A series of advertisements in late 2007 and early 2008 appeared in several magazines, e.g. the Smithsonian, Discover, and Popular Science. These touted a book by Terence Witt called "Our Undiscovered Universe, Introducing Null Physics, The Science of Uniform and Unconditional Reality" that claimed to show that the last century of physics is invalid and giving an explanation of why the Universe exists. This came to my attention from a topic in the James Randi Educational Foundation forum and was quickly labelled as the usual crackpot stuff based on the extracts published on his site. There was a forum on his web site during June and July 2008 but this is now a photo competition. The temporary indirect access to Terence Witt allowed several people to ask pertinent questions (he seems to have run away from them though). There were even free copies of the book.
A review of the book has been done by a mainstream physicist: "Our Undiscovered Universe" by Terence Witt reviewed by Benjamin Monreal. His review is fairly comprehensive and shows the typical crackpot process that produced this book. I am not a professional scientist (I have a Masters of Science in solid state physics that has never been used with only one peer-reviewed paper to my credit).
Terence Witt is a successful businessman with an excellent career in medical technology. He has never published any papers in scientific journals and his only acknowledged contact with the scientific community is a position as a visiting scientist at the Florida Institute of Technology during 2008. A clue that the book is suspicious is that the first edition was published in 1980 (further editions in 1983, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2004 and 2007). An scientist who does not expose his work to scrutiny by other scientists for decades has no confidence in their work.
When I first started this review it was just to cover a few things that I have noticed when reading the book. But as I found more and more flaws in this physics crackpot book I have added more material. So blame Terence Witt for the excessive length of this review!
Bad mathematics abounds in chapter 1 to 4. In fact calling what goes on in these chapters "mathematics" is an insult to mathematics. Terence Witt seems to think that calling something an axiom and calling other things theorems is mathematics. What he is missing is the formal structure of mathematics that is evident in any mathematical work. It would be nice if somewhere in the chapters there was an actual mathematical proof. The end result is a "geometry" that is missing several key aspects (Terence Witt seems to assume that they appear by some sort of magic). If a mathematician were to waste their time reading "Our Undiscovered Universe" then they would come up with many more problems but here is my small list:
A good contrast to Terence Witt's feeble attempt at a geometry is Einstein's General Realtivity and its use of a pseudo-Riemannian manifold. This has length defined; there can be any coordinate system; this type of manifold is locally similar enough to Euclidean space; it is differentiable.
Chapter 2.1 defines one-dimensional space (I assume he means a line) as the series "(... +0+0+0+ ...)" (page 40) where the zeros in the series represent geometric points and "a point has no mass, charge, or any other property, except for its position relative to other points" (see here for the real definition of a point). This one-dimensional space is placed equal to "0" (a point). In normal geometries like Euclidean geometry there is a definition of addition, e.g. in a line there is (a) + (b) = (c) and in a plane there is (a,b) + (c,d) = (e,f). The only way that you can add 2 points together and get one of the original points is when one of the points is the origin of the coordinate system, e.g. (0,0,0) for 3 dimensions. There is no definition of addition in null geometry. The author merely assumes that addition exists in this new geometry and that it is exactly the same as addition in arithmetic. The result is the arithmetic addition of the zeros that represent points as if they are numbers to give zero which is then treated as a point again. Null geometry is the geometry of a set of infinite points that happen to all be at the origin. No lines, planes or solids can exist in this geometry.
The only reason that Terence Witt places a + sign between the zeroes representing geometric points is so that he can incorrectly add the points up. According to his logic it would be just as valid to place division signs between the zeros and deduce that a line is undefined since "...0/0/0/0/0..." is undefined. And what would he do if a line was defined as "...0*0*0*0*0..." or "...0,0,0,0,0..." (or substitute any arbitrary symbol)?
Infinity in mathematics is the concept of having no bound. Here is null geometry's definition of infinity: Infinity is the universe's invariant diameter and "The universe's diameter is the invariant width of nonexistence. It constitutes a fixed, exact level of linear largeness, and therefore the absolute metric of unboundedness" (page 43). Thus Terence Witt has turned a concept with no units into a quantity with the units of length. It gets worse. He implies that infinity has a size or magnitude by use of the word "invariant" and a statement on the next page - "Although finities and infinities cannot be directly compared, their magnitude is preserved under addition and subtraction". In other words infinity has a magnitude (can be counted, i.e. is finite) and so you can add 1 to it and get something greater than infinity. He basically throws away 200 years of work on infinity by some of the greatest minds that have existed just because he wants to use infinity as a numeric length (or just does not comprehend the concept of infinity).
From my physics background whenever you see a quantity that should be in one set of units of measurement (or none) but is expressed in other units then you know that something is wrong. It makes just as much sense to redefine the number zero as 10-100 feet.
Terence Witt then takes this "infinity" which is actually a finite length and uses it exactly like a number, e.g. theorem 3.9 (on page 72) "The time required for light to traverse the Universe is eternity, infinity/c" (where eternity is not the eternity seen in every dictionary but "the longest possible duration") and the equally absurd theorem 2.8 on the next page: "The resolution of translational motion is infinity moments per absolute second, (infinity/sa)". Read Infinity is NOT a number for a clear description about why treating infinity as a number invalidates the foundations of mathematics.
If you saw the expression 1M in a mathematics or physics textbook then you would expect it to mean "1 to the power of M". This would be trivially 1. In Our Undiscovered Universe (page 54) we have "The value 1M will be referred to as the universal closure constant. It encapsulates the full breadth of reality and therefore represents totality's boundary condition". Don't worry too much about this - by page 59 he sets M=4 to get 14 (the "closure constant"), redefines it as the "unit hypervolume" and then introduces a new symbol for it (a diamond with a subscript 4). The fourth root of this then becomes the "absolute unit of finite length - the absolute meter". That is Theorem 2.16 which is thrown away later on when the author gets into details about unit hypervolume. This is not the only confusing notation or jargon that Terence Witt uses.
Terence Witt really does not like quantum mechanics and its "illusory probability cloud known as orbitals" (page 97 in chapter 5). This chapter starts with an attempt to create a classical model of an atom. He never gets beyond scratching the surface by only looking at the ground state of the electron in a hydrogen atom. The addition of a new physical law ("Ground-state electrons orbit atomic nuclei in less time than it takes to emit a photon with energy equal to their available kinetic energy") to the Rutherford atomic model (proposed in 1911) prevents the spiralling of the electron into the nucleus. The problems with his model are amply described by the above review but I will add one more:
If you place a hydrogen atom in a static magnetic field then you get the Zeeman Effect where the energy levels split into multiple levels according to their quantum number. The ground state is in fact split into 2 energy levels - one of which is lower in energy than the original ground state. The null physics "ground state" denies that the Zeeman Effect exists! The Zeeman Effect is very important in applications such as nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, electron spin resonance spectroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Mössbauer spectroscopy.
Terence Witt does not want the electron to have the "entirely fictitious phenomenon to account for the fine spectral structure - intrinsic elementary magnetic moments" (page 100). So he is surprised by the coincidence that the Bohr magnetron is "within 0.1159% of an electron's actual ground-state orbital moment" (page 101) and so wants this to actually be the ground-state orbital moment in an actual orbit. He emphasises that "these moments have never been observed for individual particles" (page 101). He is wrong and the relevant paper has been mentioned in the above review: New Measurement of the Electron Magnetic Moment and the Fine Structure Constant. This is the measurement of the magnetic moment of a single electron in a Penning trap and the result is g/2 = 1.001 159 652 180 73 (28)! If the forum was still active then you will see Terence Witt claim that by "individual particles" he means ones that are not in an orbit. The electron in the Penning trap is a type of orbit but it is definitely not circular and is nowhere near the size of the orbit in a hydrogen atom (it is roughly the size of the trap).
He seemed to be unaware of the
experiment (also see
Stern-Gerlach Experiment, Electron Spin, and Correlation Experiments) which
showed in 1922 that electrons and atoms have intrinsic angular momentum and so
electrons have intrinsic magnetic moments. This was done by passing silver
atoms through an inhomogeneous magnetic field and noting that the atoms did not
end up in a continuous band but in 2 separate spots caused by separation of the
atoms into 2 beams. The experiment has been repeated many times since 1922 with
many different particles. It is easy to show that the effect is intrinsic to
the particles (rather than an effect of the magnets) just pass one of
the beams through another SternGerlach apparatus and note that the
splitting does not happen.
But do not worry - according to the defunct forum he is going to fix the problem by introducing permanent distortions of the electrons caused by magnetic fields that make the electrons act exactly as if they have intrinsic angular momentum! Then he is going to create even more arbitary crackpot mechanisms for all the other particles that demonstrate intrinsic magnetic moments - muons, protons, nuclei, and whole atoms.
A pity for Terence Witt that angular momentum can be detected in other ways as described by Richard Feynman in his lectures and lately shown in "Nanomechanical detection of itinerant electron spin flip" with a fuller description in this blog entry. Basically angular momentum is conserved. Thus a beam of spin polarized particles that interact with a body will impart angular momentum to it. If that body is free to rotate then this causes a torque which can be measured and has been measured.
The SternGerlach experiment totally contradicts his closing paragraph on page 101 which starts with "Intrinsic moments are said to be undetectable in a beam of free electrons or protons because their effect is so weak and easily swamped by the beam's momentum distribution and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.".
Chapter 5.3 (starting on page 106) is about Bells inequality (also known as Bell's theorem). Bell's theorem and the associated CHSH inequality (see this Wikipedia article and this good blog description) are theorems about the results of classes of experiments that test whether particles obey local hidden variable theories of quantum mechanics. Terence Witt merely looks at a single experiment using linearly polarized light, makes it a classical experiment and comes to the amazing conclustion that it obeys classical rules! He totally ignores the actual experiments that indicate that the CHSH inequality is violated and so there is no viable local hidden variable theory of quantum mechanics.
Electrons and photons are seen in double-slit experiments to interfere with each other and to even interfere with themselves (when they pass individually through the slits). Terence Witt treats all particles classically and so he really wants them to pass through one slit or the other and not both. He thus needs to account for the presence of a second slit affecting the output of the other slit. His attempt is "quantum hysteresis" (page 112) where the state of a photon (for example) is stored in a slit until the next photon arrives and the two states are combined somehow to magically redirect the second photon so that they arrive at different places on the detecting screen. The overall effect of correlating the states as each photon passes through the slit is an interference pattern. He describes this as a quantum switch that extends between the slits (and so can be as big as the apparatus). A few of the many questions he needs to answer are
Another crackpot theorem appears in chapter 5: theorem 5.3 - "Particles, photons, and neutrinos are real, physical objects". This is of course obvious and something that quantum mechanics agrees with. However what Terence Witt really means by "real, physical" is classical, i.e. non-quantum mechanical. For some reason he thinks that quantum mechanics describes "non-real, non-physical" or imaginary objects. He is wrong once again - quantum mechanics was constructed to model the real, physical properties of real, physical objects. The result is a theory that has non-intuitive aspects that do not match everyday experience. To see the effects of these aspects you have to do experiments and not rely on the "common sense" that Terence Witt insists is the basic reality of the universe.
In chapter 6, Terence Witt tries to roll back physics to before the MichelsonMorley experiment conducted in 1887. He starts by misstating just what absolute space was: "Photons are real, particles are real, and space is real. The reason contemporary physics has stagnated is because it has abandoned the reality of the universe's key constituents. Like matter, space used to be considered a material substance." (page 123). He is wrong - space was never considered to be material. The reason that contemporary physics (e.g. Special Relativity) has advanced by leaps and bounds is that absolute space (as a part of a system of coordinates) has been abandoned. He then misinterprets what the aether was - it was not absolute space but a substance in space. He goes on to make up some equations that are never seen again and never compared to the real world.
The rest of the chapter is just filler - a few pages of making up equations that are never used again. They start with a couple fundamental errors on page 124 that a first year science student would not make. The first is that the distance between 2 points is not a line segment as depicted in the figure at the bottom of the page. The distance between 2 points is the difference in their locations and does not include the points in between them. Thus his statement "This distance is simultaneously composed of 2 directional paths, AB and BA" is totally wrong. The second error is assuming that vectors (his "directional paths") involve time. A velocity vector involves time because it is defined as a difference between 2 points divided by a difference in time. A vector between 2 points consists of a length and a direction and there is no time involved.
Terence Witt states that particles have finite radii which he refers to as the particle core. His equation 9.16 is used to calculate the proton and electron radii (in free space) as 0.9464 Fermi and 1738 Fermi respectively. High energy collision experiments give an upper limit of the electron radius as 10-19 metres (10-4 Fermi). Hans Dehmelt in his Nobel lecture in 1989 gives an estimate of the size of an electron in a composite model at about 10-22 metres (10-7 Fermi) from data on electrons and ions in Penning traps. The best that Terence Witt can do make the core size vary (smaller in the field of other cores) and get 1.70 Fermi for an electron bound to a proton. He is 4 to 7 orders of magnitude outside the measured limit. This falsifies his prediction on page 358, i.e. there is absolutely no evidence that the free-space radii for protons at 0.946 Fermi and electrons at 1738 Fermi.
Terence Witt uses the high school description of the neutron as a proton plus an electron, e.g. on page 115 there is In particle physics standard model, neutrons are classified as baryons, in the same category as protons. This is a misnomer, as a neutron isnt even an elementary particle, but is instead a compound system consisting of a tightly bound electron and proton. This is established by fiat since there is no experimental proof presented. He is wrong even according to "Our Undiscovered Universe". As he states on page 116 in the context of action at a distance - Quantum realitys grotesquely erroneous interpretation of nature isnt limited to the electrons orbiting atoms or striking the screens of our television screens. Quantum mechanics also applies to bound states of particles like protons and electrons. Thus the book treats the binding of all particles (in a neutron or a nucleus) classically. But a neutron in free space decays with a half-life of 10.2 minutes to a proton, an electron and an electron antineutrino. Classically a bound particle can never escape a potential without additional kinetic energy being added from outside (e.g. in a collision). Therefore Terence Witt denies that the observed decay of neutrons in free space occurs.
The real problem with his description is that it violates the conservation of angular momentum. A neutron has a measured spin of 1/2. A proton has a measured spin of 1/2. An electron has a measured spin of 1/2. There is no way to construct a particle with a spin of 1/2 from 2 particles with spins of 1/2. You get a particle with a spin of 0 or 1. Terence Witt ignores this fundamental fact in his book.
He also does not know (according to postings in the defunct forum) that neutron-proton and neutron-neutron collisions produce protons and pi-mesons with electrons produced in extremely rare cases. If Terence Witts model was right it would be the other way around.
Another experimental fact that he chooses to ignore is that high energy collisions with neutrons see three scattering centres, not two.
The neutron as drawn has a electric dipole moment of about 10-15 e*m. "Our Undiscovered Universe" states on page 192 (Chapter 10) that the electron in a neutron orbits the proton at relativistic speed. Terrence Witt states this is to allow its electric dipole moment to be something like observed value of less than 10-28 e*m (no actual calculation is done). He does not realize that this directly contradicts the proof he presented previously that an electron orbiting a proton has a ground state that it cannot decay from. He is claiming that the neutron is actually a hydrogen atom or vice versa. He does not realize that the angular momentum or magnetic moment that would result from this lopsided 1.7 fm electric dipole rotating as fast as he wants it to does not agree with the measured values.
The structure of nuclei in "Our Undiscovered Universe" is elementary with the particle cores packed together to form the nucleus. This runs into the problem that this is a classical description once again. Alpha decay happens through the quantum mechanical tunnelling of an alpha particle (2 protons and 2 neutrons) through the potential barrier around the nucleus. The alpha particle cannot escape over the potential barrier when treated classically.
Nuclei exhibit structure in a similar fashion to the configuration of electrons around nuclei. One feature is the stability of nuclei that have the magic numbers of protons or neutrons. The observed values are 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82 and 126. Nuclei which have both neutron number and proton number equal to one of the magic numbers are called "doubly magic", and are especially stable against decay. It is difficult to see how this pattern can come from the simple packing of spheres. Terence Witt takes his usual simplistic approach to physics and on page 198 gives a graph of "nuclear retention" against "nuclear core count" which is in real physics terms is the stability of a nucleus against the number of nucleons in it. He notices that his curve steadily decreases and gives another prediction of Null Physics: "This tells us that the concept an island of nuclear stability, an ultra-heavy nucleus with a certain combination of protons and neutrons, is illusionary". He does not notice that his curve doe not have peaks at the doubly magic numbers and so states that the observed very stable elements do not exist!
Chapter 8 introduces another crackpot technique - redefining units of measurement as they want. Back on page 59 Terence Witt defined unit hypervolume as a length to the power of 4. He was quite explicit about this even to the point writing Theorem 2.16 "The fourth root of the universe's finite four-dimensional volume is the absolute unit of finite length - the absolute meter". He now invalidates Theorem 2.16 by letting unit hypervolume have any units that he wants. In equation 8.14 he states that it is hbar/c2. In equation 8.15 he states that it is hbar/c. A 4-dimensional volume always has units of length to the power of four.
Chapter 13's title is "Gravitation". If you expect the derivation of Newton's law of gravity or General Relativity from first principles then you are going to be disappointed. What this chapter really about is black holes - concentrating on supermassive black holes and doing calculations only for the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way (Sagittarius A*). Terence Witt's conclusions from this chapter is that black holes radiate (are not black) and that particles can escape from them (they are not holes). The central point of his logic is available in an extract from the book on his web site. Some of the flaws in Terence Witt's science:
A possible problem is that the average density of supermassive black holes can be very low. A spherical body of water will form a black hole for masses greater than about 150 million solar masses. A spherical body of air will form a black hole for masses greater than about a billion solar masses. Figure 13.7 has a density of about 106 kg/m3 at the Schwarzschild radius which gives a minimum value for the average density. If the average density remains above that of water or air as the mass of the black hole is increased then at some point we are back to a usual black hole.
The major problem with this chapter is that the results also apply to stellar black holes (totally ignored by Terence Witt). A stellar black hole that is neither black nor a hole is ... a star! Astronomers are quite good at detecting stars. They are really good at taking images of both of the stars in binary pairs. The stellar black hole candidates are all members of X-ray binary systems in which the compact, unseen object draws matter from its partner via an accretion disk.
Black holes also have another property - matter vanishes into the event horizon. This means that astronomers can compare observations of black hole candidates to objects that definitely have surfaces, i.e. neutron stars. Type I X-ray bursts are a characteristic of matter hitting a surface. They are seen when matter falls onto the surface of a neutron star, is compressed and heated as it accumulates which leads to thermonuclear reactions (and X-rays). For some reason any in-falling matter from the accrual disk of Sagittarius A* and the observed black hole candidates are not accumulating on a surface. So either there is no in-falling matter (unlikely) or we have an event horizon. Here is some of the science that Terence Witt has chosen to ignore:
PS. Do not bother trying to duplicate his calculations using the "source code" available on his web site. These are in PDF format for some reason and are incomplete enough to be useless, e.g. the "witt.h" include file is not there which means many missing constants and maybe a missing definition of the ProcessFunction() function.
Terence Witt's idea of a cosmology is the following (summarised from chapter 14 starting on page 258: Physical Null Cosmology):
The first obstacle for any cosmology to overcome is Olbers' paradox where the night sky is as bright as the surface of a star in a static, infinite and eternal universe. The Big Bang resolution is that the universe is finite in time and expanding. Terence Witt starts with discarding the optical version of the paradox because "light would probably be scattered long before it travelled the distance necessary to make Olbers' evenings white". This is incorrect since any light that is scattered from a line of sight to a star is replaced by light that is scattered into the line from nearby line of sights. The paradox also applies to the entire electromagnetic spectrum, e.g. radio astronomers would see a uniformly bright radio sky. It even includes the neutrinos emitted by the stars. Thus any sources of scattering would have to cover the entire spectrum without any gaps and also scatter neutrinos. At this point we know that "Our Undiscovered Universe" has not resolved Olbers' paradox and so contains an invalid cosmology.
"Our Undiscovered Universe" goes onto the thermodynamic version of the paradox where luminous objects burn up non-luminous objects. This is derived directly from the optical version of the paradox since light carries energy and so heats up planets which end up at the same temperature as stars. The book's resolution is stated in theorem 15.8: "Space maintains constant temperature because the CMB has strong decay immunity and the energy it receives from lumetic decay is balanced by the universe's rate of microwave absorption" (page 300). There is absolutely no proof of the statement which has a major flaw: temperature is not energy. A more fundamental flaw is the fact that space does not have a temperature. It is the objects in space that have temperature, e.g. stars and gas. These definitely do not have the same temperature - stars have temperatures of ~10,000 K, the interstellar medium has temperatures from 10 K to 10,000 K, coronal gas has a temperature of 106 to 107 K) and the intergalactic medium has temperatures between 105 and 107 K (or even more).
Our Undiscovered Universe states in the start of Chapter 15 (page 273) that lumetic decay is similar to the tired light concept Fritz Zwicky originally postulated. Any tired light cosmology has the problems in Errors in Tired Light Cosmology. Terence Witt only mentions the first problem (his signal dispersion) and promises to resolve that issue while ignoring the other problems. He does not explicitly do this but his attempt to use gravitational redshift as a cause does resolve that issue (only 3 more left to resolve!). But a more serious problem with lumetic decay is that it is tied to the CMB. The CMB has a perfect black body thermal spectrum that has been extremely accurately measured, e.g. the graph of results of the FIRAS instrument on the COBE satellite has its error bars hidden by the theoretical curve. The previous site linked to has the following page: Can the CMBR be redshifted starlight? NO! (Stars are actually not very good blackbodies). Terence Witt states on page 262 that the combined luminous output of all stars is referred to as integrated starlight. It has a spectrum similar to a 10,000 ºK blackbody because its source is the averaged output of the universes hot luminous objects. He is wrong since when you average the output from stars you get an even worse fit to a blackbody spectrum. If you want to see some actually measured integrated starlight then the obvious place to look is galactic spectrum. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey web site has a page of examples of spectra none of which is remotely a blackbody spectrum.
The fact that "integrated starlight" is not even close to a blackbody spectrum is enough to show that any lumetic decay is not the source of the cosmic microwave background. Terence Witt's statement is obviously wrong and something that a first year physics student should know about (stars and galaxies are thermal bodies - not blackbodies!). This error is so obvious and grave that it is close to lying to the reader.
The derivation of lumetic decay in Our Undiscovered Universe is available as the Intergalactic Redshift white paper on the web site. The mathematics starts with a reasonable explanation of the average radius of curvature of the universe caused by the average density of the universe from General Theory of Relativity (GR). The nonsense starts with figure 1 (figure 15.1 in the book) which is the path of 2 photons considered in flat (perfectly rectilinear) and curved spacetime. The line for curved spacetime has a different slope from the other line (i.e. the speed of light is different between the lines !). This is used to "deduce" that light decays - lumetic decay. He conveniently forgets to tell the user that a curved spacetime is curved in both space and time while the figure just shows the effect of the curvature on time. Of course if he includes the curvature of space then the photons move at exactly the same velocity and lumetic decay does not exist. This page in Our Undiscovered Universe breaks Special Relativity (SR) since SR is based on the postulate that the velocity of light (photons) is constant. A curious mind might also wonder what happens to E=mc2 for particles with mass when the speed of light varies with distance (his equation 15.2).
Firstly let me emphasize that Terence Witt does not supply any mechanism for the absorption of CMB radiation by galactic halos. He just assumes that it exists.
Secondly there are other and more valid good theories for the spiral arms of spiral galaxies. Terence Witt does not have to follow the usual crackpot technique of making their theory explain all phenomena regardless of relevance. He also has a problem with trying to explain non-spiral galaxies, e.g. are elliptical galaxies not powered by the CMB? But here is his theorem 15.12 (page 306): "A spiral galaxy's banding marks the flow of electrical current from its CMB power return through its disk". He claims that "ellipticals and lenticulars also have complex filaments betraying electrical current moving through their interior regions". However he also claims that the strength of the current is determined by the luminosity of the galaxies. Ellipticals and lenticulars can be as luminous as spiral galaxies and so should be spiral galaxies. Terence Witt also ignores dwarf galaxies which happen to be majority of galaxies in the universe. They also come in elliptical and spiral forms.
Section 15.11 on page 313 is about the "winding problem" which is that if the spiral arms are material then they would become more and more tightly wound as time passes and merge with the rest of the galaxy. He describes this as a quite intractable problem. He does not tell the user that is has been solved since the mid 1960's: the spiral arms are not material, they are density or shock waves. This may be a case of bad research on Terence Witt's part or it may be a case of ignorance.
The big error in Terence Witts theory of CMB coupling is that the CMB is everywhere not just outside galaxies. That is why we can detect it here on Earth. Thus this unexplained coupling will appear everywhere in the galaxy (including here in the Solar System) and balance out. Thus there are no massive electrical currents flowing through the galaxies - "Our Undiscovered Universe" has an estimate of 1.3*1040 Amps for the Milky Way.
An attempt is made to commandeer the CMB small-scale anisotropies to support this absorption by calculating the change in temperature in the CMB by the Milky Way. He gets 18 microK which just happens to be within the fluctuations of the CMB temperature (18 +/- 1.6 microK according to the 1996 COBE data). But to establish that the temperature fluctuations are actually due to galaxies there has to be a correlation between the galaxies and the fluctuations. Not even the more detailed WMAP data is detailed enough to show this. Thus Terence Witt cites the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect (attributed to inverse Compton scattering of the CMB photons): "The S-Z effect is direct evidence of galactic CMB energy absorption" (page 305). The problem with this approach is that there is also the Integrated Sachs-Wolfe Effect (gravitational redshifting of the CMB photons). This effect just happens to be opposite in sign to the predictions of Null Physics: the CMB is hotter in galactic super-clusters and cooler in super-voids. The ISW effect could be taken as proof that Null Physics is wrong. The truth is that Null Physics is wrong and both effects have nothing to do with it.
Chapter 16 is where "Our Undiscovered Universe" describes the recycling of matter (the previous chapter was about the recycling of light). It starts with yet another assumption, "Disk material falls slowly inward toward a galaxy's core region, where it is combined with the electrical energy arriving along its luminous bands" (page 318). Once again Terence Witt ignores non-spiral galaxies which do not have "luminous bands". Once again he does not give a mechanism for this inflow.
The velocity of the outer regions of galaxies should decrease with distance from the center but are observed to be roughly constant. Terence Witt claims that "Galactic rotation is one of the great mysteries of modern cosmology" (page 318). This is wrong. It is well explained by dark matter. Terence Witt simply ignores the actual physical evidence for dark matter and its explanation for galactic rotational curves.
Page 324 of "Our Undiscovered Universe" gives a figure of 1.5 km/s for the vortical inflow rate of the Milky Way. The Radial Velocity Experiment (RAVE) is a survey to measure the radial velocities, metallicities and abundance ratios for up to a million stars using the 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope of the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO), over the period 2003 - 2010. The first release of data in 2006 had a variance of 2.8 km/s. The second release of data for 49,000 stars in July 2008 has a standard deviation of 1.3 km/s. This is adequate accuracy to check the predicted value of 1.5 km/s. This was pointed out to Terence Witt in the defunct forum in July 2008 and he stated that he was going to look at that data. Nothing has been heard since. The options seem to be:
I suspect that the last option is the correct one. As the RAVE survey continues more data with better accuracy will be obtained and the cosmology in "Our Undiscovered Universe" will become even less correct.
If galactic cores exist then obviously there is one in the Milky Way. We actually know that there is an object named Sagittarius A* at the centre of the Milky Way that has a mass of 4.3 million solar masses in a volume with a radius of about 22 million kilometres. Our Undiscovered Universe has a prediction for Sagittarius A* when treated as a galactic core: It is a massive black hole with a radiant output of ~6*1031 W, peaking in the infrared near ~0.06 mm (page 359) or the output of 200,000 Suns at a wavelength of 60 microns.
This prediction shows that Terence Witt has never looked for the many papers since 1965 that detail the many infrared observations of the galactic center. This includes at least one observation exactly at 60 microns ("IRAS images of the galactic center" published in 1984). The actual intensity of Sagittarius A* in the infrared band has been measured many times over the years, e.g. in this pre-print accepted for publication in 2007: "A Constant Spectral Index for Sagittarius A* During Infrared/X-ray Intensity Variations". So here is one prediction by the author that has been falsified. This information took me less than an hour to find. Any competent scientist would have checked to see what data existed for Sagittarius A* and would quickly found that there was something wrong with their theory when the prediction was falsified. Any competent scientist not working in astronomy would have checked this prediction with an astronomer.
He has attempted to withdraw the prediction by including it in his post publication errata document:
The Milky Way cores luminous properties were calculated in Chapter 16, but unlike the other quantified predictions in Appendix A, they currently have no corroborating theoretical or observational evidence. As such, core luminosity should be considered a calculation, not a prediction, and should not be included in the list.
The definition of a prediction is a calculation from the theory. It does not need corroborating theoretical or observational evidence that is the process of verifying or falsifying the prediction. From the last postings on the defunct forum, Terence Witt and his "team" are working on a way to hide the cores radiation using some sort of gravitational effect. This is doomed to failure since General Relativity actually makes more of the surface of a massive object visible to an observer due to the bending of light by the object.
Galactic cores have even bigger problems than the misprinted prediction. The purpose of the core is to recycle stars into hydrogen. There is even a prediction for the mass that is recycled in the Milky Way on page 333 of about 18 solar masses a year. From this fact there are two predictions and a consequence
But science tells us
Note this from the Sagittarius A* Wikipedia article: "Several teams of researchers have attempted to image Sagittarius A* in the radio spectrum using Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI). The images obtained have been consistent with the Sagittarius A* radio emissions being associated with the accretion disc and relativistic jets of a supermassive black hole. In September 2008 VLBI directly imaged the edge of the event horizon." (emphasis added) with the citation to an article in Nature: "Bringing black holes into focus", Christopher S. Reynolds, Nature, 455, 39-40, (2008). I have not read the article but even without the direct image of the event horizon, there is that fact that Terence Witt's "galactic core" does not show radiation from the constant impact of material from the accretion disc.
This section demonstrates another crackpot technique - ignoring the current scientific literature. Terence Witt wants redshift to be periodic to support lumetic decay. Thus he cherrypicks a couple of papers: "Discovered first by Tift for optical photons <40> and verified by Napier<41> for the 21 cm radio band, the energy loss of ancient light is quantized." Both citations are to articles published in 1996. But Tift's first paper on redshift quantization was published in 1973 and Napier's first paper on quantization seems to be in 1990. Terence Witt does not mention that since the late 1990's the number of galaxies for which astronomers have measured redshifts has increased by several orders of magnitude. Analysis of this data has formed the consensus in the astronomical community that any quantization was either coincidental, due to selection effects in the surveys or due to so-called geometrical effects (e.g. the large scale structures in the universe).
Null cosmology will finally be thrown out after June 2013 when the James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to be deployed. This telescope will be powerful enough to see galaxies forming in the early universe.
There are 10 predictions from Null Physics listed on page 359. These all seem to be for future technologies ("progressively more powerful telescopes", "a careful survey of the Milky Way's disk dynamics" and "on the frontier of particle physics"). One of these days Null Physics will make have to make an actual prediction of an existing measurement! I suggest that the anomalous magnetic dipole moment is a good candidate since it is known experimentally to be g/2 = 1.001 159 652 180 85 (76) and the quantum electrodynamics only agrees to 10 significant figures - I am sure that Null Physics can do better.
The existence of the "Milky Way's core" has already been shown to be bad science.
This is more pseudo-mathematics. I would ignore it but the first equation is a good example of the quality of Terence Witts mathematics. He defines a quantity he calls causal variability as Its total magnitude is the number of instances in an objects lifespan (instance number): σT = NT = τ∞ where τ is in absolute seconds. Basic dimensional analysis tells us that this is wrong. A dimensionless number is made equal to time multiplied by length (his redefinition of infinity)!
This appendix is Terence Witts attempt to show that a redshifted blackbody spectrum is not a blackbody spectrum. He then applies this to the CMB spectrum to show that it could not come from a blackbody (the early universe). However he only does half of the work. Equation L.10 is the red-shifted thermal spectrum as a function of wavelength (after fixing some printing errors). He has only replaced the wavelength with the redshifted wavelength, i.e. λ with λ / (1+z). He has forgotten that the CMB spectrum is a result of the expansion of the universe. This has two effects the radiation is redshifted and the temperature of the radiation changes since we have the same energy in a bigger volume. Thus temperature T is replaced by T * (1+z) to get the temperature at that redshift. Plug that into Equation L.10 and you get the original equation multiplied by a scale factor, i.e. a curve with exactly the same shape as the original blackbody curve.
Terence Witt uses his usual process of logic to come up with "Hypothesis N.1: A neutrino is a photon's bound state. It consists of twin photons in ultra-close proximity, propagating along the same trajectory with virtually the same energy and momentum." (page 411). This hypothesis has several problems. Firstly there is no bound state of 2 photons (this is the first and only time in the book that such a bound state is mentioned). Secondly photons interact strongly with matter. Thus it should easy to treat neutrinos like photons, e.g. reflect them in mirrors. But neutrinos actually interact very weakly with ordinary matter. Thirdly Terence Witt has not kept up with the latest understanding of the properties of neutrinos: Neutrinos have a minuscule, but non-zero mass. Fourthly photons have spins of 1 and there is no way to combine then to produce a particle with a spin of 1/2 like the neutrino. This disproves his hypothesis.
Dark matter is an observation, e.g. NASA Finds Direct Proof of Dark Matter. Its composition is still to be determined. It is certainly not normal matter since it acts differently from normal matter as the link demonstrates. When the intergalactic gas in galactic clusters collides the gas interacts electromagnetically (heats up and is more visible in X-rays) but the dark matter passes through the gas withut interacting electromagnetically. Terence Witt states that dark matter is "dark hydrogen" (page 286 in chapter 15), suggesting hydrogen gas. However this appendix states that the dark matter is "stored in small red dwarfs or heavy brown dwarfs" (page 415), i.e. massive compact halo objects. Searches for white, red and brown dwarf stars in the halo of the Milky Way have not found enough to explain the mass that is missing. The techniques used were to look for the bending of light as MACHOs passed in front of stars (gravitational microlensing) and looking for light from the red and white dwarfs using the Hubble telescope.
The only difference between the Null Physics in Our Undiscovered Universe and the other crackpot theories that abound on the Internet is that the author is wealthy enough to waste his money publishing a non-science book and publicize it in various places. The book itself is actually quite impressive with a good font and pretty pictures (its only redeeming features). Do not waste your money on this physics crackpot when there are as equally invalid theories available for free! Benjamin Monreal's review at "Our Undiscovered Universe" by Terence Witt is more explict: "Despite its strenuous objections to the contrary, Terence Witt has written a book of crackpot physics, expounding a crackpot theory. There is, of course, a fan base for crackpot theories, and he may attract some of it with his massive ad campaign---but his hopes for a Null Physics paradigm shift are, like so many crackpots hopes, (is there any way to discuss this book without saying it?) completely null."
Terence Witt has a web site for his book: Our Undiscovered Universe. This is a revamped version of his old Null Physics web site. You can explore the site to see some more of his non-science. You can immediately see a couple of the typical excuses that crackpots come up about why their revolutionary theory is ignored (from the Technical FAQ page):
These excuses merely show that Terence Witt has little interaction with the scientific community. Bold new claims are how scientists make their reputations. Paradigms are often challenged in papers that are published in journals (just look at the papers written by Einstein, Schrödinger, Gell-Mann and many others). The real point about the claims and papers is that they have to stand up to the scrutiny of other scientists. Null Physics cannot and this is what makes Terence Witt afraid of inspection. Of course a member of the physics community has commented on Our Undiscovered Universe (see "Our Undiscovered Universe" by Terence Witt reviewed by Benjamin Monreal). It is unlikely that other scientists in the physics community will comment since it is quite easy to see the bad science in the web site and the book just makes it worse.
The blog on his web site
"Author accepts position at local university Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 by William Reynolds
After submitting several copies of Our Undiscovered Universe to the Florida Institute of Technologys (FIT) physics department, I was offered (and have accepted) a faculty position as Visiting Scientist for 2008. FIT is widely recognized for the breadth and quality of its astrophysics program. Since null physics is so new and different from the current physics paradigms, FIT felt that the best way to explore its concepts would be for me to have a staff position where I can freely discuss my ideas with members of the physics department."
One hopes that the blog entry is Terence Witt's attempt at self promotion. Any physics department that took this crackpot book with its obvious flaws seriously would have to be incompetent. I expect that the situation is that Terence Witt brought his Visiting Scientist position. In that case congratulations FIT for extracting money for academic pursuits from this source! The position is a courtesy one with "no research or teaching responsibilities" according to this entry in the JREF Null Physics discussion.
The web site includes a list of reader reactions (strangely all
positive!) and a couple of "Scientific Community Comments". The largest comment is from
Dr. Hamid Rassoul, Associate Dean, College of Science, Florida Institute of
"This is a culmination of work of a rational thinker who dares to question some of the most sacred ideas of today's theoretical physics in cosmology and high energy particle physics such as the Big Bang theory and the Standard Model.". This comment sounds more like a PR press release and may be part of the bargain that gained Terence Witt a Visiting Scientist position at FIT.
The other scientific community comment is a phrase from a review published in The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada: "[Our Undiscovered Universe] is a significant contribution to a topic that is still far from settled.". The RASC is "Canada's leading astronomy organization bringing together over 4,000 enthusiastic amateurs, educators and professionals". The actual quote is from the final paragraph in the review which actually reads: "Witt does not, in my view, succeed in his lofty goal of deriving the evolution of the Universe from first principles. Nonetheless, his book is a significant contribution to a topic that is still far from settled.". So the quote on Terence Witt's web site is quote mining. The reviewer is "David F. Bartlett - David F. Bartlett is a physics professor (emeritus) at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He shares Witts disdain for dark matter and dark energy, but differs in his proposed alternative.".
There is an interesting entry in the JREF Null Physics discussion that has a November 2007 email from 'The Null Physics Team' with the following paragraph: "FYI, Our Undiscovered Universe has been reviewed by tenured professors in astrophysics, mathematics, and physics, and such reviews will be available soon at NULLPHYSICS.COM. No errors have been found in either the derivations, supporting evidence or calculations, although a couple of the reviewers would like even more evidence than has been presented in the book, since the Big Bang is such entrenched dogma. This additional evidence will become available when the predictions made by Null Physics are tested." No such reviews have appeared!
Terence Witt has a white paper on the site called Einstein's Nonphysical Geometry where he derives a quantity (a "% change in radial length" for lengths greater than Schwarzschild radius) and shows that it diverges to infinity (the real infinity not his definition!). This has several flaws as mentioned in the JREF forum and obvious from reading it.
The defunct forum stated that this paper had been submitted to a journal and was in a "pre-peer review status" (as I recall), which I assume to mean that it is waiting for a referee to be appointed. This was in July 2008. There has been no big anouncement that the paper has been published. This suggests either a very slow journal or a sensible journal that has rejected the paper.
Update (April 2009):
It turns out he has managed to get a paper published in Physics Essays as Einstein's nonphysical geometry and intergalactic redshift with the abstract: "General relativity is the major driving force behind modern cosmology, causing the intergalactic redshift effect to be interpreted as a dynamic universal expansion. In this paper the author argues that (a) the geometry used by general relativity is not a literal, physical representation of space-time, and (b) the intergalactic redshift is caused by ancient photons' long exposure to space-time's geometry, not by the uniform universal expansion of space."
Physics Essays states that it is peer-reviewed but it is strange that no one picked up the contradiction in the abstract:
However it is not that strange given that Physics Essays mission statement is to publish non-mainstream ideas without the burden of expert review. The usual peer review process goes through the journal editor so that the paper can be accepted or rejected but Physics Essays imples that this is bypassed with this statement in their masthead: "Each author should judge which parts of the reviewers suggestions are appropriate to improve the quality of his or her paper". The journal does not seem to be available in libraries and is not indexed in the popular citation databases, e.g. SPIRES and Citebase.
What is even stranger is that I would expect Terence Witt to broadcast the publication of his paper extensively. But there is little mention of it - mostly in a press release about the book being available for order through another publisher.