Was Albert Einstien wrong when he came up with the theory that speed of light is a constant in vaccum. The theory is the base of theory of relativity and building block of modern physics. The theory has surpassed all the test in last one century but a scientist has claimed that he can prove it wrong and light has variable speed in vaccum depending on different locations.
Scientists Joao Magueijo from the Imperial College of London wanted to solve one of the biggest problem of Physics — “Horizons problem”. The problem states that the universe reached a uniform temperature long before energy-carrying photons travelling at constant speed could have had the time to reach all corners of the expanding universe.
So he proposed a theory back in 1998 that the Horizons problem can be solved if we assume that light has variable speed in vaccum. Since then he has been working on the theory and now he is all set to check the validity of the theory.
The most common explanation given by scientists community to solve the Horizons problem states universe witnessed inflation just after the Big Bang which led to even spread out of temperature even before universe started spreading. However, many scientists find it flawed because no one could explain what actually started the inflation and how it stopped.
Magueijo came up with another solution which says that speed of light was variable at the start of the universe. At some parts, it travelled faster than others. If true, it would have left its mark on the cosmic microwave background radiation – the radiation left over from the Big Band – in a ‘spectral index’.
To test the theory, Magueijo along with Dr Niayesh Afshordi from the Perimeter Institute in Canada, have designed a model which will enable them to measure the change of speed of light and speed of gravity with respect to the changing temperature of the universe.
According to the values predicted by Maguejio, the value of spectral index is 0.96478 which is fairly close to the values obtained through CMB, 0.968. If these values mismatch while testing the theory then Maguejio’s theory is wrong and if they match then it would be a disaster for Physics.
Einstein’s theory of constant speed of light is the heart of modern physics and several laws and theorems are based on this rule. If scientists succeed in proving that light has variable speed then it would change we have looked at physics till today.
The study appeared in the journal Physical Review D.