Shockingly, in June of 2017, Neil Turok, a close friend, physicist, and colleague of Hawking’s said: “maybe not.”
Update: More erosion of the Big Bang thesis.
Update: another article questioning the Big Bang.
Update: Forbes has an article that further disputes the “Big Bang” theory.
Last week marked the passing of Stephen Hawking, a brilliant man who was an acclaimed theoretical physicist and mathematician; an esteemed graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England. Hawking was viewed by many as one of the greatest physicists of the century; his work will likely continue to influence physics and cosmology—the study of the Universe, its origins, and its evolution—for untold decades.
Hawking, known worldwide and instantly recognizable because of his lifelong battle with ALS, discovered and popularized the ideas of Black Holes and the Big Bang theory, among other “big ideas” of physics.
He authored many popular books about cosmology, in a determined effort to bring the complexities of theoretical physics to within the reach of the general populace. His most popular book, first published in 1988, is titled “A Brief History Of Time“; it tells the story of the evolution of the Universe from infinitesimally small fractions of a second after the “genesis” event to its eventual end.
Through his work in physics, he sought to explain some of the greatest puzzles of cosmology, such as the origin of the Universe—the Big Bang; the distribution of matter in the Universe—why we see matter clumped into stars, galaxies and galactic clusters as we do; the puzzle of the cosmic background radiation’s existence and asymmetry; and the gravitational effects that account for the motion of stars, dust clouds, and gases orbiting around “invisible” galactic centers.
Hawking posited the existence of celestial objects that we have now detected through a number of direct and indirect astrophysical observations, which have been named “Black Holes” because they appear to be superdense objects with such strong gravitational fields that they trap light itself and prevent it from escaping, thus their name.
Among the many questions of cosmology that he grappled with is one that has been debated for nearly a century by Einstein and many others: how is the Universe evolving over time, and what will become of it over the long-term? Is the Universe “static”—that is, unchanging over time? Einstein initially thought this was the case, and was proven wrong by Edwin Hubble’s red shift discoveries in the 1920s. Or is the Universe “open”, or “closed”?
By “closed”, we mean this: if we accept that the genesis of the Universe was the Big Bang, are there forces that could bring about an eventual collapse back to an ultradense state, similar to what existed at the beginning of time, or will the Universe go on expanding and becoming ever colder and less and less dense, forever—the “open” case?
As always throughout the history of science, Hawking’s ideas may withstand the test of time unchanged; or they may inspire others to either augment, or completely overturn them as new ideas and theories compete to explain the phenomena of our Universe.
In any case, his work is indisputably of immense value.
Over the last few years, I have been reading the work of a virtually unknown and controversial physicist, Dr. Randell Mills. In particular, I was attracted to his volume III book, “Collective Phenomena, High Energy Physics, and Cosmology”.
In the last few years, I visited him several times at his facility in New Jersey, located a stone’s throw from Princeton and also Einstein’s late home, and I invited him to present a guest lecture at Fresno State in February of 2017.
While some people casually write off his work as pseudoscience, his work is surprisingly difficult to dismiss when one digs deeper and examines it objectively. His written works are breaktakingly detailed, and have been freely available for anyone to access on his website for many years (although his website, brilliantlightpower.com may turn some people away because of the bold claims he makes on the front page. Without understanding the depths from which these claims come, it is easy to conclude the wrong things about Randell Mills.)
His work is based on a solid mathematical and theoretical foundation, albeit one that conflicts with accepted dogma. There are good reasons to believe that some of his ideas may be worth paying closer attention to, because he continues to amass some interesting experimental results that align perfectly with his theoretical framework, results that are otherwise difficult or impossible to explain by conventional physics.
Situations of this sort—mysteries around the edges of science that have no clean and clear explanation—have long been the “clues” in science that something interesting, monumental, and as yet undiscovered was about to be revealed. The Luminiferous Aether of Michaelson and Morely, the double-slit experiment, and Einstein’s explanation for the photoelectric effect are a few classic examples.
In the late 1800s, some physicists were so certain that “we knew everything” that they discouraged students from studying physics as a career, believing that “everything is already known, there is nothing left to discover.” They were absymsally wrong.
One of the things that Dr. Mills derives from his theoretical framework is an elegant and compelling argument about the nature of Dark Matter, a substance that has been postulated to account for the vast majority of the “invisible” mass of the Universe, but for which there is still no satisfying explanation: what exactly is it?
The theory of Quantum Mechanics and the so-called Standard Model, for instance, which predict and attempt to explain the properties of all known particles, do not yield a good prediction for what Dark Matter should be, and continued “big science” experiments through the recent decades that have sought to explain it have failed to identify any particles that can adequately account for Dark Matter’s proposed properties.
Despite our inability to identify it, there is mounting circumstantial evidence that it simply has to exist, including at the center of our sun and galaxy. Dr. Mills has some interesting ideas about how its possible creation explains the million degree temperature of our own sun’s corona, another currently unresolved mystery.
Despite the mysteries, there may exist an explanation for Dark Matter that neatly ties together all of the current unknowns : Dr. Randell Mills’ theory, which has an elegant postulate for what Dark Matter is. It is Hydrogen, albeit in a different physical state than is currently predicted or understood by conventional physics. Mathematically, it requires accepting the possibility that Rydberg states can not only be integers, but fractional integers of the form 1/N, with N <= 137.
Given that almost all of the visible matter in the Universe (the stars and galaxies) is comprised of Hydrogen (and a little helium, and a lot less everything else) it is satisfying to think that the missing “Dark Matter” is also Hydrogen: it is a simple and beautiful result, if true.
But there is more to Mills’ idea.
In his work, Dr. Mills has published papers that not only predicted, on a theoretical basis, the expansion of the Universe (a phenomena now accepted and observed via astrophysical measurements) but also the acceleration of the rate of expansion–that is, it is now known that the Universe is not only expanding, but speeding up its expansion.
Years before this phenomenon was discovered and documented by astrophysicists, Dr. Mills had already predicted it, and proposed an explanation. It is the same underlying theory that accounts for Dark Matter.
One of the additional ideas that emerges from Dr. Mills framework for cosmology, based as it is on his refined model for the physical properties of the hydrogen atom, photon, and the electron, is that the Universe is not only “closed” (meaning that someday, it will collapse back in on itself) but also cyclical: that is, the Universe did not in fact go through a single “Big Bang” event orginating as Hawking proposed from a vanishingly small “point”, but instead the Universe “oscillates” back and forth between a maximum radius and a minimum (but still fairly large) radius, repeatedly.
There are, in fact, some astronomical observations taken by the Hubble Deep Space Telescope in recent years that seem to suggest the existence of stars and galactic objects that are “too old” for the region of space that they appear to lie in; a paradox that is not easily explainable by conventional cosmology.
Mills, however, has an explanation: these stars and objects already existed before the time of the last cosmological “contraction” cycle, and have persisted through the time of the last universal contraction and re-expansion. In other words, they were “born” before the last expansion event, and are still around.
I read about Mills “cyclical Universe” idea a few years ago. Last year, in June of 2017, I read with shock the following article — in it, Professor Neil Turok, one of Hawking’s closest friends and colleagues, claims he has discovered a mathematical flaw in Hawking’s Big Bang models, with the result that “Turok claims that the Universe is in a perpetual state of big bangs in a new theory.”
Shockingly, when I came across that claim, I had just read Chapter 32 of Randell Mill’s book on Cosmology, in which he lays out a cogent and well-reasoned case for the cyclic expansion and contraction of the Universe; precisely the same thing that Turok was now claiming was the result of corrections to Hawking’s mathematics.
Is it possible that Mills is right, and Hawking is wrong? Dr. Mills continues to collect experimental evidence that his theory of the hydrogen atom — upon which the rest of his theoretical framework builds — is in fact correct.
We are blessed to live in an exciting moment in time. Within the last century, we have had luminaries such as Albert Einstein, Neils Bohr, Richard Feynman, John Wheeler, and many others help to uncover the mysteries of the Universe.
Soon, perhaps we can add another name to that list, a man whose work has been overlooked, although it may unify much of physics in a surprising and elegant new way: Dr. Randell Mills.
About the author: Eric Tilton, a former chip designer, worked on supercomputing technology in the mid 1990’s at Paracel, Inc. of Pasadena, California. Paracel’s products were used, among other applications, in the field of computational biology: they were used to help Dr. J Craig Venter complete the first ever whole human genome sequence in the year 2000.