The Dirac large number hypothesis and a system of evolving fundamental constants


In his [1937, 1938], Paul Dirac proposed his “Large Number Hypothesis” (LNH), as a speculative law, based upon what we will call the “Large Number Coincidences” (LNC’s), which are essentially “coincidences” in the ratios of about six large dimensionless numbers in physics. Dirac’s LNH postulates that these numerical coincidences reflect a deeper set of law-like relations, pointing to a revolutionary theory of cosmology. This led to substantial work, including the development of Dirac’s later [1969/74] cosmology, and other alternative cosmologies, such as the Brans-Dicke modification of GTR, and to extensive empirical tests. We may refer to the generic hypothesis of “Large Number Relations” (LNR’s), as the proposal that there are lawlike relations of some kind between the dimensionless numbers, not necessarily those proposed in Dirac’s early LNH. Such relations would have a profound effect on our concepts of physics, but they remain shrouded in mystery. Although Dirac’s specific proposals for LNR theories have been largely rejected, the subject retains interest, especially among cosmologists seeking to test possible variations in fundamental constants, and to explain dark energy or the cosmological constant. In the first two sections here we briefly summarize the basic concepts of LNR’s. We then introduce an alternative LNR theory, using a systematic formalism to express variable transformations between conventional measurement variables and the true variables of the theory. We demonstrate some consistency results and review the evidence for changes in the gravitational constant G. The theory adopted in the strongest tests of Ġ/G, by the Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) experiments, assumes: Ġ/G = 3(dr/dt)/r – 2(dP/dt)/P – (dm/dt)/m, as a fundamental relationship. Experimental measurements show the RHS to be close to zero, so it is inferred that significant changes in G are ruled out. However when the relation is derived in our alternative theory it gives: Ġ/G = 3(dr/dt)/r – 2(dP/dt)/P – (dm/dt)/m – (dR/dt)/R. The extra final term (which is the Hubble constant) is not taken into account in conventional derivations. This means the LLR experiments are consistent with our LNR theory (and others), and they do not really test for a changing value of G at all. This failure to transform predictions of LNR theories correctly is a serious conceptual flaw in current experiment and theory.

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