Fundamental constants as monitors of the universe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Astronomical observations have a unique ability to determine the laws of physics at distant times in the universe. They, therefore, have particular relevance in answering the basic question as to whether the laws of physics are invariant with time. The dimensionless fundamental constants, such as the proton to electron mass ratio and the fine structure constant are key elements in the investigation. If they vary with time then the answer is clearly that the laws of physics are not invariant with time and significant new physics must be developed to describe the universe. Limits on their variance, on the other hand, constrains the parameter space available to new physics that requires a variation with time of basic physical law. There are now observational constraints on the time variation of the proton to electron mass ratio μ at the 10−7 level. Constraints on the variation of the fine structure constant α are less rigorous (105) but are imposed at higher redshift. The implications of these limits on new cosmologies that require rolling scalar fields has already had its first investigations. Here we address the implications on basic particle physics. The proton to electron mass ratio is obviously dependent on the particle physics parameters that set the mass of the proton and the electron. To first order the ratio is dependent on a combination of the Quantum Chromodynamic scale, the Yukawa couplings, and the Higgs Vacuum Expectation Value. Here that relationship is quantitative defined for the first time. When coupled with previous determinations of the relation of the fine structure constant to the same parameters two constraints exist on the fractional variation of these parameters with time. A third independent constraint involving only the three parameters could set the stage for constraints on their individual fractional variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication14th Marcel Grossman Meeting On Recent Developments in Theoretical and Experimental General Relativity, Astrophysics and Relativistic Field Theories, Proceedings
EditorsMassimo Bianchi, Robert T Jantzen, Remo Ruffini, Remo Ruffini
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Co. Pte Ltd
Pages3657-3663
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9789813226593
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018
Event14th Marcel Grossman Meeting On Recent Developments in Theoretical and Experimental General Relativity, Astrophysics and Relativistic Field Theories - Rome, Italy
Duration: Jul 12 2015Jul 18 2015

Publication series

Name14th Marcel Grossman Meeting On Recent Developments in Theoretical and Experimental General Relativity, Astrophysics and Relativistic Field Theories, Proceedings

Other

Other14th Marcel Grossman Meeting On Recent Developments in Theoretical and Experimental General Relativity, Astrophysics and Relativistic Field Theories
CountryItaly
CityRome
Period7/12/157/18/15

Keywords

  • Cosmology
  • Fundamental constants
  • Particle physics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

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