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Could “negative masses” revolutionize cosmology?


Lost in Math From theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, more straight talk about what is and isn’t cooking in theoretical physics, in this case about a recent open access paper by J.S. Farnes in Astronomy and Astrophysics, A unifying theory of dark energy and dark matter: Negative masses and matter creation within a modified ΛCDM framework. She thinks that negative masses is “a nice idea” that “works really badly”:

The primary reason that we use dark matter and dark energy to explain cosmological observations is that they are simple. Occam’s razor vetoes any explanation you can come up with that is more complicated than that, and Farnes’ approach certainly is not a simple explanation. Furthermore, while it is okay to introduce negative gravitational masses, it’s highly problematic to introduce negative inertial masses because this means the vacuum becomes unstable. If you do this, you can produce particle pairs from a net energy of zero in infinitely large amounts. This fits badly with our observations…

In summary, the solution proposed by Farnes creates more problems than it solves.Sabine Hossenfelder, “No, negative masses have not revolutionized cosmology” at BackRe(Action)

See also: Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder shares her self-doubts about exposing nonsense in cosmology


Nature editor’s five best 2018 books include two of our favs (Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray was one.)


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