Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have unearthed a groundbreaking discovery that could reshape our comprehension of the universe. Their findings, published in Science Advances, demonstrate a remarkable revelation: fundamental constants, the bedrock of physical laws, can exhibit fluctuations, potentially influencing the viscosity necessary for vital life processes within and between cells. This revelation is a pivotal puzzle piece in unraveling the origins and implications of these constants on life itself.
In 2020, the same research team unveiled a connection between the viscosity of liquids and fundamental physical constants, which determine the maximum fluidity of liquids. Now, this discovery transcends into the realm of life sciences, illuminating profound implications for the very essence of existence.
Fundamental constants underpin the fabric of our universe. These universally consistent values govern nuclear reactions and guide the formation of molecular structures essential for life. However, their origin remains enigmatic. This research marks a stride towards understanding the genesis of these constants.
"Unraveling the flow of water in a cup unexpectedly aligns with the grand challenge of deciphering fundamental constants. The motion integral to life processes within and between cells hinges on viscosity. If these constants were to change, viscosity would follow suit, dramatically impacting life's dynamics. For instance, life as we know it would be impossible if water exhibited the viscosity of tar. This principle extends beyond water; any liquid-based life would be compromised," stated the researchers.
The sway of fundamental constants, whether an increase or decrease, would disrupt fluid dynamics and liquid-dependent life. This deviation is confined within a narrow range. Professor of Physics Kostya Trachenko noted, "A minute change of certain constants, like the Planck constant or electron charge, by a few per cent would render our blood too thick or too thin for physiological functioning."
Curiously, these constants were presumed to have been fine-tuned eons ago to facilitate the formation of heavy nuclei within stars, a time when life as we now recognize it didn't exist. Yet, these constants surprisingly foster fluidity in living cells. An intriguing proposition arises: multiple tunings akin to biological evolution might have occurred. This parallels evolutionary mechanisms, suggesting that these constants mirror nature's journey towards sustainable physical constructs.
As the study uncovers unexpected intersections between fundamental constants and life, it also beckons the question of whether the principles of evolution can help elucidate the origins of these constants. The profound implications of this research not only stimulate scientific curiosity but also deepen our grasp of the universe's intricate tapestry.