Variation by location?
Variable Constants
Changing ratios?
Measuring Atomic Masses and h


Setterfield: A question has been asked about the behaviour of the energy E of emitted photons of wavelength W and frequency f during their transit across space. The key formulae involved are E = hf = hc/W. The following discussion concentrates on the behaviour of individual terms in these equations.

If c (the speed of light) does indeed vary, inevitably some atomic constants must change, but which? Our theories should be governed by the observational evidence. This evidence has been supplied by 20th century physics and astronomy. One key observation that directs the discussion was noted by R. T. Birge in Nature 134:771, 1934. At that time c was measured as declining, but there were no changes noted in the wavelengths of light in apparatus that should detect it. Birge commented: "If the value of c is actually changing with time, but the value of [wavelength] in terms of the standard metre shows no corresponding change, then it necessarily follows that the value of every atomic frequencyÉmust be changing." This follows since light speed, c, equals frequency, f, multiplied by wavelength W. That is to say c = fW. If wavelengths W are unchanged in this process, then frequencies f must be proportional to c.

Since atomic frequencies govern the rate at which atomic clocks tick, this result effectively means that atomic clocks tick in time with c. By contrast, orbital clocks tick at a constant rate. J. Kovalevsky noted the logical consequence of this situation in Metrologia Vol. 1, No. 4, 1965. He stated that if the two clock rates were different "then Planck's constant as well as atomic frequencies would drift." The observational evidence suggests that these two clocks do indeed run at different rates, and that Planck's constant is also changing. The evidence concerning clock rates comes from the work of T. C. Van Flandern, then of the US Naval Observatory in Washington. He had examined lunar and planetary orbital periods and compared them with atomic clocks data for the period 1955-1981. Assessing the data in 1984, he noted the enigma in Precision Measurements and Fundamental Constants II, NBS Special Publication 617, pp. 625-627. In that National Bureau of Standards publication, Van Flandern stated "the number of atomic seconds in a dynamical interval is becoming fewer. Presumably, if the result has any generality to it, this means that atomic phenomena are slowing down with respect to dynamical phenomena."

To back up this proposition, Planck's constant, h, has been measured as increasing throughout 20th century. In all, there are 45 determinations by 8 methods. When the data were presented to a scientific journal, one Reviewer who favoured constant quantities noted, "Instrumental resolution may in part explain the trend in the figures, but I admit that such an explanation does not appear to be quantitatively adequate." Additional data came from experiments by Bahcall and Salpeter, Baum and Florentin-Nielsen, as well as Solheim et al. They have each proved that the quantity 'hc' or Planck's constant multiplied by light-speed is in fact a constant astronomically. There is only one conclusion that can be drawn that is in accord with all these data. Since c has been measured as decreasing, and h has been measured as increasing during the same period, and hc is in fact constant, then h must vary precisely as 1/c at all times. This result also agrees with the conclusions reached by Birge and Kovalevsky.

From this observational evidence, it follows in the original equation E = hf = hc/W, that since f is proportional to c, and h is proportional to 1/c, then photon energies in transit are unchanged from the moment of emission. This also follows in the second half of the equation since hc is invariant, and W is also unchanged according to observation. Thus, if each photon is considered to be made up of a wave-train, the number of waves in that wave-train remains unchanged during transit, as does the wavelength. However, since the wave-train is travelling more slowly as c drops, the number of wave-crests passing a given point per unit time is fewer, proportional to c. Since the frequency of a wave is also defined as the number of crests passing a given point, this means that frequency is also proportional to c with no changes in the wave structure of the photon at all. Furthermore, the photon energy is unchanged in transit.


Variation by location?

Question:  Please bear with me once more as I attempt to come up to speed here. If the values of fundamental "constants" vary with location in the universe it implies that there are preferred reference frames. That is, a physicist could determine some absolute position relative to some origin because the "constants" vary as a function of position. If the "universal constants" are different at the position of supernova 1987A, for example, then the physics is different and an observer in that frame should be able to determine that he is in a unique position relative to any other frame of reference and vice-versa.

 Are there observables to show this effect or are transformations proposed that make the physics invariant even with changing "constants?

Setterfield: It is incorrect to say that the values of the fundamental constants vary with LOCATION in the cosmos. The cDK proposition maintains that at any INSTANT OF TIME, right throughout the whole cosmos, the value of any given atomic constant including light-speed, c, will be the same. There is thus no variation in the atomic constants with LOCATION in the universe. As a consequence there can be no preferred frame of reference. What we DO have is a variation of the atomic constants over TIME throughout the cosmos, but not LOCATION.

 Because we look back in TIME as we probe deeper into space, we are seeing light emitted at progressively earlier epochs. The progressively increasing redshift of that light, as we look back in TIME, bears information on the value of some atomic constants and c in a way discussed in the forthcoming redshift paper. So Yes! there is a whole suite of data that can be used to back up this contention. I trust that clarifies the issue for you somewhat.


Variable Constants

Comment:  I enjoyed reading your paper on the A/M subject and would highly appreciate your comments on the following remarks

Mass can be expressed as m3. s-2 (volumetric acceleration) in the LT system of units therefore G (the gravitational constant) is a dimensionless ratio of volumetric accelerations.

Dimensionless ratios at least in general, are variable (entropy, R gas constant, etc) now if we accept as a matter of principle that G varies with time wouldn't this explain the cosmological observations you mentioned in your paper, what if G is a periodical ratio with extremely long period wouldn't this make the universe a more understandable place.

Setterfield:  Thank you for your note.  Yes, your suggestion of a change in gravitational constant does potentially answer some of the data that we are getting from outer space and earth as well.  However, all told, there are five anomalies which require explanation:

  1. The measured increase in Planck’s constant
  2. The measured decrease in the speed of light
  3. The measured increase in atomic masses
  4. The slowing of atomic clocks compared to gravitational phenomena
  5. The redshift and its quantization

As far as I am aware, there is only one parameter which links all five anomalies, and that is an increase in the strength of the Zero Point Energy with time.  The increase in the ZPE with time accounts for observed anomalies with mass and gravitation in a way which varying gravitation itself does not – at least not that I have seen formulated in any theory.  Milgrom has proposed a mechanism to account for the flat rotation curves of galaxies by changing gravitational acceleration in a certain way.  This overcomes the problem of missing mass in a very helpful manner.  However, the discrepant phenomena which induced Milgrom’s solution has a different solution in ZPE theory, and one which is just as viable.  You might be interested in Zero Point Energy and Relativity.

In summary, then, while variation in G may explain some phenomena, such as the mass (#3) and time (#4), this leaves the others unexplained still.  Thank you for pointing out the behavior of G as a dimensionless ratio of volumetric accelerations.  I find this a helpful suggestion which I will be keeping in mind.


Changing ratios?

Question: Someone asked me last night if the “fine tuning” of the universe is an issue with light slowing down since creation. Since one of the finely tuned “constants” is the speed of light. From what I understand so far, there are ratios that are held constant because ultimately Energy is conserved in the Universe. So if E = hc/lamda. h = planck’s constant c = speed of light, E = Energy of a photon and lamda= wavelength of the frequency associated with its electromagnetic wave. But, with ZPE increasing over time does that change the ratios?

Setterfield: The question relating to the fine tuning of the universe is not really relevent as far as the Zero Point Energy and the speed of light is concerned. What we have is a set of mutually cancelling constants whose product or ratio remains fixed no matter what the ZPE does in the universe, and no matter how the speed of light behaves. Thus the product of Planck's constant, h, and the speed of light, c, remain a fixed quantity no matter how the ZPE behaves. That is, hc is invariant. In a similar way, since atomic masses, m, are proportional to 1/c2, the product mc2 will always be a constant, and so energy will be conserved.

In the specific case of E = hc/lamda = hf, then we have planck's constant, h, proportional to ZPE strength, c inversely proportional to ZPE strength, and frequencies, f, inversely proportional to ZPE strength. Therefore, hf is a constant; hc is a constant, and wavelengths, lamda, remain unchanged as the ZPE varies. One additional point needs mentioning here. Wavelengths in transit through space will remaion constant, but emitted wavelengths from atomic transitions were longer when the ZPE was lower because the ZPE strength determines the energy of atomic orbits. It is for this reason that we get the redshift of light from distant galaxies. Therefore, the idea of the "fine tuning of the constants" turns out to be something of a misunderstanding of what is happening.

Measuring Atomic Masses and h

Question: How are atomic masses and Planck's constant measured?

Setterfield: Mass, in terms of what we can see in the world, is related to the density or amount of material in a given volume. When we are dealing with atoms and subatomic particles, we clearly need a different definition. So "mass" at that level refers to the amount of deviation any subatomic particle makes as it goes through an electric and magnetic field. The greater the mass, the less the deviation. This is done using a mass spectrometer. In chemical reactions, mass is measured by the amount of energy given off divided by the speed of light, in accord with E= mc2.

Planck’s constant, h, in quantum physics is usually considered to be a measure of the uncertainty in position or momentum of a sub-atomic particle. In Planck’s paper of 1911, he demonstrated that h was a measure of the strength of the Zero Point Energy. Because quantum uncertainty is the result of the jittering of subatomic particles by the waves of the Zero Point Energy (ZPE), then it can be seen that the two concepts are related.

An alternate definition of Planck’s constant came from the Einstein’s work of 1905, where he took Planck’s original concept of 1901 and applied it to light. This gave rise to the definition that Planck’s constant was the link between the energy, E, of a photon or wave of light and its frequency, f,  (or number of waves passing per second). The formula was that photon energy E = hf. Since the frequency of light, f, is also equal to the speed of light, c, divided by its wavelength, W, then the energy equation can also be written as E = hc/W.

As a result of these various definitions there are at least 5 ways of measuring Planck’s constant. One of them is by using this formula for energy of a light wave. An electrical circuit is set up with an LED light of known frequency or wavelength as part of the circuit. The voltage of the circuit is then increased from zero to the point when the LED first lights up. At that point the voltage, V, is a measure of the energy, E, being supplied to the LED as E = eV where e is the charge on the electrons. The equation then becomes eV =hf or, alternately eV = hc/W. Since the electric charge e is known, voltage,  V, is measured, and frequency, f, is known, then Planck’s constant, h, can be determined. This can be done with LEDs of different colors or frequencies to get the same result.

I trust that this gives you the information that you need.