Alexander Franklin Mayer, the Jay Pritzker Fellow in Theoretical Physics, has come up with a theory that threatens to overturn the conventional wisdom of modern physics. One might suggest that repeated self-congratulations, denigration of others, and gratuitous use of quotations are ultimately irrelevant, but he knows how to weave a good scientific tale.
Mayer has developed the theme of vector spacetime and its consequences for relativity, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. I can’t poke any holes in what he says, but I do note some significant omissions. Maybe he is being selective in his use of recent data…although his reasoning processes appear sound.
The geometric properties of time arising from insights introduced by Hermann Minkowski are discussed. A geometric model of time yields a simpler and more natural explanation of relativistic temporal effects than prevailing ideas and better explains astrophysical empirical observations, including the apparent accelerating expansion of the Universe. It is shown that new accurate and corroborating empirical data from the two largest recent galaxy redshift surveys (2dF and SDSS) are inconsistent with the standard cosmological model, yet provide robust empirical support for a revised model based on temporal geometry arising from the principles of relativity.
The overall narrative is fairly persuasive and in particular, the parts about the “red shift” and his re-interpretation of experimental cosmology appear to be very thorough. The material about Doppler shifts in spacecraft clocks is also persuasive.
It’s when he gets into quantum mechanics that I have some trouble with his claims. For instance, he tries to link two fundamental forces – the strong nuclear force and gravity – but doesn’t provide a mechanism as to how this happens. Another issue – I still don’t understand why in his model the matter in the universe doesn’t contract due to gravity, leading to a “big crunch”. That this doesn’t happen on a microscopic scale (e.g. electrons orbiting nuclei don’t collapse into the nuclei) is understood from quantum mechanics, but those arguments don’t apply on a cosmic scale.
The question is, is Mayer’s theoretical edifice a house of cards with a fundamental flaw, or is it robust? The re-interpretation of complex Minkowski space seems reasonable at first, and leads to a lot of consequences that he ably teases out. The end result surely defies conventional wisdom, but it does appear to satisfy a lot of experimental data, at least as far as the pieces of research that he chooses to highlight.
The paper leaves certain important questions unanswered, but that is not proof that the theory is wrong. It’s perhaps time for professional relativity theorists and astronomers to try and disprove this one. What does the rest of the physics community think of Mayer’s theory.
Again, Mayer may be wrong, but his work is a serious challenge to conventional wisdom, and not merely a cracked conjecture…