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ohwilleke

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- TL;DR Summary
- A recent Physics Insights article references peer reviewed articles that purport to explain all dark matter phenomena with a concept described as contextual mass in GR. Is this analysis sound?

**Two Recent Papers Propose A Simply Tweak To How General Relativity (GR) Is Applied That Purports To Explain All Dark Matter Phenomena Motivated By A Version of GR and Quantum Gravity.**

The pair of related papers with overlapping text and common authorship (cited below) were published after peer review in a low profile but legitimate academic journal, by professional academics who are non-specialists in their subfields, mostly in a low profile department. The papers are not particularly new (2015 and 2016 preprints, published in 2016 and 2018) and haven't gotten much attention in the field, but were just recently brought to my attention by a Physics Forums Insights article (these are references 23 and 24 on the Physics Forums Insights article) by one of the co-authors of these papers.

The papers are notable because they purport to explain basically all dark matter phenomena (galaxy rotation curves, cluster data, CMB peaks) with one fairly straight forward tweak regarding how mass should be evaluated in general relativity (in the authors' view) that deviates from the Newtonian approximation. The CMB prediction they make plotted against LCDM and the data, for example, is as follows:

The papers also address a fix to the dark energy question (which is largely independent of its dark matter fix), but I'll save that for another post.

The papers are:

W.M. Stuckey, Timothy McDevitt, A.K. Sten, Michael Silberstein, "The Missing Mass Problem as a Manifestation of GR Contextuality" International Journal of Modern Physics D 27(14), 1847018 (2018) arXiv:1509.09288

and

W.M. Stuckey, Timothy McDevitt, A.K. Sten, Michael Silberstein, "End of a Dark Age?" International Journal of Modern Physics D 25(12), 1644004 (2016) arXiv:1605.09229

The authors suggest that (1) the apparent mass-energy of something is observer dependent, and (2) start from an assumption, in the tradition of loop quantum gravity and kindred quantum gravity theories, that spacetime is fundamentally discrete at some fine grained level and that locality is an emergent property of spacetime that at a more fundamental level has points that are directly connected to each other that are not local, i.e. spacetime is "disordered" at a fundamental level (e.g. some small number of points have direct links to points in other galaxies).

Motivated by these observations, they used what they called Modified Regge Calculus (MORC) and "geometrically modify proper mass interior to the Schwarzschild solution" to tweak GR (or simply to correctly apply GR in a non-customary way) in an effort to explain dark matter phenomena.

The theoretical foundation and motivation for this approach doesn't appear to be terribly widely accepted, and does not appear to be terribly rigorously spelled out in the articles either. It appears that the operational method is really motivated by just an ansatz, rather than a full fledged theory derived from first principles.

But ultimately, the show stopper, much like in the case of MOND and other modified gravity theories (some of which the papers consider and compare to their approach) is not the theoretical motivation, but the phenomenological success of their quite simple to apply adjustment to the conventional GR (in the basically Newtonian approximation that is widely used as a baseline in this area of astrophysics).

**Questions**

Given the extraordinary claims made, it seems as if these papers deserves closer attention. If they really do work, they should be trumpeted widely. If they don't, it is important to know why.

Is my summary of these articles accurate? If not, please explain what I am getting wrong.

Is their analysis sound, and if not, why not? In particular, are they correctly comparing the data to their theoretical results (which is a big deal even if their theoretical justification for formulas that work so well is flawed)?

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