In his new book, Faster than the Speed of Light, Dr. Joao Magueijo suggests that his variable speed of light (VSL) theory explains many of the mysteries of the Big Bang universe in much the same way as does Alan Guth’s inflation (variable expansion rate of the universe) theory. I suggest that both are variations on the same theme, namely, that the speed of light is a direct function of the expansion of the universe. That is, the speed of light in the early universe varied because of inflation and, furthermore, it varies today in intimate proportion to the present expansion rate.To put it another way, light travels because the universe is expanding.

The principal ramification of this hypothesis is that photons do not travel through space-time—they are dragged along with it. According to this proposal, the speed of light (and other electromagnetic radiation) through space is an illusion; it is, in fact, 0 km/sec. It is the universe which is expanding at the present rate of 300 kkm/sec., and taking these massless wave/particles with it.

I suggest further that objects with mass are not pulled along by the expansion. Indeed, such objects resist this “force,” and therefore tend to slow down the universe’s expansion rate. This can be observed, for example, in the effect of celestial objects on the path of photons in space-time and, in particular, the gravitational effect of black holes. Thus, the latter do not prevent light from escaping them; they prevent space-time itself from expanding around them.

It follows also from this proposal that if the expansion rate of the universe is increasing, we will eventually be able to see objects that we cannot now see and, conversely, if the universe is slowing down, that such objects will twinkle out. If the expansion rate becomes zero, and therefore photons stop moving with space-time, we will be able to see nothing at all. This concept is in direct opposition to predictions currently associated with the rate of expansion of the universe. The correct interpretation is experimentally verifiable by currently available methods.


Gene Brewer
March 9, 2003



If the above hypothesis is true, the data of Perlmutter, Schmidt, and others, showing that the light of certain galaxies is dimmer than expected for a decreasing expansion rate, and suggesting (if the speed of light is constant) that the expansion of the universe is currently accelerating, can be explained much more simply. If the expansion rate is, in fact, decelerating, and the speed of light slows with it, then the light from these galaxies would be dimmer than expected for a steady-state or accelerating expansion. There is no need, therefore, to postulate a mysterious “dark energy” to propel the universe to expand at a faster and faster rate. Instead, if the present trend continues, the expansion rate will continue to slow down until, eventually, the process will reverse itself and lead, inexorably, to the Big Crunch.


June 3, 2007