Posts Tagged ‘Dark energy’

Dark energy and dark matter are just fudge factors for cosmic models that don’t work

September 1, 2015

A mathematical model of the physical world, which doesn’t work, can always be made to work by introducing a “fudge factor” which just compensates for the “error” displayed by the model results. The “error” is of course just the difference between real observations and the model results. The “fudge factors” thus introduced are then often used to project the model results into the future – but such forecasts are meaningless. The only valid conclusion is that the model is incorrect and needs to be changed,

These “fudge factors” can be given fancy names and imaginary properties such that they just remove all that cannot be explained. It does not make them real. And so it is with cosmic models and the invention of imaginary parameters with just those properties necessary to correct the error exhibited by the models.

In ancient times, new gods with new properties were invented to “explain” eclipses and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Before oxygen was discovered, alchemists – on their way to becoming chemists – invented “phlogiston”. That was superseded by the “caloric theory” which soon became obsolete. “Aether” was invented as pervading space to provide a medium for the transmission of light and through which “action at a distance” could be explained (gravity, magnetism). “Space-time” is analogous to aether and was invented to match observations with the theory of relativity. In fact Einstein refers to “space-time” as a kind of aether.

The Steady State theory of cosmology considered an expanding universe but which was in a steady state, and had no beginning. That became obsolete when the Big Bang theory came along which put the Big Bang singularity 13.8 billion years ago and which provided the energy for the expanding universe. (Imagining 15 billion years ago is just as valid as imagining a time 13.8 billion years ago but the Big Bang theory is silent about what came before). But the expansion – since the energy all came at the time of the Big Bang – was expected to gradually slow down and come to a stop after which either a steady state would prevail or a compression (implosion) would occur. But recent observations indicate that the expansion of the universe is (apparently) accelerating. Clearly that is not possible if the energy is fixed. A new source of energy needed to be invented. It couldn’t be detected so better call it “dark energy”. The apparent mass of the Universe was much less than calculations indicated it should be. The solution was simple. Along came “dark matter”.

Wikipedia: …. dark energy is an unknown form of energy which is hypothesized to permeate all of space, tending to accelerate the expansion of the universe. ………. the best current measurements indicate that dark energy contributes 68.3% of the total energy in the observable universe; the mass-energy of dark matter and ordinary matter contribute 26.8% and 4.9%, respectively; and other components such as neutrinos and photons contribute a very small amount.

Dark matter is a hypothetical kind of matter that cannot be seen. ……. Dark matter neither emits nor absorbs light or any other electromagnetic radiation at any significant level.

Needless to say, “among cosmologists, dark matter is composed primarily of a not yet characterized type of subatomic particle”. Naturally.  The magnitude of the four fundamental forces of the universe (gravity, magnetism, weak force, strong force) are known but we still have no idea why or how they exist. We can just as well call them the four fundamental forces of Magic.

Dark energy and dark matter are not real. We might as well call them “magic energy” and “magic matter”. They are merely parameters invented and given just the right properties to fit the errors between observations and theory. Fudge factors. Nothing wrong with that of course. Theories, observed errors, fudge factors capable of removing errors and then the search to remove the necessity of the fudge factors is a powerful way of doing science. But making forecasts based on existing fudge factors without any idea of how the fudges need to change is invalid and – worse – is self-delusional.

(I observe that it is the “fudge factor” phenomenon which permeates what is called climate science. The real problem is that the “scientists” and their politicians believe the forecasts made with the “fudge factor” theories even though the error between model results and reality continues to increase.)

Physics and cosmology are more magical than alchemy as dark energy goes phantom

July 3, 2015

The methodology is quite simple. First, invent a theory to explain what we don’t know. Then do some fancy maths to back up the theory. Whenever the theory fails, define a magic particle or event or property which brings credibility back to the theory. Spend vast amounts of money on Big Science experiments to find the magic particle or event or property. Find something other than the magic particle or property or event that was predicted. Claim that what was found was a special case of the magic “thing” that was predicted and due to some new magic particle or event or property. Demand more money to do more and bigger Big Science experiments. Magic demands more magic. And so an ad infinitum.

And so came the 4 magic forces of nature which cannot be explained – Gravity, Electromagnetism, the Strong Force and the Weak Force. The magic forces exist and can be calculated but they cannot be explained. Universal magic that just is. One of the characteristics of modern physics is that magical things are given names in lieu of explanations. Then came the Standard Model of Particle Physics and new magic particles named the Higgs Boson to be found by the very expensive Large Hadron Collider. Some data is interpreted as having found a form of the Higgs boson – but that leaves other magic particles and the true Higgs Boson still to be found. (The same data could also be used – probably with more certainty – to predict the next winner of the Triple Crown or even the next President of the United States). Finding the missing magic particles will naturally require more money, more physicists, more cosmologists and more mathematicians. More and Bigger Science.

Cosmology has not been far behind in inventing magical events and magical “things”. A magical Big Bang was to be followed by a mysterious Big Crunch or possibly a fantastical Big Freeze. Now comes another speculative paper and another Magical Event – the Big Rip. We know that the magical expansion of the universe is fuelled by magical dark energy. And we know, of course, that dark energy is simply that which causes the universe to expand. And so the Big Rip may be due to deeper magic which gives phantom dark energy. It is only a matter of time before we find that even phantom dark energy can be further classified into that which spins clockwise or that which is tall.

But not to worry. The Ripping end to the Universe is still 22 billion years away. Maybe the United Nations could pass a resolution condemning this future event. And then establish an International Panel on Universe Change to put a stop to this development.

Marcelo M. Disconzi, Thomas W. Kephart, Robert J. Scherrer. New approach to cosmological bulk viscosity. Physical Review D, 2015; 91 (4) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.91.043532

A time line of the universe from Big Bang to Big Rip. Credit: Jeremy Teaford, Vanderbilt University

A time line of the universe from Big Bang to Big Rip.
Credit: Jeremy Teaford, Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt Press Release: …… for decades cosmologists have had trouble reconciling the classic notion of viscosity based on the laws of thermodynamics with Einstein’s general theory of relativity. However, a team from Vanderbilt University has come up with a fundamentally new mathematical formulation of the problem that appears to bridge this long-standing gap.

The new math has some significant implications for the ultimate fate of the universe. It tends to favor one of the more radical scenarios that cosmologists have come up with known as the “Big Rip.” It may also shed new light on the basic nature of dark energy.

The new approach was developed by Assistant Professor of Mathematics Marcelo Disconzi in collaboration with physics professors Thomas Kephart and Robert Scherrer and is described in a paper published earlier this year in the journal Physical Review D.

……… In the 1990s, the physics community was shocked when astronomical measurements showed that the universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate. To explain this unpredicted acceleration, they were forced to hypothesize the existence of an unknown form of repulsive energy that is spread throughout the universe. Because they knew so little about it, they labeled it “dark energy.” 

Most dark energy theories to date have not taken cosmic viscosity into account, despite the fact that it has a repulsive effect strikingly similar to that of dark energy. “It is possible, but not very likely, that viscosity could account for all the acceleration that has been attributed to dark energy,” said Disconzi. “It is more likely that a significant fraction of the acceleration could be due to this more prosaic cause. As a result, viscosity may act as an important constraint on the properties of dark energy.”

Another interesting result involves the ultimate fate of the universe. Since the discovery of the universe’s run-away expansion, cosmologists have come up with a number of dramatic scenarios of what it could mean for the future.

One scenario, dubbed the “Big Freeze,” predicts that after 100 trillion years or so the universe will have grown so vast that the supplies of gas will become too thin for stars to form. As a result, existing stars will gradually burn out, leaving only black holes which, in turn, slowly evaporate away as space itself gets colder and colder.

An even more radical scenario is the “Big Rip.” It is predicated on a type of “phantom” dark energy that gets stronger over time. In this case, the expansion rate of the universe becomes so great that in 22 billion years or so material objects begin to fall apart and individual atoms disassemble themselves into unbound elementary particles and radiation.

As if invisible and undetectable dark energy is not magic enough, we must now postulate that there is a particular kind of this dark energy which is phantom dark energy. It is magic squared and of course the derivative is two-magic. This is not Space Opera, it is Cosmic Opera.

It is perhaps not so surprising that the more we know the more we don’t know and so modern physics and cosmology need much more magic to explain all we don’t know than alchemy ever did.

What energy shortage?

August 21, 2013

Energy Distribution of the Universe: Chandra

Most of the Universe is dark. The protons, neutrons and electrons that make up the stars, planets and us represent only a small fraction of the mass and energy of the Universe. The rest is dark and mysterious. X-rays can help reveal the secrets of this darkness. X-ray astrophysics is crucial to our understanding not only of the Universe we see, but the quest to determine the physics of everything.

  • Dark Energy

    At the close of the 20th century, our perception of the Universe was jolted. Instead of slowing down after the Big Bang, the expansion of the Universe was found to be accelerating. Was the cosmic acceleration due to Einstein’s cosmological constant, a mysterious form of “dark energy,” or perhaps a lack of understanding of gravity? The answer is still out there. By studying clusters of galaxies, X-ray astronomy is tackling this question using powerful techniques that are independent of other methods currently being employed or proposed for the future.

  • Dark Matter

    The next chunk of the Universe’s budget is another unknown: dark matter. Of all of the material we know about because we can see its gravitational effects, about 85% is composed of matter that emits no light and is radically different from material found in planets and stars. X-rays can be used to study the effects of dark matter in a variety of astronomical settings, and thus probe the nature of this mysterious substance that pervades the Universe.


%d bloggers like this: