Saturday, October 23, 2021

Cumbre Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands looks peaceful now. Undersea surveys have found a 400 cubic km landslide, the debris of a prehistoric eruption. Previous activity has caused the Western slope to come loose, creating a North-South fracture. Another large eruption would cause 500 cubic kilometres of mountain to crash into the sea. Dr. Simon Day and Steven Ward have modelled what would happen next. The initial impact would create a water dome 900 meters high, collapsing and spreading like a stone creating ripples. A massive tsunami would race across the Atlantic at nearly 800 km/hr. The coast of Morocco would be struck by waves 100 meters high. Waves up to 50 meters from crest to trough would strike the US East Coast. Water would inundate coasts from Britain to Brazil. The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 produced waves up to 30 m high. Krakatoa's eruption in 1883 created 6 m waves, killing 30,000 people. The damage in New York City alone would make 9/11 look like a college prank. The Northeastern US is also vulnerable to earthquakes. As recently as 1925 a magnitude 7 quake struck the region. Unlike California or Hawaii, New York has never prepared for a major earthquake. Before Einstein and Planck some scientists believed they knew everything about physics. Even today some will tell you that they have inventoried everything in the Universe. It is the height of folly to think we know everything in nature. Previously humans did not suspect what lies beneath their feet. The hiccoughs of a Black Hole less than a millimetre across can wipe out whole coastlines. The Universe has power and mysteries far beyond human understanding. POSTED BY L. RIOFRIO AT 1:28 AM 19 COMMENTS SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Changing ‘Constants’ Are Back

A new article from “Inside Science” suggests that ‘constants’ like the speed of light could change. It also suggests that LIGO the gravitational wave detector could be used to find change. This would add to LIGO’s victory in detecting gravitational waves from colliding black holes.

Could Fundamental Constants Be Neither Fundamental Nor Constant?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Wiki Wiki

On October 2, 2018 Donna Strickland became only the third woman in history to share the Nobel Prize in physics. That same day her Wikipedia entry finally appeared, frantically written even while people were searching for her name. Others had tried to give her an entry earlier, but Wikipedia’s faceless editors kept deleting her because they felt her work wasn’t noteworthy. The Nobel committee thought otherwise.

Someone has been nice enough to write a Wikipedia article about my work. Will it get deleted?

Louise Riofrio

Sunday, May 19, 2019

UK Daily Express

Another article has appeared in the DAILY EXPRESS, the other big UK paper, about my work on black holes. Former NASA scientist claims there’s a black hole inside the Earth

Monday, May 13, 2019


I am subject of an article in UK DAILY STAR, one of the biggest newspapers. NASA Scientist Claims Speed of Light Is Changing

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Science News Article

I am back in the papers. It started with an article in SCIENCE TRENDS: Atomic Clock in Space to Test Changing Speed of Light

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"Dark" Energy is Dead

From time to time I have reported on the idea that the Universe is 2/3 filled with a repulsive "dark" energy. Like the Emperor's New Clothes, it is only apparent to those most educated. It would cause expansion of the Universe to accelerate, in violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics on the grandest scale. Alleged detection of "dark" energy led to a Nobel Prize in 2011. Not happy with their million, the discoverers proposed billion-dollar space experiments to investigate "dark" energy, with names like SNAP. The last remnant of them, WFIRST, is cancelled in the new NASA budget.

February 21-23, 2018 is a Dark Matter conference at UCLA. The conference used to include "dark" energy, but the latter is a dead field. Reputable conferences like the International Astronomical Union don't include "dark" energy, though they have discussions on a changing speed of light.

The "accelerating data is sign of a change in the speed of light, exactly as predicted. A simple equation GM=tc^3 predicts the "accelerating" data more precisely than any "dark" speculation.

The idea of repulsive "dark" energy is dead.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Dark Empire Strikes Back

In 1998 Adam Riess was first author on a paper claiming evidence that the universe was accelerating. In 2011 he shared 1/4 of a Nobel Prize for the "discovery". Shortly after Oxford researchers published a paper saying the dark energy may not exist, Riess was compelled to write a denial in Scientific American blogs.

No, astronomers haven't decided dark energy is nonexistent!

It's on!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Dark energy" still doesn't exist

Professor Subir Sarkar of Oxford has long been a skeptic of "dark energy". The idea of an accelerating universe was first proposed in 1998 by two competing groups of physicists, both based in Berkeley and both using the same data on Type Ia supernovae. In a new study of 740 supernovae, 10 times the original dataset, Professor Sarkar concludes that the data is consistent with a non-accelerating universe.

Marginal evidence for cosmic acceleration from Type Ia supernovae

For years physicists have spent careers and their credibility professing that the universe is filled with a repulsive "dark energy". If DE really dominated the universe, objects would not fall toward Earth!

Data indicating an "accelerating universe" really shows a slowing speed of light. A simple equation GM=tc^3 predicts the data precisely.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

You Are Here

Science has long tried to put the Universe on a T-shirt. Using science and light, I've done that.

The project has only been on Kickstarter a day, and has already blown past its modest goal. We are bringing Light to the Universe.

Friday, September 18, 2015

THE MARTIAN Review: Ridley Scott Returns to Space

Ridley Scott Returns to Space

Ridley Scott's first commercial hit, coming after little-seen The Duellists, was 1979's Alien. Since then Scott has become a master of big-budget filmmaking, from the futuristic noir of Blade Runner to the sand-and-sandal epics Gladiator and Exodus, a modern war movie (Blackhawk Down) and even American Gangster. With Prometheus and now The Martian, Scott has returned to outer space. Based upon Andy Weir's self-published bestseller of a marooned astronaut, The Martian is the most thrilling movie of space survival since Gravity.

Weir's novel is notable for attention to technical details. Drew Goddards screenplay includes the science but emphasizes the human, cutting between Matt Damon's one-man show on Mars to his crew mates in space and at NASA trying to get him back. The fine cast includes Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ijiofor, Sebastián Stan, Mackenzie Davis, Sean Bean, Kate Mara and Michael Pena. The actors bring the technical jobs of NASA employees to life.

Movies about NASA and the real future in space are back. For three Autumns in a row we have been treated to Gravity, Interstellar and now The Martian. In all these movies NASA personnel are portrayed as heroes. The NASA of this latest film is portrayed as being bound by bureaucratic inertia, personified by Jeff Daniels, but the agency breaks all bounds to rescue Watney. When NASA's first attempt to resupply Watney fails, help comes from the Chinese space agency, much like the Soviet cosmonaut in Marooned.

The opening and closing scenes of Prometheus showed us some of the grandeur of outer space, trying consciously to approach Kubrick's 2001. Watney's solo traverses across the Martian surface show is ,ore of what it might be like walking where truly No One Has Gone Before. We also get a hint of the terror of space. Watney's removal of a foreign object is reminiscent of Noomi Rapace's harrowing self-surgery scene in Prometheus, which was itself an attempt to match the infamous "chest-buster" scene of Alien.

Scott is already deep in preparation for a sequel to Prometheus, so we can expect more journeys into space soon. The Martian leaves us wanting more. By showing the adventure of humans traveling regularly to Mars, this movie makes us all want to go, now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

THE MARTIAN review coming!

Yesterday at Johnson Space Center we were treated to a screening of THE MARTIAN along with members of the cast. Full review and photos coming shortly!

Saturday, September 05, 2015


Hello from Nevada! Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong reports on the SUSY2015 conference here, where physicists report on the complete lack of evidence for supersymmetry at the Large Hadron Collider. For over 30 years physicists have worked on supersymmetry without any evidence that it exists. It's time for them to enjoy Lake Tahoe and rethink their lives.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Happy Birthday Inge Lehmann

Today is the 127th birthday of Danish seismologist Inge Lehmann, as the day's Google doodle reminds us. Lehmann studied at Cambridge a University before getting an office job. Eventually she found work as a scientist, and discovered that Earth had an inner core. This was done by analysis of seismic waves caused by earthquakes. These waves have names like PKP.

The strongest wave should be PKJKP, a wave passing directly through Earth's centre. The PKJKP wave has never been reliably detected. Something in Earth's core swallows the energy of earthquakes. A journey to the centre of the Earth would be an excellent place to find a small Black Hole.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Astronomers have found an enormous "void" in space 1.8 billion light-years across, the largest structure yet found in the universe. The void is aligned with a "cold spot" discovered in the cosmic microwave background. The void was found using the PAN-STARRS telescope on Maui and NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) in space.

Detection of a supervoid aligned with the cold spot of the cosmic microwave background

The study suggests that the void is draining light energy from the surrounding space, causing the cold spot. This supervoid may not be empty, but could be the lair of an ultra-massive black hole. Old theories of the universe can't explain a structure this large.

The void could have been formed by an ultra-massive black hole emptying the space around it. The black hole would be primordial, born of a quantum fluctuation shortly after the Big Bang. Size of a black hole is limited by a "horizon distance" related to the speed of light. This immense void is one more sign that the speed of light was once much larger.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Type Ia Not All of a Type

Happy 25th Birthday to the Hubble Space Telescope!

Type Ia supernovae were once thought to all have the same brightness. Using these exploding stars as standard candles to measure distance, physicists in 1998 concluded that the universe is accelerating due to a repulsive "dark" energy. Speculation about an accelerating universe has occupied physics for years. Now a new study says that Type Ia don't all have the same luminosity after all.

A new study published in the Astrophysical Journal finds that Type Ia supernovae form at least two groups, distinguished by colour and luminosity. The authors used results from the Hubble Space Telescope and the SWIFT satellite. This shows that they are not standard candles, and estimates of the universe's expansion could be way off.

The paper is at:

The Changing Fractions of Type Ia Supernova NUV

The researchers conclude that differences between Type Ia supernovae could account for at least some of the apparent "acceleration". The so-called "dark" energy might not be as prevalent as thought. In the scientists' words: "Not accounting for this effect should thus produce a distance bias that increases with redshift and could significantly bias measurements of cosmological parameters". In English, what was thought about an accelerating universe could be wrong.

GM=tc^3 predicts that the speed of light has been changing. Since redshifts are roughly proportional to v/c, instead of v increasing c has been slowing down. The answer could be in light rather than imaginary "dark" energies.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Solar System

The newest project on Kickstarter is an updated Solar System poster, including new photos of Ceres and Pluto. What is different? Most depictions of our solar system don't accurately show the distances between planets. Here we show the relative orbits, with the planet sizes depicted below. What do you think? Tell your frineds about this project!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"Variations in the speed of light"

More and more physicists are willing to consider that the speed of light may be changing, as predicted. From

Physicists propose method to measure variations in the speed of light

"But in some alternative theories of cosmology, the speed of light is not actually constant, but varies throughout time and space."

The physicists from universities in Poland and Spain propose to use baryon acoustic oscillations, waves in the microwave background that can theoretically be detected and measured. Their pasper appears, behind a paywall, in Physical Review Letters:

Measuring the speed of light with baryon acoustic oscillations

The article in mentions a simple relationship: There is an angular diameter distance Da, which can be multiplied by the Hubble factor H to get the speed of light:

DaH = c

We can calculate Da, the maximum distance light has travelled from the time of highest redshift. M = R = t in Planck units, which in CGS units becomes: GM = tc^3 and R = ct

c(t) = (GM)^[1/3]t^[-1/3]

Da = \int c(t)dt = (3/2)(GM)^[1/3]t^[2/3] integrated from t = 0 (the Big Bang) to the present time.

Note that (GM)^[1/3]t^[-1/3] = c, so:

Da = (3/2)ct

Now we figure out the Hubble value H = Rdot/R

R(t) = ct = (GM)^[1/3]t^[2/3]

\Rdot(t) = (2/3)(GM)^[1/3]t^{-1/3]

H = \Rdot /R = (2/3t)

Putting it all together:

DaH = (3/2)ct(2/3t) = c

Matches perfectly, no? A simple cosmology of M = R = t fits the relation DaH = c. Why hasn't anyone noticed this before?

Monday, April 06, 2015

Project Near Funding

Funding is always an issue with science, especially in a time of darkness. The new book project, THE YEAR OF LIGHT, is tantalizingly close to being funded. thanks to all who have backed this project:

One candle can light the darkness.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Failure of Peer Review

Publisher Biomed Central has been forced to retract a large number of papers due to abuses of the "peer review" system. From the Washington Post:

Major Publisher Retracts 43 Scientific Papers Amid Wider Fake Peer Review Scandal

The system of "peer review" is supposed to ensure the quality of scientific papers. In fact the system rejects unconventional theories while allowing papers that are mediocre or completely false. Many, many more scientific papers are published full of questionable research. This scandal is barely the tip of an iceberg. Scientific research has become broken.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

March 2014

Here is one excerpt from the new book, THE YEAR OF LIGHT, March 2014 and the BICEP2 announcement:

Albert Einstein's birthday, March 14, is easy as Pi for physicists to remember because it is 3.14. In The Year of Light it will be even more memourable, 3.14.15. On March 14, 2014 Paul Steinhardt planned to post online a paper that would review and demolish cosmic inflation, showing its many inconsistencies and failings. Unfortunately Steinhardt was "scooped" by the dramatic BICEP2 announcement.

Already on March 7 someone on the BICEP2 team had leaked to Mark Kamionowski that they had found his long-sought gravitational waves. On March 12 Harvard-Smithsonian notified the press that a dramatic announcement was scheduled for Monday March 17, with Alan Guth and Andre Linde invited to attend. By Friday, March 14 speculation was abuzz around the internet and the scientific world that BICEP2 had discovered something important about the universe.

On March 17 the four chief scientists of BICEP2 staged a dramatic press conference at Harvard. They proudly wore matching blue BICEP2 T-shirts and sat in front of a diagram of cosmic inflation. They told the assembled press, and the whole world, that they had discovered gravitational waves from the time of inflation. Ron Cowen of Nature was in attendance, and he called the evidence a "smoking gun." That day Alan Guth said the BICEP2 result was 'definitely' worth a Nobel Prize.

The front-page headline in The New York Times read "Space time ripples reveal Big Bang's Smoking Gun," accompanied by a worshipful profile of Alan Guth. On March 18 Guth gave a triumphant talk at MIT. In attendance were Andre Linde and Ron Cowen. That week speculation turned to who would get the Nobel Prize. Guth? Linde? The BICEP2 team? Experts were proclaiming a gravitational wave revolution. Nature devoted a special issue to "Waves From the Big Bang".

In succeeding months the BICEP2 discovery had crumbled literally to dust. Doubts raised by other scientists, and better data from PLANCK, showed conclusively that BICEP2 simply saw dust in the sky. What had gone wrong? Why had a near-certain detection turn out to be false?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Waves and Dukes

(From Waikiki, 2006)

Duke Kahanamoku was an Olympic swimming champion and a hero to us islanders. He popularised our Hawaiian sport of surfing to the world. At age 20, in an amateur meet, he broke the world record for the 100-meter freestyle. This feat by an islander was so surprising that the athletic union didn't recognise it for years. He won Olympic medals for the US in 1912, 1920 and the Paris Olympics of 1924.

Between Olympics Duke Kahanamoku gave surfing displays around the world. His exhibition in Sydney on December 23, 1914 is regarded as the start of Australian surfing. A statue of Duke stands at Freshwater Beach north of Manly. Thanks to the Duke, Queensland's Coast is known as Surfer's Paradise. He worked as a film actor in Hollywood, like yours truly. While living in Newport Beach, he single-handedly rescued 8 people from a sinking boat using his board.

Future generations will wonder why this planet was called "Earth," since it is mostly covered by water. If one grew up on an island, it is obvious that we are surrounded by the sea. Pacific navigators colonised the islands from Asia to Hawaii in a process that took centuries. That is a natural model for exploring other solar systems.

As we have seen many times, waves are important to physics and astronomy. The imprint of waves in the CMB can determine whether inflation happened or a changing speed of light. Maxwell's equations show that visible light, infrared and gamma radiation are all electromagnetic waves. Contributor Nigel has explored the waves in nuclear explosions. Waves touch us in sound and in the tides. The effect of tides on the Moon is one more clue that c has changed.

Because sound waves travel in air and water waves through water, it was long assumed that light travelled through some medium. Since light travels throughout the Universe, this ether was presumed to be invisible and fill all Space, just like "dark energy." Maxwell himself believed that Earth travelled through ether like a ship through water. The inferrence of an invisible ether lasted until Einstein introduced Special Relativity.

In 1924, while Duke Kahanamoku was competing in the Paris Olympics, another duke was making waves nearby. A graduate student in Paris named Duc Louis de Broglie suggested that electrons also took the form of waves. Their wavelength is given by the relation h/p. De Broglie published this simple relation in an extremely short PhD thesis.

Like an equation about light, Duc De Broglie's thesis was short but revolutionary. His thesis would have been rejected outright except for the support of Albert Einstein, who recommended De Broglie for a PhD. Einstein also nominated De Broglie for the Nobel Prize in 1929--nice to have friends like that. Like Duke Kahanamoku's 100-meter record, Duc de Broglie's achievement almost went unrecognised. Thanks to supporters like Einstein, we enjoy both surfing and De Broglie waves.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Evolution of the Moon in 2 minutes 40 seconds

2 minute 40 second video of the Moon's history. According to the most popular theory, the Moon was created when a Mars-sized planet struck the Earth. The impactor was vaporised, and Earth's mantle was blown off into Space. The pieces of mantle were large enough to coalesce in Earth orbit until they formed the Moon. The Giant Impactor theory became popular after Apollo Moon samples were found to resemble parts of Earth's mantle.

The Moon first coalesced less 1/4 its present distance from Earth. Since that time 4.5 billion years ago the Moon has been slowly drifting away. This is interpreted as tidal forces transferring angular momentum from Earth's rotation to the Moon. Apollo's Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment measured this distance increasing at 3.82 cm/yr, anomalously high. If the Moon were today gaining angular momentum at that rate, it would have been in the same place as Earth only 1.5 billion years ago.

If the speed of light were slowly decreasing, time for light to return from the Moon would increase each year, making the Moon appear to recede faster as seen by LLRE. Change in the speed of light, predicted by the simple expression GM=tc^3, precisely accounts for the lunar anomaly. This is striking evidence that the speed of light is slowing today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Apollo 13

Here I am with the Apollo 13 crew! The Apollo Mission Control room in Building 30 is kept as much as possible in its historic state. The surviving crewmembers are Fred Haise (left) and Jim Lovell (right). Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert passed away in 1982. On the anniversary of Apollo 13 the crew and some ground personnel visited Johnson Space Center to share some memories. The mirror behind me has its own history--it was presented to the Mission Control crew by the Apollo 13 astronauts so they would be reminded who the real heroes were.

One anecdote: When the original explosion occured, the astronauts thought that the LM might have depressurised. They tried to close the hatch between the CM and LM, but for some reason it would not shut. If it could not be closed, the modules could not separate for reentry. Somehow when the time came the hatch closed and the Command Module separated for reentry.

Apollo 13 launched 40 years ago April 11, 1970. Originally called "the flight that failed," today we know that it was their finest hour. The crew on the ground and in Space performed heroically despite overwhelming odds. In an emergency, they "worked the problem." The performance of Apollo crews inspired many of us to solve problems of Space and Time.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Year

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.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Year of Light

2015 is the International Year of Light, as proclaimed by UNESCO along with the International Astronomical Union and other organizations. It is 1000 years since Ibn Al-Haytham wrote the first treatise about light. 1815 saw Fresnel's work on refraction, and in 1865 Maxwell's equations showed that light is a form of electromagnetism. Of course we remember Einstein's General Relativity in 1915 and discovery of the microwave background in 1965. This is a very special and exciting year.

Last year saw BICEP2 claim "smoking gun" evidence of gravitational waves, which was later found to be just galactic dust. Today the old inflation idea is in serious disrepute. Cosmic inflation is untestable and therefore scientifically useless. The story of this so-called discovery of the century, and inflation's collapse, could fill a book.

It is also time to draw attention to a better idea, that our universe is explained by some extremely simple equations. These make the prediction that the speed of light is slowing, something that can be tested with more accurate clocks. Starting in 2016 the Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space may find a "c change" in science.

The new book project is THE YEAR OF LIGHT:

We hope you enjoy it, tell your friends, and consider backing. One candle can light the darkness.

Monday, February 23, 2015


February 20 was another book talk on THE SPEED OF LIGHT, this time for the Fort Bend Astronomy Club in Stafford, Texas. The audience was very enthusiastic, and took home every available copy of the book. For the rest of you, it's still available online:

The Speed of Light

Monday, February 02, 2015

Cosmic Inflation Is Dead

For 35 years the paradigm of "inflation" has dominated studies of the universe. In 1979 Alan Guth and others first speculated that the early universe, at a time of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second, expanded many times faster than light and then stopped. Astronomers searched in vain for any evidence that inflation happened.; In March 2014 the BICEP2 experiment announced to great fanfare the "smoking gun" proof of infl;ation, graviatiional waves from the Big Bang. This weekend news came out that the "evidence" for inflation is just dust. The paradigm is dead.

Friday, January 30, 2015

BICEP2 Inflation Result Is False

The latest results from the PLANCK satellite will be released next week, and BICEP2 was wrong, wrong about detecting gravitational waves from "inflation". BICEP2 saw galactic dust, but their data was inflated into a "smoking gun" proof if inflation. More about this soon.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Planck Units: M = R = t

In response to some evocative comments, here is an old post from October 1, 2007! The Planck units point to a quantum nature of space and time. Though this post is celebrating its seventh birthday, this marvelously simple equation is still not common knowledge.
"I perceive the Universe as a single equation, and it is so simple..."

--LT Barclay in STAR TREK TNG: "The Nth Degree"

Posting was light the past week, but some work got done. Today we'll return to the subject of Planck units. Max Planck started as a conservative physicist studying atomic spectra. The ultraviolet catastrophe led him to a "act of desperation," the quantum value h. Planck was also instrumental in getting a patent clerk's first papers published in 1905. If not for Planck, the world might have taken decades to hear of Einstein.

Planck noted that combinations of h, c and G led to this "universal" system of units. At the time he had no way of knowing whether h or c were constant. Some science types get lazy and say that h = c = G =1. They are not equal, or they could be used interchangeably.

We'll use Planck's units to express something more useful. A basic principle states that scale R of the Universe is its age, a timelike separation from the "Big Bang." R and t are related by factor c, the "speed of light."

R = ct

This equation (1) caused the Big Bang. As t increases, the Universe expands.

R/l_pl = ct/l_pl

Now l_pl = ct_pl, so:

R/l_pl = t/t_pl

Expressed in Planck units, equation (1) becomes:

R = t

We can simply express that size of the Universe is related to its age. This may appear more palatable to those used to thinking that c is constant.

The Universe can't expand at the same rate forever, for Mass and Gravity slow it down. We do some calculations, and c is further related to t by:

GM = tc^3

Expressing equation (2) in Planck units:

M/t = c^3/G = m_pl/t_pl

M/m_pl = t/t_pl

The Planckian expression of GM=tc^3 was also noted by bloggers Thomas Dent and Lubos Motl. Using Planck units can be misleading, because they are not all constant. Now we can state both equations (1) and (2) in a single line:

M = R = t

Repeat: This must be the simplest equation ever! It relates everything you want to know about the Universe but were afraid to ask: Mass M, size R, age t, expansion rate and how it slows with time. This shows just how powerful mathematics can be. According to STAR TREK, one line may explain an entire Universe.

Planck is not the only one who started as a conservative physicist. When these equations are worked out, the appeal is hard to deny even for the conservative. Arriving at a simple solution makes all the challenges of science worthwhile. The simplicity may someday be noticed by physicists, possibly in the 24th century. This may be an equation far ahead of its time.
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