Arcadian Functor

occasional meanderings in physics' brave new world

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Marni D. Sheppeard

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Louise Riofrio informs us that efforts are being made to remove her talk from the program of the cosmology conference at Imperial College. She is scheduled to speak on March 29 at 12.30 pm.

If you would like to express support for Louise, the organising committee may be contacted as follows (thanks to Louise for the information). If, on the other hand, you wish to complain bitterly about the falling standards of such an august institution, you are also most welcome to contact the organising committee, in whom we have complete faith.

Richard Lieu:
Carlo Contaldi:
T. Kibble:


Blogger nige said...

Louise has a new post showing that the person behind this latest attack is at Cornell, and he seems to be upset that Louise tried posting papers on arXiv. The previous time (last June) the critic was Dr Motl, and Dr Woit really fell out with him over his sexism, rudeness, etc.

I wrote a post showing that Louise's GM = tc^3 far from being completely unphysical is really obtained simply:

Simply equate the rest mass energy of m with its gravitational potential energy mMG/R with respect to large mass of universe M located at an average distance of R = ct from m.

Hence E = mc^2 = mMG/(ct)

Cancelling and collecting terms,

GM = tc^3

So Louiseā€™s formula is derivable.

The rationale for equating rest mass energy to gravitational potential energy in the derivation is Einstein's principle of equivalence between inertial and gravitational mass in general relativity (GR), when combined with special relativity (SR)equivalence of mass and energy!

(1) GR equivalence principle: inertial mass = gravitational mass.

(2) SR equivalence principle: mass has an energy equivalent.

(3) Combining (1) and (2):

inertial mass-energy = gravitational mass-energy

(4) The inertial mass-energy is E=mc^2 which is the energy you get from complete annihilation of matter into energy.

The gravitational mass-energy is is gravitational potential energy a body has within the universe. Hence the gravitational mass-energy is the gravitational potential energy which would be released if the universe were to collapse. This is E = mMG/R with respect to large mass of universe M located at an average distance of R = ct from m.

I wrote several follow up posts about this because as a result of my post, Dr Thomas S. Love of the Departments of Mathematics and Physics, California State University, emailed me a derivation of Kepler's law based on the similar reasoning of equating the relevant energy equations! See for example

When I explained all the above in a blog discussion on alternatives to string theory, I think it was one of the discussions at Asymptotia run by Professor Clifford V. Johnson (who is the most friendly and reasonable of the string theorists, I think), Professor Jacques Distler of the University of Texas ridiculed it because it didn't use tensor calculus or something irrelevant.

I'm sympathetic with people who want alternatives to do an enormous amount and prove G = 8*Pi*T and SU(3)xSU(2)xU(1), but what these censors are doing is driving the early development of alternative ideas underground, minimising the number of people working on them, and generating a lot of needless heat and hostility. I've rarely seen a critic make a genuine scientific point, but whenever they do, these points are taken seriously and addressed carefully.

It's all in Machiavelli's description of human politics:

"... the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly ..."

That's the mechanism by which new ideas traditionally have to struggle against those who are happy with the hype of string theory and the lambda-CDM ad hoc cosmology.

Some of the comments Clifford made recently on Asymptotia in trying to defend string theory by saying it is incomplete made me very upset. There is serious hypocrisy, and string theorists themselves just can't see it:

is small and you will make testable predictions about the low energy theory, such as computing the mass of the top?

"... this is an ongoing research program on a still rather underdeveloped theory. ... how come you are willing to pre-suppose the outcome and discard all the work that is going on to understand and better develop string theory in so many areas? This is especially puzzling since you mention that lack of understanding.
How can you on the one hand claim that a theory is poorly understood, and then in the same breath condemn it as unworkable before it is understood?"
- Clifford

They just can't understand that mainstream string theory ideas that fail to make really checkable predictions can't be defended like this, because mainstream pro-string censors (not Clifford, admittedly) go out of their way to attack alternatives like LQG for being incomplete, not to mention Louise's theory.

(BTW, sorry this is a such a long comment, I'll copy it to my blog so you are free to delete, if it's clutter.)

March 21, 2007 11:28 PM  
Blogger nige said...

Below is another way of deriving Louise's GM = tc^3 that is probably easier for most people to grasp.

Consider why the big bang was able to happen, instead of the mass being locked by gravity into a black hole singularity and unable to expand!

This question is traditionally answered (Prof. Susskind used this in an interview about his book) by the fact the universe simply had enough outward explosive or expansive force to counter the gravitational pull which would otherwise produce a black hole.

In order to make this explanation work, the outward acting explosive energy of the big bang, E = Mc^2, had to either be equal to, or exceed, the energy of the inward acting gravitational force which was resisting expansion.

The latter energy is E = (M^2)G/R = (M^2)G/(ct).

Hence the explosive energy of the big bang's nuclear reactions, fusion, etc., E = Mc^2 had to be equal or greater than E = (M^2)G/(ct):

Mc^2 ~ (M^2)G/(ct)


MG ~ tc^3

which is Louise's equation.

March 22, 2007 3:17 AM  
Blogger Kea said...

Thanks Nigel. Your support is appreciated. Louise's new post had me almost rolling on the floor ... LOL.

March 22, 2007 7:54 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

I'm afraid that at this time, my giving support for Louise would be uh, counterproductive.

Nice post, Nigel. Loved the quote from Machiavelli. As usual, the cosmology goes over my head. I should have a new paper finished soon.

March 22, 2007 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Louise (and Kea, as I am also posting this on Kea's blog),
I am very sad to hear that Cornell's censors have reached even beyond arXiv to pressure a meeting at another (supposedly independent of Cornell) institution to prevent you from delivering a talk that had already been accepted.
It is especiallly disgusting that Don Barry attacks you personally as "a frequent crackpot pest" and suggests that if you are allowed to talk, it should be regarded as "some comic relief".

Since I am blacklisted by the Cornell arXiv, I am in the same position of Carl Brannen stated:
"... at this time, my giving support for Louise would be uh, counterproductive ...",
I will not burden you by complaining to Cornell or Imperial, but I do want to express my feelings on your blog, and on Kea's. Please feel free to delete this comment if you (either Louise or Kea) feel that it is redundant duplication.

Since I was hanging around Ga Tech in the 1980s, I may have encountered Don Barry, but if I did, I don't recall it. On his web pages at Cornell, he said:
"... science flourishes within professional societies and collectives of scholars and students when its progress is directed by those with a stake in it. There must be a social contract between a scientist and his syndic, and an exit penalty for kamikaze runs outside this setting
(dissension within a syndic is fine ... but Edward Tellers ... who operate outside the morality of their colleagues must earn their recompense). ...".

In short, he says that only establishment science can be good science.

That would rule out such things as:

Continental Drift (advocated by outsider Alfred Wegener in 1912, but not accepted until the 1960s);

Bohmian quantum mechanics (Oppenheimer, as head of the Princeton IAS, said "If we cannot disprove Bohm, then we must agree to ignore him.);

the Copernical theory (advocated by outsider Galileo);

stars as suns (advocated by outsiter Bruno, who was burned to death for such);

statistical mechanics as basis for thermodynamics (advocated by Botzmann, who was driven to suicide);

QED (invented by outsider Stueckelberg, who was ignored until Feynman et al "rediscovered" it - Feynman, after receiving the Nobel, saw Stueckelberg at CERN and said ""He [ Stueckelberg ] did the work and walks alone toward the sunset; and, here I [ Feynman ] am, covered in all the glory, which rightfully should be his!" ... ".

In the interest of length of comment, I will stop my list here,
conclude by saying that you, Louise, should follow your heart and do what feels right,
no matter what Cornell or anyone else says.
Of course, you should listen to substantive criticism and continually reexamine your model, and if you find flaws, correct them and so produce an improved model,
but if you remain self-critical and follow your heart, I think that you will not go wrong.

Tony Smith

PS - It seems strange to me that Don Barry cites Teller as an example of bad science,
even though Teller had the support of the weapons-building establishment and did in fact (with the help of Ulam and others) build a hydrogen bomb that was undeniably successful physics.

PPS - Here is a quote from Claude Allegre (from his book The Behavior of the Earth (Harvard Press 1988)), in the context of the establishment's adoption in 1961 of Wegener's 1912 proposal of Continental Drift (which actually had even earlier been "set forth in 1858 by Antonio Snyder-Pellegrini"):
"... Originality is a highly esteemed virtue as long as it is not TOO original. ... the only tolerable originalities are those that are differentially origininal (in the mathematical sense). The quantum jump in the evolution of scientific ideas is taboo ...".

March 23, 2007 5:02 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

Thank you very much Tony for your comment, and your visit. I have no intention of deleting it! Fortunately, our understanding of the unified theory is developing quickly and some experimentalists are showing interest. That is what really matters.

March 24, 2007 10:55 AM  

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