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Gravitational waves bust: Rob Sheldon called that one right

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Dr Sheldon
Rob Sheldon

Further to “There isn’t evidence for gravitational waves, let alone big claims – Nature” (once again, g’bye multiverse; we are stuck with reality), we asked Rob Sheldon, who had been suspicious from the beginning, for a comment—and this is his reply:

It was obvious from the way they presented their data in their first paper that they were fudging on the dust–stealing data from Planck Powerpoint presentations, using theoretical models to subtract backgrounds, trumpetting a 2 sigma signal above the theoretical noise.

But I did have a piece of information that no other physicist had, and that is the world’s only levitated spinning dust experiment right here at MSFC, and I’m a co-author on the discovery paper. When a single dust grain is levitated in the Paul trap, and illuminated by a laser, it begins to spin at enormous spin rates. The slightest amount of charge on that dust grain, and it becomes a magnet. These spinning, magnetized dust grains very effectively polarize starlight, which was a suprising discovery some 50 years old. But the CMBR is microwaves, with wavelengths of millimeters, so it shouldn’t even notice the micron-sized dust grains as it passes through the universe. The theories that BICEP2 and others are using give the dust a minor fractional effect of something like 5% to the polarization of CMBR. If more CMBR is polarized, they attribute it to increased dust density. So the Planck satellite and others are using infrared light, with wavelengths down near a micron, to “see” the dust and estimate a density. That is the point of contention in all these claim-and-counterclaim papers.

However, none of them have a good model for how dust polarizes CMBR. If our MSFC experiment is understood correctly, these dust grains make a magnetic field that then aligns another spinning grain nearby. This is known as the ferromagnetic effect, and essentially turns clouds of interstellar dust into giant ferromagnets. We know the magnetic field is about 1-10 nanoTesla out there in the galaxy, but no one knows why. (I hope you are starting to get a feel for the significant amount of ignorance in astrophysics.) This dust would not only explain the origin of that magnetic field, but it also explains why CMBR get polarized in the vicinity of galaxies. But these large dust “ferromagnets” do more than that, they interact with microwaves even better than expected because the dust grains are spaced millimeters apart–exactly the size of the CMBR wavelength. So instead of 5%, I would expect something like 20% or 30% polarization, which of course, completely blows the BICEP2 results out of the water, and makes it impossible for anyone to use microwave polarization to probe the CMBR.

Sorry for the length of this discussion. I just had the PI for the MSFC dust experiment in my office expressing his disappointment that no one at NASA sees any benefit to continuing his research. I explained that the furor in cosmology could be resolved by his experiment, but NASA managers refuse to listen. Which we all blame on the tendency of all government agencies to hire lawyers instead of scientists for management positions. More generally, American exceptionalism was based on the idea that anyone could excel, that committees could work for the public good, that the truth would prevail–and America is losing its exceptionalism.

America will always be exceptional. But will its science be so?

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15 Replies to “Gravitational waves bust: Rob Sheldon called that one right

  1. 1
    VunderGuy says:

    I don’t understand why the gravity waves would prove a multiverse rather than just be a proof for standard, non multiversal models.

  2. 2
    Evolve says:

    Because gravitational waves are a prediction of the theory of inflation. So detecting their ripples in the CMB will confirm inflation. If inflation actually shaped our universe, there’s nothing preventing it from shaping other universes too.

  3. 3
    Evolve says:

    Meanwhile, gravitational waves are not bust by any means. A more refined map from the Planck satellite is expected in October which will provide better estimates of dust. In addition, other experiments are independently trying to verify the BICEP2 results.

  4. 4
    VunderGuy says:

    @Evolve.

    So, it’s like I suspected. All it does is make a multiverse more plausible, but not more plausible than just a single universe that undergoes inflation. I.E., it’s just a stepping stone.

  5. 5
    Dr JDD says:

    Yes VunderGuy, because it would show that’s how our universe formed, we can infer others could as well. Even if we cannot prove it. You know, just like something looks like it was designed, or things we know simular have been designed, we can infer a designer, even if we cannot prove it. Oh wait…

  6. 6
    Evolve says:

    That doesn’t work, JDD.
    You’re comparing one kind of thing (man-made objects) to another kind of thing (naturally occurring life) and saying since the former is designed the latter must also be designed. That’s not the case with the multiverse. There we’re saying that if inflation brought our universe into existence then it can bring other universes into existence too.
    You should compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.

    And we may be able to directly detect another universe in the future. Current breakthroughs such as detecting gravitational waves & the Higgs Boson were in the realm of science fiction a few decades ago.

  7. 7
    ppolish says:

    Evolve, are man-made and nature-made not the same thing? Does man step outside of nature to do his designs? Course not. A Rolex Watch is completely natural. Not Sapien Natural or Super Natural. Rolex = Natural. Blind WatchMaker lol.

  8. 8
    Mapou says:

    It’s amazing to me how materialists can feel free to whip out zillions of parallel universes out of their asteroid orifices without any fear of being ridiculed. Unabashed superstition has become the accepted way of doing science nowadays.

    Science has been taken over by charlatans and morons. How did it get to this point?

  9. 9
    ppolish says:

    Mapou, the Scientific Method was invented by Theists for Theists. How did it get to the current state indeed. & sigh.

  10. 10
    Piotr says:

    Science has been taken over by charlatans and morons.

    It hasn’t. All that charlatans and morons ever do is complain of being expelled and censored. If they wanted to do science, they would have to do some valid research, publish the results, etc. But if they were able to do that, they wouldn’t be charlatans and morons.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    “If they wanted to do science, they would have to do some valid research, publish the results”

    Can you show us ‘charlatans’ where the results are published showing Darwinian processes generating a single molecular machine? And since you can’t, then does that not make you a charlatan for claiming unguided processes can build molecular machines? If not, why not?

  12. 12
    Mapou says:

    Piotr, actually most of the great research in science is being done by non-materialists who don’t like to make a lot of noise. The problem is that the dirt-did-it crowd is so loud and obnoxious, they get all the limelight.

    But not for long. Soon the science world will be turned upside down. And then there shall be much weeping and gnashing of teeth. As for me, I’ll be watching the whole thing unfold with a beer in my right hand, a bag of cheetos in the other, and a grin on my face. 😀

  13. 13
    ppolish says:

    Evolve, a camping watchmaker takes a dump in the woods on the outskirts of Geneva. Completely Natural ever since the first anus.

    Wipes his butt with a leaf. Still Natural:
    Mother chimps have been seen cleaning their babies’ butts
    Birds and mammals keep nests free of shit
    Reindeer and caribou migrate, in part, because their fields get built up with dung.
    Brown rats like to go in corners.
    Raccoons, badgers, lemurs, and tapirs, wildebeests, sloths, badgers, loons, African mole rats, and some caterpillars, all use a special area as a latrine.
    Bizarrely, butt truly, llamas have been repeatedly observed actually waiting in line to use a designated bathroom are”

    Now the watchmaker folds over the leaf for added strength. Natural still? Judges? Ok, still Natural.

    Charmin Ultra-Strong 4-ply? Bzzzzzt. Sorry, not Natural. Man has moved beyond Natural. Man is now in his special Man Place.

    Sorry Evolve, I don’t buy that. Rolex is a Natural Design. An Intelligent Design.

  14. 14
    ppolish says:

    AntHill, BeaverLodge, Galleria at 117 East 57th Street. Natural, Natural, Natural. Intelligent, Intelligent, Intelligent. You cannot walk around the block in Nature without tripping over Intelligent Design.

    And getting back to the Multiverse, is our Universe an average one in the Multiverse? Are there better Universes? Worse ones? Is there an Ultimate Universe in the Multiverse? Would Science like to describe it? Of course they would. Keep trying.

  15. 15
    Piotr says:

    Soon the science world will be turned upside down.

    By your wet dreams? I somewhow doubt it. Wanna bet?

    As for me, I’ll be watching the whole thing unfold with a beer in my right hand, a bag of cheetos in the other, and a grin on my face.

    Sure. How else can you contribute?

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