Archive for the ‘Cosmology’ Category

Free Will Destroys The Holographic Principle

February 12, 2017

Abstract: Many famous physicists promote (themselves and) the “Holographic Universe” (aka the “Holographic Principle”). I show that the Holographic Universe is incompatible with the notion of Free Will.


When studying Advanced Calculus, one discovers situations where the information on the boundary of a locale enables to reconstitute the information inside. From my mathematical philosophy point of view, this phenomenon is a generalization of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. That says that the sum of infinitesimals df is equal to the value of the function f on its boundary.

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus was discovered by the French lawyer and MP, Fermat, usually rather known for proposing a theorem in Number Theory, which took nearly 400 years to be proven! Fermat actually invented calculus, a bigger fish he landed while Leibniz and Newton’s parents were in diapers.

As Wikipedia puts it, inserting a bit of francophobic fake news for good measure:  Fermat was the first person known to have evaluated the integral of general power functions. With his method, he was able to reduce this evaluation to the sum of geometric series.[10] The resulting formula was helpful to Newton, and then Leibniz, when they independently developed the fundamental theorem of calculus.” (Independently of each other, but not of Fermat; Fermat published his discovery in 1629. Newton and Leibniz were born in 1642 and 1646…)  

Holography is a fascinating technology.  

Basic Setup To Make A Hologram. Once the Object, The Green Star, Has Fallen Inside A Black Hole, It’s Clearly Impossible To Make A Hologram of the Situation, If Free Will Reigns Inside the Green Star.

Basic Setup To Make A Hologram. Once the Object, The Green Star, Has Fallen Inside A Black Hole, It’s Clearly Impossible To Make A Hologram of the Situation, If Free Will Reigns Inside the Green Star.

The objection is similar to that made in Relativity with light: if one goes at the speed of light (supposing one could), and look at a mirror, the light to be reflected could never catch-up with the mirror. Hence, once reaching the speed of light, one could not look oneself into a mirror. Einstein claimed he got this idea when he was 16-year-old (cute, but by then others had long figured out the part off Relativity pertaining to that situation…

My further objection below is going to be a bit more subtle.


Here Is The Holographic Principle As Described In Wikipedia:

The holographic principle is a principle of string theories and a supposed property of quantum gravity that states that the description of a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a lower-dimensional boundary to the region—preferably a light-like boundary like a gravitational horizon. First proposed by Gerard ‘t Hooft, it was given a precise string-theory interpretation by Leonard Susskind[1] who combined his ideas with previous ones of ‘t Hooft and Charles Thorn.[1][2] As pointed out by Raphael Bousso,[3] Thorn observed in 1978 that string theory admits a lower-dimensional description in which gravity emerges from it in what would now be called a holographic way.

In a larger sense, the theory suggests that the entire universe can be seen as two-dimensional information on the cosmological horizon, the event horizon from which information may still be gathered and not lost due to the natural limitations of spacetime supporting a black hole, an observer and a given setting of these specific elements,[clarification needed] such that the three dimensions we observe are an effective description only at macroscopic scales and at low energies. Cosmological holography has not been made mathematically precise, partly because the particle horizon has a non-zero area and grows with time.[4][5]

The holographic principle was inspired by black hole thermodynamics, which conjectures that the maximal entropy in any region scales with the radius squared, and not cubed as might be expected. In the case of a black hole, the insight was that the informational content of all the objects that have fallen into the hole might be entirely contained in surface fluctuations of the event horizon.


The Superficiality Principle Rules:

I long suspected that physicists and mathematicians are taken by the beauty of the simplification of knowing the inside from the outside. It’s a sort of beauty, fashion model way of looking at the world. It miserably fails with Black Holes.

To figure this out, one needs to know one thing about Black Holes, and another in philosophy of mind.



My reasoning is simple:

  1. Consider a Black Hole so large that a human being can fall into it without been shredded by tidal effects. A few lines of high school computation show that a Milky Way sized volume with the density of air on Earth is a Black Hole: light falling into it, cannot come back. (Newton could have made the computation and Laplace did it.)
  2. So here we have this Human (call her H), falling in the Milky Way Air Black Hole (MWAB).
  3. Once past the boundary of the Black Hole, Human H cannot be communicated with from the outside of the boundary (at least from known physics).
  4. What the Holographic proponent claim is that they can know what is inside the MWAB.
  5. Suppose that Human H decides to have scrambled eggs for breakfast instead of pancakes. The partisans of the Holographic Universe claim that they had the information already. However they stand outside of the MWAB, the giant Black Hole, and cannot communicate with its interior. Nevertheless, Susskind and company claim they knew it all along.

That is obviously grotesque. (Except if you believe Stanford physicists are omniscient, omnipotent gods, violating known laws of physics: that is basically what they claim.)

This is not as ridiculous as the multiverse (the most ridiculous theory ever). But it’s pretty ridiculous too. (Not to say that the questions Free Will lead to in physics are all ridiculous: they are not, especially regarding Quantum Theory!)

By the way, there are other objections against the Holographic Universe having to do with the COSMOLOGICAL Event Horizon (in contradistinction of those generated by Black Holes). Another time…


We Are Hypocrites, So We Live From Fake News:

Tellingly, the men promoting the Holographic Universe are Nobel Laureates, or the like. Such men tend to be very ambitious, full of Free Will, ready to say, or do anything, to dominate (I have met dozens in person). It is revealing that so great their Free Will is, that they are ready to contradict what they are all about, to make everybody talk about themselves, and promote their already colossal glories.

Patrice Ayme’

DARK GALAXY (Explained?)

October 1, 2016

A giant galaxy made nearly entirely of Dark Matter has been discovered. Theories of Dark Matter proposed by people salaried for professing physics cannot explain (easily, if at all!) why there would be so much Dark Matter in one galaxy. I can. In my own theory, Dark Matter is not really matter, although matter gives birth to it, under some particular geometrical conditions. In my theory, in some geometrodynamic situations, a galaxy will churn inordinate amounts of Dark Matter quickly. So I was not surprised by the find.

There are many potential theories of Dark Matter. Most are fairly conventional. They typically hypothesize new particles (some of these new particles could come from new symmetries, such as supersymmetry). I do not see how they can predict why these particular particles appear in some places, and not others. However, the importance of location, of geometry, is a crucial feature of my own theory.

I predicate that the Quantum Interaction (copyright myself) does not have infinite range. Thus, quantum interactions, in some conditions of low mass-energy density, leave behind part of the Quantum Wave. Such debris have mass-energy, so they exert gravitational pull, but they have little else besides (most of the characteristics of the particles they were part of concentrate somewhere else).

I Can Explain This Dark Galaxy, By Changing The Foundations Of Physics. No Less.

I Can Explain This Dark Galaxy, By Changing The Foundations Of Physics. No Less.

[From the Hawaiian Gemini telescope.]

In my own theory, one can imagine that the geometry of a galaxy is, at some point extremely favorable to the creation of Dark Matter: it is just a question of dispersing the matter just so. The Dark Galaxy has 1% of the stars of our Milky Way, or less. In my theory, once Dark Matter has formed, it does not seem possible to make visible matter again with it (broken Quantum Wave debris float around like a cosmic fog).

All past science started as a mix of philosophy and science-fiction (Aristarchus, Lucretius, Giordano Bruno, Immanuel Kant, Lamarck are examples). One can only surmise it will be the same in the future, and this is supported by very good logic: guessing comes always before knowing. Those who claim that science will never be born again from philosophy and fantasy are saying that really new science will never happen again. They say that all the foundations of science are known already. So they are into predication, just like religious fanatics.

It was fashionable to say so, among physicists in the 1990s, the times of the fable known as TOE, the so-called Theory Of Everything. Shortly after this orgasm of self-satisfaction by self-appointed pontiffs, the evidence became clear that the universe’s mass-energy was mostly Dark Energy, and Dark Matter.

This is an interesting case of meta-mood shared: also in the 1990s, clever idiots (Fukuyama, etc.) claimed history had ended: a similar claim from the same period, permeating the same mood of stunted imagination. The advantage, while those who pontificated that way? They could claim they knew everything: they had become gods, living gods.

I had known about Dark Matter all along (the problem surfaced nearly a century ago). I considered it a huge problem: It held galaxies and galactic clusters, together. But maybe something had been overlooked. Meanwhile Main Stream Physics (MSP) dutifully, studiously, ignored it. For decades. Speaking of Dark matter made one despicable, a conspiracy theorist.

Another thing MSP ignored was the foundations of physics. Only the most prestigious physicists, such as Richard Feynman, could afford to repeat Einstein’s famous opinion that “nobody understands Quantum Mechanics”. I gave my intellectual life’s main axis of reflection in trying to understand what nobody wanted to understand, that nobody thought they could afford to understand, the real foundations of physics. (So doing I was forced to reflect on why it is that people do not want to understand the most fundamental things, even while professing they do. It is particularly blatant in, say, economics.)

I have long discovered that the real foundations of physics are entangled with those of mathematics (it is not just that physics, nature, is written with mathematics, as Galileo wrote; there is a dialogue between the mathematics that we invent, and the universe that we discover, they lead to each other). For example whether the infinity axiom is allowed in mathematics change the physics radically (the normalization problem of physics is solved if one removes the infinity axiom).

Right now, research at the foundations of (proper) physics is hindered by our lack of nonlinear mathematics: Quantum mechanics, as it is, is linear (waves add up in the simplest way). However the “collapse of the wave packet” is obviously nonlinear (this is why it’s outside of existing physics, from lack of math). From that Quantum collapse, when incomplete from great distances involved, comes Dark Matter. At least, so I propose. 

Patrice Ayme’

Big Bang Proof Turns To Dust

September 22, 2014

Dust peppers outer space, around the enormous Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way is much more massive than any other galaxy in the fifty galaxy strong Local Group (only the giant Andromeda has a comparable mass). So, naturally, it has a lot of dust. The dimly radiating dust grains are aligned with our galaxy’s magnetic field. The galactic magnetic field’s swirling gives a polarization to the dust glow, just as a crystal’s alignment polarizes reflected light.

Last March, cosmic inflation enthusiasts claimed to have seen ripples at the origin of time. They claimed to have used a telescope that was sensitive enough. Yet they used a sort of postcard lifted from the European telescope Planck, to evaluate how much galactic dust there was, polarizing the light. That was, at best amateurish, or scientific fraud, and, at worst, a scam on the tax paying public, who wants to be enlightened, not defrauded.

We Fraud, Therefore We Sink. How Inflation > Cosmic Polarization

We Fraud, Therefore We Sink. How Inflation > Cosmic Polarization

[That was the hope from Harvard’s Kovac; it just bit the dust. At least the picture is pretty.]

The Planck researchers were flabbergasted by the behavior of their American colleagues. They knew the dust could mimic the predicted signal from the Big Bang. No doubt the “Publish Or Perish” syndrome was at work again: say whatever to become a celebrity, being a celebrity is what a career is about. Damn careful thinking. Many a Harvard professor has appeared to believe that, whatever they say, whatever they do, it will be accepted. Unfortunately, they have often been proven right. And not just in physics, but economics, finance, politics, morality, philosophy. That makes Harvard the keystone of plutocratic propaganda.

Now, it turns out that this swirling pattern touted as evidence of primordial gravitational waves — ripples in space and time from the universe’s explosive birth — could all come from magnetically aligned Milky Way dust. A new analysis of data from the Planck space telescope concludes that the tiny silicate and carbonate particles of interstellar space could account for as much as 100 percent of the signal detected by the BICEP2 telescope and announced to big light and great banging this spring.

Do we need Cosmic Inflation, and its many absurdities? Of course not:



Now that we have Dark Energy (or Phantom Energy), we simply do not need Inflation Theory.

Dark Energy is a fact. Inflation theory a far-fetched stream of ideas which leads to universes exploding in every way, all the time, all over the place, a blatant absurdity, if there ever was one.

Indeed, having an uncountable number of universes on every pinhead is even more incredible than having to count how many angels sit on a pinhead, as some Medieval naïve religious types used to ponder.

In the scenario of the Big Bang we have now, space expansion accelerates in an hyper exponential way for a while (“inflation”), then decelerates until close to the present era, before re-accelerating from Dark Energy. This is weird, and logically contrived.

The most logically economical theory, from the barest known facts, is that cosmic expansion is completely due to Dark Energy. In that case, the universe is more like 100 billion years old. Nuclear synthesis of helium, lithium, etc. are generally rolled out to claim the Big Bang had to have synthesized them. However, those light elements could have been created thanks to some of the energetic phenomena observed since the Big Bang theory was elaborated (such as galactic core Black Holes).

The 3 degree K radiation could be due, in part to other phenomena than cosmic expansion. However, expanding for 100 billion years could be enough of an explanation.

Here we are faced with two theories explaining just as much. However, one uses an axiom (inflation) that is not a fact, but a fancy idea… And which is not even needed. Clearly Occam Razor ought to be applied, and Inflation and its Big Bang, decapitated.


And why does all this matter, for broader thinkers? First there is the poetry of it all. That enormous galaxy, our home, makes hearts melt with the possibilities, and perspectives.

The old name for galaxies was “island universes”. Kant worked on that for his thesis. The size of the Milky Way is baffling. It contains stars which are 13.6 billion years old (just 6,000 light years away, and uncomfortably close, if you ask me, to the presumed birth of the universe according to the Big Bang. It’s like a Freudian slip: ’Oh, and our Milky Way is old as the universe…’).

Secondly, and more importantly, scientists are supposed to roll out the most impressive, innovative, yet rigorous thinking. Yet, from Unobservable Strings, to Wishful Supersymmetry, to much Crazy Cosmology, there is a bad smell, and a poor show out there. Of course, the degradation of public logic suits the plutocracy just fine.

Thus, although it does not look like it, much the over-excitement in some areas of extremely speculative physics has much to do, you guessed it, with the fancy multiverses in finance, gouging We The People. Namely, if we learn to tolerate irrationality in physics, so will we, all over, as physics is supposed to be the shining example on a hill.

Hence the desire to impose the greatest rationality, and the strictest probity in physics, from the most general philosophical point of view. And for those who want to insure a sustainable civilization, and enough of the biosphere to survive to make it so.

Patrice Ayme’

P/S: the essence of the preceding scientific ideas was sent to several popular physics and science sites. None of the sites published it. I was witness, in the past, of reviewers stealing ideas during the peer review process, or suppressing ideas which showed them to be wrong. This systemic censorship could be somewhat related.

Versing Into Multiverse

June 2, 2014

Louis XIV was a famous mass butcher of people he insulted as “heretics“, a great destroyer of Europe, let alone France. A direct descendant of Louis XIV, the “king” of Spain, has just abdicated, so that his son can also become plutocrat-in-chief (Rey, Roy, King, Koenig).

People love to follow. The Spanish herd, in a further act of humiliation, is supposed to bleat its approval. When the dying king of Spain named the grandson of Louis XIV king of Spain, the fanatical Guillaume of Orange from the Netherlands, who had just conquered England, according to his plan of attack of Louis XIV, had a pretext to organize a world coalition against France-Spain.

The resulting folly, the “War of the Spanish Succession” killed millions over 13 years.

Minds Are Multiverses. Yet, That's It.

Minds Are Multiverses. Yet, That’s It.

[Versing into multiverses that are too far away, implies versing into folly.]

The mania of crowds is a great thing to watch. In the Middle Ages, those viewed as the wisest and most knowledgeable pondered the number of angels on a pin. Their modern alter egos, are much more advanced; instead of wondering about how many angels, they answer: an infinity of universes. What could go wrong?

Alexi Helligar, a participant on this site kindly provided is with a video of a celebrity physicist from Harvard, talking at Oxford. Thank.

The video disappeared for a while! Here it is:

It looks like physics, just as climate science financed by the Koch brothers looks like science. Alexi told me I was “naive” to believe that there was any conspiracy involved. Yet that was after telling me that the celebrity physicist was a genius of our time. He is, thanks to a conspiracy. For short, we call him “the Celebrity”.

The Celebrity is financed to the tune of several million dollars by one hedge fund plutocrat. That’s while true science is starving in the USA.

But of course the Celebrity, now a fabricated genius, is, by his very existence, a testimony to the glory of the hedge fund “industry”. Expect him to sing its praises. His very behavior breathes the self assurance of a hedge-fund manager. Maybe Wall Street ought to be give him a Nobel, as he did nothing but talk pretty, just as Obama.

You see, physics has several entangled problems.

The Big Bang theory needs “Cosmic Inflation” and inflation of space happening at a speed I call “TAU”, around ten billion times the speed of light.


Because the Universe is just way too big, to be the result of just the Big bang without Inflation.

However, Inflation theory, as it stands, creates universes all over the place.

Why? Because the Inflation scenario, as envisioned, arises from Quantum fluctuations, and creates a universe without energy expenditure. If it can create one universe that way, it can create zillions.

So how come we see just one universe, the Universe? Inflationistas tells us that we have to be somewhere.

Yes, sure. But then it turns out, in this universe full of universes, that a universe with us is exceedingly rare. Universes with “zombie brains” would be more likely.

It’s all, of course, sheer insanity. And it’s easy to spot: just as inflationistas which kind of particles existed during Inflation. Well, they didn’t even think about it.

Recently, some of those space fantasy authors suggested that one needed an “observer” to have particles, ergo, there were now particles during inflation, only Inflatons (the excitation of the Inflation filed, neither of which have been observed).

Presto, no more zombie brains! That “breakthrough” was applauded in Harvard, MIT and Oxford. At least it makes comic reading.

Arkani-Hamed, to name the Celebrity, has been saying  for a decade, that the Large Hadron Collider compels us to believe that the small value of the Higgs mass (in Planck units) indicates “fine-tuning” that can only have an anthropocentric explanation.

In that case, we live in a multiverse, with physics determined by something like the string theory landscape. About this whole conceptual framework, he says the “ideas are so poorly defined, not clear if they make any kind of mathematical sense”, and it’s “not clear progress will happen anytime soon” but, no need to worry or get discouraged, since this is an “attractive problem”. (David Gross, a physics Nobel called that “giving up”).

Philosophically, to expect that man gives rise to the universe is beyond absurd. Instead of believing that there is a god creating the universe, now it’s man who is god, and creates the universe. That the problem originated with Niels Bohr and company is no excuse.

It’s the angel-on-a-pin absurdity again, made worse, once again. Those people don’t even have the excuse of living in the Middle Ages.

This clash between self-assurance and completely fishy ideas, is giving physics a bad name.

As I have explained in “100 billion years old Universe”, the Big Bang is not needed anymore: Dark Energy can do it all. The entire expansion, that is.

Dark Energy is serious physics, based on facts, not wishful fantasy. It was guessed way back, from carefully going through the experimental and logical evidence (I. Segal, etc.). Similarly for Dark Matter. Today’s physics explain neither. Standard high energy theorists were busy denying either were worthy of interest.

However, today’s new, experimental, evidential physics present potential explanations for other aspects that only the Big Bang was supposed to explain.

In particular, Black Holes in the center of galaxies generate huge amount of localized energy: as matter falls into them, it heats up enormously. I suggested this would prevent serious life to arise in the center of galaxies.

Could that be used to generate elements such as Helium? We don’t know.

But that deserves to be studied. That’s serious physics.

When there is so much to do, “extrapolations on top of extrapolations on top of extrapolations”, as the Celebrity physicist himself recognizes, is certainly a way to invent new physics. But, when it is presented as what physics say the world is, it’s no way to impress the fragile minds of some members of the public, who can’t tell an equation from a degeneration. To forcefully present to the public deranged fantasy as if it were physics, is just encouraged the gullibility of crowds, and the madness of the herd (no wonder hedge funds managers fund that to give critique a new foundation!).

Meanwhile, stand reassured, you who attach worth to sanity: there is just one universe out there. It’s much bigger, much older than Celebrity physicists have it. And it is NOT girl watching that creates it. To believe that human gaze creates all, is just a collective Freudian slip of thousands of physicists who cannot really believe that the Universe makes sense, as their PhD theses surely do not.

Patrice Aymé

Which Parts of the Big Bang Theory are Reliable, and Why?

March 26, 2014

I long held that there was no proof whatsoever that the universe was 13.7 billion year old, as all too many Big Bang theorists have long claimed, all over the Main Stream Media that they have exclusive access to.

Now I am happy to report that a main stream physicist, the very honorable professor Matt Strassler, supports this point of view in an excellent article:

Professor Strassler’s broad reasoning is exactly the one I long put forward: the equations and the experiments we have break down at very high energies, so we cannot use them to extrapolate logic at such energies (something similar happens with gravitation: we have no proof that this force as usually described holds beyond the Solar System… and some hints that it does not).

To be doubtful about the simplistic Big Bang model holds, even in light of the interpretation of the latest data, which supposedly shows gravitational wave ripples consecutive to cosmic inflation. Yet, as professor Strassler says: “BICEP2 can really only tell us about the late stage and exit from inflation”.

I sent a comment: I guess I will have to get more subtle with my own, much older “Universe: 100-billion years old?”. After this allusion of dubious taste, for someone who is not officially one of the great priests of physics, I proceeded to thank professor Strassler:

“In any case, thank you for this detailed analysis on how certain we are of the various elements of the concept of Big Bang. This is the sort of subtlety that needs to be taught to the public: that there are degrees of certainty in science. And even in physics.

By preaching the Big Bang as if it were a religion, as many scientists have done in popular shows (latest on “Cosmos”, complete with multiverse, presented as part of our “address”!) one did a disservice to science, or even to reason itself… And there could be a backlash, if the public discovers that they were lied to. So the earlier the subtleties are taught, the better.”

Here is professor Strassler’s excellent post, which demonstrates, in fascinating detail, the broad point I made previously, as an iconoclast philosopher:

Of Particular Significance

Familiar throughout our international culture, the “Big Bang” is well-known as the theory that scientists use to describe and explain the history of the universe. But the theory is not a single conceptual unit, and there are parts that are more reliable than others.

It’s important to understand that the theory — a set of equations describing how the universe (more precisely, the observable patch of our universe, which may be a tiny fraction of the universe) changes over time, and leading to sometimes precise predictions for what should, if the theory is right, be observed by humans in the sky — actually consists of different periods, some of which are far more speculative than others.  In the more speculative early periods, we must use equations in which we have limited confidence at best; moreover, data relevant to these periods, from observations of the cosmos and from particle physics experiments…

View original post 3,319 more words


December 19, 2013

Abstract: Dark Energy is a fact. Dark Energy is not an extrapolation such as the Big Bang, or an extrapolation of extrapolations, such as Cosmic Inflation. Dark Energy enables a completely different cosmology. Taking Dark Energy seriously renders Cosmic Inflation and the Big Bang superfluous… And the universe very old.

The basic reasoning establishing the Big Bang is of primary school level. And yet, from recent observations, it is probably erroneous. I propose that the universe is rather of the order of 100 billion years old rather than 13.7 billion [sic!]. Why do I think the universe is much bigger, and much older than most accredited, professional cosmologists do? Why are celebrity physicists misinforming the public?

Galaxies To Infinity. 100 Billion Years Old, I Say.

Galaxies To Infinity. 100 Billion Years Old, I Say.

[One photon a minute to get this picture!]

Boldly averaging observations of red shifts in our neighborhood, it has been artistically found that galaxies located 3.2 million light years away recede at 72 kilometers per second (that art was involved is obvious when one gets in the detail… And why Hubble got the numbers wrong by a factor of two initially).

Divide that inter-galactic distance by that speed, and that should tell a primary school student when the universe started. The good news: physicists understand this. The bad news: it’s all too simple, reality seems to disagree.

Let’s do the computation in detail.

(We will use the notation “^” to indicate powers; so 10^2 is (10) (10), 10^4 is 10,000, etc.)

Light covers (3) (10^5) kilometers in one second, and there are around 100,000 = 10^5 seconds in a day. So light covers (3) (10^10) ( 3) (10^2) ~ 10^13 kilometers in a year (=10,000 billion kilometers). Multiply that by (3) (10^6), the distance to that receding galaxy, to get:

(3) 10^19) kilometers (3 times ten billion billion kilometers). Divide by 70 kilometers per second, to find how many seconds it took for galaxies to separate 3.2 million light years: that’s ½ (10^18) seconds. Now there are around (3) (10^5)(10^2) seconds in a year. One gets roughly 14 billion years.

14 billion years ago, or so, the material of that 3.2 million light year away galaxy was next door.

From, there, applying the Principle of Homogeneity (PH: that everything is everywhere roughly the same), one deduces that all those things that became galaxies were next to each other. Notice that this recourse to PH is a philosophical jump: it seems likely, because it is the simplest we can think of, but it’s not a sure thing.

The only way this could have happened is if this expansion all started in the same place… in time (not space!). Presto, you have the result that the history of the universe is that of a Big Bang that started 14 billion years ago. So far, so good.

Notice a second philosophical jump occurred: to get to the conclusion that there was a Big Bang, we assumed that the expansion happened at the same rate, all along. That sounded like the easiest hypothesis, 80 years ago (or when the Big Bang was explicitly formulated, around 60 years ago). But there was NO proof, that the expansion had been at that rate all along, and some observers of things cosmological, or theoreticians, begged to differ (even during the 1960s).

I certainly did not agree with the certainty that the preceding reasoning was a sure thing, because it was not. I do not trust concept that are viewed as sure things, when obviously they are not. I view in them probable examples of herd effects.

However, in the last ten years, it turned out that, to everyone’s amazement, a fact unanticipated by the majority of cosmologists emerged. The rate of expansion was found to be increasing noticeably.

A force expanded the fabric of space ever more. It was called “Dark Energy” (energy, because that’s what one needs to expand space, dark, because the force vector itself could be not be seen; also there already was one problem, called “Dark Matter”, mass distributed all over, dwarfing the visible mass).

I Propose Doing Away With Weird Stuff On Left Side Of the Sketch (Explosion, Cosmic Inflation, etc.)

I Propose Doing Away With Weird Stuff On Left Side Of the Sketch (Explosion, Cosmic Inflation, etc.)

The very existence of “Dark Energy” immediately busted the “universe is 14 billion years old” conclusion. Indeed, one cannot assume the expansion was 71 kilometers per second, all along, when we see that this expansion is now accelerating. It’s changing: get it? C H A N G E… It’s changing now, so it should have been changing in the past.

It’s more logical to suppose the expansion was always there, and accelerated all along, that the expansion accelerated in the past as it does now. So as the expansion of the universe is NOT linear now, it’s only simpler, logically, to suppose that it was NOT linear in the past. Instead, it looks as if, in first approximation,the expansion of the universe was some sort of exponential tapering fading in the past.

(In other words, since its rate is accelerating now, we may as well suppose it accelerated similarly, all along! Instead the extrapolated Big Bang + extrapolated Cosmic Inflation + Observed Dark Energy implies that the rate of acceleration of the Universe varied enormously in the past: first accelerating gigantically, then slowing down, then coming to a standstill, then re-accelerating… Weird!)

On the back of an envelope, considering the present rate of acceleration of the expansion, and extrapolating that acceleration in the past, your generous servant can determine the universe ought to be 100 billion years old, rather than 14 billion years.

Some will whine: and what of the Cosmological Background Radiation? Well I have a Quantum answer to that. There are also other explanations available such as Olbers Paradox, and Tired Light.

The 100 billion year old universe is philosophically, axiomatically, simpler. (It also gives a lot of time to explain enormous large scale structures such as bubbles and walls of galactic clusters, which looked too organized to have evolved in a mere 14 billion years.)

Why is it that physicists are presenting the date of 13.7 billion years for the age of the universe with so much certainty? Because smug, god like certainty, is what sells. To know things that only an oligarchy knows, especially if this esoteric knowledge violates common sense, can only make one famous, thus powerful. Hence well fed, the pelt lustrous and the mien proud.

Some do not require more than this: they are simple apes, greed is their event horizon. Real thinkers are made of nobler stuff. Meanwhile, the universe is out there: let’s look carefully, but emotionally, at the picture above: millions of galaxies, as far as we can see. One cannot avoid the feeling that this universe is much older than simply thrice the age of the Earth.

And now that’s what the simplest logic, clinging to the established facts, embraces.

Patrice Aymé

Fragile Earth Syndrome

February 19, 2013

Abstract: The Earth is already all too close from being getting all too hot, from its astronomical position at the interior edge of the Sun’s Habitable Zone.

The Greeks viewed Gaia, the Earth, as the Mother Goddess from whom all other gods sprang. Yet, discoveries they made later showed that this metaphysics was misleading. In truth, habitable planets, far from being all powerful, are confined to narrow zones around their stars (and these zones move, and are under continual threat, as I describe below):

Sun Like Stars Are Most Hospitable.

Vertically the masses, going up, the unit being the mass of the sun; as stars gets bigger, they get hotter, thus they change color, covering the entire black-body spectrum, from brown dwarves to blinding ultra violet hot “Blue Stragglers”.

Horizontally, the distance from the star; the graph gives only a rough idea of the notion of Habitable Zone; in truth the whole point of this essay is that Earth is at the edge of Sol’s Habitable Zone, within 1% of boiling; Habitable Zones narrow as the stars get smaller, and get much larger, far out, around bigger stars.

The life of Earth on the edge has got more dicey in the last 400 million years. Thus the risk of hyper warming is greater than in the Carboniferous Era. By pumping into the atmosphere the equivalent of 100 million tons of CO2, every single day, we are, literally, playing with fire. (A first counter-measure would be to outlaw, through regulations, those gases that warm up the air a lot, and are not indispensable; for example leaks in the pipelines of the USA allow 4% of the CH4 to escape!)

The two close calls by large space rocks were a reminder that this is a serious, not particularly friendly universe. Something to meditate carefully.

Those who play apprentice sorcerers with the climate and planetary ecology should pay attention.

For reasons having to do with the periodic table, the frequency of elements and the chemical characteristics of carbon, namely its ability to form many liaisons, it seems likely that life in the universe will have to resemble life on Earth. That is being water, carbon and oxygen based. (Believing that life does not have to be carbon-centric may sound cute, but it’s unreal.)

Thus the habitable zone is the zone around a star where it is neither to hot, nor too cold, and a planet can support water.

Not all stars can have an habitable zone: the greater the mass of a star, the more fiercely it burns. A star with five times the mass of the sun will typically have 625 times the luminosity of the sun.

Why? In small stars, the part of the core hot and dense enough to sustain thermonuclear fusion is relatively small. In large stars, it becomes enormous, and embraces much more of the thermonuclear fuel tank.

For Stars, Mass Is Everything.

For Stars, Mass Is Everything.

Thus, the larger the mass, the shorter the lifespan of the entire system orbiting the star. A star with 60 solar masses will shine only 3 million years before running out of hydrogen. At that point it will run hotter and hotter as it burns heavier elements until it explodes as a super nova. A star of five solar masses will live longer, but still only 100 million years or so. Long enough to make it a tourist destination, not long enough to evolve life (all the more as the habitable zone will migrate out fast, as the stellar furnace gets hotter, fast).

Even a star with only 50% larger mass than the Sun will live only three billion years. On Earth, after that duration, the first oxygen making organisms were appearing, and the atmosphere was going to change completely, from reducing to oxidizing. That would bring the “Snowball Earth” episodes, 600 million years ago, or so, when most of the planet froze, before enough CO2 could be generated to reach the appropriate greenhouse effect.

Clearly, for evolving advanced life, more than a billion years is needed. Thus planets with indigenous life will be restricted to red and yellow dwarves (the sun is one of the latter, with an estimated lifespan of ten billion years before turning ephemerally into a red giant).

The 2012 sci-fi (silly) movie “Battleship” has it right on that point: most of the habitability is found cuddling next to red dwarf stars, so that aliens would be blinded by our sunlight is likely. This also means that life out there has a good probability to have evolved in what, for us, would be rather dim circumstances. Indeed most stars are red dwarves and those are the longest living stars, easily going on for 15 billion years (they use their thermonuclear fuel conservatively).

Some red dwarves could have evolved life, in our Milky Way galaxy, when our sun, a mighty yellow dwarf, did not exist yet. Such stars, with their habitable planets, could still be around.

Being in the habitable zone is necessary for life, but it’s not sufficient.

For example, any planet orbiting too close to its star will lock its orbital rotation and its diurnal rotation (as the Moon has with the Earth). Thus the planet will have one side too hot for life, and the other too cold.

That means that when red dwarves become too small, their habitable zones, get too close, and would-be habitable planet lock down. (Venus, although 100 million kilometers from the Sun is nearly locked: it rotate on itself slower than it does around the Sun.)

The Earth is totally exceptional. She is endowed with a huge satellite that stabilizes her inclination on the orbital plane (Mars’ inclination on the elliptic varies wildly, causing wildly fluctuating super-seasons). This resulting, constant and mild inclination allows the poles to not get too cold, and the tropics, not too warm: it spreads the goodness of sunlight around.

Earth is also a mighty nuclear reactor, providing with the shield of a powerful magnetosphere (Venus does not have any, so its upper atmosphere is scorched by the solar wind), and plate tectonic (allowing for a complex recycling mechanism involving CO2 and long term climate stability).

The present, sort of official, habitability zone theory is 20 years old. It showed that Earth was within 5% of receiving too much warmth from her star. What has been found by the latest study is even more disturbing: Earth is within 1%, 1.5 million kilometers of inhabitability (5 times the Earth-Moon distance).

Earth is, astronomically, at risk of getting too hot, and of suffering a run-away greenhouse, as Venus did.

Long ago, Venus may have been in the habitable zone. However, general main sequence star theory, and observation, show that the Sun has warmed up. Its power output has increased by at least 25% since it got started. So the habitable zone in the Solar System has been slowly moving outward.

Why did the Earth cool over the last 100 million years, if the sun is slowly warming up? It probably has to do with non linear effects related to the geometry of the continents: the continents migrated north, and shallow tropical seas disappeared. The migration of land towards the north augmented the albedo of the Earth (as land stays frozen in summer more easily than sea, ice and snow keep reflecting more sunlight back to space, even then; that’s the core of the two centuries old glaciation theory).

So, as Earth should have warmed up, by a miracle, a sun shade, the glaciated North, was put in place, just in time!

Not all the coolness is due to ice and snow. Earth, before very recent human interference, had long been endowed with a cool climate. It seems that clouds make the difference (the effects clouds bring are too complex to be taken into account in computer programs of habitability at this point).
It’s a double edged sword. Water vapor may bring more clouds, but it is also a mighty greenhouse gas.

Still the point remains that all the objective data show that, our planet is not far, astronomically speaking, from a runaway greenhouse. By keeping on pumping a witches’ brew of greenhouse warming gases in the atmosphere, we are, literally playing with fire. Every day we add nearly 100 million tons, in CO2 alone, in our apparent urge to mimic Venus.

Pumping 450 million years of carbon into the air all of a sudden is not smart: Earth has had plate tectonics from the start, so much of this carbon was sequestered. Now we are freeing huge quantities of it… and in a geological, and biological, snap.

All other things being equal, the Earth is closer to inhabitability through warming than it was 400 million years ago (when the CO2 was very high). Having the same CO2 in the air as in the Carboniferous Era would result in a warmer planet.
To make things worse, there are no plausible technological fixes to too much CO2 in the atmosphere (with existing science and technology; and contrarily to disinformation from the fossil carbon burning fanatics).

In between the high- and low-mass stars lie stars similar to our own Sun. They make up about 15% percent of the stars in the galaxy. Such stars have reasonably-broad Habitable Zones, do not suffer from hard UV irradiation, have lifetimes of the order of 10 billion years. They are the best candidates for harboring planets with indigenous life.

Intriguingly, the three stars of the Alpha Centauri system may harbor life. The system is made of two main yellow dwarves, one slightly bigger, one slightly smaller than the sun. They come as close to each other as Saturn is from the Sun (not close enough to affect each other Habitable Zones directly).

A planet was just detected, grazing the .9 solar mass Alpha Centauri B. (We have the means to find out if the system supports life, but NASA and the Congress of the USA, shut down the projects, in an apparent fit of obscurantist anti-science rage; one of them called the Terrestrial Planet Finder; Alpha Centauri would be reachable with nuclear propulsion.)

The stability of orbits (hence of the Habitable Zones) in the Alpha Centauri system has been debated. Many a stellar system has been found where giant planets have progressively swept the entire system. And we are always one giant comet away from extinction. That could happen in 6 months. And we don’t know, because we are apparently not interested to find out. (Although the mightiest nuke could solve that problem, that would require some preparations.)

Life exists in the cosmos, everywhere, but it’s fragile. Everywhere. Including on so far invincible fortress Earth. Invincible, but still so fragile.

3,000 years after the Greeks elaborated their mythology, we find out that, contrarily to what they guessed, Earth is far from the mother of all what is divine. There are greater powers out there… The worst of them being, potentially, ourselves.

As a star goes up the main sequence, its Habitability Zone moves out. So we should be careful to think we can reconstitute the conditions of the Carboniferous Era, by pumping as much CO2 in the air as there was then, and prosper.

Everything indicates that we will punch straight trough.
Patrice Ayme

Deflating BIG BANG’s Inflation.

March 25, 2012


Abstract: The Big Bang cosmological model is possibly completely false. It depends alarmingly upon the speed of expansion of the universe, assuming that, for reason and mechanism unknown, it was, at some point, for some convenient duration, trillions of trillions of times the speed of light. Or maybe not.

I give also a few other reasons to throw cold water on the Big Bang.

Geometrically the Big Bang assumes that it is “turtles all the way down”. Yet, Quantum Physics, properly interpreted, gives us reasons to think otherwise. Especially after integrating the latest experimental results on the apparent singularization of Quantum waves (2011). (If that gets confirmed, singularization is the greatest discovery in Quantum Physics since 1924: Louis De Broglie would be right, and Niels Bohr, wrong. I have always believed in singularization.)

It is unfortunate that this activity, Big Bang physics, has been all too much celebrated as the greatest success of the human spirit, and scientific rigor. I will try to show below that it is closer to mythology than to proper science. Although my reasons below are deep and cogent, it is clear that even the masses have some intuitive doubts about scientists who seem all too sure about the grandest scheme of things. Having Hawking telling us about “A Short History of Time“, when nobody knows what time is, is not conducive to respect.

No wonder that, with such a model as the Big Bang brandished all the time as science much to admire, and presumably to emulate, all too many people feel that with science, anything goes. And thus, as often found in the USA, in a further identification, that anything goes is science. So to each its own. And next thing you know, fundamentalists pop up in every backyard.

On the positive side, Big Bang madness gives an opportunity to illustrate the fact that the topology of the space of all theories is not connected (if a single one of a few hypotheses Big Bangists make casually, is false, the Big Bang theory will completely implode into the nothingness it claims the universe arises from!)

[The essay is technical in parts; readers are invited to imitate Big Bang physicists, and jump over any part they don’t understand, to get a feeling for the overall message, which is that Big Bang physics is not science according to the most exacting standards of science… Paradoxically enough for an area with such pretense!]



A physicist relates in “Turtles all The Way Down?” that he got an interesting email about the Big Bang. Basically the writer said it was obvious mythology, and the physicist insisted it was not so: “The writer said she didn’t see how you could make something out of nothing. She collects creation myths and thought that, no matter how you sliced it, it’s always “turtles all the way down.” This is a reference to creation myths where the world is poised on top of a turtle, which is itself poised on top of something else, but raises the issue: Is there any firm ground?

This is worth addressing because it illustrates the gulf between the understandings in people’s minds about the Big Bang on one hand, and how physicists deal with it on the other. To be clear – we have a wealth of observations that support the Big Bang, but you have to be careful. We can only look back into the universe to a moment 300,000 years after the ‘start,’ as best we can discern it. At this early moment, the universe went from being opaque to transparent… The remnant photons from this time are seen as the so-called cosmic microwave radiation “

The later pontificating affirmation depends upon the common wisdom interpretation of the 3 degree Kelvin Cosmic Microwave Radiation as photons from the Big Bang explosion. Well, that’s mostly an hypothesis. For example, if photons, just as neutrinos (long thought to be massless), turn out to have a non zero rest mass, that hypothesis will be out of the window.

Those cosmic microwave photons are supposed to be cosmically distended, and thus weakened, by the expansion of their wave packets from the cosmic expansion of space, the later itself depending upon the Big Bang model. This is just a supposition, albeit a crucial one. In other words, the Big Bang model is eerily reminiscent of a house of cards of mutually supporting assertions: turtles all the way down in a mutually supporting circle.

I will argue that it looks all too much as a vicious circle to be used as a way to illustrate what science is. Science is about establishing iron clad proofs, not wishful thinking with proofs depending upon what they want to demonstrate (which is all what the interpretation of cosmic photons as big bangers is).

Reconciling models with data sounds reasonable. That is what is done in most of science. However it is not scientific, if the models have nothing to do with reality to start with. If the model is angels on a pinhead, no amount of tweaking of the model, will get it right.

This is related to a much more general problem, that of the distance between systems of thought (which is all what “models” are). If models are too far from each other, they cannot morphed into each other.

When Darwinian style models were unable to explain ultra fast adaptative evolution, epigenetics had to be invented.

The greatest discovery in cosmology since the discovery of the expansion has been the fact that it proceeded at an accelerating pace. That was not predicted by the main stream cosmology.

It was pointed out by De Sitter (1917), Friedman (1924) and Lemaître (1927) that the Einstein gravity equation described an expanding universe (none of these scientists were American).

The work of a number of astronomers, culminating with Hubble, confirmed the expansion later: the visible universe was dynamic. As an homage to American hegemony, Lemaître’s law came to be known as Hubble Law. Never mind that Hubble himself as late as 1936, did not believe in the Big Bang finding weird the “anomaly of a curiously small and dense and… suspiciously young universe”. Besides the injustice, it introduces a flaw in the logical flow of discovery.

When it became obviously confirmed that distant galaxies were receding, and the further, the faster, Einstein proclaimed his “greatest blunder”, that of having introduced a “Cosmological Constant”, precisely to imply a static universe.

The Einstein gravity field equation was built to reflect Riemann’s 1854 idea on the nature of force. That came out of his  Habilitationsschrift entitled Über die Hypothesen welche der Geometrie zu Grunde liegen (“On the hypotheses which underlie geometry“), a remarkable essay that contained just one equation (if that). Riemann observed that acceleration could be described by geodesics behavior, whether they came together, or separated. Thus force could be so described.

Basically, applied to gravity, that meant the gravity equation ought to be: curvature of spacetime = mass-energy of spacetime.

However Quantum Physics was discovered meanwhile. It says that energy travels in packets (Planck 1900-Einstein 1905). Yet, those packets are computed by waves (De Broglie 1923).

In other words, it was not turtles all the way down. At some point, the turtles turn into waves.

Einstein’s gravity equations did not incorporate matter, in a detailed way, that is, Quantum Physics. When some Quantum Field Theory ideas were introduced a bit (Zeldovich, before 1973, “Hawking radiation“, 1974), it turned out that, after all, Black Holes evaporated (contrarily to what Michell (1784) and Laplace (1796), discoverers of the idea of Black Holes would have expected to be ever possible in the slightest way).

But much more needs to be done: except when wave packets have collapsed, matter is all waves. The exact nature of these waves is unknown. Recent Quantum experiments, using “weak measurements” apparently exhibit waves-with-singularities, the picture De Broglie himself had proposed to go further than the Copenhagen Interpretation of de Broglie’s work.

Should something like the Big Bang make sense, the exact mathematical nature of the matter waves, and how to accommodate those singularities would have to become paramount. (As the purported  confirmation of the singularities was published on June 2, 2011 in Science magazine, the depth of these considerations will take some time to reach the society of cosmologists… After all it took more than 40 years to realize that the time-energy uncertainty implied Black Hole evaporation, which should have been immediately obvious!)

Back to our cosmological theory timeline. Time passed. Gamow made fun of the notion of everything coming out of a point, calling it the “Big Bang“. However, the Cosmological Cosmic Background was found at 3 Kelvin, a remnant, it was suggested of said explosion.

That ruled out the Steady State Cosmology, it seemed.

Yet, when regions distant by more than light can travel, they were found to be the same, as if the universe had always been there.

So some physicists postulated that the universe had expanded faster than light by an enormous factor. That was called inflation, caused by a non observedinflaton field“.

Indecipherable reasonings were rolled out to claim that the mass-energy uncertainty inequality could be made to fabricate matter and energy, as needed. Indecipherable: indeed, a point of infinite density does not make sense in Quantum Physics (which basically insists that there are no points). And never mind that the new Big Bang, cosmological inflation looked exactly like Hoyle’s Steady State theory, after all (as Hoyle himself pointed out to a frosty reception in 1994).

The Big Bang reasonings are full of major assumptions whose proofs are justified by the end, namely the Big Bang, truly a beginning (as found in the Bible?).

For example, how do we know that cosmological photons do not, in some sense, simply age, producing thus the 3 Kelvin background? How do we know that, if the universe can expand so incredibly fast at some point, it could not expand incredibly slow, at some other point? Or even shrink for a while, in a recession, before resuming inflation?

For that matter we do not know why, at this point, the universe is expanding ever faster. Or is it just here?

And what is the evidence that a universe can be created out of nothing? Stanford’ s professor Linde, one of the originator of the inflation cosmology, has been writing articles where he creates universes all over, all the time. There is zero evidence for that.

(There was a whole school of Soviet physicists who, for philosophical reasons, were highly critical of “General Relativity”, starting, correctly with its absurd name; they followed Vladimir Fock 1955 book… which I own. Zeldovich and Linde were among them, they basically discovered much of what was attributed later to Western physicists, to emphasize the glory of plutocratically connected universities!)

Big bang specialists will snarl that I did not mentioned that GUTs (Grand Unified Theories)fit the Big Bang like a glove, so my objection that the Quantum is not integrated in the Big Bang is uninformed.

However, we talk of different things, at different scales. The Big Bang ultimately makes assertions, unsupported assertions, I added, about what is called the Trans-Planckian scale, where Quantum Field Theory breaks down. Conventional Big Bang theory uses basically Riemann’s mathematics from 1854 CE that ignores the waves-with-singularities that the universe is probably made of. That’s fine as a classroom project, it’s not fine as an example of what science can do, or, a fortiori, of what science is.

Big Bang cosmology is not science in the usual meaning of the term. It’s not molecular biology, geology, or material science. Nor mathematics. It’s all too much a bunch of assumptions piled up on top of each other, covered up by ironclad naïve certainty, a contagious illness probably contacted from the Standard Model of particle physics.

Real science demonstrates why Sea Lions and Seals, although they look the same, at first sight, are actually very different, since they evolved from very different ancestors. That illustrates well convergent evolution, when the same mathematics in the environment lead to the same solutions.

Real science demonstrates how stars evolve, going through many stages according to their masses and the nature of the various successive thermonuclear reactions in their core.

Real science explains why life is carbon based, thanks to the wealth of complexities carbon chemistry lends itself to.

Real science explains what happens to cause a tsunami (confirming what Greek philosophers suspected it was, 25 centuries ago).

Big Bang cosmology uses all too finely tuned reasonings unsupported by firm logic or experimental certainty, all over its theoretical landscape. Possibly, it’s completely false. It is unfortunate that this possible complete falsehood is depicted by physicists eager for cheap fame or book sales as the ultimate in science. In its present state, it is the best creation mythology we have, or an amusing project, but little more than that.

Inflated science is poetry, or metaphor. It is not science. Real science is truth. Real science is what’s left when everything else has been exposed as lies. In the case of the Big Bang, among other things, all other possibilities besides the common interpretation of Cosmic Microwave Background, have not been examined in detail, and thus

Real science is what allows planes to fly, not a bunch of lies and exaggerations held together by the thin veneer of self glorification. Scientific poetry, such as the Big Bang, is closer to science fiction, or mythology.

John Huth concludes his essay reasonably with: “We [Big bang cosmologists]fully realize that our models will extrapolate to conditions that raise difficult issues, like infinite densities. More often than not, the difficult conditions are something we avoid talking about, because, largely, we cannot really test or measure these. If it is inaccessible, it is inaccessible. The work can be perhaps more likened to the work of explorers. Our job is to map new territories, and, if anything, we can only report on territories we’ve explored. What lies beyond the horizon is a matter of speculation.
Responses? Questions? Contact me on Twitter @John Huth”

One would wish cosmologists would be that reasonable, all the time, for all to read and hear. How well one has explored, that is the question. For the longest time, explorers reported the strangest things and monsters they had absolutely seen (an exasperated Aristotle dispatched students to go out and faithfully report on all the biology they could rigorously observe). To claim one has seen light from a big boom may be true, but it is not scientifically demonstrated. Yet.

(And that photons do not age seems unlikely to me for reasons I have mentioned in older essays of mine. I am happy to report that Feynman, no less, approved of my considerations when I evoked them.)

One interest of science is to teach how the faith we have in models can be reconciled with evidence. That the distance between models can be insurmountable is an important lesson in the history of thought. No amount of tweaking could bring the geocentric theory close to the correct one, the heliocentric theory. One had to shatter the faith, to realize that yes, quite possibly, planets were turning around the sun: that is what Buridan and his students concluded around 1300 CE, after rolling over Aristotle’s erroneous physics, and introducing the concept of inertia. However, of course, they added perfidiously, ‘scripture‘ said the sun turned around the Earth, so we may as well believe that, since we cannot tell at this point, for sure.

If the distance between models with scientific pretense can be insurmountable, so can it be, for the distances between mentalities (and, in particular, civilizations). That is the core justification of the crackdown secularism had to implement upon murderous superstitions. (The obvious example being the outlawing of the Celtic or Carthagenese religions, to put it intemporally, not wanting to allude to anything having to do with the sects of Abraham… At least today.)

It’s not turtles all the way down, or turtles everywhere. Genuinely different thought systems and mentalities exist. And the way to explore that is by excluding all other possibilities, the way real science does, and the way that, precisely cosmology of the origins does, and cannot do.

Some will cynically argue that, to get funding to launch satellites and other big science projects, one needs pretty stories to charm the infantile minds of politicians. But I will not go down that slippery slope.

The main interest of science is to teach to the obscure masses how to learn to distinguish  truth from fiction. Everything else, however useful, is secondary. To pass a charming fiction such as the Big Bang for a certainty is just the sort of masquerade of the scientific method that genuine scientist will want to eschew.


Patrice Ayme

Science Better Accelerate With The Universe

October 6, 2011


Abstract: The Accelerating Universe is one of the greatest discovery in physics for more than 70 years. It requires new physics to explain it, some sort of anti-gravitation at a very large scale. First established with supernovas, it seems to have been confirmed independently by a galactic survey. “Dark Acceleration” would be a better way to call it than “Dark Energy” (for two reasons: it expands the dark, and we don’t know for sure that it is caused by “energy” in the conventional sense).

This astounding discovery of that the universe is taking off, is typical of how revolutionary science is created. Checking supernovae was just supposed to be routine, a sort of boring science anti-scientists condemn. It was supposed to confirm what the Big Bangists all knew so well: the universe was expanding less fast than in the past, as the Big Bang theory had proven it.

Helas, it was not so! We are faced with something not just unpredicted, but thoroughly unpredictable by conventional physics.

[Some embryonic theories predicted the accelerating expansion, as those I call Dimensional Leakage (they have no official name I know of) and TOW.] 

Revolutionary science is all about finding out the unexpected. Revolutionary science keeps on being found, so we  have faith, we the faithful, the scientists, that much more revoltuionary science has to be found. The Accelerating Universe further bolsters our faith that the present physics with its Standard Model, a noble, useful, fruitful, but naïve and feeble attempt, missed one or more dimensions in the needed logic of what is going on.

How does one find the unexpected? Well, by using the most corrosive logic, propped by the most drastic imagination, and the most careful observations.

The supernova surveys belong to the later, extreme experimental care, and so does the OPERA experiment on neutrinos, and other efforts at CERN. Lesson? All of science has to be funded, if we want to find the unexpectable. Don’t just listen to the fashionable ones. Actually fashionable physics has rigorously not scored for several decades now. It’s not “Not even wrong!“, as physicist pointed out (Their millions of “predictions” are all over the place, so, whatever happened, they said so! Besides, none can be checked!)

Interestingly, the Nobel committee emphasized the point by offering the chemistry Nobel to an Israeli, “for the discovery of quasi-crystals“.

Intelligence is the only thing which can save Israel, and its neighbors, so it is a good indication that the 62 year old nation of seven million got ten Nobel prize winners. This is all the more striking that quasiperiodic patterns are a discovery made by the Islam led civilization, which long controlled Israel and Palestine.

Surviving in this universe we created for ourselves we require us to master the unexpected. So finance the most profitable activity of the government: fundamental research.

When the regime in the USA (the monneyed Congress) cancelled the Super Conducting Super Collider, it saved less than 10% of the bonuses it paid with public money to Wall Street in the first year after the 2008 collapse of deregulated finance.

And what did the Wall Street pirates spent their money on? $40,000 Champagne bottles? Whereas the ever better telescopes use ever better technology which no other human activity requires at this point. $40,000 Champagne has no future, but the new technology used in astronomy does. It could even save our lives (two small asteroids bracketed the Earth this summer, and one of them so close it was severely deflected; the silly ones will say that it does not matter, but if the 1908 bolide had exploded over Wall Street rather than over a desolated part of the Siberian forest, there would have been no more New York).

Let alone all the medical research, say on cancer, which was not financed, because it is $40,000 Champagne which got funded instead. The Medecine Nobel Prize honored progress in immunology. One of the recipients died of pancreatic cancer before the announcement. He had been using his discovery, dentritic immune cells, to activate his own defenses against his cancer. A few days later, the artistic technology integrator of Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, died of the same cancer, after 7 years of a long battle. Some claimed that Jobs got a liver transplant in 2009 that the average job seeker would never have got. So money is never far from it all. There is clearly need for more biomedical research, for those who prefer their lives and those of their loved ones. But who are they, those who care about life? Who are they relative to those, the immense majority, who prefer, by far, seeing 20 something traders  buy a $40,000 Champagne bottle and then cause with it another $50,000 in damage to a restaurant? (That happened in Paris.)




I was a bit surprised that the physics Nobel was given for the faster-than-expected expansion of the universe. Not that the discovery was not important. Just the opposite extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. Clearly the committee decided to encourage research in the area, by making it more prestigious. Inasmuch as our leading politicians seem cowardly, unable to decide anything important, the Nobel committee has adopted the opposite strategy, bold, fully appropriate.

The Accelerating Universe is the most stunning discovery in experimental physics since, perhaps, the accidental confirmation of De Broglie’s matter waves by two American experimentalists. In the case of matter waves, theory (from De Broglie, in conceptual depths never touched before or since) preceded the discovery. Same thing with antimatter (Dirac predicted it).

But the Accelerating Universe was predicted by no prominent theory. It was an experimental find completely outside of standard theory, just as it was the case with neutrinos.

Neutrinos were also very important, because they meant that there was a new interaction at work, the weak force. Before the neutrinos and their weak force, Einstein knew of only two forces: gravitation and electromagnetism. So he said lots of things about space, and time, trying to tie both of the latter, with the preceding two. As if they could have eyes only for each other. Cute. Romantic. (An integrated 5 dimensional theory, Kaluza-Klein integrated both).

However, with the discovery of the weak force, it looked as if adding one, or more, dimensions was lurking in the distance. Einstein was unable to pursue his dream, and it would be taken again, long after his death, by adding dimensions frantically, using the mathematical theory of fiber bundles.

The basic idea of the Einstein gravitational field equation is:

[Curvature of spacetime = Energy (in) spacetime].

(The idea was spawned by Riemann, a generation before Einstein’s birth.) Both curvature and energy are locally defined, so this is an equation at every point, and it has to be integrated to give a geometry of the universe over a sizable bit.)

Just as it is, even in this grossest of approximations, there are a lot of problems with this would-be equation (the right hand side is not well defined, as Einstein himself remarked, and depends upon the left hand side, as I would perfidiously add).

A problem Einstein saw was that, as his equation was, the curvature would be unstable in time: it would either collapse the universe, or then the universe would have to expand. But Einstein came out at night he saw that the stars were not moving: Einstein believed that the universe was static. So Einstein added a little constant on the left hand side of his equation, the Cosmological Constant, k, to prevent the universe to move.

This was a singular example of lack of imagination, because proper motions were first demonstrated by Edmund Halley in 1718 for the three bright stars: Sirius, Aldebaran, and Arcturus. Halley compared his measurements of their positions to those made by Hipparchus of Rhodes (300 BCE). In 2000 years the motions built up to the point that they became apparent to naked eye observers.

One should have suspected galaxies also moved. Not just that, but Hubble, operating with the Hooker telescope at Mt Wilson, next to Los Angeles, then the largest in the world (until 1948, with its 2.5 meters, just 10 centimeters larger than the Hubble Space telescope), soon discovered that distant galaxies were going away from us wherever he looked, and the further they were, the faster they went. [Speed Galaxy = (Constant) (distance galaxy)].

Einstein coquettishly proclaimed his recourse to k, the cosmological constant, the “greatest blunder of his life“. Because otherwise, he pointed out, he would have been able to predict what Hubble found. (I rather think that the greatest blunder of his life was to abandon his family, but that’s just me.)

I am giving all these sordid details to show that scientific inventions are not always what they are cracked up to be, even from the best and brightest. It was a sort-of-a-prediction, because, in all intellectual honesty, Einstein did not know whether the cosmological constant was zero or not, one way or another.

Actually, if he had been really crafty, the way he liked to be crafty, he could have said:”It is possible, considering my cosmological constant can vary all over the place, that the universe will be found to accelerate more or less, like Hubble saw, or even shrink, on an even larger distance, here or there”. So Einstein made the biggest blunder in his life, twice, with his own cosmological constant, by his own weatherwane standards, depending how the cosmic wind was blowing through his brain.

Because an Accelerating Universe was found: type 1a Supernovas at large cosmological distance flee faster and faster from us.



Of course installing an Einstein’s Cosmological Constant in Einstein gravitational equation is purely descriptive.  Nobody has any certainty about its source. The Cosmological Constant depicts DARK ACCELERATION. I call expansion beyond the Hubble prediction, Dark Acceleration, because we don’t know what it is due to.

People use interchangeably “Dark Energy” and what I call Dark Expansion, but the concepts are different. Dark Expansion is a fact, but it is not necessarily due to “Dark Energy”.

So “Dark Energy” is an abuse of language. Actually there are at least two imaginable mechanisms where Dark Acceleration is not caused by Dark Energy.

The DARK ENERGY idea proposes that somehow energy is injected in space which allows it to expand faster. Imaginable explanations for Dark Energy could be:

VACUUM ENERGY, which has been brandished as the source of the Dark Expansion. In Quantum Field Theory, the vacuum is full of energy. Nobody knows how much. All we know is that there is some energy in the vacuum (we have some indirect theoretical-experimental proofs, and direct measurements such as the Casimir effect). Evocations of “Vacuum Energy” are generally not accompanied of suggestions for a mechanism to expand the universe with it.

What do we observe though? A faster expansion. It could be due to a weakening of gravity at large distances (interestingly, inside galaxies and galactic clusters, gathering of the mysterious Dark Matter makes gravity stronger).

A mechanism to weaken gravity has been proposed by suggesting that space has more than three dimensions, and that gravity, somehow, would be leaking in one or more of these dimensions. One could call it DIMENSIONAL LEAKAGE. Dimensional leakage has also been proposed to explain the possible supraluminal speed of the very high energy neutrinos coming out of CERN (high energy neutrinos would jump into an extra dimension which shortens their trajectory through the “bulk“).

A final explanation for accelerated expansion could be TOW (Totally Objective wave), the author’s pet theory. TOW rests on the idea that its (hypothetic) Quantum Interaction proceeds at absolute speed TAU (more than ten billion times the speed of light!) Even though, the Quantum Interaction is overwhelmed by large cosmological distances: when a graviton, coming from way too far, singularizes itself, it loses part of its energy. Thus, according to TOW, gravity should weaken at large distances (just as light does).

The fact that there is no ready explanation for the Dark Acceleration shows that the hubristic crowd sing-songing on the rooftops about the “end of physics” a while ago, did not have much imagination. (Feynman was told about TOW, and was very appreciative, by the way.) 



When Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman claimed to have stumbled upon a new type of crystalline structure that seemed to violate the then known of the laws of nature, his “peers” and some giants of chemistry (Pauling) mocked him, insulted him and exiled him from his research group (“Danny, go away!“). “I was thrown out of my research group. They said I brought shame on them with what I was saying, I never took it personally. I knew I was right and they were wrong.”

Indeed, he just received the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

The lesson? “A good scientist is a humble and listening scientist and not one that is sure 100 percent in what he read in the textbooks” Shechtman said. I would add that the greater the thoughts, the fewer the peers.

The shy, 70-year-old Shechtman said he never doubted his findings and considered himself merely the latest in a long line of scientists who advanced their fields by challenging the conventional wisdom and were shunned by the establishment because of it. And the greater the idea, the greater the shunning.

In 1982, “Metallic Phase with Long-Range Orientational Order and No Translational Symmetry” by Dan Shechtman et al. demonstrated “Order with No Translational Symmetry”, the key here. Translational symmetry is what Pauling wanted to see, because he learned it in his kindergarten, way back when. That, or no symmetry at all, namely a glass, as Shechtman had expected to find. But Shechtman had serendipitously discovered what are now called “quasicrystals” – atoms arranged in patterns that seemed forbidden by nature…

Although they were clearly authorized in Islamic art since the Middle Ages… which should have been enough of an hint: if even the Islamists allowed them, assuredly their existence could not be denied. True, at that point Islam was very open minded, and early in that “Golden Age”, most of the thinkers were actually not Muslims, but Jews, Zoroastrians, with probably a vast complement of atheist Neoplatonists. Theocratic fascism, as among the Franks, would grow later (and simultaneously with the Franks, as fascists, on both sides, realized that the Bible was an inspirational celebration of holocausts and other injustices that kept on being rewarded in high places, and thus provided business opportunities).

Quasiperiodicity was recorded from an Al-Mn alloy which has been rapidly cooled after melting (which probably means the quasi periodicity is higher energy than full periodicity).

The art in Isfahan (a fantastic city I highly recommend, by the way, not just artistically speaking, but for the presence of immensely old wisdom breathing through the stupendous beauty displayed in mosques and other buildings) showed that quasicrystals were logically permissible. They preceded the work of the British mathematician Penrose by nine centuries, and, definitively constitute the original discovery.

It seems pretty obvious to me that the mere possibility of these, as exhibited in the mosques, did most of the conceptual work. And how could not chemical bonds glue all the atoms all together, once we had showed the quasiperiodic pattern was possible? It’s not quasicrystals which were surprising, but how people could think they could not exist. 

The discovery “fundamentally altered how chemists conceive of solid matter,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said. It redefined the notion of crystal in textbooks. Previously, a crystal had “a regularly ordered, repeating three-dimensional pattern,” according to the International Union of Crystallography. The new definition, adopted in 1992, states that a crystal is any solid with a “discrete diffraction diagram — that is, something that produces patterns, whatever a pattern is, just as Shechtman saw.

Quasiperiodic tiling, Masjid-e-Jameh
Quasiperiodic tiling,
Masjid-e-Jameh, Isfahan

Since Shechtman’s discovery, more quasicrystals have been found. A Swedish company found them in most durable steel, used in products such as razor blades and thin needles made specifically for eye surgery, the academy said. Quasicrystals are studied for use in new materials converting heat to electricity.

They have also been discovered in nature, in a Siberian river. As it seems obvious that they will prevent the propagation of fractures, one may expect to see plenty of quasicrystals in a future near us, except of course, if the banksters devour our civilization first, like they tried last time and the time before that, with their dangerous marionettes.

Quasi periodic structures are all over nature. They depict the subquantum world. Indeed the waves produced by dropping four or more stones into a pond always form a quasicrystal (or more exactly a quasiperiodic pattern), because there is a mathematical theorem saying this. Schechtman was aware of the  theorem, and when he saw the 10 fold quasiperiodicity, he knew.

Matter waves continually interfere, creating quasi periodic existence waves all over.



We are living in a scientific civilization, whether we like it or not, whether we are superstitious or not. The French ministry of ecology (headed by an experienced politician, a young and charging polytechnicienne who is piling up elected offices) just forbid by decree (executive order) fracking all over France (the National Assembly had already voted in that direction). The reason? Existing techniques have not demonstrated that they were ecologically sound, in the fullness of time. In other words, it was a purely scientific decision.

In the USA, fracking is practiced massively: whether the technique will lead to corruption of the aquifers is of no import, because, as Suskind’s book “Confidence Men” demonstrates, corruption is of the essence, and, now that it owns the White House, it may as well own the dark underground.

The essentiality of serious science is funded by states, as there is no monetary profit in it (learn, Tea Party!). But the science we have is not enough: we will soon be using several times this planet sustainable productivity, so we need to become much more efficient. This can be achieved only by considerable scientific progress, in all domains, from plate tectonics, to material science, to the most esoteric biology, to quantum algorithms, to whatever.

I say “to whatever” because there is no telling where the scientifically and, or, socially important breakthrough will occur.

For example nobody would have guessed that surveying supernovas would smash the hubristic certainty of those prestigious scientists who recited their new religion, the Theory Of Everything, the claim that they, the glorious ones, had figured out the entire universe (just like the proverbial god, before he got to know man). Not by coincidence, the peak of their hubris was around 1998, just when the accelerating universe started to make its presence known.

We are in scientific civilization, thus those who are anti-science are actually anti civilization. This is true even in the fossil fuel industry.

Even that fossil pursuit, trying to keep the fire going, as Homo Erectus already did, a million years ago, is scientific. Ever more primitively scientific, but still scientific, and involving many scientific issues, some potentially disastrous. Hydrocarbon burning is a massive scientific bet that the recombining with oxygen in the air of much of the hydrocarbons buried over 400 million years, will have no serious adverse consequence(s).

The evolving scientific evidence is that the consequences are many, and potentially extremely cataclysmically adverse. But as too many people in the leading countries are trained for superstitious, or sport analogy reasoning rather than scientific reasoning, especially in the USA, nothing much is done: other countries cannot afford to become uncompetitive with the USA and its 10,000 Chinese factories.  

Those who are not pro-science, being anticivilizational, are actually pro-world war, and pro-holocaust.

Should science not jump ahead, very soon, the coming holocaust is easy to compute: soon, on present trends, we will be using more than two sustainable earths, with eight billion people gnawing the shrinking resources (we are 7 billion now). Thus, if we do not augment our science considerably, we will have to cut the world population by half. 

Let’s insist on that point: we are exhausting the existing resources. For example we are well post easy-to-extract peak oil. The only reason we are not past vulgar peak oil, is that we are using increasing energetically expensive (energy is the only currency that counts by itself) and technologically expensive means.

The Romans did the same in their mines, with ever more slaves pushing ever more their primitive digging technology, to its bitter end, devastating the ecology for millennia. And they persisted, until they could not anymore. Exhausted, the mines closed for nearly 2,000 years. The Romans had no plans for that event. Nor did they have plan B.

Rome had been most technologically inventive as a republic. That’s how it vanquished everybody.

Having captured a Carthaginian ship, they, those Roman peasants, reverse engineered it, and made invincible fleets of ships. However as Rome progressively degenerated in the fascist dictatorship known as the Roman empire, innovation was the first victim, as proven by the fact that the Germans and Hellenized Persians became increasingly hard to beat on the open battlefield… because they had superior weapons (in particular, composite bows the arrows of which penetrated Roman armor).

Plutocratic, fascist imperial Rome did not want to understand that it was running out of science, considering the problems it faced. Plutocracy want the people to owe them, and the last thing it wants is to owe the people, and especially ideas! The official line in Rome was just to whine that the “world was getting old“. Rome was running out of resources, among other problems, its ore mines exhausted. When the Muslim army invaded, Rome needed to melt the metallic roofs of Rome to make weapons.

The master problem was of course that Rome was running out of moral, and thus intellectual, supremacy. When one treats one’s engineers, and engineering, badly, one runs out of engineering badly. (Something one can observe nowadays in the USA.) 

A similar shock between the demands of society and insufficient science and technology happened, roughly at the same time, to the Mayas (who confronted a dreadful drought). The Mayan ecology, construction technology, hydrology, agriculture and forestry science, although all sophisticated, and established for centuries, if not millennia, all came all too short, considering the crisis. Plutocracy got all enraged, and fought against itself, the way sharks do when they run out of food, and Mayan civilization imploded.

Science is about what really is, and why. With (more or less great) certainty. Thus science creates models and theories of great explanatory power, which can be emulated in other domains (sometimes simply as metaphors). Science transforms confusion and, or, phenomenological wealth into an harmonious explanatory whole. In other words, it can be inspirational, a leader to democracy, sociology, economy, even literature, poetry, etc.

It would be a dark future without new, really revolutionary science. Quasicrystals and the accelerating universe tell us, with certainty, that much revolutionary science is still to be discovered. Science has to pursue its dark expansion in the unknown, emulating the universe which harbors it. No choice.


Patrice Ayme


January 26, 2011



Abstract: A spotted recapitulation of gravitation and basic cosmology is offered, as an historical progression, using the occasion to show that the history of ideas meanders, and why. Dark Energy is presented.

In combination with the non locality of Quantum Physics, Dark Energy leads us to believe that the universe we know could be animated (so to speak) by a universe we cannot see. (Whereas most of the essay is standard fare, its last few paragraphs constitute some new physics.)




Dark Energy is a paradigm shattering discovery in physics. It’s blowing the universe apart, and that has various consequences.

What is the basic story? Dark Energy is a mysterious force, a form of anti-gravity, which pervades the universe. One has to go back a bit to understand the novelty of the situation. The ancients believed the universe was more or less fixed. Then, following Giordano Bruno, it was realized that the universe was full of distant stars.

The theocrats tortured and burned Bruno alive for this insight, because they wanted everybody to cling to the metaprinciple that all old beliefs and ways are correct… the safest way to insure that the masses would not suspect that Christianity was just a myth. Clinging to old beliefs, and old ways, as if they were always correct, always serves the oligarchies in power. (A picturesque manifestation of clinging to the past, hence of an oligarchic mental clamp down, is that the USA, is clinging to antique measuring units, that nobody else uses anymore, an indication that the USA is losing its grip on the cliff of reason.)

The French astronomer Ismaël Boulliau suggested that Kepler was wrong about the gravitational force. Kepler had declared that the gravitational force holding the planets in place decreased inversely to distance. Boulliau held instead that the force decreased as an inverse square law. He deduced this in analogy to light. This is interesting in two ways: Isaac Newton acknowledged Boulliau’s discovery of the inverse square law, using it as an argument that his adversary Hooke was lying, about having had the idea first. Thus Isaac was less chauvinistic than many to be born in centuries since, who have insisted Newton invented everything, including the principle of inertia (due to Buridan, circa 1320 CE), and the inverse square law.

I do not make such snide remarks out of base feelings. It is just the opposite. It is important to understand how ideas appear, grow, and morph. Or how they get suppressed. The body of knowledge gathered by Buridan was a victim of the an eruption of fascist theocracy, a full century after his death (which soon caused two centuries of religious wars and terror).

It is important to understand that intellectual fascism is frequent, a master driver of history, and thus a clear and present danger. When there are masters, and they decide that some knowledge is dangerous, they can, not only suppress it, but suppress loudly all and any knowledge beyond the task at hand their slaves are ordered to do.


This suppression of spontaneous intellectual activity, and general curiosity, often replaced by an obnubilation with team sports (as Juvenal smirked 19 centuries ago) makes “We The People” closer in intellectual temperament to sheep. It’s primordial to teach them to bleat and enjoy nothing more than herd mentality and being fleeced now and then. Thus, the insistence on the exceptionalism of the USA: “We Are The United States Of America”, a form of bleating. Right now some in the USA want to resurrect the espionage Act of 1917, which basically punished free speech (although, of course, the Supreme Court of the USA found that it did not.)

Another important point in exposing an accurate history of ideas is that really new ideas are hard to come by. Because of a weird seduction of the fascist instinct, the tendency to elevate heroes one can adulate, those who write history have the misleading habit to make it into mythology, a bit like Homer. They pile up most of the creation of ideas on a few characters, the super heroes. It is handy for hero worship, and it facilitates memory, but it does not reflect the real creative process, which is more diffuse and democratic.

To realize how new ideas truly arise, not from The One, but out of a more democratic process, has implications for the growth and maintenance of civilization: looking for a small elite of patented geniuses is not the way to do it. But then, of course, when power becomes fascist, it enjoys, and needs, to show to the masses, that superlative thinking is highly elitist, in a way fully compatible with the grandeur of the fascist leaders. Newton having invented it all was a perfect reason to trust the other geniuses leading the Anglo-Saxon empires.

Notice also that Boulliau made an analogy to light: that analogy is one of the main ingredients in Einstein’s gravitation. It is also one of the key ingredient of “Quantum Gravity”. This highly speculative theory argues that because light is made of particles, the photons, and they carry the electromagnetic force, so should gravity be carried by its own particles, the gravitons. Science does not exclude simplicity, in first approach.

The question of why the universe was not collapsing upon itself ought to have been already blatant in conventional astronomy, but nobody paid any attention to it. Instead stability of the universe was viewed as God-given, to the point that Einstein, the sacred genius, contrived an anti-gravity term in his gravitational equation, just so that the universe would stay suspended, like the rock islands of the planet Pandora in the movie “Avatar”. It was about as pretty, and as justified.

Unfortunately for Einstein, the American astronomer Edwin Hubble in Los Angeles discovered in the 1920’s, using what was then the world’s most powerful telescope, that galaxies receded from us the faster, the further they were (another astronomer had already discovered the Doppler shifts, in Arizona).

So the far universe was far from static. It was as if there had been a big explosion, and the debris were galaxies flying away from each other. When one looks at galaxies further and further away from us they move away faster and faster, closer and closer to the speed of light. From the Doppler effect, galaxies appear redder and redder (it’s called the cosmological redshift), until they fade away because they move too fast (the distance at which they disappear from sight is called the event horizon). Parts of the universe far enough from us could move away at more than the speed of light (at least if the expansion is everywhere true and we can’t see the whole universe). That the speed of light is constant in Relativity ought to be taken with a grain of salt, as Einstein himself pointed out. (Or he uttered words to that effect, more exactly.) More precisely, constancy of light speed is a local phenomenon in space, which puts no limit on the speed of space, a global phenomenon.

Einstein whined that he would have predicted the expansion of the universe, if not for that anti-gravity that he added on because he had believed, with all very serious people, in the universe’s stability (the anti gravity term that Einstein had added in his gravitational equation is known by honorable people as the “Cosmological Constant“).

Einstein called this failure of his guesswork his “greatest blunder”. Whatever. The instability of the universe ought to have been already clear, well before that. Any philosopher could have suggested it, let alone an astronomer. And maybe some thought about it. However, nobody had dared to suggest it before Hubble, and he came up with the proof. The hard work was done by Hubble.

As it is turning out, anti-gravity seems to exist, indeed, and it is Dark Energy.

Science is about indomitable facts, not just the flights of fancy that allows us to guess more facts than we already have. Einstein introduced, and then removed, his cosmological constant. Now it has been re-introduced, to describe what is seen. But it’s all about tweaking an equation so that it is not blatantly contradicted by the observed facts.

The initial discovery of anti-gravity, so called Dark Energy, came when it was observed that supernovae (and the local pieces of universe they were attached to) were accelerating away from each other faster than standard cosmology held to be true.

This has an interesting physical and philosophical consequence: in the fullness of time far away galaxies will recede away from our local group of galaxies (which are in tight orbits around each other). Hence, after dozens of billions of years, they will get out of sight. Of course, by then the sun will have exhausted its thermonuclear fuel, collapsed, blown apart as a red giant, and collapsed again, crushing itself into a white dwarf. But let’s suppose, for the sake of the argument, that a race of astronomers appear, 50 billion years in the future. They will observe that the universe reduces to the local galactic group. They will have no idea of its true size.

At least the little scenario above is conventional wisdom, as faithfully depicted by Brian Greene in the New York Times. Notwithstanding, watch it, because here I come… I am a specialist of hidden conspiracies, and how to detect them nevertheless. If the Nazis and their plutocratic collaborators in the USA did not escape, nor will the universe.

So I am going to focus on a conspiracy in physics, non-locality. Conventional physics assumed that the physical universe was made of points, and finite bits (atoms). The idea came from the Greco-Romans. Perhaps the main subtlety of Quantum Physics is that it is not so. Philosophically, it’s not too surprising: how to define points if physical objects are made of bits? If points are the ultimate bit of reality, what are they made of? Intimately related to this is the nature of space.

Quantum Physics changed the conceptual game completely, by acknowledging that these concepts are related. It remains to be seen whether they transmogrify into each other, as I believe.

After a quantum interaction (or, as Feynman put it, a “fundamental process“), the products of the interaction are ENTANGLED. (To be precise the probability waves representing the products have merged into a single probability wave; I prefer “Quantum Interaction”, because some fundamental processes, such as planets crashing into each other, have nothing Quantum about them, so Feynman’s semantics is imprecise.)

Where does this come from? OK, to simplify the discourse, to bring it to a higher level of abstraction, I will identify particles and the probability waves describing them to each other. That’s what abstraction does: identifying differences, from a common essence.

When propagating, particles are waves. When they crash somewhere, though, the whatever-was-propagating crash as a point, not as a wave. This is the mystery of so called “wave-particle duality“. There is no contradiction: propagation = waves, and end of propagation = particles. But there is a mystery: how does the wave becomes a particle, and conversely? This used to be called the “collapse of the wave packet“, and caused most geniuses of physics serious headaches. So now the expression has been replaced by the more nebulous wording of “decoherence“. However, this metamorphosis [wave <-> particle] is the central practical notion, and difficulty, in constructing a quantum computer, and also the deepest problem in physics.

So let’s suppose an interaction is such that it will give two particles, A & B, in the end (the most basic type of interaction, if we ignore the possibility of self interaction). After the interaction, when the products are in flight (so to speak), they are represented by one wave. Just one single wave. That wave has NO notion of physical distance. So this math, or, rather, this absence of math, tells us immediately that we are inside a physical point. (Warning: in my own theory, this is not exactly what happens; but this is what the standard formalism of Quantum Physics says, although most physicists are too afraid for their neurons, to contemplate the notion; another way to phrase the absence of distance is by saying that time is only a one parameter group of transformation.)

One says (loosely) that the “particles A and B” are entangled. Then if one interacts with A (say), one destroys that single wave which entangled A and B. Thus one destroys it for B too. Even if B is twenty galaxies away. That effect, known as the EPR (Einstein Podolski Rosen), frustrated Einstein deeply. He called it a “spooky interaction at a distance“. Einstein, following Newton, hated interactions at a distance. Faraday’s field theory, with a help from Maxwell, had removed that difficulty for electromagnetism, and Einstein’s gravitation theory tried to mimic it.

Entangled particles are common in classical physics, and they are no problem: two billiard balls which have hit each other are the arch typical example. In classical physics, if one knew the position and speed of the two balls before collision, and of one of them after the collision, one can tell what the position and speed of the other are, and that all along.

In Quantum physics, the situation is seriously different. This is related to the fact that one cannot know the position and moment of a (small enough) particle simultaneously. In that case, if one measures either, it affects the other. And it’s like that all over Quantum Physics. To make it worse, as Niels Bohr correctly insisted, in Quantum Physics, the experimental device changes what it measures. .

Now imagine again that interaction creating two entangled particles. If one measures A, one has to use experimental device X. For example we force A through a polarizer X. Results will differ according to which direction X is pointing.

Initially we had just one wave, Wave (A,B). Then we interact with A, using X. So what we have now is no more Wave (A,B), but [Wave (A,B) + Wave (A, X)]. The wave has changed! It has changed for B! And B maybe two million parsecs away! (That’s further than our sister giant galaxy, Andromeda.)

So let’s recapitulate. Entanglement is the greatest mystery of physics. After interacting, two particles, A and B, will often share properties as just one probability wave. Thus measuring one of these properties on A will immediately have an EPR effect on B (by the way, biology uses this EPR to transport energy cleverly and effortlessly! So although I talk galaxies here, to make some aspects of the situation more obvious, non-locality in Quantum physics is central to life itself… and obviously central to consciousness many of the apparent features of which it shares.)

Now let’s suppose A and B interacted, and billions of years passed by. Suppose they end up in different places in cosmological space which separated from each other according to Hubble, and even more so, according to Dark Energy. Then suppose finally, after all these eons, that a little green monkey interacts with A. It will have an effect on B, in a part of the universe, that little green monkey does not even know exist.

Physics progresses a lot by thought experiments. Aristarchus’ (320 BCE) and Buridan’s (1320 CE) speculations about the heliocentric theory are famous. More generally most of theoretical physics is a set of mathematically assisted thought experiments. Maxwell is famous (among other things) for “Maxwell Demon”, a tiny creature selecting fast particles, and thus creating a hot container (heat is speed). It’s a cute picture, and Maxwell wanted to use it to violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics That law says that entropy, that is disorder, always augments.

However, one had to be careful to consider the entire system… and to include the demon, though, who heats up, and generally blows up, so Maxwell’s idea was incorrect, although it has led, ever since, to a lot of refinement in thinking on the whole subject.

I have my own demon, and it’s not tiny, but cosmic, as the true devil of course is. So suppose a lot of Dark Energy operated for a long time, blowing the universe apart, and our galactic group is isolated in an apparently empty universe: nothing else can be seen. So we started from our present universe (call it U15, for 15 billion, a concession for Big Bang naivety). And now we are contemplating U100, the universe 100 billion years later, restricted, in appearance, to our local group.

Now suppose super intelligent little blue crabs starting from Neo Earth, have colonized the entire local galactic group. Could they tell their apparently isolated U100 universe is a small part of a much larger universe, for example U15, most of which is completely out of sight?

Enters Tyranosopher’s demon. That demon measures all the particles of the local group (how to do that? Ask Maxwell!). In the Quantum sense (so there are still indeterminacies). At that point the evolution of the local group is fully predictable (up to Quantum indeterminacies).

Meanwhile, let the little green monkey, who is out of sight, somewhere in the rest of U15, act on A. Then B, in turn, acts up. There is no limit on how much that could be scaled up: zillions of A and B pairs could be involved. So the green monkey could make zillions of Bs act up.

Would that be detectable? Yes. Once the Tyranosopher demon has catalogued the entire local group, if the action of green monkey is large enough, Tyranosopher demon will find more indeterminacy than normal physics would predict.

Bring that logic to bear on our present universe. Suppose that, however hard we tried, however meticulous our own demon was, cataloguing all the interactions leading to decoherence, we could not fully account for all the decoherence we observe. What would that tell us? That the part of the universe we cannot see is interacting with us. (Notice in passing that the situation is analogous with Black Holes, which are pretty much defined, conceptually speaking, by their event horizon.)

Can one apply the idea to Dark Energy? Yes. According to the (loose) philosophy of Quantum Field Theory, interaction are associated to particles. In the case of Dark energy we have an interaction out of nowhere, just space. Exactly what we would expect if EPR interactions were creating particles at a distance, from somewhere else in the universe.


Patrice Ayme


Technical note: Simplicio: “OK, so the demon catalogues everything, and then a particle shows up, call it C. How do you know that it comes from the action of the forever invisible Green Monkey, and is not simply due to a local entanglement, which, as such, would not have showed up in the prior classification by the demon?” Tyranosopher: “Because then the demon, during the classification which discovered C, would find a particle D, which was not there before (D is entangled with C).  Simplicio: “What if D has been taken away by Dark Energy too?” Tyranosopher:”Impossible if the demon cataloguing is frequent enough, as the particle D could not have escaped (it’s roughly limited by the speed of light, c). Simplicio: “And what of single particle diffracting?” Tyranosopher:”Well, this is a thought experiment. By waiting long enough for  light to cross the local group, one should be able to exclude those.”


P/S: Out Of The Window with Causality, Light Speed, etc: It should be pretty obvious that the preceding has bearing on the various superstitions, and first order mistakes, surrounding relativity, in particular pertaining speed of light and causality (both independently, or as they relate with each other).