May 3, 2016
Was it a blip, or a breakthrough? Scientists around the globe are revved up with excitement as the world’s biggest atom smasher — best known for revealing the Higgs boson four years ago — starts whirring again to churn out data that may confirm cautious hints of an entirely new particle. Such a discovery would all but upend the most basic understanding of physics, experts say. –Washington Post
Here we go again. We are supposed to be excited by the return of the Hadron Collider, a particularly obnoxious form of Big Science.
We’ve written on this subject a good deal: In the 21st century, only large government projects are to be seen as advancing technology and creating breakthroughs.
Our point of view is that most significant advances are made by individuals not crowds. It’s an inverse phenomenon. The more scientists there are, the less originality exists.
It’s no coincidence that two “Steves” in a garage refined the defining technology of the past 50 years – the “personal computer.”
This sort of argument is not ordinarily made in the modern media. Instead, we are exposed to endless adulatory profiles of corporate breakthroughs and the creative genius clustered around government funded projects.
This Washington Post article, excerpted above, is a good example of the latter. The Hadron Collider is doing the good, patient work of advancing the Theory of Relativity.
But then there is this statement from idiosyncratic electrical engineer, Eric Dollard, who has written a tract entitled The Theory of Anti-Relativity:
Einstein is a false prophet. The Theory of Relativity as the “Holy Scripture” is like a televangelistic sales pitch. Nikola Tesla regarded Relativity as the greatest historical aberration of scientific thought. Relativity is no more than a philosophical standpoint, a virus to infect a “New Age”.
Einstein is a kind of Big Science icon. After all, he was instrumental in suggesting what would ultimately become the Manhattan Project that employed thousands to develop the nuclear bomb.
And yet perhaps the Manhattan Project was hyped too. There are significant questions as to whether atomic bombs were even dropped on Japan. We reported on that HERE.
We have plenty of reasons to be skeptical these days. The US government developed the atomic bomb and went to the moon in the span of 30 years with laughably primitive technology. We have trouble recognizing that government.
We’re only familiar with the one that couldn’t even produce a health care website with much more advanced tools.
Big Science is a kind of trap, producing groupthink. That’s one of the reasons we’ve ended up with the Hadron Collider and its endless attempts to buttress the seemingly misguided ideas of modern, gravitational physics.
Look at the night sky through a telescope and study galactic spirals. Does gravity create spirals? Thunderbolts.info.com tells us that:
Laboratory experiments, together with advanced simulation capabilities, have shown that electric forces can efficiently organize spiral galaxies, without resorting to the wild card of gravity-only cosmology–the Black Hole.
And what about plasma? One of the most brilliant men of the 20th century, Nikola Tesla, believed the universe was composed considerably of light and plasmatic energy – aether.
Tesla was responsible for popularizing alternating current, suggesting the fundamentals of radar and refining wireless energy among other achievements.
It was Albert Einstein who came along and basically debunked the concept of plasma/aether. Today of course in the place of plasma we have “dark matter.”
In simplest terms, Einstein’s theories proposed (at least partially) that gravity is a fundamental organizing force of the universe. And yet there are those who question not just Einstein’s theory but his claim to discovering the concepts that made him famous.
Here is an excerpt from a 1999 UK Guardian article:
E=mc2 ‘was Italian’s idea’ … The mathematical equation that ushered in the atomic age was discovered by an unknown Italian dilettante two years before Albert Einstein used it in developing the theory of relativity …
After failing to gain entrance to higher education, Einstein took a job at a patent office that dealt with the subjects on which he soon published. In fact, he was still working at the patent office when he issued groundbreaking papers in the field of theoretical physics and quantum mechanics.
Some have questioned Einstein’s “miracle year.” Einstein finally explained that his best ideas came to him in his sleep.
Tesla was no fan. From The New York Times (July 11, 1935):
[Tesla] described relativity as “a beggar, wrapped in purple, whom ignorant people took for a king.” In support of his statement he cited a number of experiments he had conducted, he said, as far back as 1896 on the cosmic ray. He has measured cosmic ray velocities from Antarus, he said, which he found to be fifty times greater than the speed of light, thus demolishing, he contended, one of the basic pillars of the structure of relativity, according to which there can be no speed greater than that of light.
We are told Tesla in his later years had become unbalanced and prone to hearing the voices of Martians. Still, when he died, the FBI came to his hotel room in Manhattan and confiscated his notes and other private items.
Tesla was an example of what individuals can do to advance technology in ways that large organizations usually do not. Unfortunately, the hallmark of Western science and technology in the 21st is Big Science.