Could The Realization that the Big Bang Didn’t Happen Help Fusion Energy Research?

The effort to understand the universe and the effort to create fusion energy on earth have been tied together for 80 years. Hans Bethe first discovered the process of fusion as an explanation of what powers the Sun and other stars. The Sun is basically a giant ball of plasma powered by nuclear reactions which fuse hydrogen atoms into helium. Ninety-nine percent of the observable universe is made up of plasma—the electrically conducting 4th state of matter. The same plasma processes that shape the universe are the ones needed to understand how to recreate and control fusion here on earth. And, in both fields, scientific truth can only be uncovered by focusing on the data, on observation, not on what the best-known authorities believe.

 

The new research tests a striking 1930s prediction of the Big Bang hypothesis that objects at great distances should actually appear larger, not smaller. According to the hypothesis, this is because of an optical illusion due to the galaxies having been much closer when their light was emitted.

 

This prediction was repeated in the literature through the 1980s but in the 1990s, the Hubble Space Telescope did not confirm the prediction. Hubble’s images instead showed that the most distant galaxies do in fact look the smallest. A group of researchers then formulated an additional hypothesis that galaxies actually grow in size with time. So very distant galaxies, viewed as they were billions of years ago, were theorized to have been much smaller than present-day ones. In this way, the smaller intrinsic galaxy sizes of the 1990s galaxy-growth theory neatly cancelled out the 1930s optical illusion prediction.

 

In the new paper, written by LPPFusion’s Chief Scientist Eric Lerner, the quantitative, published, predictions of the galaxy-growth theories were tested against the observed sizes of thousands of both spiral and elliptical galaxies, using HST observations from the period 2004-2014. The paper limited the samples to galaxies that have close to the same UV brightness. (Brighter galaxies are larger.) The observed data did not come close to fitting the predictions that galaxy size grows in proportion to the rate of expansion of the universe.

 

Log of the median radius of galaxies (in kiloparsec where 1 kiloparsec is 3,260 light-years), calculated with the expanding universe formula, are plotted here against the log(H(z)), a measure of hypothesized cosmological expansion, a function of the red shift z. Red squares are samples of spiral galaxies, black circles are samples of elliptical galaxies. The black straight line is the closest prediction of galaxy size based on cosmological expansion and the hypothesized galaxy growth. It does not fit the data.

 

In addition, Lerner pointed out that the process hypothesized for the growth of elliptical galaxies—mergers with other galaxies—occurs at a rate nearly ten times too slow for the growth hypothesized. A still worse contradiction with observation is obtained by comparing the gravitating mass of distant galaxies, (calculated from rotational speed and size), with the mass of the stars in them, (calculated from their emitted light). The size predictions based on the expanding universe lead to a gravitating mass smaller than the mass of the stars, an obvious impossibility.

 

While the expanding universe predictions did not fit the data, Lerner found that predictions based on a non-expanding universe fit both the spiral and elliptical galaxies at all distances to an accuracy of a few percent. No matter what the distance, with a non-expanding universe, the galaxies of a given brightness were the same size, just as predicted by the non-expanding hypothesis.

 

The log radius of galaxies assuming a non-expanding universe is plotted against the log of z, where z is the redshift. Black circles are samples of elliptical galaxies and blue and red symbols are samples of spiral galaxies. As predicted by the non-expanding hypothesis, the size remains constant for galaxies of the same brightness (luminosity).

 

“Right now, no one knows what could cause this, but the linear relationship and a non-expanding space make predictions that fit the data, while the expanding universe predictions don’t fit,” Lerner explains. “The entire history of scientific-technological advance has shown the value of judging theories by their predictions. A hypothetical aircraft, for example, using a theory of aerodynamics that needed to be fine-tuned after every few miles of flight would scarcely be useful. Of course, broad hypotheses such as that of an expanding universe, need to have their predictions tested against all available sets of data—this is just one.”

 

More detailed background on this paper can be found here.