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Science + Tech

May 27, 2020 - Vice

Unexplained Phenomena Keep Suggesting the Universe Isn’t What We Thought

Unexplained Phenomena Keep Suggesting the Universe Isn’t What We Thought
Looking up at the universeFile Photo / © Photabulous!

Two unrelated studies recently raised the same possibility: the laws of physics might not apply everywhere, which, if true, would upend an idea underpinning centuries of science.

Here on Earth, we are used to laws that shift according to the unique customs and demands of various regions. You can turn right on a red light while driving in most places, for instance, but not in New York City, where traffic rules are stricter to accommodate busy roads.

The physical laws of the universe, in contrast, do not tolerate any localized deviations of this sort—or so our best theory goes. Scientists operate under the assumption that there are universal laws of physics that affect matter the same way everywhere, from our own solar neighborhood to galaxies billions of light years away. In other words, while there are obviously variations in the density and distributions of matter across space, scientists assume that the universe is statistically homogenous at large scales of hundreds of millions of light years, because the actual hard wiring of the universe is equally applied everywhere.

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