Interests: Gravity, Solar system Age: 88
Born in Tehran, Iran, Pari Dokht immigrated in 1957 to the US, where a year later she married pediatrician Herbert Spolter. She earned her University of Geneva, licence es Sciences Chimiques mention Biologiques in 1952 at the University of Geneva, and her MS (1959) and PhD (1961) at the University of Wisconsin, just as she was beginning her family of four children.
(from Contemporary Authors) Working without the benefit--or perhaps without the hindrance--of an official academic position, Pari Spolter, Ph.D., has written a book that intends to challenge contemporary physics. With The Gravitational Force of the Sun, published in 1994, Spolter sets out to illustrate how the views of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein on the nature of gravity were largely misconceived, and to replace their equations with those of her own. Aligning herself with the early astronomer Johannes Kepler rather than with the two aforementioned thinkers, Spolter analyzes why, in her view, the mass of an object is not a necessary factor in its gravitational attraction. "Gravitational force of the sun is given as the product of the acceleration and the area of a circle with radius equal to semimajor axis of revolution," her book asserts. "This quantity is constant for all the planets, asteroids, and artificial satellites." Spolter also claims that the sequential mean distances of the planets from the sun follow an exponential law; this in turn leads her to conclude that gravity is quantized. Additionally, in two of her twelve chapters, Spolter seriously questions both Einstein's general theory of relativity, which is usually viewed today as explaining gravity, and the Victorian-era Michelson-Morley experiment which inspired Einstein's thought. Spolter chose to establish her own publishing company in order to produce her book, rather than sending it to the usual scientific journals and subjecting it to the process of peer review. She has stated, according to Rapport magazine, that her reason for doing so was a desire to avoid the risk of having her ideas stolen by more senior, well- connected scientists.
Critical response to her theories has been mixed and many of the positive responses have come from outside the university-based scientific mainstream. Scientifically knowledgeable reviewers in a number of publications, however, have hailed not only Spolter's determination but her erudition. T. E. Phipps, Jr., in Infinite Energy, wrote: "It is striking . . . how well informed [Spolter] seems to be in the field of astronomy or celestial mechanics." Phipps, remarking upon the stifling of independent thought that occurs in many academic environments, commented that, "as a physicist, [Spolter] may be somewhat lacking in formal preparation; but the topics she treats are so fundamental that more preparation might merely stand in her way."
This opinion is similar to one Spolter expressed to CA; she admitted that she had been taken to task for writing about a branch of science different from the one in which she was trained (her doctorate is in biochemistry rather than physics), but she averred: "I believe that my background gave me an advantage rather than a disadvantage. In a biochemistry lab, you first measure the ingredients, run the reaction, get the results, and then try to find an explanation for the data. In some branches of physics and cosmology today, the theoreticians first write complicated mathematical equations, and then try to fit nature to it."
Phipps commented that Spolter's book demonstrated both the strengths and the weaknesses of independent scientific theorizing, the strength being the opportunities it presents for originality, and the weakness being the fact that an isolated scientist is not readily available for intellectual exchange. "Still, her originality is so excessive that timid intellects like mine tend to recoil from some of her insights," Phipps declared. "Certainly, one longs to argue with her on some of her more cherished points." One point with which Phipps agreed strongly was Spolter's validation of the Bode-Titus theory that describes an apparent regularity in the spacing of the planets; for this reason, he wrote, her book "constitutes an important milestone in both physics and astronomy." Other reviewers, too, applauded both Spolter's independence and her insight: "She may be the grand mistress of all iconoclasts, but this volume presents impressive evidence on her side," attested Rapport's Brian W. Firth. "Spolter is widely and deeply read. . . . She raises many and far from trivial questions." A Book Reader contributor called Gravitational Force of the Sun "revolutionary thought that is sure to evoke derision from her colleagues. . . . Clear and thorough, this will blow dust off old, accepted laws of physics."
A Nexus reviewer declared that "Gravitational Force of the Sun is a well-argued, well- documented, thought-provoking volume," and called Spolter's contributions to scientific inquiry "important." New Energy News editor-reviewer Hal Fox proclaimed: "This is the most readable technical book that it has been my pleasure to review. . . . Each conclusion is buttressed by careful explanation of the facts. . . . We promise that you will be much less ready to accept the lecturing of physics instructors or the writers of textbooks as being the sole or ultimate truth!" Yale Scientific's Ankur Mehta also characterized the book as "delightful reading" and "stimulating" for its "simple and lucid style" as well as its novel ideas.
Phipps, concluding his review, asserted that overarching the specific rights or wrongs of Spolter's theories stood an important general truth, which was "that for all the boasted beauty of [contemporary physicists'] string theories and the brassily-resounding immodesty of our Theories of Everything we still stand barely toe-deep in Newton's ocean."
Spolter told CA: "Nature has fascinated, challenged, and aroused the curiosity of people throughout the ages. To discover laws, to understand the underlying mechanisms, and to uncover the hidden order in the operation of our solar system and our universe are genuine cravings that laymen, as well as scientists share. "I was engaged in scientific research in various laboratories for many years. The programs were funded by government grants. Like all other scientists, I was under pressure to publish papers frequently--and I did. Then, I was home with my two babies--a full time mother. As the children grew, I found time to do research and study on my own. I was very lucky--my husband supported me. I could take as long as it was necessary to thoroughly investigate a particular topic, and I was free to choose the subject of my own interest. I did not have a boss. The result was Gravitational Force of the Sun, published in 1994, and two more books in progress. "I enjoy my work. I have great enthusiasm for what I do. I have been criticized for writing a book in physics and astronomy, when I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry. I might mention that Isaac Asimov was also a Ph.D. in Biochemistry who wrote, among numerous other topics, books in physics and astronomy. Nobody questioned his qualifications for straying from the primary field of his academic background. That is because Asimov simply recycled the textbooks in physics and astronomy for general public consumption. He did not question the validity of the assumptions. He did not question the validity of the assumptions. He did not challenge the establishment, as my book does."
- Yale Scientific, spring/summer, 1994, p. 25.
- Rapport, June-July, 1994, p. 32; September-October, 1994, p. 60.
- Book Reader, fall, 1994.
- Choice, May, 1994, p. 1457; October, 1994, p. 252.
- Nexus, December-January, 1996, pp. 4-5; June-July, 1996, p. 60.
- New Energy News, July, 1996, pp. 20-21.
- TESLA: A Journal of Modern Science, first quarter, 1997, pp. 39-40.
- Infinite Energy, January-February, 1997, pp. 46-47; July-August, 2001, pp. 4-5.
- On Wisconsin, May/June, 1997, p. 40; January/February, 1998.