Sunday, November 09, 2008

Change Is In the Air

Posts have been weekly due to work and travel, but each week has brought more bad news for the old cosmology. Once upon a time the planets were thought to circle Earth in epicycles. Just as planets sometimes appear to move backwards in their orbits, large areas of the cosmic microwave background are in thermal equilibrium. The CMB indicates that c was once much higher.

As scientists once invoked epicycles to explain planetary motions, a repulsive "inflaton" was hypothesised to explain CMB uniformity. Supernova redshifts are more evidence of c change, so another repulsive "dark energy" was imagined to make the Universe accelerate. The "LCDM" cosmology insists that the speed of light is constant and the Universe is flat, like the Earth.

With another big nod of thanks to Kea, October 30 Glen Starkman gave a talk at the Perimeter Institute:

If the CMB Is Right, It Is Inconsistent With Standard LCDM.

Starkman focuses on a favourite subject, the angular correlation function. Inflation predicts that the Universe is flat, therefore temperature fluctuations should be the same at all scales. COBE and WMAP spacecraft show that fluctuations are nearly zero beyond about 60 degrees. Versions of this graph have been published on this blog before. As surely as a ship's sails disappearing over the horizon, data shows that the Universe is curved as Theory predicts.

Evidence from the CMB has been around for years, yet some scientists cling to an epicyclic cosmology. Starkman presents his work as a talk--has it been accepted as a paper? How wonderful it would be for science if alternatives to the standard cosmology could be published and discussed. Even with generously wide error bars, inflation's prediction is ruled out by both COBE and WMAP. Perhaps mainstream cosmologists should learn to read graphs.



Blogger Kea said...

It is a rather eye catching graph! Unfortunately, I'm sure it won't be long before Starkman's papers are referenced in stringy and loopy papers as evidence for a new kind of Inflation, which will be heralded as a mild deviation from all previous published research by the authors.

8:12 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

We can already imagine changing c portrayed as a new kind of inflation. The ocrrelation function is such a dry subject that many people lack interest. Thanks again for your tips.

2:58 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

The Copernican Principle is under closer scrutiny now. Ideas like that and a changing c both examine the underlying assumptions of physics, and that can only be a good thing in the long run.

5:07 PM  

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