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It describes what is now known as Alfven-Klein cosmology: an idea that there should be matter-antimatter symmetry in the Universe - and some additional hypotheses on how exactly that might be achieved.
It introduces important concept of ambiplasma, which I don't think was used anywhere before: it is a mixture of usual matter (or, how Alfven calls it, koinomatter) and antimatter. In the same manner as a regular plasma is a mixture of positive and negative charges.
This is a book clearly designed for a wider audience, so all the descriptions are very easy to follow and it doesn't take very long to read it. Still, as I've made notes (of the things I consider important) along the way and maybe they would be helpful to someone, I wish to put them here also.
The book, as Alfven himself notes at the end, is based on this paper of his.
(Note also that Gareth from See the Pattern have recently made some videos about this - e.g. this one and this one).
As in the case of previous book, I'll just proceed with the short description of what is said, adding my own thoughts in italics, and direct quotes from Alfven "in quotation marks".
I. Cosmology and Natural Science
Importance of astrology and astronomy in getting rid of the gods. If everything is regular, external free will is not needed.
A scientific theory must not contain any elements of mythology or metaphysics.
"... our contemporary myths like to garb themselves in scientific dress in pretense of great respectability".
The question of whether or not the laws of physics are everywhere the same.
II. What Does the World Consist Of?
Hubble's law. Is the redshift due to Doppler effect? There is only one alternative: gravitation.
And also Wolf effect, plasma refraction etc.
But shell theorem + symmetry of redshift = gravitational redshift is not consistent with observations. Perhaps it's some other unknown effect?
Milne: light in the past was more red in the first place. Perhaps because the physical constants were different.
Tired light hypothesis. It should either abandon the conservation of energy or introduce new laws.
Since redshift was larger in the past (as we see more redshift in more distant objects, from which it took more time for the light to reach us), one might as well claim that the "expansion" is decelerating rather than accelerating. Very simple idea, which you won't find anywhere for some reason. I guess you might consider myself its author then.
Let's not invent new laws, assume Doppler effect and increasing acceleration with distance.
Big Bang idea. Lemaitre and later Gamow. "Ylem" - term invented by Gamow for the primordial super dense state (Lemaitre's "atome primitif").
Alternative to BB - collapsing cloud, where the parts miss each other near the center and recede again on the other sides (see p. 16).
Gamow's propaganda: 5 minutes after the BB this and this happens etc.
"The big bang presupposes an act of creation at a specific moment".
"Great compromise" (p. 18): in the beginning things were supernatural; then as ylem was created and natural laws appeared, science took over.
It's not a new idea by any means.
But - if galaxies actually orbit around the common center of mass and we just observe them in a receding stage of this orbit, sideways velocities might exist, which would be a proof against the BB.
"An assumed primordial atom should give a redshift according to Hubble's law, but the reverse does not hold: we cannot deduce a BB from Hubble's law".
So there's a BB hypothesis and orbit (pulsation) alternative.
Table with description of forces (see p. 23).
III. Matter and Antimatter
Koinomatter vs. antimatter chart (see p. 26).
Dirac's theory - positrons are introduced. Discovered in 1932.
Annihilation and pair production.
1955 - antiprotons observed at accelerators (claims of discovery in cosmic rays made even earlier).
Antiatoms, antimolecules. Antistars. How do we distinguish between matter and antimatter?
Stark effect - displacement of spectral lines in strong electric fields. Not available in space plasmas.
But Zeeman splitting (of spectral lines in magnetic fields) would be different in koino- and antimatter, because electrons and positrons would move in opposite directions. Magnetized koinoplasma behaves the same as antiplasma, magnetized in the opposite direction.
Unless there's an independent method of determining magnetic field direction, stars and antistars are indistinguishable.
Antimatter probably doesn't exist in the Solar System, since we don't observe annihilation.
"A star ... may eject solid bodies into the surrounding space"
By gravitation, I assume.
Hypothesis of antimatter meteors (which come from antistars). Koino- and antistars exchanging meteors.
IV. Plasma Physics
Ionization/recombination. Ambiplasma (mixture of protons and antiprotons or electrons and positrons) - see diagram on p. 40. Most of the Universe consists of plasma.
It's interesting that the size of the heliosphere is the same as mean free path in interstellar space.
"... particles in thinned-out plasma gain energy by absorbing the radiation of the Sun, but lack the ability of a solid body to radiate energy". Thus bodies in space are cold, and particles are hot.
Higher temperature expands the spirals along which particles move in a magnetic field, while stronger magnetic field contracts them. They're still many orders of magnitude thinner than the neutrals' mean free path.
Magnetic mirroring happens if the field strength varies a lot (spatially).
"The magnetized plasma of interstellar space thus acts as an effective barrier to the passage of elementary and atomic particles from one star to another". For small particles "space is like a viscous medium, almost like syrup and just as sticky".
V. Antimatter in the Cosmos
Koinostar and antistar separated by some light years -> in between them a plasma layer heated up by annihilation. Analogy with a Leidenfrost phenomenon. Substitute water with antimatter - same effect. Separation of antimatter and koinomatter by an insulating layer of annihilated material. "Leidenfrost layer".
What if there's something akin to electrostatic induction? I.e. photons, when turning into electron-positron pairs, preferably place positrons near matter and electrons near antimatter?..
Leidenfrost layer might be only 1/1000 l.y. thick.
Behaviour of ambiplasma. Proton-antiproton annihilation - a lot of secondary processes.
What if fast radio bursts are caused by this annihilation? Or all these quasars/pulsars. Or gamma ray bursts.
UPD: some of them are mentioned by Alfven himself later.
Energy balance sheet for this annihilation. It produces electron-positron ambiplasma, and then gammas. Plus synchrotron radio emissions (the lower the density and stronger the magnetic field, the more radio waves is produced).
Discussion of detection possibilities. Neutrinos, gammas, radiowaves. The latter are the easiest to detect, even if they're orders of magnitude weaker at the source. Still, stable Leidenfrost layers would most likely be almost impossible to detect. But disturbed ones should be more energetic and may be detectable.
No crucial argument for nor against antimatter in space.
Antimatter in cosmic rays is an interesting subject. As far as I know, there is some electron-positron anisotropy.
Discussion on how antimatter might be present (diagram on p. 62): concentrated in remote regions of space, "every second galaxy", "every second star", some other possible subdivisions etc.
It is not yet proven that antimatter exhibits gravity in the first place (rather than antigravity), so "dark matter" might actually be a repulsion by antimatter from outside the galaxies.
VI. Development of the Metagalaxy
Discussion about changing constants and introducing new physical laws.
Two principles: 1) no new laws; 2) symmetry between koinomatter and antimatter.
It's interesting that Alfven ignores neutrons in his considerations. Weak interaction is not mentioned anywhere at all. Well, apparently it was still 2 years before Glashow et al. constructed it.
Other thing is that Alfven is also obsessed with origins. He needs to "start" somewhere and then "launch" the laws of physics (e.g. see p. 67-68). This is a rather persistent religious aberration in many (most?) people. Though on p. 70 (below) he makes a caveat about it.
Contraction of a primordial sphere of ambiplasma. Annihilation counteracts it through radiation pressure. At smaller sizes of the Universe the pressure becomes larger, and expansion happens. Depending on other parameters it would be either eternal or a new contraction would start (and so on).
Alfven claims that the annihilation would eat some mass away (so each next contraction cycle would be weaker), but why? This makes little sense to me.
Need to explain universal non-uniformity too (the existence of galaxies) and how a single star is only formed from one type of matter, and not both. Simplicity vs. realism of the model. "The beautiful are seldom faithful and the faithful are seldom beautiful".
Formation of granulated pattern by gravitation. But there are repulsive forces too.
If fusion of heavy elements indeed occurs, then there should exist a mechanism of stable element fission - to have a steady state for the Universe.
Difficulties in describing the gravitational collapse and formation of stars and galaxies. If we're dealing with ambiplasma, it becomes even worse. Graph of development of the Universe - p. 78.
Density of galaxies is much larger than the average density of the Universe. Ergo, they play a crucial role for the development of ambiplasma Universe.
Separation of ambiplasma by combination of gravity and electric current - figure on p. 81.
A process similar to electrolysis. After which annihilation cleans up the unseparated remains.
The current might be induced by magnetic field.
VII. The Cosmological Problem
Development of physics and astronomy - table at p. 88. Short description of the model so far.
Quasars might be young galaxies, still undergoing annihilation. Arp's theory of quasars?
"The radio emission, it turns out, often does not emanate from the galaxy itself, but from two sources on either side of it". "That ... suggests the effect of electromagnetic forces".
Calmer galaxy afterwards - until koinomatter and antimatter would come into contact again. Supernovae?
A possibility of finite Universe without boundaries - an analogy with the surface of the Earth, on which we can move infinitely in one direction.
Yes, but Earth clearly has a boundary.
"The finite-versus-infinite argument cannot be resolved in the armchair, but only in the astronomical observatories".
Charlier (1908) - fractal model of the Universe. Motivated by the Olbers' paradox (in a uniform Universe the luminosity should be the same in every point in the sky).
We might continue climbing up a fractal ladder indefinitely. Galaxy -> metagalaxy -> teragalaxy.
Thus we can have infinite Universe with near zero average density.
Ambiplasma might have been produced from gammas in the first place. Production of heavier elements by fusion (Bethe - it happens in stars). We need millions of K of temperature to produce that. But if the temperature is in billions of K, the heavier elements disintegrate.
The problem of existence of heavier elements in planets and interstellar space. Gamow: primordial nucleosynthesis in the first hour after BB.
A more reasonable guess would be some time during metagalactic development: in stars, quasars, galaxies etc.
Bondi, Gold and Hoyle's model: eternal Universe, but with constant creation of additional neutrons out of nothing. Contradicts laws of physics and observational evidence.
"... it is the mixture of myth and science we must fear most of all".
Lemaitre-Gamow's model of BB vs. Klein's model of ambiplasma contraction.
Again the possibility of anti-gravitic behaviour of antimatter is not even mentioned. Though such behaviour would probably be able to explain the (apparent) lack of antistars and antigalaxies.
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