I had a revelation the other day. The speed of light is not a constant.
A month ago, I woke up dreaming about Einstein’s famous equation of special theory of relativity, E = mc². It was strange because I had not thought or seen anything related to this topic in recent times.
As I lay in bed, probably half awake as I remembered later, it somehow struck me that the speed of light in that famous equation wasn’t constant and it needed to increase as the universe ages.
I went back to sleep and woke up later to post it on social media. And that’s when I began seriously giving a thought on how I came up with such a radical idea while in bed half asleep.
For one, I knew that some great ideas do come in sleep. There are many instances of people coming up with solutions in their dreams. I also have a theory on why that happens, but that’s for a later day post.
So I took the revelation offered to me seriously and began thinking where it originated from. While I couldn’t find out why I had such a dream about the special theory of relativity, I did manage to remember the dream.
In the dream, I was thinking if energy in the universe is conserved, and mass of the universe is being destroyed, then speed of light must keep increasing to keep the equation E=mc² valid throughout the universe.
Having remembered the dream (Which feels like a flash of an idea that came, the likes of which Ramanujam used to talk about), I wrote it down and started thinking further on the subject.
A lot of doubts came to my mind. What if the theory that ‘speed of light is a constant’, and more importantly, energy conservation by the first law of thermodynamics are not valid all across the universe?
Soon the doubts gave way to more insight. I understood for my revelation to be true, the first law of T need not work all across the universe. And speed of light isn’t a constant is what my dream was anyways revealing.
It is quite obvious that as stars burn, energy is increasing in the universe. And also as the universe expands, the ‘energy density’ must go down. But that doesn’t matter here. As we will see.
There are two places where the universe is at work turning matter to energy. One is in the center of stars all across the universe. And the next is in the center of galaxies — their super massive black holes.
At both the places, matter is destroyed and energy created. I have even read of a theory that as the black holes destroy matter and create energy it comes out through Quasars in another universe.
But for our case, what we see is the universe is losing matter fast in the gazillions of stars and trillions of black holes. If we take the E=mc² equation on a universal scale, then m in it is clearly decreasing.
We can forget about if E is constant and conserved or if it is increasing. Because, either way c needs to keep increasing to maintain the validity of Einstein’s special theory of relativity across the universe.
That is for our reactors to work as intended in our atomic power stations in this part of the Universe, speed of light must keep increasing. And for stars to burn millions of light years away, c must keep increasing too.
When I did search the internet for “speed of light increasing”, I was in for a surprise. I came across an article from way back in 2004 that suggests the speed of light may have been slower in the past.
I also come across some papers that discuss the possibility of speed of light not being a constant. The reasons are mostly in the Quantum theory domain. Nothing like my revelatory dream physics.