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Galaxy shocker: laws of physics may vary throughout the universe

Darren Murph

Oh, brother. Just when you thought you had everything figured out, along comes a team of astrophysicists based in Australia and England to turn your world upside-down. As the story goes, a new "report describes how one of the supposed fundamental constants of nature appears not to be constant after all," with the fine-structure constant actually varying throughout testing. The crew measured the number, dubbed "alpha," in about 300 faraway galaxies, and they consistently found that it measured differently than on Earth. Professor John Webb from the University of New South Wales even stated that it "seemed to vary continuously along a preferred axis through the universe," which effectively means we're back to square one on figuring just about everything out. Burn the books, kids.

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