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Foreword to "Foundational Flaws in Modern Physics"

Foreword to "Foundational Flaws in Modern Physics" - Physics Forum

Foreword to "Foundational Flaws in Modern Physics" - Physics Forum. Discuss and ask physics questions, kinematics and other physics problems.


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Old 05-22-2008, 02:53 PM
Jan Gooral
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Default Foreword to "Foundational Flaws in Modern Physics"



The text below contains my findings which may be of interest to
people who have inquisitive minds and want to discover how Nature
really works. (This text is taken from my book "Foundational Flaws
in Modern Physics", which can be found at [Only registered users see links. ])


FOREWORD

Writing about modern science - Roger G. Newton remarked that
Its most important characteristic is to rely neither on authority
nor on individual revelation or intuition. That is not to say
that scientists and mathematicians never take the word of an
authoritative and highly regarded colleague on faith. They often
do; no one can go through the details of every mathematical
proof or repeat every experiment. ..."Nobody knows more
than a tiny fraction of science well enough to judge its validity
and value at first hand," argues Michael Polanyi. "For the rest
he has to rely on views accepted at second hand on the
authority of a community of people accredited as scientists."
(Newton: [R#1] p.120)
Obviously, one can't check every mathematical proof and repeat
every experiment; and one should not have to. This would be a
terrible waste of time and resources. However, there are facts which
force us to re-examine experimental evidence and the conclusions
which are based on it.
As a well-known physicist - Stephen Hawking - concluded: "the
general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics ... are known to
be inconsistent with each other - they cannot both be correct"
(Hawking: [R#2] p.11-2). However, we know that both theories are
claimed to be experimentally proved to be correct. Obviously, this is
an indication that some of our so-called 'proofs' are misleading and
that it is necessary to re-examine them.

When re-examining experiments - it is not that difficult to discover
that in some important cases people who designed and conducted
these experiments have not done a good job in drawing conclusions
from the data they collected. It seems that due to this, even the
leaders in physics are sometimes unaware of what experimental
evidence really tells us. Moreover, as Brian Martin (a Professor of
Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong) pointed out:
In spite of popular views to the contrary, scientific research is
an incredibly conservative enterprise: innovation of particular
sorts is welcomed, but challenges to fundamental principles are
typically rejected out of hand. The reason is simple: many
prestigious and not-so-prestigious scientists have an enormous
stake in the prevailing set of ideas and directions.
(Martin: [R#3])
One would think that Brian Martin exaggerates and that in the field
of physics - if such "challenges to fundamental principles" were well
supported by evidence, they would not be rejected. What may
surprise you, dear reader - this is not always the case. We should
not forget the fact that these leaders are only human; as Mendel
Sachs remarked,
one must take account of the fact that, far from being totally
objective thinking machines, scientists are only human - along
with all of the 'hang-ups' that go with this label! - such as
irrational prejudices in science to fight off, as well as other
emotional restraints, such as the near-omniscience that the
scientist sometimes attributes to the leaders in his field!
(Sachs: [R#4] p.108)
And this is detrimental for progress in physics. When a prominent
physicist writes that some tenet is proved by experimental evidence, it
doesn't seem to come to other physicists' minds that just the opposite
may be true. Hence, in practice, many assumptions in physics are
based only on the authority of people with impressive credentials.
And, what is very unfortunate, these assumptions are presented then
as undeniable facts - even though they are disproved by modern
experimental evidence.

For example, the assumption that a body following a geodesic is in
inertial motion - as the geometric explanation of gravitation implies -
has been contradicted by the Gravity Probe 'A' experiment (which has
been conducted in 1976). As has been explained in section 2.2.1
([Only registered users see links. ]), the results showed that the
freely falling clock, which was used in this experiment, was perfectly
well "aware" of changes of its speed (even though it did not "feel"
any force). The clock was also well "aware" of the magnitude of
the gravitational potential. And this proves that the commonly
accepted assumption, that the gravitational field is cancelled in free
fall, is incorrect. This also proves that the equivalence principle is
not strictly correct (see §2.3 [Only registered users see links. ]
to §2.5 [Only registered users see links. ] in other words,
there is no complete equivalence between the effects of gravitation
and the effects of accelerated motion. So we cannot consider the
equivalence principle as a law of nature; as we do now.
But no physics textbook even mentions these facts. Is it that
physicists are unaware of them? It is possible because the article
([R#5]), in which the results of the above mentioned experiment have
been published, has been written in a really enigmatic way. E.g.,
although the clock employed in this experiment was in free fall like in
Einstein's elevator - the authors did not mention this and didn't even
use the expression "free fall". It is very puzzling that the authors
did not explicitly write about the most significant findings of this
experiment, which I mentioned above. So one can see why other
physicists could have overlooked them and don't discuss them.
On the other hand, many of the physics texts discuss experimental
evidence which is in agreement the Equivalence Principle (EP).
Thus, the impression has been created that this principle is correct
and that the gravitational fields are of relative existence. But this is
a false clue which leads astray new investigators who work on trying
to unify physics. For example, there are many experts who work on
quantizing the energy of gravitational fields. However, evidence
seems to indicate that this work doesn't make sense. Energy - like
mass - gravitates. However, as has been explained in section 5.1
([Only registered users see links. ]), there are experiments which
tell us that there is no gravitation of the energy of gravitational
fields; which means that this energy does not exist. It is hard to
believe, but EP is used to disvalue this experimental evidence. This
is done by repeating the argument which has been brought up in
"Gravitation" by Misner et al., according to which the gravitational
energy "is not localizable. The equivalence principle forbids"
(Misner et al.: [R#6] p.467). If EP is not valid, there is no basis
to claim that this energy exists; and this means that quantizing the
energy of gravitational fields is a futile exercise.
Moreover, because EP has been the only basis for the claim that
acceleration is relative - this claim is incorrect too. But this means
that, contrary to what physics text books state, acceleration is
absolute. And, hence, the general relativity principle is incorrect.
In 1959 V. Fock wrote in one of his books that "the purely relative
nature of acceleration is invalidated" (Fock: [R#7] p.208). And he
presented valid arguments for this claim and also for his claim that
the equivalence principle is not valid. But his arguments have been
ignored and many physicists with impressive credentials claim that
acceleration is relative, as if they were unaware of the fact that the
1976 experiment proved Fock's conclusions right.
In any case, what young physicists are taught now is - in this case -
in contradiction with experimental evidence.

Another example: We know that the speed of light measurements
always render the same result. Let's say we have a measuring rod
and points A and B mark its ends. We send a light signal from
point A to point B, where the signal is reflected by a mirror back to
A. If we measure the time it took this signal to travel from A to B
and back to A, we get the speed of light by dividing the total
distance (2 * AB) by this time.
However, we know that the lower in a gravitational potential a clock
is - the lower its rate is. So how can a local measurement of the
speed of light in a gravitational field give the same result as such
measurement outside of this field? If the clock is slower it must take
light more time to cover the same distance in a gravitational field;
otherwise the result would imply that the local speed of light is
greater. The assumption that there is some spacetime curvature
cannot change anything because we check the straightness of the rod
by comparing it to the path of light, so if this path is curved then
the rod must be curved too; and the length of the path of light AB
would not be affected by this.
The results of the experiments conducted by Irwin Shapiro (in
1966-7) and later by others - are also in agreement with the
conclusion that the speed of light in a gravitational field is decreased
(depending on the magnitude of gravitational potential). The time
delay (of the returns of radar signals) observed there, cannot be
explained by the increase of the path of the signal due to the bending
of this path, because this contribution is a few orders of magnitude
too small (see §4.5 [Only registered users see links. ]).
What makes the issue especially puzzling is the fact that in his book,
"Relativity - The Special and General Theory", Einstein wrote that:
according to the general theory of relativity, the law of the
constancy of the velocity of light in vacuo, which constitutes one
of the two fundamental assumptions in the special theory of
relativity ... cannot claim any unlimited validity. A curvature
of rays of light can only take place when the velocity of
propagation of light varies with position.
(Einstein: [R#8] p.76)

But despite all this - leading physicists deny the fact that "the
velocity of propagation of light varies with position".
In his book - "Faster than the Speed of Light" - Joćo Magueijo
writes:
Very few things in science are as rock solid as Einstein's theory
of relativity. Yet my idea challenges nothing less - to extremes
that could be perceived as a physicist's career suicide.
Unsurprisingly, a well-known popular science tabloid used the
title "Heresy" for an article about this work.
(Magueijo: [R#9] p.1)
And a few pages further, he explains what this "heresy" was. He
writes:
And ever since [1905], the constancy of the speed of light has
been woven into the very fabric of physics, into the way physics
equations are written, even into the notation used. Nowadays,
to "vary" the speed of light is not even a swear word: It is
simply not present in the vocabulary of physics.
(Magueijo: [R#9] p.6)
So despite experimental evidence - leading physicists imply that the
speed of light does not vary, because special relativity does not allow
for this. And Einstein's statement - that "the law of the constancy
of the velocity of light in vacuo ... cannot claim any unlimited
validity" - is also ignored; as is his explanation that: "A curvature of
rays of light can only take place when the velocity of propagation of
light varies with position". It seems that, today, Einstein himself
would probably be considered as a heretic.
The question must arise: Why is it that leading physicist don't want
to accept the fact that the coordinate speed of light varies? There
seems to be only one explanation. We know only one reason for the
speed of light to be changed: a change of the index of refraction of
space through which the light travels. Ironically, attributing physical
properties to empty space is also considered as a "heresy", because
such space is like the old ether.
In 1920, in his Leiden lectures, Einstein pointed out that: "Certainly,
from the standpoint of the special theory of relativity, the ether
hypothesis appears at first to be an empty hypothesis" (Einstein:
[R#10] p.15). However, as he added further on:
But on the other hand there is a weighty argument to be
adduced in favour of the ether hypothesis. To deny the ether
is ultimately to assume that empty space has no physical
qualities whatever. The fundamental facts of mechanics do not
harmonize with this view.
(Einstein: [R#10] p.16)
And on the next page he presented one of these facts, writing that:
It is true that Mach tried to avoid having to accept as real
something which is not observable by endeavouring to substitute
in mechanics a mean acceleration with re- ference to the totality
of the masses in the universe in place of an acceleration with
reference to absolute space. But inertial resistance opposed to
relative acceleration of distant masses presupposes action at a
distance; and as the modern physicist does not believe that he
may accept this action at a distance, he comes back once more,
if he follows Mach, to the ether, which has to serve as medium
for the effects of inertia.
(Einstein: [R#10] p.17-8)
There can be no doubt that inertial effects hint us that space has
some physical properties; otherwise a body would not even "know"
that it is accelerated and would not resist to its acceleration the more
the faster it moves. So it is hard to understand why the ether was
rejected. Moreover, the retardation of clocks due to motion is a
causal effect; which means that the clocks must physically "feel" that
they are moving. Obviously these clocks can feel only motion
relative to something physical; and whether we call it ether, or space
with physical properties, is of little importance. Besides, the fact that
the speed of light does not depend on the speed of its source - must
also be considered as evidence for the existence of the ether (or space
with physical properties). Also, the fact that Maxwell deduced the
speed of light from the knowledge of properties of space such as
permittivity and permeability - indicates that these properties are real
and of physical significance. But because abstract concepts don't
have physical properties - these properties must also be considered as
evidence for the existence of the ether or space with physical
properties.
Paradoxically - all this evidence is ignored, because it is claimed that
Einstein disproved the ether and nobody seems to care that in 1920
Einstein wrote that,
Recapitulating, we may say that according to the general theory
of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this
sense, therefore, there exists an ether. Ac- cording to the
general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable;
for in such space there not only would be no propagation of
light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space
and time (measuring-rods and clocks), nor therefore any
space-time intervals in the physical sense.
(Einstein: [R#10] p.23)
So there are many roles which something, like the ether, has to
play; and therefore, many reasons to believe that it does exist.
Simply, without it - we have no way to explain how nature works.
(See §§1.3.3 ([Only registered users see links. ]) - 1.3.6 for
more details.)
In spite of the above, leading relativity physicists are definitely
unwilling to accept the fact that space has physical properties which
depend on gravitational potential. Why? There are two main
reasons:
1. If the index of refraction of empty space varies with gravitational
potential, then the bending of light and the time delay of light don't
prove that space is curved. As we know, light rays will also be bent
when they travel through the atmosphere, if its density or temperature
varies. Would it make sense to claim that this atmosphere is
curved? The same way it does not seem to make sense to say that
empty space is curved if it is the varying index of refraction that
causes light rays to be bent.
2. If the index of refraction of empty space varies with gravitational
potential, then the total energy of the electrostatic field of a charged
elementary particle must also vary. And this must mean that the
rest mass of this particle depends on the gravitational potential.
However, this undermines the belief that spacetime geometry explains
gravitation. This also proves that the equivalence principle is of
limited validity and that it cannot be considered as a law of Nature.
The problems mentioned in the last two sentences seem to be
unacceptable for leading relativity physicists; so they claim that the
rest masses do not vary depending on the gravitational potential.
And this leads us to another controversial subject. Let me explain:

Today many prominent physicists imply (in their books on physics)
that a photon which climbs up in a gravitational field looses energy
and frequency. We know that the natural frequencies of atoms are
affected by gravitational field. The lower in a gravitational field an
atom is, the lower its resonant frequencies. Let's imagine that an
atom A emits light at one of its resonant frequencies towards another
atom B which is of the same kind and is positioned "higher" in this
gravitational field. The radiation is compared there to the resonant
frequency of the atom B undergoing the same transition. We know
what the difference will be; moreover, experiments leave no doubt that
the magnitude of the observed difference is only the result of these
atoms radiating at different frequencies and that the radiation from
the atom A does not loose its frequency while travelling "up". So
why do even known physicists falsely imply that it does?
For example, a known relativist, Clifford M. Will, wrote:
A question that is often asked is, Do the intrinsic rates of the
emitter and receiver or of the clocks change, or is it the light
signal that changes frequency during its flight? The answer is
that it doesn't matter. Both descriptions are physically
equivalent. Put differently, there is no operational way to
distinguish between the two descriptions. ...to get a
gravitational red shift, we must separate the clocks in height;
therefore, we must connect them by a signal that traverses the
distance between them. But this makes it impossible to
determine unambiguously whether the shift is due to the clocks
or to the signal. ... [p. 50] ... This is a key aspect of
relativity, indeed of much of modern physics: we focus only on
observable, operationally defined quantities, and avoid
unanswerable questions.
(Will: [R#11] p.49-50)
Why does this prominent physicist write that it doesn't matter
whether the photon changes its frequency or not? I was thinking
about this for years, but only one answer comes to my mind.
Unambiguous statement that this photon does not loose energy - forces
one to acknowledge that a particle falling down in a gravitational
field does not gain in total energy either; otherwise a perpetuum
mobile could be constructed, as I've explained in section 5.4
([Only registered users see links. ]) in my book. And this means
that the rest mass-energy of a particle depends on the magnitude of
the gravitational potential. But this is in contradiction to what is
commonly assumed on the basis of modern (incorrect) interpretation
of general relativity. So saying that we don't know whether the
photon looses energy - saves our incorrect assumption and incorrect
interpretation of general relativity from being seen as untenable.
Moreover, if the value of the rest mass-energy of a particle varies -
then it must depend on the properties of space in its position. So
everything seems to be interconnected and one change in our
assumptions leads to undermining other assumptions.
Let's also notice that if a particle falling in a gravitational field
doesn't gain energy from the field, then there is no need to postulate
quanta of the energy of gravitational fields - gravitons; which are the
hypothetical "carriers" of gravitational interactions. Noteworthy, the
hypothesis of gravitons as carriers of gravitational interactions is
untenable, because it leads to contradictions with the laws of
conservation of energy and momentum. So the whole business of
quantizing gravitational fields (or spacetime geometry) is a misguided
effort and a waste of time and money. But will the experts who
work in this field happily admit that they are on the wrong track?
Will they be happy to give up on their current works, grants for
them, etc.?
As Professor Brian Martin pointed out:
For any group that is able to acquire a disproportionate share
of society's wealth, power, or status, it is advantageous for this
inequality to be seen as legitimate. One of the key bases or
supports for legitimacy in contemporary societies is scientific and
technological expertise. Because scientific knowledge is widely
believed to have an authority derived from nature, undisputed
scientific knowledge claims can play a powerful legitimating role.
...
When dissident experts challenge a scientific or technological
orthodoxy, this potentially becomes a challenge to the privileges
of groups associated with the orthodoxy, since the legitimacy of
those privileges may be thrown into question along with the
orthodoxy itself.
(Martin: [R#12])
That's why, as Martin writes: "challenges to fundamental principles
are typically rejected out of hand. The reason is simple: many
prestigious and not-so-prestigious scientists have an enormous stake in
the prevailing set of ideas and directions" (Martin: [R#3]). And in
another place he writes that: "powerful scientists often develop a
commitment to and a career investment in particular ideas, and react
strongly against challengers" (Martin: [R#13]).

I used to believe that experimental evidence decided whether a
statement in physics was correct and acceptable or not. And when I
came across some physics texts which seemed to indicate otherwise -
I assumed that I must have misunderstood something. For years I
used to assume that the problems existed only in my imagination. I
could not believe that physics community would put up with so much
dubious or incorrect information presented as a scientific truth by
people with impressive credentials.

In their book, in which they compare the scientific research to a
detective story, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld wrote that: "It is
a familiar fact to readers of detective fiction that a false clew
muddles the story and postpones the solution" (Einstein & Infeld:
[R#14] p.6). Obviously, false clues in physics also postpone the
solution; as can easily be seen in the field of the unification of
physics research.
In his book "The Trouble with Physics", published in 2006, Lee
Smolin (a known expert on quantum gravity) writes that "by 1981,
physics had enjoyed two hundred years of explosive growth.
Discovery after discovery deepened our understanding of nature...
Then, in the early 1980s, things ground to a halt" (Smolin: [R#15]
p.XI). In the "Introduction" to the book Lee Smolin writes: "The
story I will tell could be read by some as a tragedy." This state of
affairs is surprising because, as Smolin writes, "far more people now
work on problems in fundamental physics than in the whole combined
history of the subject". Moreover, "there may be more professors of
physics in a large university department today than there were a
hundred years ago in the whole of Europe, where almost all the
advances were being made" (Smolin: [R#15] p.262). In spite of this,
according to Lee Smolin, "We are horribly stuck..." (Smolin: [R#15]
p.311).
As we know, relativity and quantum mechanics provide the basic
foundation of modern theoretical physics. Lee Smolin pointed out
that even though "Each of these is a beautiful, powerful and
profound theory. ...neither can, because of the existence of the
other, be said to constitute the basis for a general theory of physics."
This we must conclude even though, supposedly, experimental evidence
'proves' that both are correct.
In a hard to solve case, detectives cannot ignore any evidence. But
this is what we do in physics. Should we be surprised that we
cannot solve the problems encountered on the road to the unification
of physics?
Even though my book contains original solutions to couple of specific
issues, the main purpose of my writing it - was to help in freeing
physics of the incorrect assumptions, explanations and concepts which
are responsible for the unprecedented stagnation in this field.


REFERENCES:
[R#1] Roger G. Newton - "The Truth of Science - Physical Theories
and Reality" - Harvard University Press - Cambridge,
Massachusetts - 1997.
[R#2] Stephen W. Hawking - "A Brief History of Time" - Bantam
Books - Toronto · New York · London · Sydney · Auckland -
April 1988.
[R#3] Brian Martin - "Confronting the Experts" -
[Only registered users see links. ]
[R#4] Mendel Sachs - "Relativity in Our Time" - Taylor & Francis -
London · Washington, DC - 1993.
[R#5] R. F. C. Vessot et al. - "Test of Relativistic Gravitation with a
Space-Borne Hydrogen Maser" - Phys. Rev. Lett. 45 (1980), p.
2081.
[R#6] C. W. Misner, K. S. Thorne, J. A. Wheeler - "Gravitation" -
W. H. Freeman and Company - San Francisco - 1973.
[R#7] V. Fock - "The Theory of Space Time and Gravitation" -
translated by N. Kemmer - Pergamon Press - New York,
London, Paris, Los Angeles - 1959.
[R#8] Albert Einstein - "Relativity - The Special and General Theory"
- translated by Robert W. Lawson - 15th edition - Crown
Publishers, Inc. - New York - 1952.
[R#9] Joćo Magueijo - "Faster than the Speed of Light" - Perseus
Publishing - 2003.
[R#10] Albert Einstein - "Sidelights on Relativity" - translated by G.
B. Jeffery and W. Perret - Dover - 1983 (implementation © E.
Baird 1995).
[R#11] Clifford M. Will - "Was Einstein Right? - Putting General
Relativity to the Test" - Basic Books, Inc., Publishers - New
York - 1986.
[R#12] Brian Martin - "Suppression of dissent in science" -
[Only registered users see links. ]
[R#13] Brian Martin - "Science: contemporary censorship" -
[Only registered users see links. ]
[R#14] Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld - "The Evolution of Physics"
- sixteenth printing - Simon and Schuster, Inc. - New York -
1938.
[R#15] Lee Smolin - "The Trouble with Physics" - Houghton Mifflin
Company - Boston · New York - 2006.


J. M. Góral (Gooral)


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