inconstancy of the constants
Imperial College London
4-5 p.m., Thursday,
12 January, 2006 .
School of Physics
Room 64 Old Main Building
The University of New South Wales
The constants of nature appear naturally in the formulation of the laws
of nature and in the definition of the units of measurement in physics.
They provide the yardsticks for certainty and stability in physics.
In this talk I discuss why `varying constants' are an oxymoron that
is now solidly in mainstream physics. Varying constants question what
parts of physics are operationally well defined, what parts are mere
tautologies. They also question whether evolution of the laws of physics
(and not just of the Universe) is possible. I will develop these rather
metaphysical issues with direct reference to concrete physical theories:
varying G, e, and c theories; and also with direct reference to the
current observational constraints -- and evidence -- for varying constants.