Sunday, March 22, 2015
What a year has gone by! In May 2014 THE SPEED OF LIGHT was published, and is still selling briskly. On March 17, 2014 the BICEP2 team announced "smoking gun" evidence in the microwave background of gravitational waves from inflation. This was immediately hailed as discovery of the century, worthy of Nobel Prizes. Those of us who understand light wondered if BICEP2 had seen something else. On February 1, 2015 a paper from the PLANCK team showed conclusively that the signal was just galactic dust. There is, as before, no evidence that "inflation" ever happened. The idea, that the early universe briefly inflated many times faster than light, is at a dead end. It has not led to a solution, just an inflation of speculative ideas. Inflation is fundamentally untestable. Scientists can not time-travel to the first 10^[-33] seconds to observe inflation, and no conceivable experiment can even approach the conditions of the Big Bang. As Paul Steinhardt said in NATURE, inflation is scientifically meaningless. A highly cited 1997 paper by Mark Kamionowski held out the hope that B-modes and gravitational waves in the microwave background could be signs of inflation. Despite many experiments seeking them, gravitational waves have never been detected. Some doubt that they exist or are detectable at all. Despite the hype, BICEP2's detection has turned to dust. The inflation idea is thoroughly discredited. There is no evidence for it. The BICEP2 fiasco has brought discredit to the Big Bang and science itself. Now there is room for a better idea, a universe that can be explained with simple equations. Though it seems dark and mysterious, we live in a universe of light. GM=tc^3, where G is Newton's gravitational constant, M and t are Mass and age of the universe. This universe has a characteristic scale R=ct. In Planck units these two equations combine as M=R=t. Mass, size, and age of our big universe are all related to the microscopic PLANCK units! M=R=t is the simplest equation ever! A child could understand it! Why has it remained undiscovered until now? These will be some exciting years.