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April 28 2013

Speed of light may not be constant, physicists say


The speed of light is constant, or so textbooks say. But some scientists are exploring the possibility that this cosmic speed limit changes, a consequence of the nature of the vacuum of space.

The definition of the speed of light has some broader implications for fields such as cosmology and astronomy, which assume a stable velocity for light over time. For instance, the speed of light comes up when measuring the fine structure constant (alpha), which defines the strength of the electromagnetic force. And a varying light speed would change the strengths of molecular bonds and the density of nuclear matter itself.

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