By Steven J. Grisafi, PhD.
The 2013 awarding of the Nobel Prize in physics marks a milestone in physics that few persons in the general public will recognize and many persons within the physics community would prefer to overlook. When I was an undergraduate student studying engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute during the 1970’s I noticed that several of my professors seemed to doubt the validity Einstein’s relativity theory. This was especially true of my fluid mechanics professor, a professor of mechanical engineering. At that time rumors circulated amongst the students of the Institute that the two authors of our famous introductory physics textbook, David Halliday and Robert Resnick, had chosen to publish their exposition of relativity as a paperback separate from the two hardcover volumes of their book. This was, of course, probably a baseless rumor. But, along with the seeds of doubt it had sown within my mind by the mechanical engineering professors, I developed a suspicion toward relativity theory. The 2013 awarding of the Nobel Prize in physics to François Englert and Peter Higgs, for their theoretical prediction of the particle that has come to be known as the Higgs particle, is to me strong affirmation that the mechanical engineers were right.
The experimental discovery of the particle predicted by Higgs and Englert represents a significant step forward toward discrediting the validity of relativity theory. This is a point many physicists would prefer to overlook. Relativity theory has become so entrenched within the minds of all humanity that a fundamental principle, which will be the death of relativity theory, is often presented in textbooks as a consequence of the theory. Six years prior to Einstein’s publication of his general theory of relativity the German scientist Eötvös published the results of his remarkable experiment demonstrating the equivalence of gravitational and inertial mass. With the discovery of the Higgs particle, and its field, as the carrier that attributes mass to all matter, Eötvös’ profound discovery is placed at the heart of the contradiction between quantum mechanics and relativity theory. The Higgs particle is a quantum mechanical entity possessing intrinsic spin which has no counterpart within classical mechanics. Few persons within the general public are aware that Einstein’s relativity theory is a classical, not quantum, mechanical theory. The distinction is one between stochastic and deterministic systems. The discovery of the Higgs particle demonstrates that gravitation is also a stochastic phenomenon, as are the other three fundamental forces of nature, and it cannot be reconciled to the determinism of relativity theory.
The contradiction between quantum mechanics and relativity theory means that one of the two is wrong. Yet, both theories have proven themselves useful. This is the argument given by the proponents of relativity theory. They say it works. But, in truth, it enjoys virtually no application. An argument presented to defend the validity of relativity theory was that if relativity theory were not correct our Global Positioning Systems would not work. Upon hearing that argument made I decided to take a look at the calculations that were being posited as support for the theory. I found that the truth is otherwise. First, one needs to understand that the four dimensional, second order tensor used in the calculations of relativity theory is so difficult to work with that in all calculations a perturbation expansion in terms of the ratio of the speed of the particle to that of light is always used. Now, these are difficult calculations that few persons whose specialty is not relativity can understand. This, I suppose is why relativity has retained its support for so long despite many other difficulties it has with its credibility. But I became educated as an engineer who develops theory with a proficiency in the use of tensor and vector analysis, so I was not thwarted in my attempt to find the truth. I found that the GPS calculations used only the zero order term of the perturbation expansion. But since it was cast within a rotating reference frame it appeared otherwise to some. My specialty has been rheology and we were trained to use co-rotating and co-deformational frameworks. The mechanics of rotating systems can become very complicated, which the GPS calculation is, but at its heart is the zero order term of the perturbation expansion, which is just Newton’s Law of Gravitation.
The purpose of any theory is to make useful predictions for situations in which measurements are not readily obtainable. Relativity theory certainly fits this requirement because it makes predictions in situations that we may never be able to measure. But it does more than that. It makes predictions contrary to what we understand to be the truth. What is probably the most absurd prediction of relativity theory has come to be known as Mansuripur’s paradox, named after an American professor of electrical engineering. But it was actually discovered first by William Bradford Shockley Jr. Despite having won a Nobel prize in physics, for his contribution to the development of semi-conductors, Professor Shockley lost credibility with both the physics community and the general public because of his statements about eugenics. As is often the case, when one cannot refute the arguments of one’s opponent, a common tactic is to discredit the messenger. What Professors Shockley and Mansuripur have recognized is that relativity theory predicts nonzero momentum for a system at rest. If the reader knows anything about momentum this revelation should be perceived as very disturbing. I find no argument in defense of this absurdity to be plausible. The more I think about this the more I am convinced that relativity theory, when it deviates far from Newton’s Law of Gravitation, predicts nonsense. To convince yourself, the reader need only ask: How does one define a system at rest? A knee-jerk response by a wise-fool proponent of relativity would be the retort: Relative to what? This, of course, is non sequitur because the question is posed such that the explainer is free to choose the relationship in any manner. We define a system at rest as one that has zero momentum. Relativity theory is avoidable.
In my opinion, we the American people have suffered a cult of Einstein that has distorted our thinking and led physics astray far too long. Many physicists still continue the foolish pursuit of trying to meld quantum mechanics to relativity theory when we should all attend its funeral.