Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

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Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby davesmith_au » Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:15 am

April 21, 2009 ~ Wal Thornhill

We are told that gravity rules the cosmos. The story of the big bang, the origin of galaxies and stars, and our ultimate fate are founded on this belief. But the March 2009 Astronomy magazine carries the surprising headline, “Is there something we don't know about gravity?” The question should be, “why do we think that physicists know anything about gravity beyond mathematical descriptions of its observed effects?”

All that modern physics has done is to obscure the need for serious investigation of an unsolved problem. Even some effects attributed to the action of gravity, like the bending of light, need not have anything to do with gravity. Indeed, we are so far from understanding gravity that we don't know the right questions to ask. [More...]
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby Jaythree » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:01 am

A very compelling, creative model, so in the spirit of Occam's razor that one hopes it will be proven to be quantitatively predictive. The idea that Van der Waals forces account for what we perceive as gravitation is especially appealing, as well as the notion of an orbit-regulating electrical feedback loop. I wish I were smart enough to know how to design a quantifiable solar system model of the mass/energy transfers and changes in angular momentum that would have been necessary, for example, to make dinosaurs too heavy. Is any work being done to demonstrate scenarios of and numerical values of charge transfers? And, in the tradition of theory, what would it take to disprove the model?
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby StevenO » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:11 pm

The electric model of gravity does not have any merit. Actually, honestly I should admit it is dreamed up nonsense :x

First, style-wise, Wal Thornhill cannot claim with a straight face: "there something mysterious, the explanation must be electrical", while at the same time objecting against astronomers that propose "there is something unexplicably energetic, there must be a black hole!".

Then, some of the serious problems I have with this Electric Gravity model are, a.o.:

  • The mass of a planet cannot be variable, otherwise by the law of conservation of momentum we would immediately notice a change in the orbit of a planet
  • I have never seen any report of "gravitationally induced (electric) dipoles".
  • We know from QM that wave functions are spherically symmetrical, so there is no basis for randomly accumulating buildup of "electric dipole charges" in atoms.
  • Electric charge distributes as either discrete electrons or discrete ions, so if these would separate into a planetary "electret" we would definitely be able to measure that.
  • In fact if the surface of our planet would have this excess of electrons, we would surely notice it by excessive discharges :D
  • "Like a particle acccelerator, the electrical stress modifies the apparent mass of the planet": in particle accelerators a change of apparent mass is due to relativistic effects close to lightspeed, not due to electrical stress
  • Lightning does not reduce mass. It rearranges electrons.
  • Static electric charges always operate short range due to the movement of electrons.
  • The gravitional force is instantaneous, if it would propagate at lightspeed the solar system could not be stable.
  • If the property of "mass" would be an "electric variable", I'm sure somebody would have noticed that already...
  • Even though it is hard to measure G with great accuracy (CODATA lists the accuracy as 0.15%) there is no proof from measurements over the last few hundred years that it varies with time.
I could go on, but I think the list is long enough to show that there is no merit to the theory.
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby Jaythree » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:27 pm

Not sure if this post is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Whether or not Thornhill's concept is validated by experiment, it seems to me an elegant and integrated and the result of hard work, not to be dismissed cavalierly. The complaints stated are inconsistent insofar as they "cherry pick" from contradictory theories. For example, the idea of relativistic effects accounting for the apparent increase in mass is drawn from standard Einsteinian theory, which also states that gravitation is propagated at light speed, not instantaneously, as claimed in the critique. While QM indeed describes a spherical wave function on average, London forces allow for instantaneous statistical lopsidedness. I am not a physicist but I can sometimes pick out questionable assertions.
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby StevenO » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:45 am

Jaythree wrote:Not sure if this post is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Whether or not Thornhill's concept is validated by experiment, it seems to me an elegant and integrated and the result of hard work, not to be dismissed cavalierly. The complaints stated are inconsistent insofar as they "cherry pick" from contradictory theories. For example, the idea of relativistic effects accounting for the apparent increase in mass is drawn from standard Einsteinian theory, which also states that gravitation is propagated at light speed, not instantaneously, as claimed in the critique. While QM indeed describes a spherical wave function on average, London forces allow for instantaneous statistical lopsidedness. I am not a physicist but I can sometimes pick out questionable assertions.

The question was'nt whether it was a nicely written article, but whether it amounts to a valid physical theory.
London forces account for some minor attraction between molecules scaling at the 6th power of distance, so they only play a role at nanoscales, definitely not at a planetary scale. Charge distribution can then only take place as physical movement of electrons and/or ions which we would be definitely be able to measure.

The points listed are not "cherry picking" but pointers to where Wal'' theory seems to contradict known physics.
Take a simple example: Wal assumes electrostatic forces are stabilizing our planetary orbit. The force of gravity between our planet and the sun is given by Newton's formula:

F = G x M1 x M2 / r2


which gives:

6.67x10-11 x 5.97x1024 x 1.99x1030 / (1.5x1011)2 => Fgravitation is about 3.5 x 1022 Newton


The force of coulomb attraction should be in the same order then. The Coulomb formula is given as:

F = ke x q1 x q2 / r2


if, like the article assumes the amount of charge is proportional to mass, the earth charge should be about 332946x smaller than the amount of charge on the sun. This would solve the amount of charge on the earth's surface that creates the same force as gravity as:

(q1)2 = 3.5x1022 x (1.5x1011)2 / 8.99x109 x 332946 => Earth's charge should be about 1.6 x 1014 Coulomb


Since the Earth's (self-) capacitance is about 0.7 mF, this gives through the formula C=Q/V that the Earth-Sun potential would be:

V = 1.6x1014 Coulomb / 0.7x10-3 Farad => about 2.3x1017 Volt

Since at astronomical scales any number is big it is hard to judge what this would mean, but simply dividing by the Earth-Sun distance of 150 billion meter gives an electrical field of 1.5MV/m at the earth's surface directed towards the sun.
Simple fact is we do not measure that. Atmospheric field strenghts vary between 60-100V/m in summer to 300-500V/m in winter. In fact this Earth/Sun potential would cause St. Elmo's fire at virtually all objects at the Earth's surface, that is why I said we would definitely notice this amount of excess electrons ;)

About the speed of gravity: Newton's theory assumes instant propagation of gravitional energy since the potential energy is purely dependent on position. Einstein's GR assumes gravitional waves which should propagate at the speed of light. Unfortunately these waves have never been detected so there is no observation that proves that Newtons instant propagation is incorrect. Theoretical models to study which speeds lead to stable orbital mechanics seem to result in contradictory answers as well.
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby Jaythree » Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:30 am

All that math seems to neglect that electric forces between Earth and Sun are screened by sheathing, so that implying that we should be able to correctly measure potentials is misleading. I think Thornhill's point is that an electrically stabilizing feedback loop that corrects for the tendency towards three-body orbital chaos may not in fact act continually, making small adjustments, but act intermittently with significant electrical discharges breaching the shielding between bodies, resulting in mass exchange, hence ancient legends of catastrophe. Again, it is an elegant but adventurous theory that needs observational validation. One question not mentioned concerning the possible electrical nature of gravity is why opposite charge screening does not seem to occur for gravitational forces, which operate at an infinite range (whether or not at c remains to be known). On the matter of the London force, the idea is that although a dipole is formed instantaneously somewhere in the wave function, when it does occur, there is a cascade effect on neighboring molecules, so dipole alignment can thus be distributed and magnified. Whether this contributes to Thornhill's theory is debatable, I agree. As for G, it is a constant demonstrated so far for use only on Earth and indeed may be valid only for our particular state in time between cosmological events, not just in the last few hundred years (this becomes even more problematic within the precepts of general relativity (equivalence)). My original question remains: what would it take to disprove Thornhill's theory, not by reference to other theories, but by observation...for example, the lack of an orbital change in a Jovian moon immediately following an electrical discharge event.
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby StevenO » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:58 pm

Jaythree wrote:All that math seems to neglect that electric forces between Earth and Sun are screened by sheathing, so that implying that we should be able to correctly measure potentials is misleading. I think Thornhill's point is that an electrically stabilizing feedback loop that corrects for the tendency towards three-body orbital chaos may not in fact act continually, making small adjustments, but act intermittently with significant electrical discharges breaching the shielding between bodies, resulting in mass exchange, hence ancient legends of catastrophe. Again, it is an elegant but adventurous theory that needs observational validation.

A plasma sheath would make the numbers in the simple calculation only worse. Also I think it will not lead to a stabilizing force. I could agree with a theory that poses that due to not fully understood reasons there might be significant electric discharges coming from cosmic phenomena, but the forces involved cannot be of a scale that controls the orbits of the planets.
Jaythree wrote:One question not mentioned concerning the possible electrical nature of gravity is why opposite charge screening does not seem to occur for gravitational forces, which operate at an infinite range (whether or not at c remains to be known).

It is not screened because gravitational/inertial forces are intrinsic to mass and have no relation with EM. We have no proof that gravity operates at an infinite range.
Jaythree wrote:On the matter of the London force, the idea is that although a dipole is formed instantaneously somewhere in the wave function, when it does occur, there is a cascade effect on neighboring molecules, so dipole alignment can thus be distributed and magnified. Whether this contributes to Thornhill's theory is debatable, I agree.

If they would all align it would amount to large scale quantum action never seen before :)
Jaythree wrote:As for G, it is a constant demonstrated so far for use only on Earth and indeed may be valid only for our particular state in time between cosmological events, not just in the last few hundred years (this becomes even more problematic within the precepts of general relativity (equivalence)).

G has been measured to be fairly constant and everything else is speculation.
Jaythree wrote:My original question remains: what would it take to disprove Thornhill's theory, not by reference to other theories, but by observation...for example, the lack of an orbital change in a Jovian moon immediately following an electrical discharge event.

Physical theories can only be disproven. But to do that they first have to make verifiable predictions. Wal's article predicts there should be an excess charge at the earth surface that creates a force equivalent to what we now perceive as mass from gravity. A simple estimation of the electrical field strength that we should see does in no way align with what is measured. That counts for me as a prediction that is disproven.
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby Jaythree » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:32 am

You're still cherry-picking. You say on the one hand that we have no proof that gravity is propagated infinitely and on the other that G is the same everywhere. Also, your contention that plasma sheathing around the Earth strengthens your mathematical argument for the insufficiency of charge is backwards...the enormous Birkeland currents discovered recently by THEMIS only 40,000 miles from Earth are indeed shielded. Most of your assertions are of the variety, "If this were true, I'm sure somebody would have noticed it." This of course is a prejudice against scientific discovery, not a rational rebuttal. There is much to question about currently accepted cosmology and underlying theories. The metaphysical notion of gravity as a distortion of space-time, for one. The idea of an electron as a "point-sized" particle, in order to avoid the problem of charge self-repulsion, for another. Then there is the issue of "renormalization" to allow infinities in the math that permits other point-sized bodies like black holes. Not to mention work-arounds to the Pauli Exclusion rule, like color charge, so that more than one thing can occupy the same place at the same time; and gauge fields to provide a hypothetical multi-dimensional inner space so that a zoo of newly discovered particles could preserve their properties as they move around. We are propping up aging theories and protecting turf much like believers in an Earth-centric cosmos before Copernicus. What is needed is a celebration of the legacy of pioneers with the courage of original thought and perseverance...people like Thornhill. It's said that Edison made 10,000 light bulbs before one worked. I'm sure people were shooting down his idea before he got to number 5.
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby nick c » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:46 pm

hi Jaythree,
Excellent post.
Jaythree wrote:There is much to question about currently accepted cosmology and underlying theories. The metaphysical notion of gravity as a distortion of space-time, for one.

Yes. Or the notion that "space" is something? After all, is not "space" actually nothing? [I am not refering to the generic term for space, as in "outer space," but rather the "nothing" between objects.]

Jaythree wrote:Then there is the issue of "renormalization" to allow infinities in the math that permits other point-sized bodies like black holes.
I like Thornhill's (as well as others) exposing of the incorrect utilization of mathematics in modern science. Mathematics is a tool to describe or explain some aspect of a theory, not a means of creating an imaginary reality and then assuming that because the equations and formulae are "elegant" that it must be real.

Jaythree wrote:It's said that Edison made 10,000 light bulbs before one worked. I'm sure people were shooting down his idea before he got to number 5.

The Scientific American as late as 1905 suggested that the [url2=http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aero/wright.htm]Wright Brothers [/url2] were hoaxers.


hi StevenO,
StevenO wrote:G has been measured to be fairly constant and everything else is speculation.

Fairly? Why do you not write "completely" constant?
And that is only with measurements made over a short timespan on Earth. Hardly a falsification of Thornhill's proposition.
Variable G may well be "speculation" but so is constant G.
Constant G is, right now, an assumption.
Not that it is unreasonable for a theory to have an assumption of a constant G, but all too often it seems to be regarded as an unassailable fact.
It is equally valid for Thornhill to propose a theory with a variable G.
Let the evidence decide.

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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby StevenO » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:13 pm

Jaythree wrote:You're still cherry-picking. You say on the one hand that we have no proof that gravity is propagated infinitely and on the other that G is the same everywhere.

I'm not sure what your definition of cherry picking is but I was just trying to make one or two simple points clear. Indeed we have no proof what the reach of gravity is. Since we cannot measure the gravity of a distant star, like we can measure the light from it. I did not state G is the same everywhere since we have not measured it on a lot of places but it has been measured to be constant on earth for the last 350 years with a few tens of a percent.

Jaythree wrote:Also, your contention that plasma sheathing around the Earth strengthens your mathematical argument for the insufficiency of charge is backwards...the enormous Birkeland currents discovered recently by THEMIS only 40,000 miles from Earth are indeed shielded.

It would strenghten the argument because the electric field strenghts measured would be even higher towards a plasma sheath at a shorter distance than the sun itself. The Birkeland currents you call "enormous" are really fairly small on a planetary scale. The currents powering the aurora were measured to be 650kA at 30kV, which amount to a power in the order of 2x1010W, while the energy of the earth's rotation alone is in the order of 2.6x1029 J.
The recently measured substorm generated an energy of 5x1014 J in two hours.

Jaythree wrote:Most of your assertions are of the variety, "If this were true, I'm sure somebody would have noticed it." This of course is a prejudice against scientific discovery, not a rational rebuttal.

Please explain what is not rational about any of the example calculations. We cannot suspend the laws of physics at will.
Black holes, dark matter, big bang, etc. are all constructs from mathematical extrapolations without any hard evidence which existence can be put into doubt, but the laws of electricity and electromagnetism are among the best studied and verified laws in physics. I would not call Wal's hypothesis 'scientific discovery' until he comes along with an experiment that proves it...

Jaythree wrote:There is much to question about currently accepted cosmology and underlying theories. The metaphysical notion of gravity as a distortion of space-time, for one. The idea of an electron as a "point-sized" particle, in order to avoid the problem of charge self-repulsion, for another. Then there is the issue of "renormalization" to allow infinities in the math that permits other point-sized bodies like black holes. Not to mention work-arounds to the Pauli Exclusion rule, like color charge, so that more than one thing can occupy the same place at the same time; and gauge fields to provide a hypothetical multi-dimensional inner space so that a zoo of newly discovered particles could preserve their properties as they move around.

Now you are cherry picking. :D Cosmology is an inexact science at best since we cannot experiment with it in a laboratory. Many theories, like GR are what I would call "the best thing around until something better comes along". But all of these theories were not build from hypothesis only, they were validated by peer-reviewed observations before reaching their current mainstream status. Take the size of the electron as an example: here is a paper about experiments that measure the size of an electron to be smaller than 10-22m:


http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1402-4896/1988/T22/016/


Jaythree wrote:We are propping up aging theories and protecting turf much like believers in an Earth-centric cosmos before Copernicus. What is needed is a celebration of the legacy of pioneers with the courage of original thought and perseverance...people like Thornhill. It's said that Edison made 10,000 light bulbs before one worked. I'm sure people were shooting down his idea before he got to number 5.

I fully agree with the statements but the theories don't stick around for nothing. We should make a distinction between theories validated by experiments/measurements and theories based an mathematical extrapolations. There is never a shortage of original thoughts, but always a shortage of good experiments. So, if you know how to prove Wal's theory that would be a step forward. Sofar, I can find no piece of circumstantial evidence that would point to an electric origin of gravity. That there can be reasonable doubts about some aspects of physical theories is no proof that the correct explanation must have an electrical origin.
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby StevenO » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:31 pm

nick c wrote:hi StevenO,
StevenO wrote:G has been measured to be fairly constant and everything else is speculation.

Fairly? Why do you not write "completely" constant?
And that is only with measurements made over a short timespan on Earth. Hardly a falsification of Thornhill's proposition.
Variable G may well be "speculation" but so is constant G.
Constant G is, right now, an assumption.
Not that it is unreasonable for a theory to have an assumption of a constant G, but all too often it seems to be regarded as an unassailable fact.
It is equally valid for Thornhill to propose a theory with a variable G.
Let the evidence decide.

nick c

Maybe I should state it differently: G has been measured to be constant on this planet with an error margin of 0.15% for the last 350 years. Any theory is valid until proven otherwise. My favorite theory is that the G constant is not needed when using the right units and when it does not exist it can't be variable... :)
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby Jaythree » Fri May 01, 2009 10:02 pm

You guys are good thinkers and I learned something from this thread. My personal favorite theory is a broad unification paradigm proposed by James Sung, originally at MIT, now back in China. Very radical (you really do have to suspend disbelief at first) but extremely simple and experimentally verifiable, his theory sweeps away the internal contradictions in the Standard Model, yet preserves critical relationships and values already proven (e.g., c). I have made pdf copies of his books and will put them up the Web for download (about 600 pages). As a teaser, imagine that space-time is quantized, that the quanta are sub-Planck-sized "pixels" (<10^-33), that the super-cube dimensions are space-time and charge, and that what we perceive as matter/energy is actually dynamic "dislocations" in the pixel lattice. Much like we imagine we see motion on a video display, so the "solid state" universe appears to permit motion, but is actually mapping and "lighting up" quantized locations in space-time-charge dimensions. OK, a lot to swallow, but Sung does the math and offers experiments to disprove the theory. OK, I'll shut up now. Thanks.
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby StevenO » Sat May 02, 2009 3:30 pm

Jaythree wrote:You guys are good thinkers and I learned something from this thread. My personal favorite theory is a broad unification paradigm proposed by James Sung, originally at MIT, now back in China. Very radical (you really do have to suspend disbelief at first) but extremely simple and experimentally verifiable, his theory sweeps away the internal contradictions in the Standard Model, yet preserves critical relationships and values already proven (e.g., c). I have made pdf copies of his books and will put them up the Web for download (about 600 pages). As a teaser, imagine that space-time is quantized, that the quanta are sub-Planck-sized "pixels" (<10^-33), that the super-cube dimensions are space-time and charge, and that what we perceive as matter/energy is actually dynamic "dislocations" in the pixel lattice. Much like we imagine we see motion on a video display, so the "solid state" universe appears to permit motion, but is actually mapping and "lighting up" quantized locations in space-time-charge dimensions. OK, a lot to swallow, but Sung does the math and offers experiments to disprove the theory. OK, I'll shut up now. Thanks.

Thanks. I'm happy you value critical review and open discussion.
This theory BTW. looks a lot like my favorite theory (with quanta of lightspeed size) 8-) Can't wait for the upload!
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby Total Science » Sat May 02, 2009 4:31 pm

StevenO wrote:F = G x M1 x M2 / r2

That occult 17th century formula doesn't describe anything in the universe.

The moon falls away from the Earth at 3.8 cm per year.
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Re: Newton's Electric Clockwork Solar System

Unread postby StevenO » Sun May 03, 2009 2:55 am

Total Science wrote:
StevenO wrote:F = G x M1 x M2 / r2

That occult 17th century formula doesn't describe anything in the universe.

The moon falls away from the Earth at 3.8 cm per year.

Application of this "occult" formula has allowed NASA to put men on the moon, have thousands of satellites in orbits around earth and launch hundreds of missions within and even outside our solar system. G has recently been measured with a smaller uncertainty(0.0014%) than ever before (I listed this especially for nick c): Best measurement of graviational constant

The moon moves away from the earth by a minor exchange of momentum through tidal locking. You can find the explanation on many astronomy websites or wikipedia.
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