Physics laws local?

According to a New Scientist article there are some preliminary astronomy results that at least one of the universal “constants” may be different in different parts of the universe.

At the centre of the new study is the fine structure constant, also known as alpha. This number determines the strength of interactions between light and matter.

A decade ago, Webb used observations from the Keck telescope in Hawaii to analyse the light from distant galaxies called quasars. The data suggested that the value of alpha was very slightly smaller when the quasar light was emitted 12 billion years ago than it appears in laboratories on Earth today.

Now Webb’s colleague Julian King, also of the University of New South Wales, has analysed data from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, which looks at a different region of the sky. The VLT data suggests that the value of alpha elsewhere in the universe is very slightly bigger than on Earth.