晚期時初次提出的理論,已經來到一個成熟的階段,它提供一個可測試的預測。如果在最近的未來觀察結果發現這個數字是正確的,這可以導致愛因斯坦的相對論的改變。一開始提出光的速度非恆定時,這是個極端的理論,但隨著一個數值的預測,這成為一個物理學家真的能測試的理論。如果成真,這表示過去的自然法則和今日的並不一樣。」


Magueijo and Afshordi are not alone in rethinking relativity. Quantum physics has always been unpredictable using classical physical assumptions, hinting at a mismatch somehow. Other physicists have echoed their excitement at testing the theory. If this hypothesis turns out to be correct, physics has a lot of rewriting to do.

We have a model of the universe that embraces the idea there must be new physics at some point,Magueijo says. Its complicated, obviously, but I think ultimately there will be a way of informing quantum gravity from this kind of cosmology.


Magueijo Afshordi不是唯一重新思考相對論的。量子力學(Quantum physics)一直都無法用權威經典的物理假設來預測,暗示了一種不協調。其他的物理學家在測試這個理論時,回應了他們興奮。如果這個假設理論被證明為正確,那麼物理學可有浩大的重寫工程了。


Magueijo說:「我們有一個“ 絕對有新物理學” 的宇宙模型,很顯然這很複雜,但是我想最終會有一個從這樣的宇宙學(cosmology)角度報告量子重力論的方法。」