What is the electric cosmos theory?

  1. Is it used to explain gravity as an effect caused by parallel moving like charges? Is it simply a theory that puts an electric field everywhere present in space? is it a valid theory or is it more of a hypothesis?
  2. jcsd
  3. Chronos

    Chronos 10,348
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    Metaphysics is the first word that comes to mind.
  4. Nereid

    Nereid 3,582
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    Johnny, if you're referring to the ideas outlined on the website of the same name, (the *.org) one, then it's pseudoscience, of a particularly nasty kind (IMHO), and I'm moving this thread to PF's S&D section. We may continue to debunk it there, if anyone is interested.

    If you have something else in mind, please let us know (and I may move this thread again!)
  5. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    In short, EC is the idea that electromagnetism, not gravity dominates the large-scale interactions in the universe. It isn't a theory and isn't an hypothesis. Nereid called it pseudoscience - I just call it unscientific idle speculation.
  6. ok, thanks. I was just wondering how it works and if it is a valid theory at all.
  7. Electricity in Space


    You may be refering to 1970 Nobel Prize in Physics winner Hannes Alfvén's 'magnetohydrodynamics'. He is usually regarded as the father of this branch of plasma physics.

    Here's a short biography: Hannes Alfven (1908-1995)

    In his own words from ''Electricity in Space':

    …"there is one great branch of physics which up to now has told us little or nothing about astronomy. That branch, is electricity. It is rather astonishing that this phenomenon, which has been so exhaustively studied on the earth, has been of so little help in the celestial sphere. Electricity has illuminated our cities but has shed no light on stellar phenomena; it has linked the earth with a dense net, of communications but has given no information about the universe around us.

    Certainly we have seen plenty of evidence of electrical phenomena out in space. Within the last few decades we have discovered several important electrical effects in the heavens: strong stellar magnetic fields such as could only be caused by large electric currents, radio waves emanating from the sun and from many star systems, and the energetic cosmic rays, which are electrically charged particles accelerated to tremendous speeds.

    These phenomena, however, are still very mysterious."…

    "We know that interstellar space is not absolutely void. Although the matter in it is very thin, certainly not more than an average of one atom per cubic centimeter, in the vastness of the universe it adds up to an enormous amount of material. In at least some regions the interstellar matter is ionized, so that it is a good electrical conductor. Furthermore, there are good arguments for assuming that a weak magnetic field (some millions of a gauss) pervades all of space. It is likely, therefore, that magnetohydrodynamic waves roam ceaselessly througlr space, generating weak but very extensive electric fields, especially near the stars."…

    I understand that his theories lead him to develop a quite unique cosmological vision.

  8. Nereid

    Nereid 3,582
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    Welcome to Physics Forums, katlpablo!

    Alfvén indeed did great work on plasmas, and much of his work is of the highest quality.

    Does it follow that everything a great scientist says and thinks is spot on? No, and to base a claim on nothing more than the writings of such a person amounts to an authority-based approach. This is not how science works (good experimental or observational results always trump 'authority' - for example, look at how the EPR paradox was resolved!)

    What you see from folks such as Thornhill and Scott is (in my view) a deliberate, cynical misrepresentation of how science works, and a mishmash of excellent research (both observation and theory), speculation, vitriol, sloppy thinking, ...

    Plasma physics (and astrophysics) is alive and well; studies of MHD processes in a wide variety of astronomical objects are an exciting area of research, esp with computing power that is now available to run detailed models and simulations. Scientists working in this area do not need lessons in how to do research from the likes of Thornhill and Scott.
  9. Nereid: Thank you for your welcome to the PF. I think i will find very interesting reads in your forums.


    As you may have noticed I like the ideas Alfvén expresses in his article, but I am not a trained Physicist and I could not refute or confirm these ideas with scientific rigor.

    I think, however, that to dismiss the conclusions of a recognised scientist —of whom you say: (and from what I can understand many agree with your view) "much of his work is of the highest quality"— as "Metaphysics", "pseudoscience, of a particularly nasty kind", or "unscientific idle speculation", whithout any kind of scientific argument, is a bit of an exageration!

    My intention was to direct the original creator of this thread to an an introductory site and an "authority" in the ideas he is asking about. I offer the forum an alternate view of what other posters understand belongs not to real science.

    I belive a final answer has not been reached yet about the validity or worth of Alfvén's teories or hypothesis in this case. In this sense I'm not even sure if this thread belongs in the "Scepticism and debunking" forum if it being there means it is unworthy of cosideration.

    Sincerely, IMHO.
  10. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not sure I'd be quite so hard on Alfven - those quotes don't imply to me that he buys into the EC idea. He's saying maybe a magnetic field permeates all of space, but he is not saying that it is the cause of what we now consider to be gravitational interactions. The link focused mostly on attempting to explain sunspots in what seemed to me to be a perfectly reasonable way.

    In short, I don't think that quote has anything at all to do with EC "Theory". It reminds me of the out-of-context ether quotes of Einstein that ether theorists like to throw around.
  11. Nereid

    Nereid 3,582
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    Some clarifications: Alfvén did develop some pretty interesting ideas on 'plasma cosmology', and my comments about pseudoscience (etc) are not directed at the good work he did; the comments are directed at folk such as Thornhill and Scott (and many, but not all, the links on the page katlpablo cited are to websites with crackpot material) ... and Velikovsky.

    The EU/ES crowd try very hard to shine with the reflected glory of Alfvén, but if you take the time to read their websites, you will see how selective their choices are. If anyone is interested, there is a very lengthy thread on the Universe Today website (under Alternative Theories) where the claims of folk like Thornhill and Scott are challenged.

    One of the most interesting folk is Peratt (Alfvén died in 1995, and I'm not sure how active a researcher he was in his later years) - some of his papers seem pretty good, but he also has some very odd views. He seems to have done most of his work at one of the US weapons-related labs, so when you read his papers on astrophysics, you get a feeling that he has missed many good opportunities to make his case (e.g. he seems to concentrate more on images, and is mute on spectra, yet it is the spectra which would much more readily make - or break - his case!).
    And it's just here that I have a problem. If one wants to read up on Alfvén, then please give a link to a reputable site where you can get hold of his publications. IMHO, a "Catastrophism" website is exactly NOT where you would go to do that.
    On this we probably agree, and if any PF member is interested in starting a thread in which we can discuss Alfvén's work, from a physics/astrophysics perspective (including the extent to which good observational results are consistent with his theories and hypotheses), then I will gladly join.
    Except Russ that this Alfvén quote is from a website whose primary purpose (it seems to me) is to push a particular kind of pseudoscience as hard as it can.
  12. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes - with your clarification, I think we're on the same page here.
  13. In this I agree and will be more careful in the future. If I find a better website I will post it here in case anyone is interested.

    I knew about Alfvén and did a web search, found his bio and an article by him, and linked to them. But note that the quotes and the link in my post are only to an article by Alfvén, in his own words, no one is modifying his words or his views.

    Part of the answers Jonny_trigonometry is asking about are there.

    Even if others use Alfvén's work for their own purposes and distortions i think some portions of the electricity in space, Z-Pinch, ionized plasma, and other things have merit and could be accurate.
  14. whats so bad about hypothesizing that a magnetic or electric field is present everywhere in space? What if there is? Could we even sense it? how does that work anyway? Isn't a magnetic field dependant on the speed of a charge moving through space, and since reletivity states there is no such thing as rest, then there should be a magnetic field everywhere in space, right? Everybody accepts that there is a gravitational field everywhere in space, so why not a magnetic or electric field also? whats to "crazy" or "crackpot" about this theory?
  15. Chronos

    Chronos 10,348
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    Good grief. Perhaps there is no observational evidence whatsoever? I vote crackpot.
  16. Nereid

    Nereid 3,582
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    Hi Jonny_trigonometry.
    Nothing at all wrong with this!
    Then perhaps we could take a good, hard look at the TB of astronomical data?
    What do you think? The equations and physics may be a little hairy, but they're not secret - when you fire up you favourite maths program, and plug in your 'best observational data', what sorts of things should you expect to see? Do you see these things?
    Indeed, why not?

    A quick look through the astronomical literature will show you hundreds and hundreds of references to observations of magnetic fields (and some to electric currents) in space!
    Perhaps you should re-read the relevant crackpot websites ... particularly things like the Sun being powered by giant, galactic electric currents, which generate light in double layers at the photosphere (and not nuclear reactions in the core), or the Earth being formed by z-pinches - there are lots and lots of good observational data that are strongly inconsistent with these ideas.

    Oh, and BTW, it's not a 'theory' (as this term is used in science); as proposed on some of those crackpot websites, it's handwaving pseudoscience.
  17. ok, thanks Nereid. Ya I guess it's not to hard to detect magnetic flux...

    Wouldn't flux change depending on how fast local space is moving? like how sound can't travel as far if it's traveling against the wind? I really have a hard time with reletivity.
  18. I'm also working on a theory to combine gravity with magnetism.

    I think that the CMBR is not the redshifted photons from the big bang. It's the electromagnetic fields of the quantum vacuum (the ground state of the quantum vaccum). If the sun is charged it really solves the puzzle.
    Last edited: May 4, 2005
  19. Nereid

    Nereid 3,582
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    Good luck to you Starship!

    Wrt the CMBR, you will also, I hope, address the good observational results which are consistent with the BBT ... data showing that the temperature of the CMBR was higher many billions of years ago, and consistent with the BBT.
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