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Cosmology

Black holes constrain varying constants

Abstract

There is evidence to suggest that the fine-structure constant, α — a measure of the strength of the electromagnetic interaction between photons and electrons — is slowly increasing over cosmological timescales1,2,3,4. As α = e2/c (where e is the electronic charge, is Planck's constant and c is the speed of light), this would call into question which of these fundamental quantities are truly constant. Here we consider black-hole thermodynamics as a test of which constants might actually be variable, discounting those that could lead to a violation of the generalized second law of thermodynamics.

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Correspondence to P. C. W. Davies.

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Davies, P., Davis, T. & Lineweaver, C. Black holes constrain varying constants. Nature 418, 602–603 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1038/418602a

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