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Star physicists trade barbs over cosmological model

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CCNY Frontiers of Physics SymposiumA tony social club in midtown Manhattan is not the place one might expect to find a verbal sparring match between famous physicists. But that was the case April 23 at the Harmonie Club, when Alan Guth and David Gross had a feisty off-the-cuff debate about Guth’s model for the dawn of the universe. Perhaps in keeping with their genteel surroundings, the two kept their jabs mostly playful, but a few may have stung nonetheless.

The exchange took place at a physics symposium hosted by the City College of New York (CCNY) at which both Guth and Gross gave lectures. Guth, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology renowned for his role in developing the concept of cosmological inflation in the early 1980s, had just given brief remarks introducing some of the concepts he would cover in a later lecture. Inflation holds that the entire observable universe began as a bubble that underwent extremely rapid growth, doubling in size every 10–37 second, before a more gentle expansion took over. Many of its predictions mesh well with precision measurements taken by probes such as NASA’s WMAP spacecraft, making inflation one of the leading—if not the leading—explanation for what went on in the very early universe.

The model implies that although inflation came to an end billions of years ago in our local universe, it continues apace beyond our cosmic horizon and will for eternity. Our bubble, then, is just one of many—a universe within a multiverse—each of which might have its own laws of physics. As such, Guth said, the parameters of our physical world might be nothing more than a historical accident. That did not sit well with Gross, who earned a share of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics by exploring those parameters, unwinding the dynamics of the strong force that binds quarks together in protons and neutrons.

"In reaction to that last talk—oy vey," said the Israel-educated Gross, who directs the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. (He also sits on Scientific American‘s board of advisers.) Gross called Guth’s concept of eternal inflation somewhat speculative, noting that if other universes do exist, they are causally disconnected from ours—"every goddamn one of them." As such, Gross added, talk of other universes "does bear some resemblance to talking about angels."

When Guth began his full lecture later in the afternoon, he got a dig in at Gross, poking fun at his colleague’s late arrival. Gross had been scheduled as the symposium’s first speaker but was not at the Harmonie Club at the appointed hour, a mishap that he attributed to a time-zone change. Guth noted that his ideas had been "maligned by someone who doesn’t know how to set his alarm clock." (Anton Zeilinger of the University of Vienna, another Scientific American adviser who had been booked to speak second, moved into Gross’s slot and delivered a humorous and engaging talk about quantum entanglement and quantum information systems.)

Toward the end of his talk, Guth set out to address one catch in his model: that the energy density of empty space is far lower than would be expected in a typical corner of the multiverse. It’s so low, in fact, that the likelihood of finding ourselves in such a place is about the same as flipping a coin 400 times and getting heads every time.

But maybe there is a selection effect in place, Guth suggested—that is, maybe life can only take hold in universes with weak vacuum energy. As an analogue, he said, we find ourselves on a highly unusual place within our universe—on the surface of a planet instead of, say, inside a star or out in empty space. We don’t think of that as strange; we simply accept that we live in a place that permits life. The same might be true of bubble universes within the multiverse—the universes that are hospitable to life, rare though they may be, will be the only ones with inhabitants. Perhaps we just find ourselves in a highly atypical habitable universe embedded in a largely unwelcoming multiverse.

The inhabitants of our universe are then free to hypothesize and argue with their esteemed colleagues about the nature of the cosmos—and to drop the occasional zinger in the process. "The selection effect is both logical and scientific, and it could be right," Guth said. "I don’t know if that contradicts ‘oy vey‘."

Photo of, from left, Guth, Myriam Sarachik of CCNY, Gross and Zelinger: © Scientific American/John Matson

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  1. 1. rajnish 1:32 am 05/1/2010

    Universe is nowhere but in our head that too at some point in our head. It is strange that how we can map the whole universe in many dimensions and/or even the multiverse. How come the two have same cardinality. And may be there is something still left that we may/can try to map.

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  2. 2. rajnish 1:37 am 05/1/2010

    It is just like mapping a very small or big arc with a line segment or vice-versa.

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  3. 3. bertwindon 1:54 am 05/1/2010

    The velocity of Light depends upo the medium thro’ which it is moving. Otherwise lenses would not work !
    Maybe you are confusing this with one postulate of Einstein’s "Special theory of relativity" which supposed that the velocity of light is the same for all observers (regardless of their relative velocities). He supposed this since (it is still the case that) no-one had ever made an experiment which indicated that is did vary at all. The Michelson-Morley experiment ?.

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  4. 4. bertwindon 1:59 am 05/1/2010

    What you say points to God being a fairly typical labour government – but wih a Cabinet of One only, of course.

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  5. 5. bertwindon 2:03 am 05/1/2010

    It seems that in amongst this model of "our Universe" would be all sort of little jets squirting drivel everywhere. Quantum mechanically of course.

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  6. 6. bertwindon 2:14 am 05/1/2010

    Ok, so we have a universe that has allways been expanding, and so – going backwards – must once have been of zero size – with nothing outside because space-time would be so curved from the bind-mogling gravity. So this makes a Black-hole weigh like a toy balloon. Where’s Gravity ? what pushes it apart. Fairy tales indeed !.

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  7. 7. Quinn the Eskimo 2:18 am 05/1/2010

    Einstein was vague. That’s been his problem all along.

    When it came to specifics–he couldn’t see the microchip. Or the microwave oven.

    He just didn’t think it through.

    As a term paper–FAIL.

    But, he did prove that nothing unreal exists.

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  8. 8. bertwindon 2:19 am 05/1/2010

    What are you drinkin kiddo !

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  9. 9. jtdwyer 2:28 am 05/1/2010

    The article states of Alan Guth’s inflationary universe:
    "The model implies that although inflation came to an end billions of years ago in our local universe, it continues apace beyond our cosmic horizon and will for eternity. Our bubble, then, is just one of many–a universe within a multiverse–each of which might have its own laws of physics."

    Making the leap from an initial universal inflationary period to a multiverse of bubble universes requires a leap of faith not usually afforded scientific theories, even those of crackpot imminent scientists. Unless external universes can produce some predictable and detectable effect within our own universe, their existence can only be speculation, or flights of fantasy.

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  10. 10. Weir 2:58 am 05/1/2010

    Light itself defines space. It comes to us as a series of discontinuous pulses consistent with Planck’s constant. Where there is no light there is a black hole in space-time. (See the website article on Gravity and Quantum Relativity.) Everywhere else in the universe there is light (EM radiation) that is only detectable when it interacts with a surface of some kind. In fact the only things we can know or detect in phenomenal experience are active interface processes of some kind between a universal inside and a universal outside, neither of which can be known to the exclusion of the other. There are no other universal boundaries possible without introducing contradictions such as trying to define a beginning to creation including space and time from concepts of space and time derived from creation.

    Light is refracted by interface processes as it propagates through a lens. Light is the only action in each still space frame that defines relative atomic positions. Relative positions change in a series of relative quantum jumps in particle position. That is why electrons jump from orbit to orbit without traversing the space between. Atomic theory including QM is erected on this assumption that Neils Bohr and everyone since found essential to explain the spectral lines of hydrogen.

    The universal methodology introduced at is not a belief system associated with any religion and it must find direct confirmation in phenomenal experience of some kind, either in the public or private domain or both. All scientific theories seek out universal laws, but they generally fail to acknowledge that there is a subjective aspect to phenomenal experience. This essentially denies the scientific mind that conceives them. Yet we all intuitively sense that there must be such a thing as universal truth that transcends our birth and death whether in a Big Bang or otherwise. Even if one believes that death brings total psychic annihilation they surely believe this to be universally true of everyone, not just themselves. Truth is a subjective value not an objective physical reality. It requires confirmation in experience which is something distinct from logical deduction although it may include the latter in matters of social intercourse relating to shared objective experience.

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  11. 11. Cognosium 3:59 am 05/1/2010

    Both the article and many of the subsequent responses show the great predilection for fantasy demonstrated by theoretical physicists and their followers.

    This is not, in itself, not a bad thing, for is from such diverse exercise of imagination that some practical science is eventually able to evolve by a natural selection process.

    It is important to remember, though, that those working in that field are essentially fiction writers who happen to use the very simple language of mathematics to generate their models.

    As such, they are generally not well equipped to handle the richer concepts of the real (empirical) world with the greater abstractions provided by the higher level natural languages, and their excursions into that domain must be taken with much more than a grain of salt.

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  12. 12. rajnish 4:00 am 05/1/2010

    In any case we map the external universe. What is more intriguing is that how such mapping can take place in quantum world and what happens to this at the time of death.

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  13. 13. 1bobwhite 9:39 am 05/1/2010

    There is a book that has been published since 1955 that describes these universe conditions and expounds on so many of the issues related to this and "other" universes. This book will severely challenge you to consider other possibilities to your thinking of these things, if you DARE to read it! It is The Urantia Book, which may be read also online @ If you haven’t read it, you don’t know what you are talking about.

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  14. 14. 1bobwhite 9:59 am 05/1/2010

    There is a book that has been published since 1955 that describes these universe conditions and expounds on so many of the issues related to this and "other" universes. This book will severely challenge you to consider other possibilities to your thinking of these things, if you DARE to read it! It is The Urantia Book, which may be read also online @ If you haven’t read it, you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Link to this
  15. 15. 1bobwhite 10:00 am 05/1/2010

    There is a book that has been published since 1955 that describes these universe conditions and expounds on so many of the issues related to this and "other" universes. This book will severely challenge you to consider other possibilities to your thinking of these things, if you DARE to read it! It is The Urantia Book, which may be read also online @ If you haven’t read it, you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Link to this
  16. 16. buddhacosmos 10:42 am 05/1/2010

    as was said. we can explain what se see. these are interpretations of abstract #s. the scalar higgs field is very useful. but i don’t see it as moving or expanding. i guess i am in a different camp. i admit that QUANTUM THEORY is counterintuitive. but develormentaly i think the nature of the UNIVERSE is open to an intuitive first hand analysis with DIRECT OBSERVATIONS . it’s true i agree that the part is only an aspect of the whole. but quantum theory teaches us theat the COSMOS IS A WHOLE CLOTH. and i think, as our species developed in this whole cloth and is part of it, we have an intimate understanding of it’s nature. even beyond the observable or conceptual. thnq

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  17. 17. buddhacosmos 11:02 am 05/1/2010

    this you relate is very much my own analysys with what i have read , heard, and observed -especially the wordles. you seem to indicate but i really don’t think we have come to different conclusions. you may be refering to my first post when you say nonverval. i am a songwrite -i use words in a herding way. i woudn’t accept any analysis by someone who has not embraced the infi ite as a reality. the only reality. space in our experience dictates this.

    you have some experience with BUCCHIST THEORY though i don’t know yur sources. it is interesting that the position and velocity cannpt be known at the same observance as they are defined by ONE AND TWO. in ZEN , SHUNRYU SUZUKI ROSHI speaks, ‘Not One and Not Two" that it is the MOST IMPORTANT TEACHING. this is from ZEN MIND, BEGINNERS MIND by S. Suzuki.

    i am glad You wrote here. I have wondered if these things are Acepted. i find i am not far from the crowd.

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  18. 18. buddhacosmos 11:52 am 05/1/2010

    this is what i’m talking about from my personal intuitive working theory.. space actually consumes matter by dispersing it, maybe like black body radiation. as the galaxies flee eachother it is actually SPACE pouring in. we beleive nothing is created or destroyed but while being conserved must be transformed. the borderles continuos space is still a tight static field. when "dispersion-annhiliation" completes, there may , and i would think would have to be, a residual vector. not from momentum, but just because the entirety of manifestation of the universe has been annhilated. as my friend Lauren writes -this MOMENTUM is an absence. it is said that in the chilicosms of deep sapce particles continually manifest and disappear in a quantum instant -i think because of this condition of abscence.

    so at the moment of complete annhilation -whic in my theory hapeens instantaneously throughout the infinite cosmos as one singular event -there is a moment of complete abscence. space then gives way to particle and energy into this abscence and as they collect into matter and bodies SPACE AGAIN BEGINS TO POUR IN.

    that’s how i see it . a quantum instance of absolute annhilation -just abscence.

    what does this mean for us? SPACE MUST BE A LAW UNLIKE OUR PRESENT CONCEPT OF LAW -or any i know anyway. and in each conversion this LAW gives rise to matter and energy and all other laws. thus from conversion to conversion the laws remaing the same. so each creation is essentially of the same law and nature.

    Quantum Theory knows conservation from moment to moment of a continually disappearing and appearing reality. across a boundary of abscence. this conservation also carries through annhilation. it is postulate both that black body radiation carries no record of that which has fallen into a BLACK HOLE and that it does. i think the continuity of our experience from moment to moment tells us that information does arise in black body radiation as it arises from instant to instant in our everyday quantum universe.

    so we as information distributed through out the infinite cosmos are not annhilated -even in death. and we will be here again. because when we go , there is a record of us -but we are now absent. thnQ

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  19. 19. 1bobwhite 12:42 pm 05/1/2010

    What if the light phenomena is only one of the multiple forms of this energy that we can we observe. For instance, if a photon is a wave producing packet (quantum) similar to the waves produced by a boat passing through water, or the trail of a particle through a cloud chamber, than the photon may not be what is observed, but the wave produced by its passing instead. As boats have different speeds, yet their surface waves proceed at a constant rate outward.
    The other speeds of this light energy would compare to the speed of sound of the boat through the water, which is many times faster than the surface wave propagation.
    Water has multiple speeds of energy propagation; surface wave speed varies dependent on wave length (5-7 ft/sec) up to open ocean tsunami speed with wavelengths of 100 km, the propagation speed of sound is approximately 1482 m/s (5335 km/h; 3315 mph), and pressure wave speed as from a tsunami, (600 miles per hour (970 km/hr)).
    What I am proposing is that light energy as we know it and its speed is unmeasurable in a pure vacuum such as deep space, but becomes (visible) when encountering forms of matter which modify it to be observable, such as particles of matter in gas and dust clouds, planets, etc. then the photons and their waves become observable and their speeds measurable. When a laser is directed through a transparent medium, it is unobservable from the 90 degree angle except for the presence of contamination particles of dust, smoke, or other matter it encounters that redirects that energy to our observing element. Direct viewing of this energy straight from the source, it is the reaction of our sensors (eyes) to this energy in the specific wave forms that give us this (observation).
    Recent hoopla has been given to discovering these multiple speeds of light, so we may be on the verge of discovering the properties of the other forms and speeds of energy.

    The photon is apparently a gravity responsive particle of mass/ matter and not pure energy as such, unless pure energy can exert a gravity force. I don’t believe we have discovered what pure energy is yet beyond the observation of particles. Static electricity, electricity, magnetism, and mass gravity response are clues to this energy but we yet don’t really understand what they are even though we have learned to take advantage of some of their properties.

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  20. 20. Weir 11:31 pm 05/1/2010

    I find some of your comments consistent with the empirical evidence and with points I have made. But we all have a stubborn tendency to presume like Newton that space and time are independent entities like a kind of imaginary vessel in which physical phenomena occur. Einstein turned them into a spacetime continuum with curvatures conditioned by local concentrations of gravitational mass, then seriously doubted the whole concept in his last years. In fact there is no empirical evidence whatever for the independent existence of either space or time. Apart from this physical creation they are illusive as a ghost. Space is the linear distance measured by a ruler of some kind between separate physical things. Time relates to physical cyclic motions of some kind. So we tend to think of light as flowing through the medium of spacetime or space and time as Einstein and Newton envisioned it respectively. Einstein dispensed with the lumeniferous ether that was thought to be the medium light travelled through because many experiments could not detect it. The spacetime continuum became the medium.

    This means that light cannot be compared to sound waves propagating through air or waves propagating through water. There is obvious evidence every time we turn on a light in a dim room that light does propagate through itself however. EM radiation itself is the medium light propagates through. Visible light is a small section in the middle of the continuous electromagnetic spectrum and no one really knows what it is in itself. We can only know its interactions through active interface processes of some kind. We can know that the EM spectrum is discontinuous across its entire continuous breadth as Plancks quantum of action demands consistent with the evidence of blackbody radiation. Each successive discontinuous energy pulse is called a photon, but there is no empirical evidence that this propagating photon is a physical particle like an electron or a proton. It is just a discrete pulse with a specific frequency and wavelength that can be measured. To speculate on other different kinds of radiation in the absence of empirical evidence is just idle speculation. There must be confirmation in phenomenal experience of some kind to take any idea seriously. This is the objection I have to probability waves, infinitesimal strings, the Big Bang, parallel universes, etc. etc. Science turns into a belief in fantasies that can never allow of direct confirmation, not ever! Einstein objected to this separation between the practice and interpretation of physics too.

    The speed of light in a vacuum has been measured and can vary somewhat propagating through various physical mediums. There is evidence that light propagates on a curved path around distant stars and galaxies but this does not mean that light is attracted by gravity. It means that the fabric of space-time is itself curved whether in Einsteins spacetime continuum or in the integrated fabric of discontinuous space-time that is curved by relative space-frame skipping due to the cyclical relative motions of massive bodies. You can find more on this in the two articles on Gravity and Cosmology at

    While it cannot be shown that a propagating photon is a physical particle it can be shown that a whole neutral atom is a physical particle and that discrete spherical photon energy shells determine the electron orbits that determine the dimensions of the atom. The dimensions are measured with respect to the linear photon emission or absorption of discrete quantum amounts of photon energy associated with electron quantum jumps in position that produce spectral lines. Each shell circumference must also be consistent with a whole number of de Broglie waves which are discontinuous quantum jumps in position around each orbit. Orbits are known to be fixed in this way. There is no such thing as half a quantum jump. If an electron is energized beyond the ionization limit and ejected from an atom it produces an electromagnetic field consistent with Maxwells equations. There is more on this in articles at

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  21. 21. laszlogm 12:37 am 05/2/2010

    Modern physics are becoming like a religion with all kinds mystical ideas. Since the ancient Greeks we somehow get lost, lingering between scientific knowledge and weird beliefs. We would probably do better by forgetting about the phjysics of the last hundred or so years, and go back to the basics of thermodynamics.

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  22. 22. moonkoon 6:41 am 05/2/2010

    <i>… talk of other universes "does bear some resemblance to talking about angels." </i>

    Oh really? Well if by this cheap shot you are inferring that angels don’t exist, then on behalf of the angels, let me tell you good Sir, that you are barking up the wrong tree with this line of thinking. Angels do exist, …in this universe at least. :-)

    Sure they might not shine in the field of mass, but rest assured they have plenty of energy …and spirit. Falsification required? Sure. Just prove they don’t exist.

    Angels might not figure much in science at present (although who knows what’s around the corner, eh? :-) ), but then science isn’t the only field of knowledge, and angels are extensively documented by, and celebrated in, the by no means insignificant fields of literature, the arts and theology. History, as they say, is on the side of the angels.

    Besides, angels don’t feel the need to diss science at every opportunity (although they do have a bit of a laugh from time to time about some of the things it comes up with), to bolster their sense of their own presence and legitimacy. On the contrary, they have always welcomed this source of conjecture and innovation and entertainment. So I think a bit of quid pro quo (that’s Latin, many angels are multilingual you know) is called for here. I mean, angels believe in people, right? So whasamatta with people and their latest little treasure returning the favour?

    Have a good day and let me leave you with this old Irish blessing,
    </i>"May the blessing of light be upon you, light without and light within. May the blessed sunshine shine upon you and warm your heart until it glows like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come and warm himself at it, as well as the friend."</i>

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  23. 23. moonkoon 6:44 am 05/2/2010

    <i>… talk of other universes "does bear some resemblance to talking about angels." </i>

    Oh really? Well if by this cheap shot you are inferring that angels don’t exist, then on behalf of the angels, let me tell you good Sir, that you are barking up the wrong tree with this line of thinking. Angels do exist, …in this universe at least. :-)

    Sure they might not shine in the field of mass, but rest assured they have plenty of energy …and spirit. Falsification required? Sure. Just prove they don’t exist.

    Angels might not figure much in science at present (although who knows what’s around the corner, eh? :-) ), but then science isn’t the only field of knowledge, and angels are extensively documented by, and celebrated in the by no means insignificant fields of literature, the arts and theology. History, as they say, is on the side of the angels.

    Besides, angels don’t feel the need to diss science at every opportunity (although they do have a bit of a laugh from time to time about some of the things it comes up with), to bolster their sense of their own presence and legitimacy. On the contrary, they have always welcomed this source of conjecture and innovation and entertainment. So I think a bit of quid pro quo (that’s Latin, many angels are multilingual you know) is called for here. I mean, angels believe in people, right? So whasamatta with people and their latest little treasure returning the favour?

    Have a good day and let me leave you with this old Irish blessing,
    </i>"May the blessing of light be upon you, light without and light within. May the blessed sunshine shine upon you and warm your heart until it glows like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come and warm himself at it, as well as the friend."</i>

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  24. 24. 1bobwhite 8:49 am 05/2/2010

    Thank you for your explanations.
    I do have a few things to ask though. You seem to refer to these energies as being derived from the particles within the atoms as they fluctuate between different levels of potential and then restabilize by emanating an electron with a corresponding quantum emmission of EM radiation, or a photon. Am I correct?
    Question: Is it possible to have pure energy without particles and their behavior?
    Question: Does a magnetic field represent an energy form without being associated with mass particles?
    Question: When something is supported by magnetic levitation from permanent magnets, is work being done, and if so is there a corresponding release of unrecoverable heat?
    Question: Is static electricity doing work when it is supporting a heavy balloon up to the ceiling?
    Question: Even if zero work is done with the previous questions, is energy being expended or exchanged when permanent magnets or static electricity cause masses to move; and if so where is the heat?
    Question: Could gravity attraction between masses through a vacuum be considered an energy force that is moving those masses, as in orbiting bodies; and if so where is the heat?
    Question: Since gravity appears to be the "fabric" of space, and masses and energies are traversing this fabric, and they are tugging on each other continuously without a break or sequence of events, where does the concept of time come in except in our own "thinking"?
    Question: If gravity is the fabric of space, then is it rigid or elastic? Since it can’t be "broken" and then restored, how can it be determined if it has a speed of reaction time over distances? Some say it is limited to the speed of light.

    Space is not empty, it is full of unseen and undiscovered energies and forces we may not have empirically proved YET.

    My point is, the empirical evidence we need to prove something may be right in front of us, and when we develop the correct theories and methods to prove those theories then the subject being examined will progress from the discovery of some evidence, to the nonsense theory, to the possible, to the logical, to the understood, to the provable, and finally to the accepted by science as (empirical) fact .
    You cannot say with any believable certainty that something does not exist, without providing some experimental or empirical evidence to try to prove that point!
    Greetings Bob.

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  25. 25. 1bobwhite 11:25 am 05/2/2010

    I am making a proposal for an experiment to be tried that I believe could show the relationship of the "speed" of gravity and the speed of light.

    I need input of your comments and experience to hash this out to make sure it can proceed with accuracy, and without biased tampering.

    This is it:
    [The comparison of the peaks of solar gravitational pull on the earth, to the peak of solar radiance.]

    If these peaks are coincidental, then the speeds are the same, but if there is a time lag of the peak of solar radiance, then the gravitational pull is not light speed limited.

    The gravitational peaks may possibly be determined by the records of the oceans tidal movements. The solar radiance peak may possibly be already determined by the time keepers.

    The comparison accuracy is what is needed to show the differences.

    What I expect to see is a solar radiance lag of approximatly eight minutes.

    Maybe this experiment has already been tried, but I haven’t found it yet. Maybe its too simple!

    One possible way to get an accurate solar radiance peak is to construct a straight length of "pipe" several meters in length, with a central "bore" of perhaps a millimeter, that is non reflective and light absorbing. Possibly a series of apertures that would limit the light path to that very small spot at the sensor end. Then mount a light sensitive element to that end so that light has to travel the entire distance without hitting the sidewall and being absorbed. Then mount this arrangement vertically so that the path of the sun will shine down the bore and strike the sensor at a known time of the day, (noon). The spike of the sensor would then be compared time wise to the peak of the tidal periods.
    The real challenge will be to construct a very sensitive gravity sensor arrangement so that a "peak" may be shown at a time precise enough to compare with the radiance peak.
    This could possibly be done by constructing a very long straight tube that is partially filled with a liquid (water), or maybe mercury, and either balancing it precisely on a central point, or sensitive weight scales at both ends. Then if using electronic scales at both ends, when both scales are precision leveled to the same plane, when the tube is at perfect level (at noon), the readings should be identical at which time they could trigger a pulse to the recording device. With this arrangement aligned directly east and west, the sun’s pull should be directly observable. My guess of course.
    Well that’s it for now.
    Help is needed, thank you. Bob

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  26. 26. Weir 7:03 am 05/3/2010

    Hi 1bobwhite,
    Im not sure this is the proper place to answer questions that do not relate directly to the subject of the article. I will try to be brief.
    1.)All EM energy derives from atomic processes of some kind. There are other kinds of energy including kinetic, potential, chemical, heat, etc.
    2.)All energy derives from massive particles in some way. Electric and magnetic fields derive from charged particles.
    3.)Mechanical work is defined as the energy transferred when a force acts through a distance of displacement. If the balloon is not moving no work is done.
    4.)When a mass moves in a medium heat is generated through friction and dissipates.
    5.)No work is done to keep the moon in orbital motion around the earth. The gravitational attraction is perpendicular to the moons angular motion which is inertial.
    6.)In a discontinuous universe the fabric of space is all pervading EM radiation that is interrupted by the synchronous recurrence of atomic space frames, consistent with Plancks constant. There is an associated primary interval of time that is readily derived from the fact that the orbital angular momentum of the electron in the first orbit of hydrogen must be zero to explain its spectral lines. This primary interval (a quantum of time) is 1.519×10^-16 seconds. The alternate mode of particulate matter is its quantum energy equivalent which is timeless and collectively constitutes a formless and boundless quantum energy field. It is called the Void, distinct from the so-called vacuum of traditional physics. In rare circumstances this can be directly confirmed in human experience. Because this alternate mode of matter is timeless, the atomic space frames close ranks with each synchronous projection to give the illusion of continuous space. It is full of irrational holes however. Look up Richard Dedekinds seminal work Essays on the Theory of Numbers.
    7.)General Relativity predicts that gravity is transmitted by gravity waves at light speed. Various methods have been proposed to detect them and some are in operation without success to date. They include resonant bar detectors on Earth, laser interferometers on Earth, space microwave interferometers, laser interferometers in space, and Doppler tracking in space. I dont think any of these extremely sensitive methods will prove conclusively that gravitational waves exist. In a discontinuous universe gravity is not transmitted through space-time. It is synchronous with the projection of atoms from the universally boundless Void, space frame by space frame. Carefully review the article of Gravity and Quantum Relativity at
    8.)The Void is orthogonal to the integrated fabric of space-time and every phenomenon possible derives from it in some way. It is the all encompassing other side of the world of form. That is why atoms are waves and particles at the same time. There is more about it on the website.
    9.)Formal logic is language based and does not necessarily constitute proof. Irrational numbers are not logical but they are an empirical fact. So are imaginary numbers etc. Ideas formulated in language do not create empirical fact. They must find consistency with phenomenal experience to find a degree of validity in that context.

    Regards, Bob.

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  27. 27. Weir 7:10 am 05/3/2010

    Hi 1bobwhite,
    While your idea about comparing the speed of gravity to the speed of light shows considerable originality, the experiments proposed and under way are much more accurate. Some of them involve extremely accurate measurements over vast distances between devices in earth orbit and even in solar orbit.
    Regards, Bob

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  28. 28. JFWInTheBeginning 7:48 am 05/3/2010

    It is always interesting to read about the "science" of the universe, time, and evolution. Characteristic words in this article, as in all of the others, include "model, implies, speculative, maybe, might be, perhaps, hypothesize, and argue". Not much factual when the Nobel Prize winning guesses cannot be confirmed by observation; real science.

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  29. 29. pseudo-nymn 10:33 pm 05/3/2010

    all of these postulates are nice and all, and entertaining to throw around, but ultimately meaningless until supportive evidence can be found.

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  30. 30. Weir 11:37 pm 05/3/2010

    Hi 1bobwhite,
    I should add a note to say that the tests to detect gravity waves propagating at light speed are a test on the validity of General Relativity. The gravity waves are conceived as very small ripples in the spacetime continuum upon which General Relativity is erected and the various tests should be accurate enough to detect them if they exist. If there is no continuum there is nothing for gravity to propagate through at light speed. The only option is a discontinuous universe which is consistent with the current evidence.

    If General Relativity is discredited by the tests then so are all theories relating to a Big Bang including Guths rapid expansion hypothesis that supposedly created multiverses. Then Einsteins remarks near the end of his life become very relevant, quote: I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, that is, on continuous structures. Then nothing remains of my entire castle in the sky, including the theory of gravitation, but also nothing of the rest of modern physics.
    Regards, Bob

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  31. 31. 1bobwhite 12:29 am 05/4/2010

    thank you for your explanations, I think I read most of them at the website you referred to. A few more points about your answers though. On the topic of searching for gravity waves with such sensitive instruments, what if gravity was steady state and linear in action. A steady pull without a "frequency" or "movement". Waves imply nulls between peak points . With waves, circumstances would produce standing waves and harmonic resonances. These should readily for found if they exist. Einstein near the end of his life was not so sure about the gravity waves.
    The purpose for the gravity experiment I proposed was to indicate that when the sun is directly overhead the steady pull of the suns gravity would have a measurable peak of force that may be measured time wise to indicate the actual position of the sun versus its observed position. If the peak force time varies from the radiance peak, then gravity is direct and not light speed limited.

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  32. 32. Weir 7:30 am 05/4/2010

    Hi 1bobwhite,

    There are various kinds of waves and the waves being sought in the experiments are not transverse waves of the kind you envisage in an assumed three dimensional space. The spacetime continuum of GR is a different kind of beast that is thought to be curved by concentrations of mass so that gravitating bodies are in continuous free fall. Think of the continuum as a huge two dimensional bed sheet that is depressed by steel balls resting in it. Then if one drops a marble on the sheet it will roll toward a steel ball by the local curvature of the continuum. Gravity waves transmitted through this spacetime medium that is presumed to exist can only be detected in the case of intense distant events such as very rapidly rotating binary neutron star systems or colliding black holes or some such drastic effect that propagates throughout the continuum. The local attraction between the earth and sun is constant because the continuum is curved toward the sun and the earth is like a marble rolling around this dish of curvature.

    In a discontinuous universe gravity is as you envisage it. It is a universally linear force of attraction between all massive bodies but it is not transmitted through a medium. It is instantaneous everywhere at once because all atomic mass is both unified in the Void as a boundless and timeless quantum energy field and also separate and distinct in each synchronous space frame that defines the integrated fabric of space-time. Mass is both unified as energy and separate as matter at the same time because each synchronous recurrence of particulate matter defines one primary interval of time. These two sides are reconciled by the resultant effects of gravity. Separate particulate mass universally seeks unification. The Universal Law of Gravitation can be derived mathematically from these considerations. There is a conjugate identity between atomic mass and its inverse quantum energy equivalent.

    I dont think that your proposed experiment can establish the instantaneous effect of gravity because there are no universal referents apart from this physical creation. The path of the earth is curved by gravitational attraction that incurs relative external linear space-frame skipping space-frame by space-frame without affecting the synchronous projection of atoms themselves. External space is being contracted. The effect is instantaneous with each synchronous projection. See the article on Cosmology at

    The gravitational mass as well as the inertial mass of both the earth and the sun remains constant, however the inertial velocity of the Earth (and sun) is completely independent of its gravitational mass as proved by Foucaults pendulum. So there is no independent continuum of space or time to relate your observations to over arbitrarily fixed periods of time measured by a local clock. In addition sufficiently accurate measurements of tidal peaks and solar peaks present formidable problems. The exact simultaneous position of the moon must also be known, along with the effect of inertial drag of the tides themselves which varies according to tidal patterns all over the world.

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  33. 33. 1bobwhite 10:00 am 05/4/2010

    Hi Weir,
    Extensive amounts of information on this gravity pull of the earth is already available in the data sets obtained by years of satellite radar, and laser altimetry readings. The informational data is there, but the specific data referring to the solar pull will have to be mined from it. It has been found that the satellite’s orbital altitude is varied by the underlying mounds and troughs of the earths surface, so the sensitivity of the present instrumentation is there already. This being the case, it is possible to use the data from the satellites themselves to make the comparison of gravity to light speed when it is over a spot on the ground, the gravity pull at that instant versus the laser altimeter reading at that instant. I don’t believe this type of experiment has been done with these satellites. Since satellite orbital information is tracked using the most accurate timing systems available, the timing accuracy should be there. Maybe these small distances would make the readings too gross for the purpose of determination of the differences, but some greater accuracy may be obtained by the extrapolation refinement techniques being used and developed to manipulate these data sets. What do you think?

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  34. 34. bjackatl 12:10 am 05/5/2010

    For a layperson I totally get rajarambojji’s comment – it actually seemed the most logical and most beautiful explanation to me – if there is any such thing – when talking about the universe.

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  35. 35. Weir 5:46 am 05/5/2010

    Hi 1Bobwhite,
    If the idea has merit there are other complications that introduce inaccuracies in addition to those involving the nature of space, time and gravity. The earth is thought to have a molten dynamic core surrounding a solid nickel-iron core that is affected tidally and perhaps the sun also has significant tidal variations under the collective influence of the planets. The sun has a heavier center and exhibits differential rotation between center and periphery. The rapid motions, distances and other factors involved preclude instantaneous measurements. I don’t think the variation of the altimeter readings in relation to distances between the satellite with respect to the gravitational center of the earth and the sun over significant periods of time could not be sorted out accurately with confidence. The satellite may measure the surface topography of the earth but that does not necessarily mean it is a significant factor in the satellites orbital path. Maybe I am missing something but I don’t see how this can be translated into determining the speed of gravity.

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  36. 36. 1bobwhite 7:53 am 05/5/2010

    Hi Weir,
    Even though the satellite path can be shown to follow the topography, I realized the scale of the distances is too small, but more importantly, what I’m looking for is the solar gravity "lift" to the earth that causes the hump of the oceans. The satellite won’t give me this, so scrap that idea.
    Think of it this way. Pour out onto a table a pile of paperclips or iron filings. Then when a permanent magnet is moved over the area, the clips or filings will bunch together and hump up to a peak. And this peak will follow beneath the magnet wherever the magnet is moved. The same thing happens to the earth when the sun passes overhead, the earth humps up, and this hump moves. But finding the peak of the hump is the challenge. It is now measurable with the instrumentation we presently have, and may be already there in the existing dataset information.
    Now concerning the peak of the earth hump that is caused by the solar gravity, is it directly beneath the suns real position at the instant, or is the peak occurring later when the observed Light peak reaches the earth some eight minutes later? We know the suns real position is already eight minutes further along in its path than the observed sun we see, so trying to accurately locate the peak of the gravity hump to compare to this light peak is the goal.
    I hope this explains the experiments goal. greetings Bob.

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  37. 37. 1bobwhite 8:32 am 05/5/2010

    I thought this might interest you. Its an excerpt from The Urantia Book.

    6. Space Respiration

    (123.3) 11:6.1 We do not know the actual mechanism of space respiration; we merely observe that all space alternately contracts and expands. This respiration affects both the horizontal extension of pervaded space and the vertical extensions of unpervaded space which exist in the vast space reservoirs above and below Paradise. In attempting to imagine the volume outlines of these space reservoirs, you might think of an hourglass.

    (123.4) 11:6.2 As the universes of the horizontal extension of pervaded space expand, the reservoirs of the vertical extension of unpervaded space contract and vice versa. There is a confluence of pervaded and unpervaded space just underneath nether Paradise. Both types of space there flow through the transmuting regulation channels, where changes are wrought making pervadable space nonpervadable and vice versa in the contraction and expansion cycles of the cosmos.

    (123.5) 11:6.3 “Unpervaded” space means: unpervaded by those forces, energies, powers, and presences known to exist in pervaded space. We do not know whether vertical (reservoir) space is destined always to function as the equipoise of horizontal (universe) space; we do not know whether there is a creative intent concerning unpervaded space; we really know very little about the space reservoirs, merely that they exist, and that they seem to counterbalance the space-expansion-contraction cycles of the universe of universes.

    (123.6) 11:6.4 The cycles of space respiration extend in each phase for a little more than one billion Urantia years. During one phase the universes expand; during the next they contract. Pervaded space is now approaching the mid-point of the expanding phase, while unpervaded space nears the mid-point of the contracting phase, and we are informed that the outermost limits of both space extensions are, theoretically, now approximately equidistant from Paradise. The unpervaded-space reservoirs now extend vertically above upper Paradise and below nether Paradise just as far as the pervaded space of the universe extends horizontally outward from peripheral Paradise to and even beyond the fourth outer space level.

    (124.1) 11:6.5 For a billion years of Urantia time the space reservoirs contract while the master universe and the force activities of all horizontal space expand. It thus requires a little over two billion Urantia years to complete the entire expansion-contraction cycle.

    Regards, Bob .

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  38. 38. 1bobwhite 8:51 am 05/5/2010


    " to believe in other universes is like believing in fairies. one space so one universe.

    Don’t start knocking the fairies and the angels until you have read and considered the information contained in The Urantia Book.

    You can start with Paper 12: The Universe of Universes, if you dare!
    Regards, Bob.

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  39. 39. Weir 1:52 am 05/6/2010

    Hi 1Bobwhite,
    As I explained before about ocean tides there will be an inertial drag that will lag the position of the sun and there may be a number of factors involved in how much lag this may entail. I really don’t think it is in the cards to measure the speed of gravity this way.
    Best wishes, Weir

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  40. 40. 1bobwhite 7:52 am 05/6/2010

    Hi Weir,
    Even with all the factors of tidal drag and any other variables that can be calculated in or nulled out, the fact of the daily cycling of this gravity pull would lend itself to verification of the peak of this event. There are other ways to sense this gravity without using the tidal data. For instance using gravimeters with sensitivities in the milligravs with the outputs marked on time graphs, as is done now, but exaggerating the outputs by amplifying them and marking he time charts with realtime markers to indicated the actual time of the peak event. I don’t believe the initial comparisons need to be extremely accurate however because of an eight minute window for the peak of radiance is more than enough to show any differences in the times of these peaks.

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  41. 41. scotthenderson37 1:42 pm 05/6/2010

    well i have heard many of the arguements about reletivity and m theory but this is my theory space is not empty it consist of subatomic particals which i will refer to as ether. our time space is filled with this ether. when a mass bends space time around it it is this ether which composes the space time which is why light seems to bend around a star. much like light is bent in water.the mistake many physisist make is confusing gravity with this folding of space time. gravity is a constant throughout the universe it is merely the effect of gravity on a particular mass that we see and mistakingly call gravity. mass does not create gravity but is effected by is not empty the universe is not a bubble either its more like a lake with a flat surface. with blackholes the same as drains. the universe has many space times within it and each space time is finite. oh and by the way the higgs boson is bigger on the inside than the outside and its my belief that the so called god partical is actually our space time with which we call the universe we will never find it in a single partical. and by the way light has veriable speed dependent on frequency. if anyone wishes for me to elaborate on anything i have said i will be more than happy to.

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  42. 42. Rufus 5:22 pm 05/6/2010

    We are limited by our ability to measure.

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  43. 43. 1bobwhite 10:52 am 05/7/2010

    Guth and Gross are both caught in that trap of academia that means you will be discredited and your work dismissed if you make any statement that hints of taking a religious connotation. Talking about angels and such in connection with any study will kill any support from colleagues. Probably one of them or both of them are closet readers of The Urantia Book, but can’t let it be known by anyone for fear of being shunned.
    When any of them talk about life in other areas of the universe, to be consistent they will have to consider the other possible forms of life we call Angels. The spontaneuos appearance of life in any form has not been demonstrated at any level of scientific scrutiny. The chemical comp of amino acids may be duplicated but the life force that animates is not there. That life force can only come from a Creator, and science at this time is not ready to admit to the influences of a Creator in their observations of the physical world. Life force is not of the physical domain and can’t be separated from living things to study with a scientific method.
    Try studying the living force of blood plasma, or the chemical reactions of wound healing. A dead tissue will not heal.

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  44. 44. jack.123 3:21 am 05/8/2010

    Lets see if we can’t simplify things a little.Space-Time is at the base of all things,it’s why light can’t go any faster and it’s drag against light is what cause’s red shift.The second thing is that gravity is nothing more than the displacement of Space-Time by mass,the greater the mass the more the displacement.Now do the math and you will find out this is true,and why your at it you will find out it is Dark energy as well,with Dark mass being photons at rest surrounded by particles of Space-Time.

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  45. 45. anne 4:24 am 05/8/2010

    I am real encouraged with the mentation and don’t search like adding anything in it
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  46. 46. anne 4:25 am 05/8/2010

    I am real encouraged with the mentation and don’t search like adding anything in it…
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  47. 47. dgjohnsonstein 4:53 pm 05/8/2010

    I do not believe this is a silly idea, I think that Guth does not believe that the universes can be contacted or in anyway be used or useful other than a simple construct of our minds (with complex math. ) The same with angels–we cannot say for sure that they exist or not. And since no theory is complete, I would like to add a bit. As to life in those universes, we do not know that life has to be as we have it made of carbon units in this universe. Get out of your box and stop thinking as a carbon unit!

    I believe that inside a black hole, there is such terrific chaos, that is, compared to the way our universe is put together, that we would not know whether time is measured by a clock or by a tape measure and the same with space. If a black hole is like our own universe, then, if one is inside it, any object (including light) outside it or at it’s edge would appear to receding (or expanding) due to the terrific gravity effect on time. Thus no object could ever pass that boundary and would appear to be floating or moving in space. And that is exactly the way we view our own universe!

    Altho’ I’ve read all the reasons that an anti-matter universe cannot exist, I do not believe this. It is my belief that if we indeed have an anti-universe, it would be 28 billion years away in time–since we can only see galaxies about 15 billion years out, we might be experiencing that ‘boundary’ problem that can never be overcome.

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  48. 48. dgjohnsonstein 6:08 pm 05/8/2010

    Excuse me, The anti universe business comes with the assumption that anti-particles move in negative time.

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  49. 49. jtdwyer 12:20 am 05/9/2010

    dgjohnsonstein – Are they also anti-massive, producing only anti-gravity?

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  50. 50. bobdaboi 4:11 pm 05/15/2010

    The speed of light in a vacuum has been measured. Constant. Boltzman said entropy affects everything over time. Could a photon traveling in a vacuum be affected by entropy? Could that effect a spreading of the wave function? Make it redder? Maybe we’re engaged in a ………like a bubble-head coed measuring her waist with a tape measure printed on a rubber band.

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