Prof. Andre K. T. Assis, Henrik Broberg, Dr. Franco Selleri, Dr. Tom Van Flandern, Dr. Halton C. Arp, Bernard R. Bligh and others.
Fritz Zwicky, the great 20th century astronomer, astrophysicist and theoretical physicist, also dealt with methodology of research, which is considered to be one of branches of the philosophy of science. Zwicky, unlike most philosophers working in this area, not only discussed methods used by others but applied his methodological ideas to a new practical approach in his highly successful scientific research. This approach helped him to discover new objects and new facts. His activity in the fields of the exact sciences and of philosophy in science formed an integral whole. He advocated taking all possible, even exotic hypotheses into consideration, and never adhering only to a single hypothesis. In his Morphological Astronomy he wrote the following words, which should be taken as a fundamental principle in all research:
If rain begins to fall on previously dry areas on the earth, the water on the ground will make its way from high levels to low levels in a variety of ways. Some of these ways will be more or less obvious, predetermined by pronounced mountain formations and valleys, while others will appear more or less at random. Whatever courses are being followed by the first waters, their existence will largely prejudice those chosen by later floods. A system of ruts will consequently be established which has a high degree of permanence. The water rushing to the sea will sift the earth in these ruts and leave the extended layers of earth outside essentially unexplored. Just as the rains open up the earth here and there, ideas unlock the doors to various aspects of life, fixing the attention of men on some aspects while partly or entirely ignoring others. Once man is in a rut he seems to have the urge to dig even deeper, and what often is most unfortunate, he does not take the excavated debris with him like the waters, but throws it over the edge, thus covering up the unexplored territory and making it impossible for him to see outside his rut. The mud he is throwing may even hit his neighbours in the eyes, intentionally or unintentionally and make it difficult for them to see anything at all.
This volume, devoted to the problems of relativity, gravitation and related issues in physics, presents papers delivered and/or discussed during the conference ?Redshifts and Gravitation in a Relativistic Universe? held in Cesena on September 17-20th 1999. In a way, this conference represents a response to Zwicky?s method, outlined above. Its main aim was to serve as a forum for ideas and theories that go against the mainstream of science. Some of the theories are already cast in their final form; some are just rough ideas still undergoing development. Not all of them will prove correct, just as not all of the mainstream theories are wrong. Only reality is an absolute truth, while our theories have only approximate validity. The great German thinker Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: not distinguishing between reality and theory is like not distinguishing between a building and its scaffolding. Theories are tools, not objects of scientific investigation, but indispensable tools. Only a wide variety of tools can enable us to carry out such a complicated task as scientific research.
In addition, a wide variety of observed phenomena have to be taken into consideration in a properly organized scientific investigation. Some phenomena which are seldom mentioned by others?such as quantization of redshifts?are discussed in this volume.
Some of the papers are presented here in more or less the same form in which they were delivered during the conference. Some were reworked more recently and take a final form different from the presentation. No minutes of the extensive discussion in the conference auditorium or the more lively discussions that continued during breaks and around dinner tables were recorded. In some cases the discussions are reflected in the final shape of the papers. Two of the papers included here were not presented as such during the conference, but their content was mentioned and taken under consideration during the debate. This volume therefore should not be regarded as a formal proceedings of the Cesena Conference, although it does fairly reflect the substance of the event.
In his contribution A.K.T. Assis proposes the principle of physical proportions, according to which all laws of physics can depend only on the ratio of known quantities of the same type. An alternative formulation is that all universal constants of physics (G, c, Planck?s constant, Boltzmann?s constant, etc.) must depend on cosmological or microscopic properties of the universe. There is a discussion of laws satisfying this principle and of other laws which do not follow it, implying that the corresponding theories must be incomplete. The author shows how to implement this principle by means of his theory of Relational Mechanics, as set out in the book of the same title (Apeiron, Montreal, 1999).
The paper presented by H. Broberg is based on the equivalence between gravitation and acceleration, initially suggested by Einstein. This introduces a new geometric approach to quantum gravity, the missing link to unification, extended to a discussion of energy flows in the vacuum as the key mechanism of the gravitational process. His ideas also relate to string theory in a scenario where the extra dimension, representing the ?thickness of the line,? can be allowed to exist from the Planck length up to the Hubble scale.
An alternative picture of the structure of galaxies is proposed in the paper by Marek Biesiada, Konrad Rudnicki and Jacek Syska. The authors discuss the possible explanation of dynamical properties of galaxies with the theory of dilatonic balls using six-dimensional space.
In the paper ?Electromagnetism and Cosmology? by Edward Kapu?cik a rather convincing argument is given that the correct unification of electromagnetism and gravity should start from some elementary and basic proto-fields which are neither electromagnetic or gravitational fields. The presently observed division of fundamental interactions into gravitational and electromagnic must be achieved by constructing composite fields from the proto-fields. In addition to the field equations, the gauge conditions also express physical laws and determine these composite fields. The last statement contradicts the point of view commonly adopted, which treats the gauge fields as auxiliary quantities.
Two papers by F. Selleri show that transformations of space and time between inertial systems exist which are almost empirically equivalent to the Lorentz transformations. They contain a free parameter e1, the coefficient of x in the transformation of time. He shows that Michelson type experiments, aberration, occultation of Jupiter satellites, and radar ranging of planets are insensitive to the choice of e1. An exception is represented by experiments in slowly accelerated frames, e.g., those concerning the Sagnac effect. The best choice emerging from Selleri?s work is where the parameter e1 = 0, i.e., a theory different from Special Relativity.
One of the goals of the Cesena conference was to find common ground among the dissidents beyond their certitude that some mainstream models are wrong. That proved surprisingly difficult, and the discussions showed why?we differed about which fundamental starting points were a valid basis for building models. Should model-building be driven my math or by physics? Are singularities allowed by reality? Can matter and energy be created or destroyed? Must the causality principle be respected? And so forth. One session on the last day of the conference was devoted to a discussion of these points, and we found that no unanimity existed about any of them. That led directly to the contribution by Van Flandern, ?Physics has its Principles,? which attempts to examine several such fundamental principles and show the consequences in each case of making a wrong assumption about its applicability or non-applicability. Whether or not this initial effort brings dissident views closer, it has certainly highlighted the points that must be resolved for any hope of a convergence of models and viewpoints in the future.
Many physicists point to the proper functioning of the International Atomic Time system (TAI) in order to support the postulate of Special Relativity Theory about the one-way isotropy of light velocity in every inertial system, which has never been demonstrated. Contrary to this view, Manaresi demonstrates that the proper functioning of the TAI system does not imply the one-way isotropy of light on the moving Earth. This means that the second postulate of Special Relativity still remains merely conventional.
Astronomical observations show that some fundamental cosmic properties come in discrete values. The ratio of observed properties, such as redshift or mass, for example, yields a ubiquitous factor of 1.23. In the paper by A. and J Rub?i? and H. Arp in this volume the properties of fundamental particles such as leptons and quarks are examined. The surprising result is that they also obey this ?quantization? rule. While there is no current explanation, these empirical results point to similar physical laws which extend from the smallest to the largest entities in the universe. This may lead to a physical understanding of redshift quantization.
A very straightforward paper by K. Rudnicki, W. God?owski and A. Magdziarz presents a statistical elaboration of a very small sample of objects within the Iwanowska lines of galaxies and globular clusters. It shows that globular clusters, even located together with galaxies on the same lines, do not show redshift periodisation, whereas the galaxies do show the periodisation.
B. Bligh starts with some basic notions of thermodynamics to expose some of the errors made by cosmologists. Thermodynamic calculations require an energy balance. He then presents calculations on the Hot Big Bang Theory using data provided by cosmologists. The results are presented in a table and graphs which show that the Big Bang Theory cannot be true. Mr. Bligh also explains that thermodynamic calculations are most easily done with the aid of a temperature-entropy diagram for hydrogen, a method that is demonstrated in detail in his book The Big Bang Exploded!
Lastly, the paper by Cardone and Mignani deals with a problem that has been the subject of long-standing debate in the literature, namely the possibility of a breakdown of local Lorentz invariance (a subject revived in recent years, e.g., by S. Coleman, S.L. Glashow and R. Jackiw). In their paper, Cardone and Mignani report the preliminary positive results of an experiment which seems to evidence a DC voltage across a conductor induced by the static magnetic field of a coil. This intriguing finding ought, of course, to be confirmed by further independent tests, aimed at excluding possible gravitational effects, among the other things.