Plasma cosmology

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  • #51
Nereid
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[snip]

I don't consider myself sufficiently knowledgeable (I'm sure they'll be no disagreement there!), and still learning about the plasma universe.

But I know others who are still getting their material published in peer reviewed journals. The Aug 2007, IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, 7th Special Issue on Space and Cosmic Plasma, Vol 35 No 4 Part 1, which also includes an article by Gerrit L. Verschuur on Critical Ionization Velocity Effects.

[snip]
I hadn't realised that one of the links in PlasmaSphere's post was to a website which lists Ian Tresman as site owner - is that you by any chance?

Anyway, the 'Plasma Universe resources' page seems curiously unbalanced - heavy on Peratt and Alfvén, light on anyone else; prominent place given to those in the astronomical community who are authors of non-mainstream (or even fringe) ideas, light on everyone else; lots of stuff that is a decade to a century old, little on the tremendous advances of the last decade or two; and so on.

It's almost as if the site owner feels there's just one institution doing valid research into plasmas in the universe, the one where Peratt works.

Do you happen to know why the dozens of other institutions are ignored? For example, why is there no mention of the http://www.alfvenlab.kth.se/" [Broken]1? Why no mention of the regular AGU meetings, with their Planetary Sciences, Heliospheric Physics, and Magnetospheric Physics tracks? Rather ironic that a century old book, by Birkeland, is given as a resource yet a huge international conference, held several times a year, which covers developments in the study of the magnetosphere and solar wind (that Birkeland can be said to have pioneered), is ignored.

The omission of KTH's Alfvén Laboratory seems particularly odd2, given what you have written about the importance of combining lab research into plasmas with space research; here, for example, is what http://www.spp.ee.kth.se/" [Broken] says:
Space and Plasma Physics
Director: Prof. Lars Blomberg
Vice Director: Prof. Göran Marklund

Our research deals with plasmas in space as well as in the laboratory. The vast majority of our universe is plasma. The only (although important) exception is cold solid bodies like planets, comets, and asteroids. Thus, plasma physics has universal applications.

The research profits from a fruitful combination of laboratory experiments and space experiments as well as theory and numerical simulation. We play an active role in a number of international space missions, building instruments, planning instrument operations, and analysing data.

We participate in the education programme both at the MSc and PhD level. At the MSc level a number of courses are given and MSc thesis projects are offered, often closely related to on-going research activities. We also participate in a Master's Programme in Electrophysics. At the PhD level we offer thesis projects in space and laboratory plasma physics.

We are located at the Alfvén Laboratory on the KTH main campus.

Annual Report 2006
Earlier you wrote:
As you correctly wrote, I can generally only speak for myself. As for any vitriol directed at mainstream scientists, I don't approve of nonconstructive criticism.

There are numerous well-qualified people in the plasma sciences. But I think that many of guilty of over-generalizations, both for and against many an idea.
I should like to take this opportunity to say that you do not seem to have been the author of vitriolic and venomous comments about mainstream scientists (I checked), and if it seems that I implied this, I apologise.

However, if you are indeed the site owner of the webpage PS linked to, your compilation of material is, if anything, even worse (than such attacks) - the (deliberate?) omission of vast amounts of material and sources that are apparently highly pertinent ... for what purpose?

1 In Sweden, in the School of Electrical Engineering
2 Doubly so, given that the only hint of more current work in this area, since Birkeland (!), is a 1988 Falthammar paper, in addition to the Peratt-edited IEEE transactions
 
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  • #52
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I hadn't realised that one of the links in PlasmaSphere's post was to a website which lists Ian Tresman as site owner - is that you by any chance?
plasmas-universe.com is indeed my own Web site. It may appear unbalanced because:
  • It focuses on Alfvén's "Plasma Universe" (hence the name), and this is summarised on the Home Page.
  • The "External Links" menu includes links to "Plasma Perspectives" and the "Plasma Coalition", both of which provide links to more general plasma physics Web sites; the menu appears on all site pages
  • The site information provided may be difficult to find, or not available elsewhere. In this respect, it balances what is (or isn't) available elswhere on the Web
  • I believe that much of the site is "standard" plasma physics, and perhaps astronomers might see it less balanced than plasma physicists.
  • The site is still a work in progress
I accept your criticisms, which I suspect will be addressed a little in the future, but the focus will still be on Alfvén "Plasma Universe".
I have some contacts at the KTH Alfvén Laboratory. I should ask their view of the site, to see whether they concur.
 
  • #53
Nereid
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I was reading one of the links provided on the right on the physics post section (http://www.physicspost.com/articles.php?articleId=229 [Broken]) and i thought it did well to illustrate the fundamental difference between the two cosmologies, not from a scientific viewpoint, more a philisophical viewpoint.



Plasma Cosmology is a disciplinary framework which has a different set of basic assumptions and thought processes which form it's underlying scientific and philisophical foundation on which to build further meaning. It is by definition a different paradigm than that of the standard Big Bang cosmology.

At the basis of Plasma Cosmology are many ideas which integrate into a semi-coherent world-view that is quite different than that formed within the Big Bang framework. As an example, within Plasma Cosmology is the idea that Cosmogony and Eschatology of the universe as a whole is not entirely within the realm of humanly verifiable knowledge, hence the question of how the universe as a whole began or will end takes a back seat to the more verifiable question 'what processes are at work currently, that we can measure and study.' The universe is viewed as 'eternal' for all we know, and this view can have an effect on ones understanding of himself within the universal processes that are constantly ongoing.

Plasma Cosmology appears to be a Metaphysical Cosmology that attempts to incorporate and reconcile some aspects of process philosophy with the parts of Physical Cosmology that are not inherent to and dependent on the BB paradigm. Cosmogony of the universe itself (as opposed to solar systems, which are considered) takes a back seat in this framework, as the focus is switched to the current processes and manifestations of observables.

Process philosophy comes into play in a much greater extent under this paradigm. The gravitational, object oriented viewpoint is replaced by an electromagnetic, process oriented viewpoint.

I think thats why i personally find this concept so appealing, instead of putting limits on the beggining and end of the universe, it leaves that question open and focusses much more on present events that we can be more sure of.
Another post I'd missed, sorry.

In light of the post immediately before this, PlasmaSphere, I must say I'm quite confused.

First, I can't quite square the inclusion of so many 'Arp et al.' papers in your list with this post of yours that I am quoting; for example, how can you assert that the Arp-Narlikar VMH is consistent with "[a] gravitational, object oriented viewpoint [being] replaced by an electromagnetic, process oriented viewpoint"? What part of the VMH is "electromagnetic"?

Second, even more astonishing is this: "instead of putting limits on the beggining and end of the universe, it [plasma cosmology] leaves that question open and focusses much more on present events that we can be more sure of". I mean, not only is most of astrophysics focussed on "present events that we can be more sure of", but to strongly imply, as you do, that "an electromagnetic, process oriented viewpoint" is weak or absent in contemporary astrophysics displays a breath-taking ignorance of the field (perhaps you relied too heavily on material from the 'resource list' you linked to?).

For example, http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html" [Broken] (the link is to the arXiv preprint; the MNRAS keywords are "accretion, accretion discs , instabilities , MHD , waves , methods: analytical , methods: numerical"):
Exact shering box solutions of MHD flows with resistivity, viscosity and cooling
Authors: P. Lesaffre, S. A. Balbus
(Submitted on 10 Sep 2007)

Abstract: Axisymmetric incompressible modes of the magneto-rotational instability (MRI) with a vertical wavenumber are exact solutions of the non-linear local equations of motion for a disk (shearing box). They are referred to as "channel solutions". Here, we generalize a class of these solutions to include energy losses, viscous, and resistive effects. In the limit of zero shear, we recover the result that torsional Alfv\'en waves are exact solutions of the non-linear equations. Our method allows the extension of these solutions into the dissipative regime.
These new solutions serve as benchmarks for simulations including dissipation and energy loss, and to calibrate numerical viscosity and resistivity in the Zeus3D code. We quantify the anisotropy of numerical dissipation and compute its scaling with time and space resolution. We find a strong dependence of the dissipation on the mean magnetic field that may affect the saturation state of the MRI as computed with Zeus3D. It is also shown that elongated grid cells generally preclude isotropic dissipation and that a Courant time step smaller than that which is commonly used should be taken to avoid spurious anti-diffusion of magnetic field.
And don't get me started on the mis-characterisation of "the Big Bang framework"! For starters, given the mutual incompatibility of GR (General Relativity) and the Standard Model, and the high likelihood that we won't be able to study phenomena where that incompatibility becomes observable for a thousand years or more yet, that framework cannot be about "how the universe as a whole began or will end".

However, most alarming is your apparent desire to restrict the scope of the sciences of plasma physics, astrophysics, astronomy, and cosmology. For example, you seem to be saying that the CMB (cosmic microwave background) should not be studied - despite it being a quintessential 'observable' - simply because it is "inherent to [...] the BB paradigm".

But perhaps I simply misunderstood your point; if so, would you mind clarifying please?

1 And if we search on "MHD" among the keywords, the number rises to over 11,000
2 Magnetohydrodynamics - in 1970, http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1970/" [Broken] for his pioneering work on this
 
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  • #54
Nereid
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plasmas-universe.com is indeed my own Web site. It may appear unbalanced because:
  • It focuses on Alfvén's "Plasma Universe" (hence the name), and this is summarised on the Home Page.
  • The "External Links" menu includes links to "Plasma Perspectives" and the "Plasma Coalition", both of which provide links to more general plasma physics Web sites; the menu appears on all site pages
  • The site information provided may be difficult to find, or not available elsewhere. In this respect, it balances what is (or isn't) available elswhere on the Web
  • I believe that much of the site is "standard" plasma physics, and perhaps astronomers might see it less balanced than plasma physicists.
  • The site is still a work in progress
I accept your criticisms, which I suspect will be addressed a little in the future, but the focus will still be on Alfvén "Plasma Universe".
I have some contacts at the KTH Alfvén Laboratory. I should ask their view of the site, to see whether they concur.
Thanks for the clarification.

If the scope of discussion in this thread is then (something like) "should PF allow 'Alfvén's plasma universe' to be discussed, in any of its physics sections, under different rules than apply to ideas in the same domain?", then surely the answer is "No way! The methods of each branch of science apply equally to all ideas within their respective domains of applicability."

And the same goes for "plasma cosmology" too: the primary sources must remain papers published in relevant peer-reviewed journals, with preprints and conference proceedings being (usually) acceptable secondary sources. Whether an idea explicitly or implicitly follows Alfvén's research programme (to borrow a term from Lakatos) or paradigm (Kuhn) - or not - should not, ever, be a criterion for assessing pertinence.

Or did I miss something important? It seems, based on your most recent posts iantresman, that this thread is much ado about nothing.

... or maybe not. PlasmaSphere's posts contain some very good questions, along with some quite unsubtle marketing and promotion. There's also considerable confusion, along with (deliberate?) conflating of first-rate science and crackpottery1, and much in between. Of course anyone should be able to ask any question about physics, here in PF; and any aspect of hypotheses and theories which can be found in papers published in relevant peer-reviewed journals is open for discussion.

And what of henxan, the OP, and her question? Pace https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=1548628&postcount=2", there are no - zero, none, nil - papers (published in relevant, peer-reviewed journals, in the last 50 years or so) which make even the flimsiest of scientific cases for the Sun being predominently powered by giant, galaxy-wide currents. If you - henxan, PlasmaSphere, iantresman, etc - know of any such, please provide references. Until then, as Ivan said, way back in post #3, it's nonsense. And, IMHO, such nonsense should be treated the same way as the porn spam which infests internet discussion fora.

1 For example: '[...] the sun may not be a disconnected body which consumes itself over its lifetime, but may recieve its energy from its galactic environment delivered by particles in an external circuit via cosmic electrical circuits'. I note that a PS link to plasma-universe.com contains Birkeland's ideas on the rings of Saturn, presented as if such ideas are explanations consistent with relevant observations; I'm not sure if this crackpottery or just shocking ignorance.
 
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  • #55
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Perhaps it's just the benefit of > 20 years' of hindsight, but it struck me as odd that Peratt chose to restrict his simulation outputs to such a narrow range of observables, when with (it seems to me) just a few extra lines of code he could have performed a much richer range of tests of his hypotheses; while I have no objective basis for saying so, it almost seems he deliberately restricted the test space.
I'm guessing the restrictions might be due to limitations on the computer power for his simulation. He describes in a 1996 paper in Astrophysics and Space Science:
For a problem involving only a few hundred timesteps, a 3D PIC simulation on a Cray J90 dimensioned as 128 x 128 x 200, with 206 megawords of memory might require 1.3 x 103 seconds (1.5 days) cpu time. If the dimensionality is increased by a factor 16 x 16 x 5, the memory is increased to 264 gigawords and the time to 164 x 106 seconds (1900 days). For a dimensionality increase of 16 x 16 x 25, the memory is 1.32 terawords and the time is 822 x 106 seconds (9500 days).​

Further, and this is common to many of the Peratt 'astronomy' papers I've read over the years, he seems to place huge emphasis on qualitative, intuitive interpretation of images ... almost as if "what's in this picture looks like what's in that, therefore the (physical) mechanisms at work are the same!". In this regard, my reaction to some of the images could illustrate one reason why such an approach
But he doesn't just compare images, but details many other qualitative and quantitative characteristic.
 
  • #56
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If the scope of discussion in this thread is then (something like) "should PF allow 'Alfvén's plasma universe' to be discussed, in any of its physics sections, under different rules than apply to ideas in the same domain?", then surely the answer is "No way! The methods of each branch of science apply equally to all ideas within their respective domains of applicability."

And the same goes for "plasma cosmology" too: the primary sources must remain papers published in relevant peer-reviewed journals, with preprints and conference proceedings being (usually) acceptable secondary sources. Whether an idea explicitly or implicitly follows Alfvén's research programme (to borrow a term from Lakatos) or paradigm (Kuhn) - or not - should not, ever, be a criterion for assessing pertinence.
Agreed.
 
  • #57
you raised many important questions Nereid that i would like to see the answers to aswell. I am no expert on this (as you can probably tell) but i do think most of them have answers from some of the material i have seen online. I have limited time at the moment, but just to quickly claify a couple of things before i have to stop posting for a week or so;

I admit that my inclusion of Arp's various papers are not really plasma cosmology material, however plasma cosmologists seem to hold his work in a much more prominent position than the establishment, so i had always linked his work with PC. The site I got that list from (http://www.soundintent.com/ [Broken] by Eric Lerner, and other astronomers, which was about Arps work and had a section about plasma cosmology, but i fully agree that his papers are not really relevant to the plasma universe.

And what of henxan, the OP, and her question? Pace PlasmaSphere, there are no - zero, none, nil - papers (published in relevant, peer-reviewed journals, in the last 50 years or so) which make even the flimsiest of scientific cases for the Sun being predominently powered by giant, galaxy-wide currents. If you - henxan, PlasmaSphere, iantresman, etc - know of any such, please provide references.
While no papers describe the the sun being powered by giant galaxy wide currents, there are many that attribute solar flares and other features on the suns surface to electrical currents, or birkeland currents, if you prefer. (these are a few(ref1)(ref2)(ref3)(ref4)) There are far more detailed explanations of the electric sun hypothesis about, but they are not in mainstream cosmology journals, so i'm not sure of their relevance here.

I think that the sun works very much as described by the standard model in nearly every respect, but i think that it is highly likely that it does not consume itself over its lifetime and that the particles that fuel it may be recieved remotely. The particles emmitted form the billions of surrounding stars have got to end up somewhere, and the amount of particles that would need to be consumed and emitted by the sun to provide a significant amount of nuclear fuel would not have to be too many when you take into account the large energy released in the fusion process. Very little of the standard model would have to be changed to account for this idea, even though it gives a quite different viewpoint of how stellar bodies could work.

A couple of questions to try to get a consensus to work with in later posts; Does the sun have an ability to retain a charge? (a capacitance), Do you believe that birkeland currents play any significant role in space? if so what?

Finally, i would just like to point out I am not trying to prove plasma cosmology, i am not sure about its correctness myself, each side seems to find flaws in each sides arguments and I always try to keep an open mind on all issues, but i feel that as a competing theory to standard models it deserves more attention than most scientists are willing to give it.
 
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  • #58
Nereid
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you raised many important questions Nereid that i would like to see the answers to aswell. I am no expert on this (as you can probably tell) but i do think most of them have answers from some of the material i have seen online. I have limited time at the moment, but just to quickly claify a couple of things before i have to stop posting for a week or so;
This may not be the place to do so ... it seems the mentors are still considering how these topics should be discussed in PF (though I note that iantresman agreed with my suggestion that none of this be treated any differently than any other idea, whether in plasma physics, space physics, astronomy, astrophysics, or cosmology; this is, after all, an avowedly science-based discussion forum).
I admit that my inclusion of Arp's various papers are not really plasma cosmology material, however plasma cosmologists seem to hold his work in a much more prominent position than the establishment, so i had always linked his work with PC. The site I got that list from (http://www.soundintent.com/ [Broken] by Eric Lerner, and other astronomers, which was about Arps work and had a section about plasma cosmology, but i fully agree that his papers are not really relevant to the plasma universe.
I'm sure you'd be the first to agree that a youtube video is about as far from being acceptable as legitimate source material, for a science-based discussion, as it is possible to get.

I think, if you check the PF rules, you may also find that posting a link to such material falls under 'advertising' (though only a mentor, or admin, can make that determination).
While no papers describe the the sun being powered by giant galaxy wide currents, there are many that attribute solar flares and other features on the suns surface to electrical currents, or birkeland currents, if you prefer.
While perhaps the terminology may not be quite right, the role of magnetic fields, currents, etc in a wide range of solar phenomena, in the IPM (inter-planetary medium), the Earth's magnetosphere, the Jovian magnetosphere, etc, etc, etc is quite uncontroversial. Indeed, you can easily find hundreds, if not thousands, of papers published in relevant peer-reviewed journals on these topics.
There are far more detailed explanations of the electric sun hypothesis about, but they are not in mainstream cosmology journals, so i'm not sure of their relevance here.
As I just said, unless and until there is 'electric sun hypothesis' material in relevant, peer-reviewed journals, I personally don't think it's appropriate to even mention it here.
I think that the sun works very much as described by the standard model in nearly every respect, but i think that it is highly likely that it does not consume itself over its lifetime and that the particles that fuel it may be recieved remotely. The particles emmitted form the billions of surrounding stars have got to end up somewhere, and very few particles would need to be consumed and emitted by the sun to provide a significant amount of nuclear fuel.
Here's the thing, PlasmaSphere: qualitative stuff like this is sometimes disparagingly referred to as 'word salad'. And like the lowest of lo-cal salads, it contains no meat, and nothing substantive, scientifically speaking.

It gets worse (or better, depending upon your point of view): first, the Sun, like the Earth, is surrounded by a magnetosphere, which extends way beyond the orbit of Pluto (one of the Voyagers, I forget which, is only now getting close to the boundary). And has been known for many decades now, very little of the ISM (inter-stellar medium) plasma can cross the heliosheath. So, if anything, the Sun giveth, but doth not take.

Second, analyses of Moon dust, brought back by the Apollo astronauts, can give strong clues to the history of the solar wind, at least in the Earth's orbit, back ~4 billion years. AFAIK (as far as I know), there is no record of any 'incoming (plasma) particles'.

Third, even the crudest of OOM (order of magnitude) calculations quickly reveals just how little ISM material would have accumulated on the Sun, even if it had collected 100% of its extended cross-section (say, out to 5 solar radii).

Finally, Main Sequence stars like the Sun are not convective down to the core. So even if the Sun had acquired another 10% of its current mass, over the past ~4 billion years, it would not have been added to the fuel available for 'burning'. This will change when the Sun enters its red giant phase ... but that's another 5 billion or so years away yet.

But all these considerations could be quite wrong; perhaps when you start digging into it - quantitatively - you may find a scenario under which the Sun could have added a significant amount of fuel, over the past ~4 billion years. If you do so find, write up your research in the form of a paper (formatted in accord with PF's IR guidelines) and submit it to PF's Independent Research section.
Very little of the standard model would have to be changed to account for this idea, even though it gives a quite different viewpoint of how stellar bodies could work.
You've lost me here, I'm afraid ... if the scenario you just painted makes no difference to the Sun's output, no difference to its evolution, and so on, why mention it (except, perhaps, to exclude it as a viable alternative hypothesis)?
A couple of questions to try to get a consensus to work with in later posts; Does the sun have an ability to retain a charge? (a capacitance),
Loaded question. Of course it has that ability! Even one electron is 'a charge', and one electron among 10umpteen is all but guarranteed!

Surely the much more important question would be something like "What observational constraints can we put on the net charge of the Sun, over periods ranging from microseconds to millennia?" Now that would be an interesting question!
Do you believe that birkeland currents play any significant role in space? if so what?
This too is loaded ... EU folk use a definition of 'birkeland currents' that is different from that used by scientists who research space plasmas and space physics.

However, it's easily resolved: what do you mean by 'birkeland currents'? and what physical regimes are you asking about when you say 'space' (IPM, ISM, IGM, ...)?
Finally, i would just like to point out I am not trying to prove plasma cosmology, i am not sure about its correctness myself, each side seems to find flaws in each sides arguments and I always try to keep an open mind on all issues, but i feel that as a competing theory to standard models it deserves more attention than most scientists are willing to give it.
Good for you!

However, do keep in mind that:

* 'proof' is not possible in science (it's different in maths or religion)

* 'correctness' and 'flaws' should be re-worded, in order to have a scientific discussion; perhaps 'consistency with all relevant, good observational and experimental results' would be a good place to start

* competing 'theories' should first of all be real scientific theories (not merely 'speculations' or 'guesses', as in one ordinary meaning of the word 'theory'); whatever EU 'theory' is, it is not a scientific theory

* why not roll up your sleeves, learn the relevant parts of plasma physics (etc), and write a paper or three of your own, based on whatever alternative hypotheses or models or theories you wish to develop or modify? After all, a key characteristic of science is its public nature - once published, an idea can be further investigated by anyone, in any way they wish!

* of course, if your feeling ("i feel that as a competing theory to standard models it deserves more attention than most scientists are willing to give it") is not backed by any independent analysis or critical thinking of your own, then why should anyone pay any more attention to it than mine, if I were to say "i feel that as a competing theory to standard models the so-called 'EU theory' richly deserves the scorn heaped upon it by so many professionals; in fact, most scientists have been far too willing to waste hundreds of precious hours of their time on it, time they could have spent on more productive work"1?

How about it then? May we expect to see a paper from you sometime in the next year or so?

1 For avoidance of doubt, I am NOT saying this! I am using this as a device to highlight the important point that the universe, the data, cares not a jot what you or I may feel about it; what's the line from CSI?
 
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  • #59
Ivan Seeking
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I'm sure you'd be the first to agree that a youtube video is about as far from being acceptable as legitimate source material, for a science-based discussion, as it is possible to get.
YouTube may be used as a reference for topical events but not scientific theories. The former member was warned about this several times.
 
  • #60
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YouTube may be used as a reference for topical events but not scientific theories. The former member was warned about this several times.
From what I can see, PlasmaSphere's Youtube reference does not appear to be used to support a scientific claim, but as background to the poster's informative processes. Would there be the same response if I said that a particular episode of Carl Sagan's Cosmos had influenced me in some way, and I posted a YouTube link to the episode or extract?

I also note that we are in the PF Lounge, which does appear to fall outside all the scientific-specific forums (Physics, Astronomy & Cosmology, Other Sciences, etc). Under the circumstances and the context, I wonder whether you would reconsider PlasmaSphere's ban
 
  • #61
Ivan Seeking
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Alright, but if I see anymore YouTube videos or books listed that's it. It will be a permanent ban.

This is not the type of subject where a YouTube video is ever appropriate.
 
  • #62
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Alright, but if I see anymore YouTube videos or books listed that's it. It will be a permanent ban.

This is not the type of subject where a YouTube video is ever appropriate.
Thank you for you consideration. How about academic books, such as those published by University Presses, and academic publishers, eg. Spinger.

I believe that the YouTube reference was to a Norwegian-produced documentary film that featured the likes of people like Fred Hoyle, Halton Arp, the Burbidges and Nobel Laureate Kary B. Mullis, so not your typical YouTube fare.
 
  • #63
Astronuc
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Thank you for you consideration. How about academic books, such as those published by University Presses, and academic publishers, eg. Spinger.
A truly scientific and technical (text) book (by a reputable publisher e.g. a university press, or Springer, Kluwer, Pearson, Wiley, McGraw-Hill, . . .) with quantitative or mathematical descriptions of theory and experimental evidence in astrophysics/plasma physics would seem permissible, but I defer to Ivan. What is not permissible are books of words only that make qualitative and subjective statements. Carl Sagan's COSMOS book would not be permissible.

[/QUOTE]I believe that the YouTube reference was to a Norwegian-produced documentary film that featured the likes of people like Fred Hoyle, Halton Arp, the Burbidges and Nobel Laureate Kary B. Mullis, so not your typical YouTube fare.[/QUOTE] But if they talk in qualitative rather than quantitative terms, that is not appropriate hear. Scientists often talk about their work in a manner in which lay people can understand, and that does not involve rigorous scientific or mathematical statements.

BTW, I've been looking into IEEE's position on EU/PU/PC, and they do not appear to have one. I will be contacting the Nuclear and Plasma Science group, of which I was a member for nearly 2 decades. I don't ever remember any endorsements of particular cosmological theories. I have recently found some rather misleading statements, which to the uninformed reader, would imply some endorsement or support on the part of IEEE concerning EU/PU/PC. I think those folks might be pretty upset to see IEEE being misrepresented at some of the websites and forums.
 
  • #64
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BTW, I've been looking into IEEE's position on EU/PU/PC, and they do not appear to have one. I will be contacting the Nuclear and Plasma Science group, of which I was a member for nearly 2 decades. I don't ever remember any endorsements of particular cosmological theories. I have recently found some rather misleading statements, which to the uninformed reader, would imply some endorsement or support on the part of IEEE concerning EU/PU/PC. I think those folks might be pretty upset to see IEEE being misrepresented at some of the websites and forums.
I wouldn't expect the IEEE, or anyone else, to endorse any position on cosmology. But that's not say that there is not some kind of "support" (eg financial). Unfortunately I don't know which Web site comments you are referring to. I note (all emphasis mine):

  • Discussing the IEEE International Workshop on Plasma Cosmology held in La Jolla, California, on February 20-22, 1989, it is noted that "The sponsorship of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society and the financial support of NASA is gratefully acknowledged and appreciated." (Guest Editorial, IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Publication Date: Feb 1990, Volume: 18, Issue: 1, Page(s): 2-4 (http://plasmascience.net/tpu/downloads/TPUeditorial.1990.pdf [Broken], PDF)
    .
  • "This special issue of the international journal of cosmic physics, Astrophysics and Space Science, contains invited contributions delivered at the Second IEEE International Workshop on Plasma Astrophysics and Cosmology, held from 10 to 12 May 1993 in Princeton, New Jersey. The Workshop was sponsored by the NSF Division of Atmospheric Sciences, NASA Headquarters, Space Physics Division, and the Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers." -- Astrophysics and Space Science, Vol. 227, No. 1/2/ May 1995, http://www.springerlink.com/content/k850503t7608/ [Broken]
While Electric Universe people endorse and support the Plasma Universe, there is very little in peer reviewed journals specifically on the Electric Universe.

Edit by Ivan: Inappropriate links deleted.
 
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  • #65
Astronuc
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I wouldn't expect the IEEE, or anyone else, to endorse any position on cosmology. But that's not say that there is not some kind of "support" (eg financial). Unfortunately I don't know which Web site comments you are referring to. I note (all emphasis mine):
Holoscience is one, but there are others. I found them while looking for an official position of IEEE on Plasma Cosmology.

It will be interesting to read your findings, and to note whether the individuals you contact are speaking for themselves, or representing the "official" line of any organisation.
Professional socities offer position statements, but it is done according to bylaws and rules, usually handled by the Executive committee responsible for the topic.

IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society supports conferences and workshops on Nuclear and Plasma Sciences and professionals are welcome to present papers about their work. That does not imply any approval or endorsement of the work. The same goes for NASA, which may also provide financial support for some research.

"Electric Space" was the name of a series of commended public exhibitions
Electric Space is a concept the public can handle. Electricity is familiar. If NASA wrote "Plasma Science or Astrophysics", it would likely be a turnoff to the general public. Use of "Electric Space" does not imply an acceptance of "Electric Universe".

No one here disputes the existence of plasmas in space, particularly in stars, and where there are plasma (high ionized gas) there are electric currents, and interactions between E and B fields (which necessarily go together). The main issue we have is the erroneous (even false) claim(s) as to the significance of electric currents in space.
 
  • #66
ZapperZ
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iantresman: just out of curiosity, is there a particular reason why you are so pushing this? I mean, you can't just woke up one morning and decided to devote a lot of effort into not only producing a webpage promoting this, but also going into online forums and argued for it. I may have misread or misinterpreted something in this thread, but I thought you said that you yourself aren't an expert in this field. If this is true, then I'm puzzled by the almost devotional level you have for this particular area.

Zz.
 
  • #67
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Professional socities offer position statements, but it is done according to bylaws and rules, usually handled by the Executive committee responsible for the topic.

IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society supports conferences and workshops on Nuclear and Plasma Sciences and professionals are welcome to present papers about their work. That does not imply any approval or endorsement of the work. The same goes for NASA, which may also provide financial support for some research.
Sure. Their published areas of interest include "space plasmas"(http://www.ieee.org/organizations/society/nps.html [Broken])

Electric Space is a concept the public can handle. Electricity is familiar. If NASA wrote "Plasma Science or Astrophysics", it would likely be a turnoff to the general public. Use of "Electric Space" does not imply an acceptance of "Electric Universe".

No one here disputes the existence of plasmas in space, particularly in stars, and where there are plasma (high ionized gas) there are electric currents, and interactions between E and B fields (which necessarily go together). The main issue we have is the erroneous (even false) claim(s) as to the significance of electric currents in space.
I guess it depends on how you define "significant". Alfvén discussed this matter in (and I know an electric field is not an electric current):

I think this suggests that there are some scientists who consider that electric currents are significant in space plasma in certain cases, not just in solar and magnetospheric plasmas. I recognise that other scientists do not.
 
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  • #68
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iantresman: just out of curiosity, is there a particular reason why you are so pushing this? I mean, you can't just woke up one morning and decided to devote a lot of effort into not only producing a webpage promoting this, but also going into online forums and argued for it. I may have misread or misinterpreted something in this thread, but I thought you said that you yourself aren't an expert in this field. If this is true, then I'm puzzled by the almost devotional level you have for this particular area.
It's a subject I'm interested in. I read about Alfvén's Plasma Universe some time ago, found there was relatively little information about it on the Web (compared to more mainstream subjects), found there was also some misunderstandings on it, and decided that a Web site predominantly supported by peer-reviewed material would make it easier for people to assess it for themselves.

I am further interested by how people react to the Plasma Universe. On the one hand, the science is generally published in peer-reviewed journals by respectable plasma physicists; on the other hand, we are discussing this in a "Scepticism and debunking" forum of the PF Lounge, that doesn't even make it into the "Other Science" section.

I wonder whether a non-expert interested specifically in Standard Cosmology would be described a having an "almost devotional level" of interest, and whether becoming an expert changes that?
 
  • #69
Nereid
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Astronuc said:
If those papers use observational evidence of stellar or interstellar plasmas, then they would be admissible. If however, the papers simply refer to laboratory (terrestrial) experiments, then they may not be necessarily appropriate for a discussion of plasma cosmology.
Earlier I expressed a desire to distinguish between different areas of astrophysics, namely (a) Klein's cosmology (b) Klein-Alfvén cosmology (c) Plasma Cosmology (d) The Plasma Universe (e) Plasma Astrophysics.

I was wondering whether you perceive a difference between them?

I ask because about a year ago, I emailed some people I though had written peer reviewed papers on "plasma cosmologists", to ask them if they considered themselves to be "plasma cosmologists". All said they considered themselves to be "plasma physicists" or "astrophysicists". Only one said he could also be called a "plasma cosmologists.
I appreciate your efforts on developing a consistent classification scheme, both in this post and earlier ones in this thread.

One difficulty any such efforts will face is the lack of uniformity of usage of the more common terms, not within the respective scientific communities, but among those who are PF members, and guests, both present and future.

For example, the term 'Electric Universe': it can have a meaning as bland as something like 'the almost universal use of electricity in countries with developed economies', or a synonym for 'Plasma Universe' (per your website), or 'the Sun and stars were formed by z-pinches and powered by giant interstellar Birkeland currents', and so on.

Similarly with 'Plasma Cosmology'; while not as widespread a term, it easy to find it used to mean something like 'the outline of a cosmological model in which General Relativity plays no significant role', as well as as a synonym for 'the Sun is powered by giant galaxy-wide currents'.

And even with an apparently technical term we can find problems; look at 'Birkeland currents', for example: it has a standard, technical meaning when used by those who do research into the physics of the Earth's magnetosphere ... while that term may be quite unknown to almost all other physicists, it is also quite straight-forward to define in an unambiguous way. However, the same term can be found on many 'Electric Universe' or 'Plasma Universe' websites, where it clearly has a different meaning, or range of meanings. Further, and this goes to another of Astronuc's points, it is only seldom defined (on those websites) and rarely, if ever, do any such definitions include unambiguous links to the underlying physics (such as an equation).

If only for these reasons, I think it best if PF sticks to its existing policies (as I said above).

Should anyone, new member or old, wish to discuss 'Electric Universe' or 'Plasma Universe' ideas, or ask questions about them, they should do so within the same framework as any other discussion of, or questions on, physics (or philosophy) in the relevant section of PF.

And to bore regular readers of this thread silly with yet another repetition: if your 'EU theory' idea cannot be supported by at least one paper published in a relevant, peer-reviewed journal (or is a proceeding or poster at a relevant conference), do not write posts about it (at least in the main, physics, sections of PF). If in doubt, PM a Mentor.

Which brings me rather neatly full circle: in her opening post, henxan included a link to a YouTube video. I gather that several PF members - from Mentors through Science Advisors to newbies - felt the content to be nonsense, but that others felt it contained good science (or at least referred to good science). As is now clear, I hope, it is nonsense* ... but many PF members, myself included, would greatly welcome the opportunity to read papers which might change our minds.

So, how about it henxan? Do you know of any such papers? If so, why not provide references! Oh, and by the way, note that the list of papers PlasmaSphere (and, to a lesser extent, iantresman) provided do not - it seems to me - provide any support at all for the key claims made on that YouTube video.

* And, IMHO, has no place in PF
 
  • #70
ZapperZ
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It's a subject I'm interested in. I read about Alfvén's Plasma Universe some time ago, found there was relatively little information about it on the Web (compared to more mainstream subjects), found there was also some misunderstandings on it, and decided that a Web site predominantly supported by peer-reviewed material would make it easier for people to assess it for themselves.
You have to admit that for most professionals in any particular field of study, studying something predominantly from the "web" isn't the best way of mastering it. Unless one actually sits down and work through the details, even simply reading published papers only gives you a superficial knowledge of the subject. And I think, this is the case. I noticed that Nereid went into great lengths to not only point out issues surrounding the references given, but also the problems with the physics content of some of them. And unless I missed it (which is entirely possible), most of your responses to her assertion have been to characterize the papers and who published it and where it was published, etc., i.e. trying to shore up the "prestige" of the paper rather than the validity of the content. This is why I thought that it was strange that you'd want to promote something that you didn't know very well in the first place.

I am further interested by how people react to the Plasma Universe. On the one hand, the science is generally published in peer-reviewed journals by respectable plasma physicists; on the other hand, we are discussing this in a "Scepticism and debunking" forum of the PF Lounge, that doesn't even make it into the "Other Science" section.
There's nothing to prevent you from doing this in peer-reviewed journals. My standard response to anyone who feels that strongly about something is to write a rebuttal to the many papers that contradict or left out important pieces of information. Without that, the strong feelings about something goes to waste and will disappear into oblivion.

From my perspective, the reason why this subject is here was because the early proponent of "Plasma Universe" in this forum used dubious sources, and continues to use such sources (webpages, YouTube video) even after being told not to. Such stubbornness relegated the discussion (not the subject matter - which is entirely a different issue) to this forum.

I wonder whether a non-expert interested specifically in Standard Cosmology would be described a having an "almost devotional level" of interest, and whether becoming an expert changes that?
It is not typical for someone who don't have a training in that field of study to devote an entire webpage such so it gets some "publicity". You have to admit, that is highly unusual, but then again, I don't normally troll personal webpage containing physics/astronomy issues. Do you do this for other science areas that do not get the recognition they deserve?

Zz.
 
  • #71
Nereid
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WARNING! Nereid attempt at levity follows!

In a light-hearted vein, I'm wondering whether there are devotees of the strong force, or the weak force.

I mean, proponents of 'EU theory' claim, falsely, that astrophysicists regard gravity as the only force worth studying, and counter-claim that 'electricity'* is really the only one (odd though that while 99.{insert more 9's here, to your taste}% of the universe is plasma, 100% is mass-energy, so gravity wins).

Surely there must be folk who believe that a plague should visit both houses; that the strong force is {insert your favourite number here} orders of magnitude stronger than electromagnetism, and that only the inconsequential neutrinos can escape the grip of the strong force (see, true believers of this cult can make just as many false claims as 'EU theorists'!)? There must be a Nobel Laureate whose work can be picked over to find juicy morsels that support these obvious truths!

And let's not neglect the weak force ... it may be weak in name, but its effects are profound, its wingéd messengers can leap tall buildings in a single bound! not only can they pass through solid walls, but even a light-year of solid lead is but tissue paper to them! Its flock vastly outnumber those of the baryons, and when the truth about dark matter (DM) is finally discovered (any day now, promise), the awesome reality of the dominance of the universe by the weak force will become clear - DM is neutralinos, the supreme embodiment of the weak force!!!! {feel free to continue adding exclamation marks here}.

* Of course, they don't mean that; they really mean electromagnetism.
 
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  • #72
ZapperZ
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And let's not neglect the weak force ... it may be weak in name, but its effects are profound, its wingéd messengers can leap tall buildings in a single bound! not only can they pass through solid walls, but even a light-year of solid lead is but tissue paper to them! Its flock vastly outnumber those of the baryons, and when the truth about dark matter (DM) is finally discovered (any day now, promise), the awesome reality of the dominance of the universe by the weak force will become clear - DM is neutralinos, the supreme embodiment of the weak force!!!! {feel free to continue adding exclamation marks here}.
You left out one important thing, Nereid. Weak force could be responsible for CP violating events, and thus, the reason why we have matter-antimatter asymmetry in our universe today. So Weak Force rules! :)

Zz.
 
  • #73
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Alfvén's Plasma Universe, and Birkeland

iantresman,

Alfvén was but 10 when Birkeland died. Both men played important roles in the several centuries' long history of understanding the Earth's magnetosphere, to use the modern term. In particular, Alfvén's contributions included extending some of Birkeland's work and ideas, introducing new ideas, and showing that some of Birkeland's work and ideas are inconsistent with good observational results (see http://www.phy6.org/Education/bh1-1.html" [Broken] for an interesting, non-technical, summary*).

Given that, I'm curious to know why your website gives such prominence to Birkeland, and, in particular, seems to present, quite uncritically, much of Birkeland's work on space plasmas that Alfvén showed was inconsistent with both theory (which Alfvén developed) and remote observation (and, later, in situ observation), not to mention Alfvén's ideas of the Plasma Universe (especially where Alfvén developed his own models and ideas that are quite incompatible with Birkeland's, such as the rings of Saturn).

* From your extensive knowledge of Alfvén's work, do you feel there's anything significantly mis-stated, or omitted?
 
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  • #74
Ivan Seeking
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Thank you for you consideration. How about academic books, such as those published by University Presses, and academic publishers, eg. Spinger.
Academic text books are fine. The goal is to ensure that only academically sound sources are used. As long as we meet this requirement we should be fine.
 
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  • #75
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One difficulty any such efforts will face is the lack of uniformity of usage of the more common terms, not within the respective scientific communities, but among those who are PF members, and guests, both present and future.

For example, the term 'Electric Universe': it can have a meaning as bland as something like 'the almost universal use of electricity in countries with developed economies', or a synonym for 'Plasma Universe' (per your website), or 'the Sun and stars were formed by z-pinches and powered by giant interstellar Birkeland currents', and so on.
Do I really have "Electric Universe" as a synonym for "Plasma Universe" on my Web site? I have tried very hard not to imply this, as I am aware of differences. Can you give me a link to the page? And likewise, "the Sun and stars were formed by z-pinches" is language I would hopefully not use on the site, unless one of my contributers has added this.

You are quite correct that formal terminology is a problem. If I mention, for example, the heliospheric current sheet, usually there is no problem. But if I mention it in the same sentence as the Electric Universe, it becomes crackpottery.

Edit by Ivan: Link deleted. One again, please do not link anything but academic resources.
 
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