In a recent paper we demonstrated how the simplest model for varying alpha may be interpreted as the effect of a dielectric material, generalized to be consistent with Lorentz invariance. Unlike normal dielectrics, such a medium cannot change the speed of light, and its dynamics obey a Klein-Gordon equation. This work immediately suggests an extension of the standard theory, even if we require compliance with Lorentz invariance. Instead of a wave equation, the dynamics may satisfy a local algebraic relation involving the permittivity and the properties of the electromagnetic field, in analogy with more conventional dielectric (but still preserving Lorentz invariance). We develop the formalism for such theories and investigate some phenomenological implications. The problem of the divergence of the classical self-energy can be solved, or at least softened, in this framework. Some interesting new cosmological solutions for the very early universe are found, including the possibility of a bounce, inflation and expansion with a loitering phase, all of which are induced by early variations in alpha.
J. Barrow and J. Magueijo
Thu, 11 Dec 14
Comments: Invited paper for the Special Issue: “Fundamental Constants in Physics and Their Time Variation” (Modern Physics Letters A, Guest Editor Joan Sol\`a)