http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/factsheets/doeymp0010.shtml Speed of light may have changed recently: http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6092 The second article is largely speculative other than discussing the work of a few specific scientists. However the first one is very informative.

You are referring to a 2004 report that hasn't been backed up by other studies. http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0506186 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0609014 http://arxiv.org/abs/0705.3704 As the author agrees. http://www.yale.edu/physics/calendar/Abstracts/2008-Spring/080208-Lamoreaux.html

I haven't yet reviewed the first three, I am going to. However the fourth I don't think the author disagrees (that they aren't fixed constants)...? Are you trying to imply he does?

Lamoreaux is the author of the 2004 paper which found that there was a change. He now lectures that what he did was establish error bars around zero rather than find significant change. So he changed his mind about the story the data tells.

They certainly are amazing. Perhaps a little less so when you consider that natural Uranium at the time was higher in U-235 than it is today, making it much easier to initiate a reaction. Also, a "high degree of engineering, physics, and acute, detailed attention" really isn't necessary to build a reactor... only to build a safe, controllable one with useful power output.

I seem to recall some Australian astronomers looking at supernovae (maybe a guy named Webb?) who had established some evidence for a change in the fine structure constant. Does anyone know the status of this?

That was in 1999 but I don't think Webb was the driving force behind these papers. http://www.aip.org/pnu/1999/split/pnu410-1.htm http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/9802029 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/9803165 * This is where the result was obtained * http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/9808021 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/9908047 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0012419 * More results * http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0012422 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0012539 * More results * http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0112093 http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0201303 http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0205340 * Early review article* http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0305066 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0309107 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0401094 * Different lab weighs in with constant constants * http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0403009 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0404008 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0404042 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0407011 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0407141 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0407579 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0408017 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0410074 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0412649 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0501454 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0510072 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0511180 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0512287 * Different lab weighs in with zero change in alpha * http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0601034 http://arxiv.org/abs/nucl-th/0601050 http://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/0603607 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0604188 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0608261 * Review by V.V. Flambaum * http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0610326 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0612407 * V.V. Flambaum outlines dispute * http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0701220 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0703042 * Different lab weighs in with insignificant results * http://arxiv.org/abs/0704.2301 http://arxiv.org/abs/0705.0849 http://arxiv.org/abs/0705.3704 * V.V. Flambaum switches from time-variation to Potential Well variation ?? * http://arxiv.org/abs/0708.0569 http://arxiv.org/abs/0708.3677 http://arxiv.org/abs/0711.4428 http://arxiv.org/abs/0711.4536 http://arxiv.org/abs/0712.3621 http://arxiv.org/abs/0801.1874 http://arxiv.org/abs/0805.0461 http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.3081 http://arxiv.org/abs/0807.3218 http://arxiv.org/abs/0807.4943 http://arxiv.org/abs/0808.2518 Ned Wright has shown how these results compare so that there is actually very little evidence for variation of the fine structure constant with time. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

Thanks rpenner. I think I'll check out a few of those papers over coffee Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

Is the x axis (Z) in time? By the way, I am not sure even it was occurring there would be substantial evidence. Not unless there was some irregular rapid jump in \(\alpha\) would any change be detected in the physical world. Since even the laws of nuclear decay have some minor probabilities the distinguishing between the two seems impossible. It is nonetheless something of a philosophical concept of interest. And you posted a couple too many for me to have gone through; but thanks for the source citing, appreciate it.

z is in redshift which to good statistical strength can be useds as a surrogate for (billions) years in the past. The scale is not linear presumably because the intent was to plot measured change in alpha vs. time when the time isn't known but the reshift (z) was. (The exact relation between z and time is model-dependent so since we are arguing models, we can avoid quibbles by plotting measurement-versus-measurement).