I have been fascinated with nature for as long as I can remember. How can one not be? When I first understood that it is possible to understand and even predict its behaviour, I was hooked. When considering these laws that appear to govern our universe, this code that nature follows, science assumes that it is all static - they neither fluctuate in space, nor time. But, what if this is not the case? What if the laws of nature themselves are transient?
Let me begin by saying that this is not an attractive notion. The practice of science would be dramatically complicated by this. But at its heart, science is a search for truth; this must never be sacrificed for the sake of convenience.
It is in this spirit that a 2012 study out of California State University set out to check whether or not Planck's constant is truly constant in space. Using atomic clocks aboard various GPS satellites, the maximum variation found for Planck's constant was 0.7%, which, due to the tiny absolute value of the constant, might be attributable to measurement error.
Learning science is one of the hardest things a person can do. It often forces us to shift the way in which we see the world. The process is demanding, but is ultimately rewarding, because it allows us to interact with nature in a deeper, more meaningful way. If we continue down this road, we become empowered with the means to shape our environment - we become engineers.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
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