Mike Beversluis

Monday, November 27, 2006

Things That Don't Make Sense

13 things that do not make sense: A list of current scientific problems.

There is a tendency to look at our forebears with a condescension - how could they not realize this or that? As if all of the easy problem have been solved, and that nothing will change or nothing new be discovered 200 years from now.

Anyway, I once took a class in coherence theory from Emil Wolf, and one of the interesting things he showed was that depending on the coherence state of the light, the measured spectrum of a source can change with propagation through space.

I am not an astrophysicist (duh), but a lot of the above mentioned problems in cosmology have seem to caused by the apparent size and motion of the universe. I believe that these measurements are made using Doppler-shift measurements of atomic emission lines from distant stars and galaxies, and that this is the only effect taken into consideration. However, if other effects are present, like spectral shifts due to coherence-effects, the derived velocities could be wrong. Which might explain why the universe seems to be doing things it shouldn't.

I don't know if this is true or not, but it seems at least as reasonable as "dark matter" or "inflation", both of which sound like ad-hoc curve-fitting to me. Our own version of epi-cycles and ether as it were. Anyway, two-hundred years hence, don't expect the scientific dogma to be the same as it is now, and don't think everything has been figured out.

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