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Changing Physics

November 28, 2006

A listener asks: Was physics different when the universe was young?


Did physics change? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Listener Chuck London wrote from York, Pennsylvania, to ask whether physics worked differently when the universe was young—before the first stars and certainly before the first physicists. Well, Stephon Alexander of Penn State says, yes, it’s likely that the rules governing particles and forces changed soon after the Big Bang—but scientists haven’t come up with a theory that goes back that far. However, he says they’re hoping to find a connection between this early era and another great physics mystery.

STEPHON ALEXANDER (Penn State University):
Dark energy could actually be a consequence of—we expect it to be a consequence of—some unknown physics or law in the early universe.

If you’re mystified by a science question, call us at 1-800-why-isit or submit it at If we use it on the air, you’ll win a Science Update mug. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.