How the Universe Works, and the David Brin Nobel Prize

Author(s): Mark Anderson

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Published April 14, 2022

The following is a transcript of "Redefining the Cosmos: The Resonance Approach," a FiRe 2022 interview of Mark Anderson by scientist and science-fiction author David Brin.

For those with net access, we strongly recommend viewing the video, available here:

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David Brin: Hello, all; I'm David Brin. I've been with FiRe since almost the beginning, and I'm honored to be hosting a couple of interviews. First, in an hour we go to the sublime, my colleague Kim Stanley Robinson; but first, the opposite of sublime, in the best sense – not ridiculous, but in the sense of being so grounded and down-to-earth that he encompasses the whole cosmos: our host – my host and yours – Mark Anderson is going to be talking, forcing me to drag out and dust off my physics PhD. I can barely keep up with this guy.

In any event, we live in amazing times. Not long ago, the so-called "standard" model of physics had a triumph with the discovery of the Higgs Boson; and yet, there's a sense of sullen disillusion spreading. String theory appears to have no application; there are disagreements over the Hubble constant; above all, there are these weird notions – dark matter and dark energy – folks try to detect them, and so far they've found no signs. So, some of us physicists have, in desperation, turned to folks with a little bit more agility, folks like – you know, you, Mark. So we'll be addressing some of Mark's predictions, in Resonance Theory. It's been out there for a while and getting some respect. Since we'll be addressing some of the predictions, Mark, can you frame Resonance Theory in a few sentences for the audience?

Mark Anderson: Very simple, David, and thank you for being here, as well.

The simplest way to say what Resonance Theory is all about is that it provides a new view of the physical world, in which space is not considered to be empty, but in fact, as physical properties, and that those properties lead directly to the laws of physics.

In other words, for a long time, as you're aware, people thought space – well, back in Hubble's day! – was empty, and we're here to say, it's not. You and I can talk more about that.

DB: Well, of course there's a lot of talk about how most of what's out there is not what we see. Long ago, in the '30s, Fritz Zwicky saw that galaxies rotated much faster than they would have if just stars were doing all the gravitational tugging. So he, even back then, said there was something that was dark that was having gravitational effects, but we don't know what it is, dark matter – and now, because of the Nobel Prize-winning observations of imputed expansion rates from the Big Bang, there's also the assumption that the biggest component of everything is dark energy, which, according to Einstein, would cause accelerating instead of falling back in on itself – a sort of Big Crunch, which people used to think, the Big Bang is accelerating.

You have some strong opinions about what dark matter might be, and whether or not there's dark energy at all.

MA: Well, actually, I believe there is both dark energy and dark matter. I think it's not a mystery once you accept that space is not empty. Now, back when Fritz made his theory, he thought that space was empty, but he thought that there was this thing called "tired-light theory," which he offered, and which – by the way, you may notice, the chief scientist at NASA, when he read my most recent paper on the cosmos and these questions you've just raised, suggested that maybe it was like the tired-light theory. So we went and looked pretty closely at that. And it's like it in one way: both theories said that over distance, there would be energy subtracted from light, and therefore a red shift. But Fritz said it was because of scattering. And we're not saying that. We're saying it's because of the actual energy absorption of space itself, not particles in space.

DB: And there are properties of space that have been known about for a long time: permittivity and all that. Would you like to mention how a vacuum ... to one degree or another, physicists have always known that vacuums have properties.

MA: Right. Since the days of Faraday and Maxwell. It's a bit ironic, actually. If you're a historian in science, you know this already, but all the physicists knew there was something going on, because they knew that empty space had these physical characteristics – it had permittivity, it had permeability, electric and magnetic constants ... This was well-known back in the 19th century.

And yet, when Einstein finally got his arms around stuff – you know, when he was between 16 and 22, let's say – he got to the point where it was so toxic a subject that in his book with Leopold Infeld, he wrote the following sentence, which he later admitted was his greatest mistake. The sentence was: "Since we do not mathematically require the ether" – meaning, a substantial space – "we shall never again refer to it." And by doing that, he shut the door, I believe, on his own greatest dream, of unifying the worlds of quantum and general relativity, which he spent the rest of his life, as you know, trying to do.

We published a paper, which [our] members saw, called "Einstein's Greatest Mistake," at a time when I didn't know what I'm telling you now. It was only when Walter Isaacson, who was writing the definitive biography of Einstein – I had sent this to him, and he brought it back to me — he said, "Did you know that Einstein agreed with you in your naming this his greatest mistake, in a speech at the University of Leyden in 1921?" So, even Einstein, later on in his life, agreed that this was, in fact, his greatest mistake. Saying that space was not ether, was not substantial, was his biggest mistake.

DB: Yes, it's very commonly said that he regretted most abandoning the cosmological constant -

MA: Right!

DB: But that is actually a misstatement of his second greatest mistake.

MA: Yes. That's right. He doubted himself about the numeric value, changed it, and then I believe changed it back again – and if you asked a physics grad student today, that's what that student would say he thought was his greatest mistake. But you and I are in agreement here. That wasn't it.

DB: Yeah. Well, just so people can know the background: in the 1890s, there was a Michelson and Morley experiment which seemed to devastate the notion of a vacuum having an ether that was a physical thing that would affect the speed of light. Because the speed of light is affected by passing through physical gases and things like that. It was then suddenly politically correct to say that the ether did not exist at all, despite the fact, as Mark and I agree, that space has these properties. And of course, the lack of ether in that sense led to special relativity verified, and all that. But there are so many different ways you could have an ether that don't violate Michelson and Morley.

MA: There you go.

DB: Would you like to talk a little more about that?

MA: Well, my favorite – I think I mentioned this in one of the papers that I wrote, but I found myself at the Natural History Museum in New York. They had a beautiful Einstein exhibit with the original papers and so on, and the very famous photograph, on a post, of the rubber sheet, which was space-time reduced, and the steel ball in the middle weighing it down. And there was a very nice woman who was a docent explaining general relativity to this other person. I was listening to this, and I just couldn't help it, you know. And she was going on and on about how space is empty, but here's space-time, and I said, "Well, turn around," you know? "Because there's a picture behind you of space in two dimensions – it should've been three or four dimensions – being deformed by a gravitational object."

You can go on from there, but ... The simplest way, David, for me, and the way I got into this, for me to think about this was when at Stanford in the very first physics course I had, which I then quit – I hated it; it made me angry – the explanation of how light worked violated the conservation of energy. And in seeing that, that set the table for me for the next 20 years to get working on this, because you can't have, as Nathan Myhrvold would say, "It's the law." You can't do that.

DB: I just wanted to make a little side comment, that I rank you as among the 20 – after John Perry Barlow, who came in first – among the 20 most American humans I have ever met. Because anybody who would confront a New York museum docent has got to be somebody with incredible guts. [Laughter]

MA: It was fun.

DB: Okay – so! Let's just say that empty space has properties. We know this. And those properties affect light in ways that don't degrade the light, but may redden it or cause it to mimic -

MA: They don't change its speed, but they can subtract energy from it.

DB: Right. And so it's not like any other non-vacuum medium, because this is a vacuum. But the point is that we do know the red shifts do exist, and in the inner shell of this whole Rube Goldberg machine to find out what the expansion of the universe ... It's made of several shells that relate to the next ... The inner shell was done with cepheid variable stars. And that inner shell, we do know, there is some expansion. But the other stuff is, as you say, all imputed.

MA: I would say it differently, David; and I did look into this after our last conversation. We definitely think we know the exact distances of things, or very close. We did learn that there was a fail in the cepheid measurements because there were two different types of cepheid stars, and it turns out that they don't register the same way, so there was a lot of confusion for a while. There is still some question whether there aren't more than two types of stars, which would give different readings for the same distance. So, it's not a perfect measure, but it's pretty good.

I want to distinguish here something very important: distance versus running away. We have these two issues in front of us, really. What are the distances from here to a star or a galaxy? And this larger question of, Is it really expanding faster the farther away you get? Which was the original Hubble conjecture. They're separate questions.

And, if you don't mind, I'd like to at this point bring us both back, and our audience, to a moment a long time ago when I read – I think it was three different papers by now-Nobel Prize-winning Kip Thorne, before he won his prize, in which Kip was a younger man. And he was noting in his papers that there were galactic clusters of things which pretty obviously were geometrically related to each other but were giving very different readings of the so-called Hubble red shift. And he wrote three papers about this.

At the time, I just filed it under the file name of, like, "Well, That's Strange," you know? And then, 30 or 40 years later, I was sitting on my deck at my office with Chuck House – who most of you know; the past top tech person at both Intel and HP – and we're sitting around, and he mentions his friend Kip Thorne. And suddenly all these things clicked. This was not very long ago – within the last six months. And I recalled those papers by Kip, and then I was thinking about – since then I'd done Resonance Theory – one explanation you could have for what Kip had published would be that between you and these objects – which probably are in the same geometric family but are in fact giving off different Hubble readings – could be doing so because there were differentials in the amount of spatial density between you and that object, even though they were equally distant.

So, we know for a fact – we say a "fact" – that we can have gravitational lensing. We know that there are all kinds of ways that spatial density in a certain sense of general relativity can bend light. There's certainly plenty of documentation for this type of question. In other words, that gravitational fields, for example, can have an effect on light. But now, with Resonance as a proposal, let's put it that way: we have the option, which Hubble never had, of not only saying, "Well, it's redder because it's running away faster because of the Doppler effect," but maybe it's redder because there are more of these gravitational interruptions, let's say – or "spatial density" is actually the term I like best – is greater between Object A and me than between Object B and me. When I say "me," I mean Kip Thorne.

DB: I've known Kip for 40 years. Actually, I knew him when I was an undergraduate, but he didn't know me. But that's another story.

Yes, this is quite amazing, and of course it calls to mind the notion that you're talking about space having vibrational modes, space itself having vibrational modes -

MA: Yes.

DB: – and some of these vibrational modes manifest as the Dirac sea, things popping out, popping back in, near a black hole, stress energy ... We know that stress energy near a black hole causes Hawking radiation. This is all compatible with what you're saying.

And then, of course, some of the vibrations manifest as either semi-stable or extremely stable particles, like the protons in our bodies.

MA: Exactly. Electrons. Yes. That's right. That's Resonance Theory, by the way. Because space itself, having particular characteristics, actually has resonancy, resonances. Yes.

DB: And so this is compatible with some versions of string theory also, but it offers a way to test, which string theory never had.

MA: That's absolutely right. When I wrote it – of course, the first paper was submitted to Physical Review-D in 1980, and it was immediately rejected. The very first peer reviewer said, "The very first equation is" – he didn't call it a "string equation," because it was a wave, but "We don't use that, we use fields, so that vitiates" – that's the word I remember best – "that vitiates the entire paper. Rejected."

That, probably in its own wee way, was one of the two first string-theory papers; the other one, which got published, was from Michael Green in England. And the point of this long sentence is, I was providing actual physical parameters in constants to explain light in a new way, which would've been the first string explanation.

DB: Well, well; this has all sorts of implications, even leading up to whether or not – it's not only somewhat compatible with certain versions of string theory, but it also bridges between admitting that some kind of expansion is happening -

MA: Yes.

DB: – but also contains some elements, resurrects some elements, of what Fowler and Fred Hoyle and all that were talking about back in the '60s, before the Big Bang crushed them, about steady state – because they were talking about how space itself could be constantly in a process of creating more of itself.

MA: Yes. So, what I'm not trying to say in any of the papers that I've written so far is that I have the answers to these questions, in terms of expansion. What I am trying to say is that Hubble did not have a menu choice that included what we're talking about today. And so obviously, he picked Doppler as the only way to explains the red shifts he was seeing.

Now we do have a menu choice. I'm just hoping that because of this conversation, and those printed papers, maybe the idea would be attractive enough, rational enough, that people in the future will have a choice and will look at this question with one more option. And maybe, instead of just assuming that all of the shift is caused by Doppler effect, they will now say, "Well maybe it's a mix." Now, the mix could be all the way to zero on either side. It could be there's no running away, and it's literally static, and all they're seeing is this variation in distance and in the spatial density between the observer and Object A, or it may be that there's a mixture of these things.

I don't have an opinion about it. But I do think it's a mix.

DB: I think that's an incredibly balanced view.

Well, let's go with one end of that, and say ... Let's say there's no Big Bang, and then we'll come back to various forms of Big Bang. Let's say there's no Big Bang. What do you believe are the motivating principles of mathematics driving the cosmos, then?

MA: If there is no explosion that way, that we've been laboring over – and you may remember, David, how embarrassed everybody was when they had to put the Big Bang theory forward? The authors were extremely embarrassed. They were afraid for their lives, for their professional careers, because it was such an outrageous ...

Okay, so let's just go that way for a minute. And ask yourself, if we have a sea – for lack of a better word – a sea of space which we know has resonant capabilities, and has energy in it, what would we expect to see there?

From what I've seen in mathematics, I would expect to see emergent properties there. In other words, we know that space can be activated with persistent particles, as you mentioned; we know it can be activated with nonpersistent particles, which CERN does every morning. We also know that there are probably other ways for space to contain energy, like dark energy and dark matter, without being an electron.

So, what happens for the rest of space? What is happening there? And what mathematics would you expect to use? In some way or other, the word or the term emergent strikes me as being quite important. And within all of the possibles – I don't know what the answer is; I suspect that it's probably chaos theory. It's probably complexity mathematics, which could show us, as it does in many other situations, what are the emergent properties in almost all of the world that we know today, the natural world. It might not be that; could not be that. But my guess is – I would start looking there first.

DB: Well, you know, the whole notion of emergent properties is a phrase that crosses so many areas – of biology, for instance, as we've heard from Craig Venter. Certainly AI; one of six ways in which we might get AI is the scary one that's most portrayed in Hollywood, which is this emergence of some unexpected coalescence of capabilities – probably from Wall Street. But the notion of the explosion is one that, gosh, 20 years ago everyone was saying, "It's not an explosion! It's a universal expansion on the surface of a balloon." Remember the balloon?

MA: Aww, the balloon!

DB: The balloon – I just wanted to pop it every day!

Suddenly, 10 years ago or so, suddenly the physicists were saying, "Oh, yeah, sure, it's an explosion!"

MA: Or it's this toroid, where you're on the edge of the toroid somehow.

DB: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

MA: I think, when the first ... Imagine you're the person who first had to frame this up, and you're saying, "Well, okay" – you're in front of your PhD orals group, and you say, "It's expanding." And they go, "From where?" And you go, "Oh, I can't do that." "Well, what do you mean, where's the beginning of the – ?" "Oh, there is no beginning." "Well, physically, where – ?" "No, there is no physical beginning." "You're saying there's an explosion with no physical center?" "That's right." "Okay, and so no matter where you are in the world, everything isn't going away from you at the same time – is that what you're saying?" "Yeah, that's it." It's like, "You're nuts. You're absolutely certifiable."

DB: And now it has been demoted to merely one of a dozen possibilities, like an explosion into an actual pre-existing universe.

MA: Yeah, yeah, they keep trying, right?

DB: I just about bit off a tooth when I saw that on a Nova show, the interviews with these guys, because they would have sent me to Siberia for saying what they were saying.

MA: And they worked so hard! They worked so hard!

DB: I know!

So, alright, let's get back to Resonance. Have you found any support for Resonance and applications in cosmology?

MA: Well, I've found a lot of support for Resonance. Resonance has been around, as I mentioned, since 1980. The evolution of string theory would be No. 1. There was no string theory when I published that paper. But there have been a lot of things that the ... I'd like to call these proposals, the theory in my hands ... I'm not a trained physicist. I'm a pattern recognition expert. So, the theory in my hands has led to a series of proposals, many of which have come true or been proven. But they're all proposals. These are not peer-reviewed papers by a Stanford physics PhD candidate. I didn't go that route. I did get offered to become a PhD candidate in physics once! [Laughing] But ...

DB: May your experience with that be better than mine.

MA: Yeah, that's exactly how I felt.

But to put it another way: this year I published three papers in about eight weeks, just trying to do kind of a wrap-up, and I've gotten good support for those. One of the interesting statements came – I won't use a name here, but the chief scientist at NASA – you're a NASA guy, I believe – and what he said was kind of helpful. He said, "We have come to have deep, deep doubts about the Hubble red shift. And there's something like 200 theories now that are alternative theories for the Hubble red shift. It is in deep jeopardy."

I think that he felt that he liked the way that I had written Resonance, proposing these things. I wouldn't say that he bought into the whole idea, but he was supportive. And the idea that he was willing to trade off current Hubble red-shift theory for mine – I think that's a fair statement – was true. So, you kind of find support where ... you take support where you can find it.

I'll start with that person. And there are a number of other important people who have read those papers who are helpful in their comments and positive. I haven't found anybody who thought it was wrong yet.

DB: Well, I think that what proves that it is at least conceptually partly right is Hawking radiation. Because Hawking radiation takes place at the fringes of a black hole, where space itself is highly stressed.

MA: Yes.

DB: And this has been proved for 20 years. And where that happens, lo and behold, the Dirac sea pops out these virtual particles -

MA: Yes.

DB: – and they continue to ... one of them flies away into space, the other gets sucked down into the black hole, and the black hole reduces in mass, slightly.

So, this is an example of where space itself has texture properties that create particles.

MA: Yes. Resonances!

DB: And there's Mark Anderson.

MA: Resonances! There it is.

DB: [With a grabbing gesture] Nobel, please!

MA: [Laughing] I could tell you a funny story which is related to this. In creating Resonance Theory, the way that I tested it, after realizing that I couldn't get it through a peer-review process, is I picked the smartest guys in the world I could find who were doing different things that were all impinging right upon it. One of those people was – the most fun I had – was with David Bohm, whom you probably remember, who I think was by far the most interested in Resonance Theory. And that's kind of cool, because he was Einstein's friend, and he had his own theory about the "implicate order" in space and all that kind of stuff, so that was good.

But I had a meeting with Roger Penrose, who's probably the best mathematician alive, still at Oxford – I went to see Roger, and I said, "These things you've created, these mathematical objects called 'spinors' and 'twistors,' could be the primordial mathematical objects which would be useful in this theory. Does it make sense to you?" And he said, "Absolutely." Well, then string theory starts to emerge, and Ed Witten emerges from somewhere at Princeton, and Penrose hates string theory. He hates it because he's got his own theory, I think. And I'm talking to Penrose, and he's mad at me because – I think – I'm a string guy, and ... I don't know why he's mad at me.

So then he and Witten are mad at each other, I think for the same reason, and time goes by. And I'm occasionally reaching out to Roger, you know: "Strings are cool, and here's why, and they're not really different from what you're doing!" And he's ignoring me. And then finally, I write him – I'm in London, and I write him a note, and I say: "You recognize what I just said, that these things are compatible." And I get nothing back. And then, about a year later – apparently, I've read or heard – he and Ed sat down for lunch, and they finally hashed it out, and then the word comes out to we people below that Ed and Roger have suddenly come to the realization that string theory is, in fact, completely compatible with spinors and twistors, and the world can be at peace.

DB: [Laughing] Well, I have been very, very careful to not irritate Roger Penrose – as if I have many opportunities – but I've assisted marginally with the other end of things that he's involved with, which is his conformal mapping theory for how the universe dissipates. And then when all of your resonances are stretched out so that nothing knows where or when it is, it just maps onto a new Big Bang.

MA: Alright.

DB: So that's the conformal mapping theory. But I would never dare to try to take him on the way you have.

MA: Not a lot of mileage there.

DB: You have more chutzpah than ... because he's not as forgiving as Freeman was.

MA: No. Not at all.

DB: Nice fellow, but not as forgiving.

MA: Yes. Well, in that search, it was pretty fun because I got to talk to some very smart guys. Everybody on my list – unfortunately for me, Feynman died before I got to talk to him, he was the last one – but it was an amazing ... It's an interesting way of testing your ideas. Instead of submitting as a nobody, not from Stanford anymore, and seeing what happens to you in the Physical Review-D peer-review process – to find the smartest people in the world who can just instantly judge you, and take their word for it. That was a much more useful – it always has been, in my life – a much more useful way to test the theory than the other one.

I will mention that, if you remember Dr. Fred Alan Wolf – Fred was a friend of mine for a while, he lived up where I am, and he liked the theory. And so he took it under his wing, and he said, "We're going to get this published; I know the editor at Physical Review, and it'll be no problem." So he writes a letter, and he explains that "Now that everyone has gone for string theory, of course you'll publish this with the original date and serial number." And the guy writes back, literally gobbledygook. And when I say that, in all due respect, I mean, gobbledygook. And Fred reads it. He says, "This makes no sense; he can only refuse you now if the physics is wrong, or if the date is screwed up somehow. If those things are okay, he's gotta publish it." And so, of course, that never worked.

And three iterations of letters back and forth – which would probably make a good museum exhibit someday – nothing ever happened. But Fred was a true believer, and I really appreciated his help. You know, you just kind of got this feeling of the politics of science where it was beyond impossible that that editor – who was the same guy who had turned it down the first time – was going to then publish it 10 years later, no matter who he was hearing from.

DB: Yeah. Well, one thing is that I do not expect you to be a hobo feeding pigeons in a New York park. I think that if you are a legend, you are a legend in so many different areas that you can afford to be recognized for one or two of them later.

I want to raise one thing that David Cornell sent in Chat. He said: "Mark's explanation of space not being empty reminded me of cell biology." And of course, what he's talking about is the fact that the cytoplasm of the cell, what used to be thought of as this kind of empty soup, where things bumped around, and now we know that it's just a stew, a froth, of solid objects bumping around.

MA: Yes.

DB: And so the cytoplasm might be considered a parallel for your model.

MA: I think once you see this one time clearly, almost certainly you'll buy it. And when you look, then, at everything around us, instead of seeing the "particle zoo," right? – all the billiard balls bouncing through emptiness – you see the opposite, where you're seeing ... I make a joke calling it "yellow jello," but you see substance everywhere, and occasionally it erupts into a persistent particle. That's such a different way of seeing things. It makes so much more sense, to me. And I really believe that's the deal. When people talk about dark energy, dark matter, I'm not smart enough to know which is which – but I think that if someone went into that with a suitable background in the definitions of those things, they would very quickly answer that question.

DB: Well, I mean, dark matter is, of course, something that you are asserting is a property of mass -

MA: Yes.

DB: – I mean, of vacuum -

MA: Of vacuum, yes.

DB: – and that since the vacuum has a degree of physical substance, then it affects gravity.

MA: Yep.

DB: And that's all you need in order to solve -

MA: Exactly.

DB: – finding the distribution in some way maps onto the galaxy, then you have a proposed solution to dark matter. But dark energy -

MA: David, I think it's self-interactive; it's very important to see that it's interactive. And so in one of those papers, I said, "This is the story of space dancing with itself."

DB: Yeah. Now, when it comes to dark energy, on the other hand, it seems to me that what you're saying is, to some extent, maybe we don't need dark energy – or maybe we don't need as much as people are claiming, because it may be that this acceleration that Perlmutter got the Nobel Prize for, et cetera, et cetera, might be, ehhhh, overstated.

MA: Yes.

DB: Okay. I'm glad to be able to paraphrase you.

MA: You said it well.

DB: Alright. Well, I don't want to take up your time; you could paraphrase me! [Laughter]

MA: We can collaborate on this!

DB: To summarize: Dark matter is something that you believe you have an explanation for, and dark energy is partly something that Resonance explains, but also partly something that Resonance makes unnecessary.

MA: Well, and let's go into one of the wondrous, deep, miraculous mysteries that Einstein brought to us. E=MC2. And we say this blithely: energy and matter are interchangeable ... but the deeper you go on that one, the more exciting it gets. Skip the "why is it C-squared" part, which is its own fun part of it, but how can that possibly be, and what do you mean by that?

If we start now by looking at space that we were thinking was empty is not, and we ask ourselves, "Now – what is E, and what is M?" Right? What is E, and what is M? And I'll tell you, I was forced, in the first paper I wrote, when I was looking at this light question of conservation of energy, because it's possible to construct an electromagnetic beam coming off a mast antenna, where you actually have – instead of being intermittent fields exchanging back and forth, they're actually in tune with each other, they go max/min, max/min, in tune. And that violates conservation of energy.

So, if that's your story, then there must be more to the story. It's a fourth-grade trick to sit down and say: Okay, if that's actually possible, physically possible – it is – then we'll have to create an appositive wave of some kind that carries the energy when it's totally zero, in both the electric and magnetic fields.

I don't know if that's mass or not, but I think it's a cute idea. But certainly we see that there is something more going on than just E and B fields.

DB: Wow. Well, okay, so we have Einstein's first mistake, which was dismissing totally the substance of ether, and that vacuum has properties that can have physical effects. Surely, it was not the ether that Michelson and Morley refuted, but it is certainly the ether that Hawking twists to make his radiation. Therefore, first mistake.

His second mistake was just the cosmological constant of general relativity, and there are some who believe that it wasn't even that big a mistake. What was the third mistake?

MA: His second mistake was the numeric value being changed back and forth, juggling that value. I think most physics grad students would say that was Einstein's biggest mistake, but it wasn't.

But his third mistake was the interpretation of that constant. Not the numeric value of it, but what did it mean? Here again, we're running into the Hubble issue, and here again we're running into the ether issue. If you really believe space is completely empty, you've got to go with the Doppler effect for all this stuff. But if you suspect, as we now do, that at least there's a mix of explanations available to us, then that would be his third mistake.

You don't have to assume that that constant represents an ever-faster universe running away from you the farther away it is; it may be based, in part or in whole, on the spatial density that you're experiencing when light comes to you.

DB: Yes. Of course, you know, we've had this conversation, and of course, one has to ask the question: Density of what? [Laughter]

MA: And I say to you: space!

DB: Sorry, Mark, I'm not within hitting distance!

MA: I say space, David! Or, if you like, you can now say "yellow jello," because that's a lot of fun to say.

DB: Alright, alright, nobody's asking you to solve everything.

MA: Well, no, but I'm saying it's that simple because I believe it is that simple. I think it would be a mistake to give it some other name.

DB: Alright. Alright, so you don't have an opinion about the ratio of the Doppler effect versus the effect of space itself -

MA: I don't. However -

DB: – but that, on a ratio, exists!

MA: However, what if – and this is where things get kind of fun – now that we're in the same bailiwick here, what could we do to further explore? Certainly, one thing that people have been doing for quite a while is making sky maps of the red shift. That's been done a lot. We could re-look at those, re-view those, with this in mind, and we would be seeing in a new way. We might be mapping spatial density, to some degree. And then we could also compare other ways of measuring things, as you mentioned at the beginning of this conversation, with red shift, and that would be pretty interesting, if we had this new choice, right?

DB: What about the laboratory, how about things like the Casimir effect, and things like that?

MA: Well, yes ... I love that effect ...

DB: In other words, studying the vacuum in the lab.

MA: Yes, the properties of the vacuum, per se. I think also we'd want to consider looking at space in this new way and trying to do a density map – literally, doing a density map. But I believe, with the Webb telescope and LSST and all these new tools that we're going to have to look at the skies much better than before – deeper, better, farther, longer, older, or whatever you want to say about it – certainly an interesting task for these new tools would be, Go map spatial density. And that might be an achievable goal. We're all the way back to Kip Thorne here, right? Go right back and say: Find things which you think are geometrically related, and now let's add the question of "Are you measuring spatial density instead of its running away from us?"

DB: Alright! Is there a coffee can I can drop some money in? Because I think this is really interesting stuff. If you come up with an experiment that can be done for $150,000, I'll propose it at NIAC.

MA: I'll think about that.


The Resonance Theory Series:

For more on these subjects, please see the Q&A transcript and the letter from David Cornell in the "Upgrades" sections below.

I would like to thank David Brin for one of the most enjoyable and most exciting interviews in my experience.

Your comments are always welcome.


Mark Anderson

Upgrades I: Q&A

A transcript of the Question & Answer session that followed the above interview.

David Brin: [Reading from the Chat log] Let's see – Brad Holtz says: "The concept of a field is much easier to consider in the context of non-empty space, where fields are warping of that non-empty space. We have accepted that for gravity. How might that work for electromagnetic fields?"

Mark Anderson: Put iron filings on a piece of paper over a magnet.

DB: We have permittivity, and all of those things, already as properties of empty space.

MA: Yep.

DB: There was a ... oh, yes: the advanced waves! Have you heard anything about this? Supposedly somebody has detected what Feynman talked about. And by the way, I'm going to name-drop; you name-drop people, I'm going to name-drop that one of the only two sentences that Richard Feynman ever sent to me were "Can I borrow your date for this dance?"

And the other sentence that Richard Feynman sent to me was, "I didn't know the dance would be that long; you must take my place."

MA: Now, we know that Dick liked girls – he did – and we know that some of his best work was done at a strip club at lunchtime outside of Caltech somewhere, so ... you know, I love that guy! But he ...

DB: I misinterpreted his "You must take my place." I didn't realize he meant on the dance floor, so I became a physics major.

MA: Oh, that's good. Okay.

DB: And it did not go well.

I think we could use questions from you guys out there.

Berit Anderson (host): Bobbin, let's go to you first.

Bobbin Teegarden: This could be off the wall, but Rupert Sheldrake was a friend of David Bohm's, and I was sitting listening to several of their conversations, which was pretty interesting, about energy -

MA: I'll bet, yeah.

BT: – and Rupert had these really interesting thoughts about ghosts just being resonance over time, and dousing having harmonic levels, and things like that. Does that fit at all within your theory?

MA: No. Well, I don't know. I've never been a Rupert Sheldrake fan, and it's not because I think he's right or wrong. It's pretty far-out stuff, as you know. I have been a David Bohm fan, and I thought he was wrong, but I'm a fan because I think he did such brilliant work, with Aharonov and other people. I just know how smart he was, you know?

I think Sheldrake is very, very smart; I just don't know any of his ideas that I can completely wrap my arms around.

DB: If I may, one of the fundamental things in physics, and most hard science, is the continuity equation. When you measure what's inside a box, and what leaves the boundaries or has the boundaries of the box, it's a fairly simple set of equations. And then it depends on your detectors. Science physics has largely been about improving our ability to find out what enters and leaves the box and what is in the box. And never have any of the magicians ever had a replicable experiment, whereas Mark's theory is something that talks about things that we could really measure, things coming and going through the box. We're just not there yet.

MA: Yes. Thank you, David.

BA: Next question is from Chuck Meyer. He asks: "Does this mean that there are different shades of red based on space density?"

MA: Yes. Yep.

CM: Mark, if you've got side-by-side objects, with different colors -

MA: Yes. That's exactly how I discovered this. That's what Kip Thorne described in his papers. He had side-by-side objects with different red shifts, and it didn't make any sense at all. It couldn't – he just thought it wasn't possible that that Hubble interpretation was correct. And I agree with him. I think that what you're seeing, as I was saying to David, is now assume these are galaxies that are, you know, in some kind of geometric arrangement, that the spatial density between yourself and Galaxy A is greater, and therefore a higher red shift, more energy is being taken out of that light, than with Galaxy B.

CM: Yep, okay. Yep. Thanks.

MA: Yeah, you're welcome.

BA: Alright, next question comes from Meryll Larkin. The question is, "So, light is slowed down when it travels through denser space – "

MA: No. It's not.

BA: Hold on, let me finish the question. [Laughter] Then you can respond.

MA: [Laughing] Okay, alright!

BA: Are there ways to measure where that density is located? Could we use a station on another planet to triangulate where densities are? Are densities permanent, or do they morph or travel?

MA: So, it doesn't slow down; it's that the energy is subtracted, at the same speed, and that's the difference between a Doppler shift – that's about speed – but I'm not saying it slows down. It doesn't slow down. Same speed, as David pointed out about past experiments.

But the denser the space and the longer the distance of that space that light needs to travel through to be observed, it will have a redder and redder shift, which means more and more energy was lost over that track.

But I believe that the answer to her other questions is Yes. I think of course it can morph. I think it would be very interesting to do a parallax-like view from two different locations in space, far enough away that you could do a better map, kind of a 3-D, like your eyes do 3-D, so that would be really cool. Maybe we could do that from Earth. There's 180 million miles between the two sides of our solar orbit; maybe we could do that kind of parallax measurement and look at what David and I were talking about, which would be a map of the density of space, from those two different perspectives. You could probably get a very interesting, better map than just doing it once.

BA: Okay, next question is from Brad Holtz. Brad had a couple questions; I think one of them was answered already.

Brad Holtz: How do you measure the density of empty space? I'm talking about locally, not between here and another galaxy. How do you locally measure the density of empty space?

MA: Well, obviously, you get a cigarette, you take a puff, and you blow it into the box. [Laughter]

BH: Going in and addressing the density of the number of particles coming in and out of space is one thing, but to understand the field density and how would, for instance -

MA: Wait, wait, wait; you're exchanging things now. I like the first question better. You're saying field density. I'm just saying, you said "density." Let's stay with "density."

BH: Yep.

MA: A) It's going to be hard. B) I think it's not very great, or light would be shifted so hard you wouldn't even see it. (Maybe that'd happen ... That's an interesting idea.) But really, it's going to be not very dense, so doing it locally ...

What David mentioned has always been fascinating to me, which is this Casimir effect. I'm not saying it's the same thing, but you're definitely seeing an interaction between two very large, very flat plates, without any explanation that we've got. You know, it's not any of the things you want to make up next. So, what is it that provides a force between those plates? It's a pretty cool question. If nothing else, it does show us – I think David and I disagreed on that – that something's going on in empty space, which is not explained by the usual stuff. So it's not empty.

DB: Hold on – I don't disagree with that sentence at all! I totally agree with that sentence. And a number of other things, except for the fact that you ought to have a better choice of books behind your upper left shoulder. [Laughter]

BA: A couple more questions you may have time to answer, one at least....

Last question comes from David Cornell, who asks if this means that we need to recalibrate the age of the universe.

MA: Yes. Absolutely. To the degree that the Big Bang theory is not the only theory in town now, you would have to do that. Yep, absolutely. Very exciting. New stuff.

[End of interview.]

Upgrades II: David Cornell Letter

Pub. Note: David Cornell, longtime member, former E2MS team member, and adjunct FiRe 2022 tech assistant, sent us the following letter soon after attending the above interview. He did so well in providing a clear description of the sometimes-abstract ideas presented there that we thought it worth including, particularly for non-physicists.

Dave Cornell, 4/Mar/2022, Rome, Italy

Ideas on Resonance and the implications on the age and expansion of the universe.

Having not yet read Mark Anderson's papers on Resonance, these ideas are strictly based on Mark's explanation of Resonance during his FiRe 2022 conversation with David Brin, titled, "Redefining the Cosmos: The Resonance Approach."

As I understand it, Resonance Theory basically states that space is not empty. There is a density to it. A "yellow jello" for lack of a better term. This density is not uniform and not static.

This density has a very interesting effect on light. It does not slow light down, but rather reduces the energy of light. This reduction in energy, without a change in speed, causes a red shift in the light from a perceived distance.

Until now, it has been theorized that space is empty, and therefore, the vacuum of space could not, or would not, affect the speed or energy of light.

Resonance Theory suggests that energy can be absorbed in the density of open space. I think it's a fair assumption or hypothesis to say that the longer light travels through space, the more energy could be absorbed by space. This will cause a yet unpredictable red shift in that light when perceived at great distances.

If this is all correct, then we have a major problem \ awakening in current astronomy. Red shifts and blue shifts in light have been used to calculate distances and time in space. They are based on the assumption that gravity can influence light by bending it, but not affecting the speed or energy, and therefore, not affecting the perceived time it took for that light to reach us here on Earth. Most of our astrological observations of distance and time use this.

We currently observe an expanding universe that is accelerating due to some unknown force, a combination of dark matter and\or dark energy. We observe a red shift across the universe. This suggests that everything is moving away from us.

But what if all of our observations are wrong, because they are based on light speed not changing and light energy decreasing at a standard, predictable rate across distances of open space?

If the density of space is able to absorb some of the light's energy, any calculations based on a standardized red or blue shift would always be inaccurate and low.

If energy absorption is based on the density of the space it's passing through, and that density is neither uniform nor static, then our ability to accurately measure time and distances across great distances has the potential to be (or is most likely) incredibly inaccurate.

To conceptualize the problem of changing densities, I imagine a bullet being fired into ballistic gel. We've all seen the videos of a bullet being fired and going some distance into the gel. The bigger the gun or the stronger the projectile, the farther the bullet goes into the gel. Very logical and predictable.

If, from the same distance, Gun A fires 2 feet into the gel and Gun B fires 3 feet into the gel, we assume that Gun B is stronger. We can assume from that distance, Gun A will always fire 2 feet in, and Gun B will always fire 3 feet in, with minimal variation. Resonance Theory suggests that instead of a single, uniform block of ballistic gel, we take slices of different densities and stack them together, but in a way that is entirely imperceptible to us. It also suggests that the slices could change with every shot. With imperceptible differences that change randomly, we would have a wide variety of results from the same two guns fired at the same distances. In fact, if the densities are different enough, we could perceive that Gun A is now stronger than Gun B, when, in reality, it is not. Unfortunately, we have no way of measuring this density in space.

If this example is applied to light arriving from stars and galaxies, it paints a picture of dramatic inaccuracy in our current measurements of the distances, and therefore the ages, of objects in the universe.

The result of this effect on our observations is that it causes an overall red shift in all light we observe from space.

The problem is, we think we're observing the grey line. But Resonance Theory suggests that we are actually seeing the black line, thinking we're seeing the grey line. This throws off all calculations of age and time in astronomy. We also don't know how big the difference between the two lines is at any given measurement.

This concept has immense consequences when applied to the expanding-universe theory. If the difference in red shift, represented by the yellow Down arrow above, is large enough, it could change a blue shift to a red shift. We could have objects moving toward us that we perceive as moving away from us. If a large enough and random enough yellow arrow correction is applied across the universe, we might not actually have an accelerating expansion of the universe at all. We could be decelerating, static, or even contracting.

Taken one step deeper, if our universe is not expanding at an accelerating rate, is there still a "need" for dark energy in the universe?

In conclusion, until we have an ability to measure the density of space and understand how that density shifts and changes, we will never have an accurate understanding of the age of our universe, nor of the distances between objects beyond a certain distance.

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Mark Anderson

Research Fellow

Mark Anderson writes the most accurate predictive reports covering the computing and communication industries. His weekly Trends and Predictions posts cover must-have information for strategy development and business technology planning, and are followed by technology executives and investors worldwide including Bill Gates, Paul Jacobs, Michael Dell and more.

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