Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Understanding sought

  1. Nov 3, 2009 #1
    I am posting this in the anticipation that I will be derided and ridiculed for it, but I am doing so in the spirit of honest inquiry. My level of scientific "taining" doesn't extend beyond [the Iirsh] juniuor certificate (GCSE UK equivalent), so I am trying to seek out a more informed opinion.

    With such a basic level of scientific knowledge, I rely largely on documentaries as my source of knowledge, when it comes to the sicences. I have spent quite a bit of time recently trying to understand more about two main topics, Quantum Physics - String Theory in particular - and Cosmology. Recently, little more than a week ago, I was searching for some documentaries on cosmology, and I stumbled across something on Plasma Cosmology. It was the first time that I had ever heard of it, so I am now in the process of trying to find out more about it.

    I did search the site before starting this thread, just to see if there was anything on it, but the main thing I came across was the locked thread in S&D, so it appeared that this was the place to start the thread.

    As I said, I am just inquiring honestly to find out what the deal with it is. Where is research wrt Plasma Cosmology at the moment; have the claims about cosmic background radiation, spiral galaxies, birkeland currents etc. been verified or debunked; is plasma cosmology gathering or losing momentum; what are the main things about Plasma Cosmology that should be looked into?

    I apologise if this is nor the right place, or if this has been raised before and dismissed, but as I say, I only stumbled across it recently myself so am in the process of researching it - in layman's terms that is. If someone could point me in the right direction with regard to understanding this better, e.g. highlight threads on thsi forum, or potential other forums specifially for people without a scientific background, etc. that would be much appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2009 #2
    Never heard of it...but Wikipedia has this online:

    Based on what is said there, sounds like its rather qualitative, lacking in some detail, and so far has not made the detailed predictions confirmed experimentally in mainstream theories...but new ideas can often lead to new avenues of inquiry and different perspectives that may take a number of years to appear.
  4. Nov 3, 2009 #3
    cheers for the response.

    I checked out that wiki page alright.

    there seems to have been quite a bit of dispute over the editing of the page, so I would wonder who is editing it at the moment:

    some other things:

    Part of the reason that it is claimed that few detailed predictions have been made is due to lack of funding, as it is not a main-stream theory.


    It seems to be a fairly interesting theory, if what they claim is correct.
  5. Nov 4, 2009 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Yeah, plasma cosmology has basically descended into the realm of pseudo-science in the last few years, as its primary proponents (Halton Arp big among them) have utterly refused to pay attention to the evidence.

    Basically, if you're really interested in this, I would recommend first reading up on the big bang theory, and getting an understanding of the breadth of evidence in support of it. This essay is a good place to start:

    If you can read and understand that essay, and therefore get an idea of why we are rather confident that the big bang theory is true, you should be able to see why Plasma Cosmology just doesn't make any sense.

    So, if you're really interested, I hope you'll give the above essay a try, and come back here with any questions for clarification on what the big bang theory is, or what any of the various pieces of evidence are all about. I think focusing the discussion in this way would be much more fruitful.
  6. Nov 4, 2009 #5
    There's been a lot of discussion here about the Plasma theories, usually negative. Researchers into plasma cosmology have persecution complexes and a lot of nutty ideas, generally ignoring mainstream physics in order to make their pet ideas work. Or they don't even bother and just loudly assert their theories are true.

    Basically it's a scientific "cult". But plasma physics and plasmas-in-astrophysics are important fields of research and well worth your time to learn if you decide to learn the basic physics required to understand them. It's a few years of pretty heavy maths, but lots of people survive the process ;-)

    A good introduction as to why plasma cosmology is wrong can be found here...

    http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/lerner_errors.html" [Broken]

    ...and a good introduction to cosmology can be found here...
    "[URL [Broken]
    Ned Wright's Cosmology Tutorial[/URL]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. Nov 4, 2009 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Understanding sought
  1. Trying to Understand (Replies: 3)

  2. Understanding expansion (Replies: 14)