I love science-fiction because it explores possibile realities that are not our own. It’s a mesemrizing genre to read and write in, and in many ways it’s the peak of human creativity. So is science. The trouble is that what is accepted as real science today is nothing else but the exploration of possible realities that are not our own. We currently live in a world of science fiction not science fact, and this is why.
Warning: the following blog post contains insulting scientific opinions and irresponsible behavior.
Also it’s pretty damn long, so if you’re just hopping in from the A to Z Challenge or aren’t really that interested in the topic, I won’t blame you if you hop along and check out these awesome blogs instead: Renee Miller, Tracy Brown, J.W. Alden, Kern Windwraith, Cindy Dwyer and more.
If you’re still here, you’re in for quite a ride. Enjoy!
The popular theory, that’s currently believed to hold the explanation of how the universe came to be and how it works, is the Big Bang Theory. What the BBT basically says is that at a specific point in time, all matter in the universe was condensed into a glob of subatomic particles, of infinite density and perfect homogenity. Then something stirred in the glob and an immense explosion occurred (or tiny disturbance, they’re not really sure), scattering particles everywhere and creating matter as we know it, the galaxies and everything.
Mind you that even though this theory has been so much advertised and cherished, (1) scientists don’t agree upon the exact time the Big Bang supposedly occurred, (2) experiments and observations made with ever-evolving technology refute the theory on a practical level, (3) absurd mathematical inventions were necessary to sustain the theory on the theoretical level, and (4) the theory is formed on the assumption that it’s gravity that rules the universe at a big scale (Astrophysics, the physics of celestial bodies) and that the universe is probably expanding, while electro-magnetism rules on the small scale (Particle Physics, the science of subatomic particles). Also, it’s impossible to unify these two scientific views into one all-encompassing theory of everything, the absolute holy grail of science, because they are based on two different things.
While modern scientists repeatedly correct (1) their calculations pertaining to the age of the Universe, from 7 billion years to the current hot-number of about 13 billion (I mean, come on, a 6 billion years difference is no biggy, right?), because (2) they keep discovering stars and galaxies that are older than the Universe is supposed to be, and farther than it could’ve expanded; and the measurements they take of close galaxies and phenomena don’t add up at all, so they have to (3) invent things to balance their equations. This is how they’ve come up with dark matter, wormholes, elastic space, black holes and so on.
The glorious construction that is the Big Bang Theory we know today is a growth of rather dubious nature, that has formed around the basic assumption that (4) gravity governs the heavens, and curves space and time. But the gravitational force is the weakest force known to man! It’s so tiny in fact, that the graivational attraction between two electrons is 10^42 times weaker than their electromagnetic repulsion. The gravitational force is so damn puny it only becomes relevant with humongous size, and even then a small amount of electromagnetism is enough to screw gravity over. Just think of a small magnet lifting up a coin. It fits in your palm, yet it beats the gravitational actraction of the whole goddamn planet!
Physics is fundamentally an experimental science. The process of scientific discovery follows very strict rules, and more or less goes something like this: you discover something experimentally, reproduce it consistently, deduct a logic from the results, predict something based on that logic and prove your prediction true experimentally, then get your theory and results verified by your peers to get the recognition, and only then the theory is accepted as valid and you become part of the nerd-gang. This is the way to go if you want to call it science.
Unfortunately, through this tedious process scientists become fairly attached to their theory-babies, much like writers get attached to their manuscripts. Any loving scientist will nourish his little theory, feed it and pet it and wipe the virtual poop away with his handkerchief. And he won’t take rejection easily.
The problem with this is that instead of sticking to the scientific process of discovery, where experiments rule and theory is just an explanation thereof, the dismayed scientist won’t discard the theory if the experiment refutes it. Instead, he will tweak the theory to fit the experiment, or even reinterpret the experiment entirely so that it sounds as though it would actually validate the theory. Much like never-ending editing of a crappy story until there’s nothing left of the original idea and the monstrously mutated thing is barely alive, instead of just moving the fuck on.
*In 2004, 33 renowned scientists even wrote an open letter to the scientific community, asking to reconsider the validity of the Big Bang Theory.*
The world of science isn’t a walk in the park, it’s a tough one-on-one in the schoolyard. Because mathematicians are the master number-slingers and have added themselves straight at the top of the cool-kid-list, physicists have gradually adopted their style to keep safe from bullying. Mathematics, however, is not an experimental science, and mathematical discoveries follow entirely different rules than scientific discoveries.
If you want to roll with the mathsters, you must basically either solve a monstruous equasion (read: problem), or come up with one. In order for your solution to be recognized, your calculations must be reproducible (i.e. other mathematicians must start from the same point you did, and arrive at the same conclusion), or, if you want your mega-riddle to get a place in the hall of fame, it must pose a mathematical problem that stuns geniuses into silence and promises to end global warming, world hunger and the mysterious appearance of pimples on geeky chins if it were ever solved. Nowhere in this process must your calculation be experimentally proven, or explain something that’s happening out there on your doorstep. It’s not required to have anything to do with tangible reality. The only thing it must do is make sense mathematically. It’s a very commanding, elegant and powerful discipline.
So on a damp summer night, when no one was looking, mathematics fucked physics in the eye and left it winking the wrong way. This is how we came to the mind-boggling, synapse-frying promotion of String Theory to the status of a scientific theory.
String Theory is the mathematical approach to the unification of Astrophysics and Particle Physics, or rather of general relativity (Einstein’s runt of the litter that describes gravity as a geometric property of space) and quantum mechanics (the mechanics of subatomic particles). In other words, String Theory is an approach to unify the Big Bang Theory, and its infinite array of abstract constructs designed to fill its potholes, with Particle Physics, and its extensive list of theoretical particles called the “particle zoo”.
What String Theory basically states is that all matter is made of itsy-bitsy-tiny-tipsy strings that vibrate one way or another, and form the different particles we know and love (and a couple hundred we can’t really grasp). And because strings are so damn sexy, String Theory was of course expanded to explain everything, nevermind the little cosmetic boo-boo that renders it implausible unless the universe has a bunch of extra dimensions (26 to be exact) that are super-duper-compacted into subatomic space. *cough*
To cut a long story short, from the vibration of all those strings came forth the membrane (or d-brane) and vibrated its way into the M-Theory (where M stands for “magical” or “mysterious”, I kid you not!), an extension of the String Theory which acknowledges “only” 11 dimensions. It comes with supersymmetry, supergravity and super-duper-science-bloopers you can’t even begin to imagine. Now ain’t that cool? All that vibration just makes you giddy, don’t it? But wait, it gets even better! M-Theory spawned Brane Cosmology which says that the reality plane in which we all exist is a virtual sheet of strings that vibrates through the universe! And there’s an infinite number of such sheets, or universes, realities.
*Brief reminder: we’re talking about official science here, the stuff that the public relies on to offer a sense of reality, not fiction with its many marvels. This isn’t Star Trek. Unfortunately. I miss Star Trek, at least it had “pew-pew” guns.*
String Theory is a humongous mathematical construct with a stupendous number of variables and no certainty whatsoever (random fact: did you know that the monster equation that describes String Theory has 10^520 solutions? That’s 10 to the power of 520 possible interpretations of it! A gadzillion possible interpretations of the theory of reality! *brain freeze*).
But String Theory isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning. Because, if you put 5 mathematicians in the same room you get 500 different opinions and maaaany tiny little mathematical babies, there isn’t just one String Theory, there are five of them. You got that right. There isn’t just one String Theory to rule them all and in the darkness bind them, there are five. And all of them are purely theoretical, as in they have no experimental proof, none at all, zilch, not even an ant’s fart of a bit of experimental relevance.
You would’ve expected someone to point a finger at this nonsense by now, right?
Well, they have, even from the start, in the 50′s, when Einstein’s cosmological constant and the Hubble redshift did the rumpy-pumpy behind the shed and the Big Bang Theory reared its head a bit later.
Actually the Big Bang Theory was the beer-soaked brain-child of some dudes named Gamow and Alpher, who published a paper on April 1st, 1948—on freakin April fool’s day!—that explained how the explosion that caused it all probably might’ve worked. It contained so much guessing and awesome coincidences it’s a wonder it wasn’t passed off as fiction. Come to speak of it, Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History Of Time, where the mechanics of black holes and wormholes were first explained, was in fact a work of fiction that was surprisingly passed off as hard-core scientific theory by the powers that be (a.k.a. mass-media and smart marketing). And you thought literary publishing was fucked!
“We have to learn again that science without contact with experiments is an enterprise which is likely to go completely astray into imaginary conjecture.” (Nobel Prize winner, Hannes Alfven)
It was a surprising branch of physics that found a solution to the many riddles of cosmology, one that actually fits with every observation so far and has been making accurate predictions of cosmological phenomena that were all proven by technological advancement. It has also solved the unification problem between cosmology and quantum physics, and done so without mathematical gymnastics. On top of that, it’s not a theoretical construct, it’s practical, applied physics, and it’s already part of our everyday life, fitting reality like a glove and enabling us to evolve exponentially with every decade. It’s already out there, working for us every day.
It’s called Plasma Cosmology, and is a scientifically valid, experimentally proven and mathematically tested (but not very popular) theory, that explains both the physics and mechanics of stellar bodies and sub-atomic particles. It’s based on the study of plasma, the fourth state of matter (for all of you peeps who’ve skipped science class, the other states of matter are solid, liquid and gas), and comes from a place of practical applications and hands-on laboratory physics, that has brought you fluorescent lamps, plasma TVs, fusion energy studies, high power lasers, funny living room decorations, and much much more.
What Plasma Cosmology basically says is that the force ruling the universe on a grand scale isn’t gravity but electromagnetism. Which effectively obliterates the need for black holes, dark matter, wormholes, elastic space-time, gravity wells, and so on. It also denies the expansion of the universe, saying that the redshift of our neighbor galaxies (which was assumed to be a Doppler effect on an intergalactic scale) is in fact a property of the plasma making up those galaxies and their stars, and that it basically gives us information on their composition, temperature and age. Not their speed as they’re running away from us and our ugly faces.
Plasma Cosmology also explains how plasma filaments combine to form all the different shapes of galaxies observed thus far (something the Big Bang theory can not), how it influences cosmic radiation and the behavior of nebulae and quasars, that of stars, exoplanets, comets and asteroids, solar jets and even lightning!
Plasma Cosmology explains everything that the Big Bang Theory still struggles to understand (I’m not even mentioning String Theory here since that one doesn’t explain anything), and does not require undetectable matter, invisible objects and unimaginable properties to make sense. There’s proof of the validity of this simple, elegant theory all over the place, and the repercussions are truly tremendous. It can even be reproduced in the lab—it can simulate scaled down, perfectly functional galaxies acting identically to their real-size counterparts!
*Hell yeah! I want the pink one with fluffy puffs of nebulae delivered to my house, please. Thanks.*
But, let’s not forget that the cool kids don’t like to admit they were wrong all along. They might be blind but they’re not stupid. They won’t admit that their Nobel Prizes were mistakes and that the billions of dollars in funding for their laboratories, telescopes and expensive toys were a little bit over the top, and clearly to the detriment of all alternative studies. A bit egotistical, wouldn’t you agree? C’mon, people, be nice. Learn to share with each other. It benefits us all.
Plasma physicists and many other scientists who feel and know there’s something wrong with the Big Bang Theory, are working very hard to gather evidence and funding to climb the steps into public awareness, and ultimately, public scientific legitimacy. But they don’t have an easy task. The ground on which scientific theories tread is a battlefield, just like religion and politics, and ideologies are never quick to change. But I have faith that it won’t take much longer. We also used to believe that Earth was flat for quite a bunch of years before experimental facts punched the truth into us. Just like we still cling to the idea that the universe is governed by the weakest of natural forces and isn’t in agreement with its own subatomic self.
I am not a scientist, and the opinions expressed in this post don’t carry the weight of authority, but I am very passionate about theoretical physics and the mechanics of the universe, and I’m a firm believer in logic, practical applicability and common sense. And I’ll be damned if I shut up just because I don’t have the right college degree! If I can’t contribute to the victory of reason in science, at least I’ll do my best with the limited understanding I have and explore reasonable science in fiction. And sometimes, on this blog.
Books to read:
Albert Einstein – Relativity: The Special and General Theory
Stephen Hawking – A Brief History of Time
Lee Smolin – The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next
John Waller – Fact And Fiction In The History Of Scientific Discovery
David Peat – From Certainty To Uncertainty The Story Of Science And Ideas In The 20th Century
Ken Freeman & Geoff McNamara – In Search of Dark-Matter
B. R. Martin – Nuclear and Particle Physics – An Introduction
Jonathan Allday – Quarks, Leptons and the Big Bang
Brian Greene – The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
Shalom Eliezer – The Fourth State of Matter
Wallace Thornhill & David Talbott - The Electric Universe
Eric J Lerner - The Big Bang Never Happened
Donald E. Scott - The Electric Sky
Lyndon Ashmore - Big Bang Blasted
-and as many more as you can get your hands on-
Online articles on Plasma Cosmology:
A brief history of Plasma Cosmology
The Electric Universe – Articles
Introduction into Plasma Universe
Halton C. Arp
The Electric Universe Model
Infoplease – Plasma Cosmology
-Google is your friend-
Some videos I highly recommend:
Plasma Cosmology, a brief introduction
The Electric Skies – Thunderbolts of the Gods
Exploring the Plasma Universe
Plasma Physics’ Answers to the New Cosmological Questions
Einstein debunked by CERN — Nicola Tesla was right
And just any video here.
This blog post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, April 2012
Additional sources are added as history goes on.