Archive for December, 2013

Cosmologist claims Universe may not be expanding

Christof Wetterich, a theoretical physicist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, posted a paper on the arXiv preprint server, that offers a different cosmology in which the Universe is not expanding but the mass of everything has been increasing over time. Although the paper has yet to be peer-reviewed, none of the experts contacted by Nature dismissed it as obviously wrong, and some of them found the idea worth pursuing. “I think it’s fascinating to explore this alternative representation,” says Hongsheng Zhao, a cosmologist at the University of St Andrews, UK. “His treatment seems rigorous enough to be entertained.”

Wetterich points out, the characteristic light emitted by atoms is also governed by the masses of the atoms’ elementary particles, and in particular of their electrons. If an atom were to grow in mass, the photons it emits would become more energetic. Because higher energies correspond to higher frequencies, the emission and absorption frequencies would move towards the blue part of the spectrum. Conversely, if the particles were to become lighter, the frequencies would become redshifted. In other words, in the early universe red shifted light would have been emitted as all the mass was smaller and thus the energy of the emitted light was also smaller, and then increasing over time.

Its an interesting idea – go to Nature to read the full article, and there is a link to the paper at the bottom.

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Image Credit: Nature & Take 27 LTD/SPL