We all know the speed of light, right? Speed of light is 299,792,458 m/s
(approximately 186,282 mi/s). Einstein observed that the speed of light remains
constant and always have been underpins Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Recently, a team of scientists from England and Canada is set to challenge one of
the Albert Einstein’s accepted theories regarding the classification of speed of
light as constant, which means that light in a vacuum will have the same
numerical value under any conditions. To be exact, it plays a role in models of
what happened in the very early universe, seconds after the Big Bang.
But some researchers have suggested that the speed of light could have been
much higher in this early universe. Professor Joao Magueijo, one of the theory
originators, from Imperial College of London with Dr. Niayesh Afshordi from
Perimeter Institute in Canada, has made a prediction that could be used to test
the theory’s validity and began to challenge Einstein’s theory in order to solve a
physics conundrum known as the
Currently cosmologists are getting ever more precise readings of this figure, so
that prediction could soon be tested- either confirming or ruling out the team’s
model of early universe. Their figure is 0.96478 which is very precise and this is
close to the current estimate of readings of the cosmic microwave background,
which puts it around 0.968, with some marginal error.
Professor Magueijo said,
The theory, which we first proposed in the late
1990s, has now reached a maturity point- it has produced a testable prediction.
If observation in the near future do find this number to be accurate, it could lead
to a modification of Einstein’s theory of gravity.
The best way to explain the horizon problem is the inflation, suggesting that the
temperature after the big bang even out before the universe went through the
rapid phase of expansions. However, scientists have difficult time trying to explain
why or how the inflation occurred and stopped.
Prof. Magueijo proposed that light and gravity may have traveled at different
speeds in the beginning of the universe due to the uncertainties of the inflation
theory. In order to reach the so-called temperature equilibrium, photons need to
travel faster than the gravity, giving it enough time to travel into all parts of the
To test out his hypothesis, Prof. Magueijo, along with Dr. Niayesh used a model to
put an exact figure on the spectral index, or the record of early fluctuations in the
speed of light that is imprinted on the cosmic microwave background, which
commonly referred to as the map of the oldest light in the universe. So now it’s
about time to change all.