Nobel Prize for Perlmutter & Riess

If one carefully reads the papers submitted to ArXiv astrophysics from after 1998, one sees that Saul Perlmutter’s and Adam Riess’s supernova research groups were not independent (as claimed) and that they were in serious communication. Perlmutter and Riess actually wrote a paper together before they could have otherwise come to cooperate.

They say that the data that the two groups got regarding the distances to supernovae type 1a and other bright extremely distant objects was not concordant at first. In order to force the two data sets to conform, they admit that they had to apply a mutual “adjustment”. This artificial factor was used by both groups to bring the data of each set into alignment with the other so that a smooth plot could be made that included all the data points.

The sense of this artiface alone is the sole “evidence” that they both cite for an accelerating rate of expansion of the universe. They might have applied the adjustment factor to the other data set in the opposite sense. Then, the universe expansion rate would have been seen as decelerating.

There was a choice to be made. A cynic might hazard a guess as to why they made the choice that they did. A cynic might also claim that P&R’s colleagues on the Nobel Committee were grossly biased because they were close friends and few in number. When a subcommittee reports to the full committee, though, their recommendation is often taken as Gospel. How often has the Nobel Prize award been found to be, if not unwarranted, uncompelling?

In college, we had to write laboratory reports on the textbook experiments that we did in lab. We were warned against manufacturing data. Our professors all said that this kind of “fudging” is a big “NO NO”. Ethical standards are not just for students. Still, as professionals who certainly are good scientists, Permutter and Riess, no doubt, think that they were perfectly well justified in applying their adjustment factor and did so in all honesty. But, the result is the same.


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3 Responses to “Nobel Prize for Perlmutter & Riess”

  1. garyakent Says:

    Furthermore, Mordehai Milgrom’s discovery of the MOND effect (modified Newtonian dynamics) does NOT acknowledge that spiral galaxies almost always contain supermassive black holes in their nuclei. Black holes are enormous relativistic point masses with infinite density. Such “singularities” must have singular gravitational fields also. Such field potentials decline as 1/kr, k = 1m (S.I., for dimensional purity) or hyperbolically, not as 1/r^2 , or parabolically, as assumed by Newton’s Law of gravity.

    The difference between the relativistic black hole hyperbolic gravitational potential and the Newtonian parabolic one accounts for Milgrom’s proposed residual centripetal acceleration constant that he found for stars near the peripheries of spiral galaxies. So, the invention of unfalsifiable “Dark Matter” to acount for the MOND effect is as unnecessary as the belabored construction of the “Dark Energy” ediface to account for Perlmutter’s and Riess’s putative “acceleration”.

    So, given the truly doubtful nature of Dark Energy and Dark Matter, what do we do about the “missing mass” necessary to account for the flatness apparent in the anisotropy shown by the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB)? The easiest way is to postulate that the global universe is about 22 times as massive as our little telescopes can discern. The signal strength or amplitude pattern, the frequency nodes, statistical distributions and identifiable extra contributions (as from the SZ effect) to the CMB implies that our current inventory of matter and energy in the universe accounts for only about 4.5% of its total mass. So, 100%/4.5% = 22.2. That is, the mass of the universe must be around 22 times bigger than we can tell from our limited perspective here on Earth.

    If the universe is that much bigger and more massive than conventional wisdom admits, it goes a long way toward accounting for the CMB characteristics, the other red-shift effects, the gravitational lensing effects and most SZ effects that are being used to give credibility to acceleration and Dark Energy. If the universe’s own global hyperbolic gravitational field effect, the transition from which must pervade the whole total universe (not just our local space) is acknowledged as a vestige from before the Big Bang inflationary era – even the sense of the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect is explained parsimoniously.

    In other words, Dark Energy and Dark Matter are subject to Occam’s Razor as mere whiskers on the chin of astrophysics.

  2. garyakent Says:

    It should be pointed out that there have been many monumental scams in science before. Piltdown Man and Cold Fusion come to mind. Remember, many reputable scientists fell for these frauds completely for long periods of time. Clearly, we must be wary of any kind of massive pseudoscience which may still be going on today!

    As far as dark matter is concerned, I report only what Milgrom says he discovered after carefully considering data from many many spiral galaxies. I am saying only that he ignores the fact that nearly all spiral galaxies, and most other types, have supermassive black holes embedded in them. This makes a huge difference. Black holes and the whole mass of the galactic disk will behave like a non-Newtonian entity having a gravitational potential that falls off as 1/r, not as 1/r^2. Comparing a graph of this hyperbolic versus a Newtonian parabolic potential one sees that there is a virtually constant difference at large r. This is the source of Milgrom’s residual centripetal acceleration constant that he says he sees in most of the galaxies he studied. It is constant also because “the periphery” of a galaxy is a self-selecting zone. Most of Milgrom’s pertinent data came for regions near a “periphery”.

    I am not arguing with Milgrom’s raw findings. Far from it. I say he is probably right about the data itself. But, he needs to consider the implications of the existence of relativistic supermassive black holes.

  3. garyakent Says:

    This comment is just that, a comment on the cosmological meaning of relativity in regard to black holes in galaxies.

    Milgrom proposes a new model for gravity. He calls it modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND). But, MOND will require a rewrite of general relativity, one of the most validated theories in all science (only quantum mechanics is better verified). My comment leaves GR intact. It is simple, direct and jibes with the facts while being more parsimonious than MOND.

    One does not observe the rotation of galaxies directly against the background of other galaxies. They rotate too slowly. One observes red-shifts from stars in different regions of each galaxy. Plotting rotational velocities got this way versus distance from the center of a galaxy, one should see a monotonic drop in velocity to near zero as one approaches large r. Instead, velocity reaches a constant nonzero plateau. This contradicts Newton’s Law of Gravity. Milgrom wants to add his tiny, residual acceleration constant to Newton’s Law. All I am saying is that it would be better to take into account the non-Newtonian hyperbolic black hole gravitational potential that simply must exist in almost all spiral galaxies and also in other types of galaxies that may harbor black holes. Galaxies that do not happen to show the MOND effect probably do not have supermassive black holes, or else their black holes have formed so recently that there has not been enough time for the effect to propagate all the way to and beyond the periphery.

    Yes, Perlmutter and Riess both depended on the same Lambda/Cold-Dark-Matter model of the universe that uses the Friedmann equations as a basis. So, they really didn’t have to coordinate their results. But, they did. And, they used the model to predict the model, the ultimate retrodiction. The same thing is done when cosmologists use the model to interpret gravitational lensing effects, the SZ effect and other observations that they say give credibility to dark energy and dark matter.

    I do not say there is any attempt at fraud here. In fact, I say that they all are clearly acting as honest scientists. But, the scientists who reported positive cold fusion results were all honest too. They did not realize that there were inherent flaws in the neutron detection devices that they employed to observe “fusion” in deuterium oxide electrolysis cells using palladium electrodes. Honest scientists fall for pseudoscience too. But, fudge is fudge and no-one is immune to wishful thinking. Perlmutter and Riess wished for a more exciting result and they got it.

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