The recent explosion of space technologies has extended scientific observation in every direction. From microcosm to macrocosm, we now see the universe in spectacular detail and across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. The picture is far more complex and dynamic than we had imagined just a few decades ago.
The pace of discovery also presents unanticipated challenges. Ask a question and the crescendo of scientific data can overwhelm an investigator, reaching far beyond the boundaries of any particular discipline. As the data base grows, the need for increasing specialization grows with it, confining perception to a narrower horizon. Too easily, we lose track of the essential link between fact and interpretation. Specialists are not inclined to wonder about theoretical assumptions more fundamental than their own specialized inquiry. That is why institutionalized science has repeatedly given way to the pretenses of “settled” science when, in truth, the questions have not been settled at all, and in many cases not even acknowledged or addressed.
EU2013 Attendees. Credit: M. Steinbacher
Proponents of the Electric Universe have discerned a core mistake of modern theory, a mistake carrying incalculable costs both to science and to the larger culture from which science draws its support. Well before the 20th century, cosmologists began to see gravity as the universal sovereign—the only force achieving real work in the Cosmos. Everything else we see must have its ultimate source in the action of gravity across interplanetary, interstellar, and intergalactic distances.
In fact, numerous theoretical disciplines arose directly, even if unwittingly, from this underlying idea. Too often, mathematical abstractions have led the way. And yet, direct observation now makes clear that the foundational tenet is not correct. A thousand new facts cannot be force fitted into a gravity-centric paradigm. What, then, are the new facts telling us? With remarkable consistency they point to electrical events and to electrical connectivity across the cosmos—all with energies that would have been unfathomable at the beginning of the space age.
In today’s culture of science, with its centralization of funding, media relations, and educational curricula, the momentum of theory will not be be easily reversed. But seen through the lens of space age discovery, the scales have already tipped. Electricity in space is now incontrovertible. In this sense, discovery has already drawn science into the Electric Universe. Theorists may indeed be slow in awakening to the new picture of space, but it is the new picture. Now, a return of science to its foundations in observation and experiment will be mandatory. The transformation will not be about solving equations so much as framing mathematical questions in a new light. It will not be about about saving appearances, or science by news release, or securing funding for another year. In the end, scientific progress will be all about evidence.
Join us at EU2014 for a four-day exploration of interdisciplinary science, an event designed to break the bounds of conventionality. Discover the universal role of the electric force, from microcosm to macrocosm, where virtually every new surprise points us in the same direction. And find your own connections within a movement that will shape the future of science.