Q: How plausible is it that the laws of physics may actually function differently in other parts of the universe?

Mathematician: My two cents are that astronomical evidence (what we can tell about galaxies from here on earth) indicates that the laws of newtonian mechanics and gravitation in space are just the same they are here. I imagine that some quantum mechanical laws in space are harder to verify, but no one has ever observed an experiment that varied as a function of the location where it was performed. In other words, I would say that there is no evidence that the laws of physics function differently elsewhere in the universe. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there is NO CHANCE that they differ, just that there is no reason to think they do.


Physicist: To date there is strong evidence that physical laws are identical everywhere. At the very least all the laws governing atomic spectra and fusion are the same (starlight) which covers just a hell of a lot.  You could also argue (not a proof) that the fundamental postulates or relativity need all positions (and all constant velocities) to have the same physical laws.
Most importantly, there is absolutely no evidence to imply that the laws change anywhere/when.

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8 Responses to Q: How plausible is it that the laws of physics may actually function differently in other parts of the universe?

  1. karan grover says:

    look….all the laws of physics we know…..are made on earth. And we know that the earth is revolving around the sun. now the laws are made upon experimental observations. these experiments take about 1-2 days. in 1-2 days earth covers a distance which is a negligible curve* (a straight line). thus this frame of reference is observed all over the universe….or as far as observable universe is conserned. ( meaning whenever these laws are obeyed the body is moving in a straight line*. THUS THESE LAWS MUST BE OBEYED..
    thats what i think…..and thats what i think should be….

  2. John says:

    By definition if it is a “LAW of physics” it applies everywhere. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a law, right…?

  3. The Physicist The Physicist says:

    The laws could include location dependent. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

  4. John says:

    The “location dependent” part of the law wouldn’t change at a given location though. It’s like an “If, then..” statement. Just because the “If” is fulfilled doesn’t mean that the actual “law” or “statement” changes.

    If the laws of physics functioned differently then that would mean that the “If, then” statement changed.
    (Btw, I am positive you know plenty more about physics than me, consider this a learning dialect for me :))

  5. John says:

    ^
    I hope you understood what I was trying to say.

    Consider a physical law:

    “If the location is x, then y
    If the location is z, then q
    . . . ”

    And all of these “If, then” scenarios can be represented with mathematical equations and such.

    What I am distinguishing is that just because the location is x, and therefore the y value differs, does not make the actual “law” different. The location part is already included in the law and is therefore not functioning differently.

    If you don’t accept the above argumentation, then you must accept that some laws of physics actually do differ for location. Case in point: gravity. The closer your location is to an object the stronger you are pulled. But would you say that this means the law of gravity functions differently at a different point in the universe?

    (Once again, please forgive me if I am sounding arrogant, these are just questions presented in a debate form [because debate is so much funner])

  6. Ashiq Rahman says:

    the law of gravity might function different… say… incase of the planets which are orbiting around two stars or so… how would be the law applied then??

  7. akshit says:

    laws are nothing but an attempt to generalise what is observed and may be an observation which is seen through a particular view not satisfactory for other

  8. Redrum says:

    I believe there are multiple universes, maybe all at the same time, maybe one is created from the destruction of the previous one, who knows.

    Anyways, if you can handle picturing a universe like a “soap bubble”, everything would need to keep consistent laws/rules as to how things work inside. If laws differed by location within the same universe,it would pop out of existence, or be more than just our 3+1 dimensions, but that doesn’t really count.

    For example, if a particle with our laws (inertia, conservation etc) somehow collided with an outlaw particle that didn’t abide, I imagine the would-be inertia/kinetic energy would tear the universe apart or have some other apocalyptic consequence

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