Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Science of Ugliness

The BBC has an interesting story about a potential explanation to a paradox of evolution. The paradox to be put bluntly is that there are still ugly people around, if females select their mates on the basis of looks then over time evolution should favour the genes that give rise to better looking people. Eventually everyone should be beautiful. Some of that noisy band of idiots that try to refute evolution like to use this argue that evolution is false.

This "paradox" seems to me to be inherently wrong anyway, it makes the assumption that women have always been free to choose who they marry, which of course is blatantly not the case. It also of course neglects the impact of women choosing to marry for reasons other than looks, money being the obvious example.

Regardless of this, the researchers Professor Marion Petrie and Dr Gilbert Roberts of Newcastle University believe they have found a mechanism that explains why we are not all models.

The scientists claim that since genetic mutations can occur anywhere in the genome, some will affect the DNA repair kit possessed by all cells.

As a result, some individuals have less efficient repair kits, resulting in greater variation in their DNA as damage goes unrepaired.

This variation leads naturally to a variation in looks, it probably has other effects which are more beneficial to the population, like providing a wide range of mutations some of which could be useful in fending off disease for example. In other words it looks like there is a balance in a population between everyone looking good and having a wide enough variation in the population to be able to resist changes in the environment. Exactly as natural selection would predict.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

News From Home

Every once in a while a story comes along that reminds me of home. Its rare however that a story about my actual home town appears. This is one such tale from the Metro...

A dim-witted teenage burglar left footprints in fresh snow this morning, which helped police track him down, a force spokesman said.

A homeowner from Ashington, Northumberland, rang police at 1.30am to report that two bikes had been stolen.

The thief climbed over a fence in Hindmarsh Avenue, broke into a shed and wheeled the bikes away, said a spokesman from the Northumbria Police.

'However, due to the fresh snowfall in the area, officers were able to follow a set of footprints in the snow, which led to a house a few hundred yards away,' the spokesman said.

The police located the culprit and found the bikes.

The spokesman continued: 'A 16-year-old boy from the Ashington area was arrested and is currently in custody on suspicion of burglary.'

... and yes there are people just that dumb back home.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Science Takes A Stand

As many people may already know, there are big changes going on in the US at the moment because of the Democrats success in last years elections. This success has meant that they now have the power to hold hearings and basically stick their noses into all the rotten recesses which the present administration has been stashing bodies in. One of the trends that has gotten the Democrats rightfully vexed is the issue of the Administration censoring science that it finds problematic. In particular anything about climate changes or reproductive health comes in for major scrutiny, and usually any conclusions are dramtically toned down.

The latest example of this actually made me laugh. James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (a NASA organisation) was called before a federal panel to describe how he is followed by a government lackey whenever he gives interviews about climate change and that this lackey has the ability to modify his statements about his work. This lackey in particular, Philip Cooney previously worked for the American Petroleum Institute, a fund set up to attempt to discredit climate change. What made me laugh though was that he was sat beside Hansen as he gave testimony, I'm not sure if he was called to give testimony, or was simply doing his job of trying to prevent the Hansen saying something the White House wouldn't like. Personally I'd veer towards the latter, because he had edited a statement Hansen was to give to the panel, changing the word "will" to "may" in reference to describing the impact of human activity--particularly the burning of oil and coal--on the Earth's temperature.

Something about the image of an indignant respected scientist giving evidence about White House interference in front of a panel of Democratic representatives scenting blood, all the while having this WH yes man sat beside him trying to control him made me laugh. Check out the full story here.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Science In Pictorial Form

I've just come across a cool image that encapsulates the level of interconnection within science. It even appears Astrophysics has some connections to other sciences, who would of thought. The full article can be found at Seed. The description is fairly interesting.
This map was constructed by sorting roughly 800,000 published papers into 776 different scientific paradigms (shown as pale circular nodes) based on how often the papers were cited together by authors of other papers. Links (curved black lines) were made between the paradigms that shared papers, then treated as rubber bands, holding similar paradigms nearer one another when a physical simulation forced every paradigm to repel every other; thus the layout derives directly from the data. Larger paradigms have more papers; node proximity and darker links indicate how many papers are shared between two paradigms. Flowing labels list common words unique to each paradigm, large labels general areas of scientific inquiry.
Click on the picture for a very big version (< 5Mb).

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cool Google Maps Applications

Ever wondered how sea level rises due to Global Warming could reshape countries? Well you damn well should have. Anyway, check out this cool little applet to find out. Fortunately I don't think even the most pessimistic predictions for sea level rise are above 1m, unfortunately this is still enough to flood most of Holland, parts of Bangladesh and many Pacific Islands, displacing hundreds of millions. Still think a 5-litre SUV is a good idea?

On a lighter note here is a nice little applet that lets you use Google Maps as a Pedometer. So don't claim the internet is the reason you're unfit, get off your ass and go for a run! Or a brisk walk, or use it to work out if the walk to the corner shop is enough to burn off the calories from the Mars bar you're going to buy. Fat ass.

Note: Not exactly sure where the tone of this post came from, probably just absolute frustration at the idiocy of all those Global Warming deniers.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Scale Of Things

Wow, check out this composite picture of the moon partially occulting Saturn. Even as an Astronomer my mental image just didn't have Saturn appearing that big relative to the moon, click for the big version.

Here is the description from LPOD:

In England on March 2nd, 2007 the Moon slowly moved past Saturn. From Pete’s observing site in Selsey the Moon just barely nicked the planet itself but pleasingly covered about 40% of the rings. Here are Pete’s words on how he captured this event: The difference in brightness of the Moon compared to Saturn was huge at the time and in order to get both objects imaged simultaneously, one must suffer. In this case I exposed correctly for Saturn which meant that the Moon’s limb was burnt out. A number of shots were taken at 30s intervals (10s movie captures at 60fps, fixed on Saturn) which gave me the positional information I needed to build the composite you see here. The RGB image of Saturn was captured just before the occultation and the lunar limb just after (this is a three frame mosaic). The interval positions shown are separated by 90s in time. South is up in the image and the Moon would be moving towards the upper right.

Popularity Contest For Nation States

The BBC has an interesting article on world opinion on countries. There are no real surprises, except that the UK is generally seen as a positive influence on the world, even after the Iraq debacle. Oh and that Iran is marginally more of a "Great Satan" than the US. The figure below shows the details on selected countries. Head over here for the full article.

Friday Lunchtime Talks - MOdified Gravity

On Friday we had the latest of the Durham Astronomy groups Friday Lunchtime Talks, these usually consist of two members of the group (which consists of over 50 members including students) giving a half hour talk, either about their own work or a paper that has appeared recently in which they have some interest. Last Fridays was something different however, it was an hour long talk by Professor Emeritus John Moffat of the Perimeter Institute on the subject of his own version of modified gravity, MOG.

I always have a lot of respect to someone that comes to Durham to talk about modified gravity, it really can be like entering the Lions den. Tinkering with gravity is usually done in an attempt to explain astrophysical phenomena without the need to demand that most of the mass in the Universe is invisible and can only be detected through its gravitational influence (the so called Dark Matter). Durham is world renowned as a centre of research into Dark Matter, as such some members of the group could be expected to be particularly partisan on the issue. I think its a great credit to the people involved that things never seem to get too heated, in fact in this Fridays talk, most of the difficult questions were directed from the one Professor in the group who has never been too happy with the current Cosmological Paradigm. He's generally good value for entertainment, and important in keeping everything honest.

Anyway, onto the talk itself. John Moffat has been working on modifying the gravitational laws for many years and has produced several different models. These models differ from most of the work on MOND (MOdified Netwonian Dynamics) in that from the beginning they were specifically chosen to be relativistic, that is that they are modifications to Einsteins General Relativity and not Newtons law of gravity. Essentially in MOdified Gravity (or if you prefer, MOffat Gravity, MOG) the gravitational constant G (also called Newtons Constant) is not in fact a constant, but can vary both in time and in space, so that the G that relates the force between two masses separated by one distance R1 is not the same G that relates the force between the same masses if they are separated by distance R2, similarly for time T1 and T2. These changes in G have to be negligible for objects within the solar system otherwise we should be able to detect deviations from the GR predictions which so far have not been observed, but they can become significant over galactic scales.

The speaker showed several examples of where his proposed changes would allow us to fit astronomical observations without the need to invoke Dark Matter. In particular he mentioned fitting the rotation curves of dwarf galaxies, spiral galaxies and clusters of galaxies (for clusters its technically not a rotation curve but the principle is the same). This in particular interested me as rotation curves are something I have personal experience with, both in my MSci project and the first paper I have published. Below is an example of a spiral galaxy rotation curve, it simply measures the speed at which stars at different radii in the disk orbit the galaxy, the data is the black circles (with error bars) the various dashed lines show the amount of velocity provided by the mass of various components of the galaxy including a DM halo. MOG allows you to explain the observed rotation of the galaxy without this DM component, by assuming the influence of the other two components is stronger than you would naively expect using Newtonian (or GR) gravity.

For me the first and largest problem that appeared during the talk appeared when JM was talking about these fits to the rotation curves. It seems it is possible using his model to fit all spiral galaxies using the same values for two parameters, as far as I could tell these parameters deal with the scale over which G begins to diverge from a constant value and some sort of normalisation of the size of the divergence. The problem was that when he fit the rotation curves of dwarf galaxies, or of clusters of galaxies the values of these two free parameters were different, all dwarfs had the same values, all clusters had the same values but different from the dwarfs or the spirals. This would appear to mean that there has to be yet another effect going on, meaning we need more free parameters to explain everything in terms of one unified gravitational theory. If this is true it would seem to be a problem. I have to go and look at the actual papers and see if in fact this is the case, or if I simply misunderstood something, it could be that the values he was quoting were actually telling you something about the scales involved, i.e that dwarf galaxies are smaller than spirals which are smaller than clusters.

The second major part of the talk dealt with JM's attempts to explain the results from the Bullet Cluster without the need for Dark Matter. This cluster is so far unique and very exiting. Its unique because it is actually two clusters, one of which has passed through the other, during this interaction the hot gas that resides in the clusters hit each other and slowed down, the gas from the smaller cluster having shocked and formed a bullet like shape as seen as the red triangle on the right of the image below. In the image below you can see the hot intracluster gas as the red regions. This is interesting because the hot intracluster gas has been separated from the galaxies of the clusters (seen in the blue regions), normally there is around 10x as much mass in this hot gas as there is in the galaxies of a cluster. By crashing through each other the two clusters have managed to separate the collisional material (the gas) from the collision less material (the galaxies and any Dark Matter).

It is possible to use gravitational lensing of background galaxies by the clusters of galaxies to work out the mass that must be contained within the galaxy clusters. This cluster is so important because it can be convincingly shown that even though the vast majority of the visible mass (the intracluster gas) has been removed the effect of gravity is still very strong, considerably stronger than can possibly be explained by the visible mass contained in the galaxies in the cluster. The traditional explanation is therefore that there must be some invisible mass (DM), which from this cluster we can see must be collision less, otherwise it would have piled up where the intracluster gas is. In MOG the explanation for the extra lensing, above what is predicted by GR for just the normal mass is that the gravity from the galaxies is stronger at larger distances, and also I believe that there is some lensing caused by the gravity from the intracluster gas.

If this is the case then there is happily a way to test which approach is correct, MOG or DM, the intracluster gas is much more massive than the mass contained in the luminous matter of the galaxies, but it is also located on one side of the cluster. Therefore it would seem that if MOG is correct there should be an increase in lensing on the side of the cluster nearest to the gas, of course the size of the effect would depend on many factors, but may in principle be measurable. If MOG is incorrect and DM is really at work, then the lensing should be more symmetric around the cluster, both because the DM is by far the largest mass contribution but also because the gravity of the gas is much less at larger distances than predicted by MOG.

Whatever the result of work such as this, we are really going to learn something fundamental about the Universe. Either most of the mass of the Universe is in some really exotic form, or else the force of gravity is even stranger than we have ever dreamt.

Unfortunately time caught up with us and we didn't get to find out much on the implications of this modified gravity on Cosmology, for example whether it could explain the mysterious Dark Energy at the same time that does away with Dark Matter. Many other interesting questions were raised however, it appears that MOG doesn't allow for singularities, so no black holes, though objects observationally indistinguishable from them probably can exist. This led one prominent member of the group to spend the time to see if the Metric for MOG is compatible with these condensed objects having a "last stable orbit", apparently it doesn't seem like it can, and as these are thought to be observed around BHs this is probably a problem for the theory.

All in all a very interesting talk, a perfect example of the kind of research that is ongoing in Astronomy. I don't think anyone is going to be packing in the DM work anytime soon, but if the DM particles continue to remain so illusive, its good to see that there are concrete alternatives being formulated.

Monday, March 05, 2007

New Blogroll Entries

I have two new entries to the blogroll this week. I heartily recommend both for your perusal.

I stumbled across the first Strange Paths while looking for a picture of the Sun as seen in neutrinos. It combines descriptions of science and philosophy with some of the most amazing scientific pictures I have ever seen. The pictures below give a taste of whats on offer, click for them in all of their glory.

The second is the blog of (relatively) long time commentator on here, Pete, its called the view from underhill, I like it a lot because he has already picked up on several topics that I had in mind for future posts. In particular the post about the current road safety TV adverts in the UK, the statistics given always had me curious, I just could never get round to checking where they come from, well Pete has a link to someone who has done just this, its pretty interesting reading. Check it out.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Comic Round Up

Dispatches from the War On Science?

Joy Of Tech.

More Joy Of Tech.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Manned Space Flight

It's not that often that I am totally surprised by something, but today when I had a browse over at I almost fell of my chair. It turns out that I actually agree with Charles Krauthammer on something for the first time in my life. For those of you who aren't familiar with his writing he's a pretty strident right wing nut as far as I can tell, big fan of Bush, Iraq, Tax cuts for the rich etc. In essence not at all the kind of guy I would ever expect to agree with.

The op-ed in question found here (free registration required) deals with the idea of manned exploration of space. It basically comes down to examining the two arguments against manned space flight. The first is that there are many expensive pressing problems on Earth that need fixing, this is true but of course there always have been and there always will be, Earth is not Utopia and never will be, what else are non essential uses of money? Any recreation, TV, non essential travel? How many people argue we should be giving these up? Also the expenditure on space research is tiny by comparison to almost any other government expense, NASA costs about $17 Billion per year out of a total US budget of around $2.5 Trillion, so that works out about 0.7%. Though maybe when 20% of the US budget is currently paid for in debt it doesn't seem that good a deal.

The most compelling reason for abandoning manned space flight is from scientific purists who claim that robotic missions are far more cost effective, this is definitely true, it is many times more expensive keeping people alive in space than it is keeping a robot ticking over. This argument I think overlooks a fundamental need of human nature to explore, to put feet down on new lands and to gaze at vistas no one has seen before. If we ever lose that desire we may as well send machines in our place because we will have become them.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Why Autodynamics Is Wrong, Totally, Utterly And Most Importantly Demonstrably

WARNING: Long Post
WARNING: Some Maths (not essential to understanding)

I think its about time I wrote a semi-complete critique of the whole Autodynamics theory. My reasons for doing this are that I think it provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the successes of the Special Theory of Relativity whilst also illuminating many of the common mistakes made by people attempting to present their own "alternative" theories. For explanations and examples of the theory I have mostly used the two main autodynamics websites, and

If anyone has any points to add feel free to email me, the address is in my profile. I should point out that most, if not all of the points I raise were not originally raised by me, hey, the theory has been around for sixty years, people have had plenty of time to point out the obvious (and less obvious) problems. If anyone recognises anything they think they may have originally come up with feel free to claim some glory in the comments. I especially credit Tom Roberts whose "A Physicists Refutation of Autodynamics" I came across while almost ready to post this entry, for certain mathematical explanations I have decided to use his methods, they were essentially identical to the ones I had, but were much simpler to follow. Hey I'm an Astronomer not a Mathmagician dammit.

History of Autodynamics
Lets start at the beginning. What is Autodynamics? AD is the result of an error made over sixty years ago by a young Argentine Physicist studying special relativity. The physicist, Ricardo Carezani believed that he had spotted an error in the derivation of Einstein's Special Relativity (SR). This perceived "error" became a life long obsession for Carezani, who set out to formulate his own theory, with which to supplant SR. Personally I would have been slightly worried if I thought I had spotted something that had eluded many of the greatest minds of twentieth century science, clearly Carezani had a pretty good opinion of his own abilities.

Now I personally feel some sympathy for Carezani, he was making his "discovery" at a time before most of the experiments that proved SR had been undertaken, for example the experiments that measured the energy spread in certain decays proving the neutrino existed had not been done yet. By the time these experiments had been done, it was probably too late, he wasn't going to be able to accept that he was wrong. He is after all not the first scientist to have sacrificed his career and credibility because of arrogance (I won't name names here, you probably know of a few). He has continued to work on his theory and with the help of a small band of cheerleaders led by a David de Hilster has attempted to publicise it. More recently day to day work on the theory appears to have been ceded to DdH, in fact it appears that Carezani has essentially been sidelined (he is getting on yuo know) in favour of promoting DdHs take on the theory.

AD In Brief
The main conclusion of Autodynamics, is that the derivation of Special Relativity is incorrect, that there is a superfluous reference frame (don't worry we'll look at what these are later) in the derivation and that removal of this frame leads to a simpler theory. This simpler theory predicts very different behaviour for objects travelling near the speed of light, for examples see this page. In particular while SR predicts that objects travelling near the speed of light appear to increase in mass (observed in particle accelerators), AD predicts the exact opposite, that moving objects physically decrease in mass leading to equations for the kinetic energy and momentum of moving objects which similarly display behaviour in the exact reverse of those predicted by SR (and observed in experiment). This change in mass is supposedly what supplies the energy for motion. AD also apparently predicts that electric charge is not conserved, and that "if a charged object decays its charge gets smaller" leading to obvious problems dealing with any particle physics phenomena. From this set of equations AD attempts to explain a wide range of phenomena, from particle interactions, gravity, motion of bodies etc.

It hardly needs stating at this point that SR as been proven time and again to be an accurate description of certain phenomena, therefore if AD is to have any usefulness it must reproduce the predictions of SR for those situations where both apply. In much the same way as SR simplifies to Newtonian Physics at low velocities, AD must predict the same behaviour as SR where SR has already been shown to be correct. As we shall see this is simply not the case.

Autodynamics Treatment Of Frames And Moving Bodies
The central claim of AD is that SR includes a superfluous reference frame and that while the mathematics are correct this frame is physically meaningless. This reverse of this can be shown to be true trivially, taking the equations of SR and AD side by side we can begin to see why this is. The equations on the left are the standard Lorentz transforms used in SR, the ones on the right the simplified Lorentz equations (the so called Carezani equations) used in Autodynamics.

Figure 1. The Lorentz and Carezani equations.

To get anywhere explaining the problems with AD it will be necessary to give a very brief description of the use of coordinate systems in Physics and in particular what the different symbols in the above equations mean.

Imagine that we have two people, Joe and Moe, who are observing some phenomena at a point P some distance away from them, further imagining that Moe is moving in the x direction (in the line between Joe and P) with uniform velocity u (see Fig. 2). Moe sees the distance between himself and the point P as distance x', Joe is at rest relative to the point P and measures the distance between himself and P as being x. The transformation equations above are simply some clever mathematics that allow Moe and Joe to agree on what they are measuring. In the example given if the two coordinate systems (Joe and Moe) were originally at the same point, then the relation between x and x' can be trivially seen to be x' = x - ut, y'=y, z'=z and t'=t (for simple Galilean Relativity), in other words it is possible for both Joe and Moe to reconcile what they have measured.

Figure 2. Two coordinate systems in uniform relative motion along the x-axis.

The description above deals with the results for classical Galilean mechanics, it can be shown that Newton's laws when transformed between the two systems are exactly the same, that is they are invariant, in other words there is no way to use a mechanical experiment to determine who is moving and who is at rest. This is the principle of relativity, that physical laws should be the same in all inertial reference frames (those frames where there is uniform motion), note it does not apply if there is an acceleration acting on one of the frames, this is the root of the infamous twins "paradox".

This was the situation until the mid 1800's when Maxwell formulated his equations describing the behaviour of electromagnetic fields. It was soon noted that Maxwell's equations did not appear to obey the principle of relativity, they were not the same in Moes frame as in Joes, this of course was a major problem. It was H. A Lorentz who first worked out that the transformations on the left side of Figure 1. would allow one to transform Maxwell's equations whilst preserving relativity, an interesting consequence of which was the observation that light appears to travel at exactly c (3x10^8 m/s) no matter how fast the observer or emitter is travelling. This leads to the first problem with AD, the Lorentz transforms are the only mathematically allowed transforms that preserve relativity for Maxwells equations. We know Maxwells equations are observed to be true in any reference frame they have been measured, therefore AD must be wrong. This would be a pretty short critique of AD if we ended there however, plus there is plenty of bad (and good) science/history left to be described.

Einstein took the observations of Lorentz and postulated that it wasn't just electrodynamics that these transforms applied to, but mechanics also, and that by replacing the m in Newtons standard equations with m = m0 / SQRT(1 - u^2/c^2) then the new theory of Special Relativity could be reconciled with the older laws of mechanics. An important point regarding the implications of special relativity is that differences between SR and classical mechanics only appear when objects move very close to the speed of light. In other words at the low speeds (v lt c) we are used to in everyday life then the SR equations reduce to the simpler Galilean ones we expect. SQRT(1-u^2/c^2) only becomes measurably different from 1 when u approaches c.

So now for another glaring problem with Autodynamics, it is the one that essentially kills of the theory at the start. It can be shown that the standard Lorentz transforms form what is known as a group, if you successively perform the transformations you produce another transformation. What this means physically is that there is some mathematics that different observers can apply so that they can bring their observations into agreement. This is essential, relativity means that no two observers will ever measure exactly the same event exactly the same way, but there is at least mathematically some way that both observers can agree that the same physical laws have applied to the phenomena. Without this property Physics and its ability to explain the Universe is impossible, different laws of physics apply to different observers and there is no way that they can ever be reconciled. We can show here that the AD equations do not form a group, that different observers of a phenomenon if they use AD can never agree on what they have observed, not even in principle.

Starting with AD equations 1 and 4 which we will renumber 1 and 2. x and t are measurements in reference frame F (i.e Joe), x' and t' are in reference frame F' (Moe), u1 is the velocity of F measured from F'.

To have any real physical significance it must be possible to introduce a third observer, after all the Universe wouldn't limit us to only two possible frames from which to observe any event right? Well of course not, think of any real life situation and you can see that there are essentially an infinite number of possible reference frames to choose from. So we can introduce a third observer to the system, this observer (Bo?) has reference frame F'', their reference frame must have some relation to the two others, in fact it can be shown that it is simply related in the following way:

where u2 is the velocity that F'' (Bo) measures for F' (Moe). This equation must hold true for any arbitrary choice of u2. There must also of course be some way to convert between reference frame F (Joe) and F'' (Bo) directly, it can simply seen that this situation is described by the following equations, where u3 is the velocity that F'' (Bo) measures for F (Joe).

This also should hold for any choice of u3. Now substitute 1 and 2 into 3 and 4. Giving us:

For the transformations to form a group equations 7 and 8 must be the same as equations 5 and 6, due to repeated transformations leading to transforms that are also group members. So we simply equate the two sets of equations to get:

Substituting 9 into 10 leads to:

Now Substituting this back into 10 gives us:
Which can be rearranged to solve for u1 to get:
Oops. We started out with an arbitrary choice of velocities u1 and u2, but have still ended up with u1=0, this is mathematically a contradiction and shows that the AD equations do not satisfy the conditions of being a group. The composition of any two AD equations does not produce another transformation, falsifying the theory as a practical theory describing real world events. Its is impossible for two observers to agree on anything they see or do using Autodynamics except in the rather boring case of u1=0, i.e both at rest. Needless to say this is not a problem that afflicts SR, I leave it as an exercise for the reader to attempt a similar procedure using the SR equations.

Now how do the ADherents deal with this pretty damning problem? In one of two ways, the first was simply to ignore it, looking at the discussion forums where this type of problem was pointed out to DdH is quite illuminating. After first being made aware of this problem he produced a new newsgroups policy for the SAA (Society for the Advancement of Autodynamics) which prohibited discussion of AD in forums by members, he or one of his sock puppets would then occasionally post some message extolling the virtues of AD whilst refusing to discuss the problems (in an attempt to attract new converts). I have only seen one argument from the ADherents disputing this type of analysis which is simply to claim that the Carezani equations are not transformation equations and that they never claimed that they were, this however spectacularly fails the credibility test when they use them exactly as transformation equations when deriving their equations for kinetic energy (and others) you can see some examples here (specifically where they go from equations 19 to 21). I could essentially end the discussion here, theory disproved end of story, but there are plenty of other examples of poor science to find in AD, some of which are quite amusing and instructive on how not to formulate a theory.

Figure 3. Illustration of the velocity sum.

Velocity Sum
A simple example of where AD predicts something obviously incorrect in real world situations can be seen by how AD relates the summation of velocities. We will use a simple example here to demonstrate the problem. Imagine we have a situation similar to the one described above, where we have someone on a moving body, say a train, the train moves with velocity V1, the person then throws a ball in the direction the train is moving, with as he sees it velocity V2. The question is, what velocity does a second observer, one stationary on the side of the tracks see? What velocity do they measure for the ball? Well in simple Galilean physics the answer is simple, the velocity observed by the person at rest is the sum of the velocity of the train and the ball. In SR the answer is similar, the derivation is trivial but I'll omit it in the interests of brevity, the SR equation for the velocity sum is:

As we can see an extra factor has appeared V1*V2 / c^2, this factor means that it is impossible for anything to appear to travel faster than the speed of light. Try it, if you pick a velocity for the train of 0.55c and one for the ball of 0.55c, the velocity of the ball observed by someone at rest is only 0.845c not 1.1c. The important point however is the behaviour of this formula at small values of V1 and V2 like we see during our normal lives, in this regime where V1,V2 lt c, the equation above reduces to the simple case V = V1+ V2 exactly as is seen in everyday life. Things are not so rosy in AD land however, their equivalent to the equation above for V1,V2...Vn lt c is:

So in our simple example above, the ball appears to anyone at rest to be travelling at SQRT(10^2 + 10^2) = 14.14 m/s. Oops. Clearly this is nonsense, it contradicts simple experiments you could do yourself at home.

The people at the SAA have many reasons for this problem, none of which is actually true, the real reason seems to be that they derive this relation using the assumption that kinetic energy (the energy due to the motion of an object) is invariant. Of course kinetic energy is not an invariant quantity, how much energy you measure an object to have depends on the relative motion between you and the object. This is another major contradiction in AD, it claims that only the motion between an object and an observer matters then ignores the fact that other observers will have a different relative motion and therefore measure a different kinetic energy for the object. Clearly we can again see that the supposed greatest strength of AD (its single reference frame) is actually its greatest weakness.

Perhaps the most egregious and obvious contradiction in all of the AD literature (read website) is the way they treat Einstein's most famous equation E=mc^2, which relates the amount of energy contained in mass to the speed of light squared. Throughout much of the website they consistently denigrate E=mc^2, for example check out the poster for DdH's much delayed documentary about AD:

Notice that it says that E does not equal mc^2. Which is good because in AD, E does not equal mc^2. Unfortunately for AD, in the real Universe E does equal mc^2.

Now E=mc^2 is not something that was chosen by Einstein to fit observations, it falls out naturally of SR, the fact that the relation has been measured to be correct time and again is pretty good, because it again provides yet more evidence that SR is right. The problem AD has is that we know E=mc^2 (or something so close we can't tell the difference) is true. For AD to be correct it has to be able to derive E=mc^2 from its own principles. It seems it can't do this, the changes they have made to the Lorentz transforms make this impossible as far as I can tell. To try to hide this fatal problem the ADherents try several tricks such as saying things like:

Carezani is working with some ideas (slowly and sporadically) with energy equal to E = moc^3. (See here.)


So, does the famous equation "E=mc^2" survive in Autodynamics? The answer is, currently, yes. Carezani discovered the Autodynamic equations using the same steps as Einstein, simply with a correction. He assumes this equation to be true for now. It may be that the equation for energy and mass equivalence is something different where E = m K where "K" is some constant other than c^2. But for now, it is assumed to be correct. (Here.)

You can't do this! It so obvious its crazy but they still try and get away with it. E=mc^2 is a natural result of SR, AD cannot reproduce it so if AD is correct then E=mc^2 must be wrong, but its not, we know from any number of experiments that it is true. You cannot say you have a theory that replaces and improves on SR and then say that your theory cannot predict how mass and energy are related so you'll just use the result from the theory you have supposedly disproven because you don't have anything better!

But it gets worse, they actually do just this, using E=mc^2 whenever they need to relate mass to energy, they then claim that AD manages to match observations! Its not AD, its SR that's doing any matching!

You may wonder as I have done why after 60 years no one has managed to come up with an AD relation for mass and energy, its certainly one of the most obvious things to do, the answer I suspect, is that they ran into the same result I did, I have had a very brief try at deriving an AD mass energy relation and ended up with a result that appears to be physically meaningless, which could be down to either my maths (hey, astronomer) or the fact that AD is physically meaningless. I will let the reader decide which is more likely. I suggest a challenge to those of mathematical abilities beyond mine (i.e. 12 year olds), can you produce a derivation for the relation between mass and energy in AD? I tend to think that if one existed that wasn't meaningless Carezani would have it by now, without having to resort to laughable guesses like E=mc^3.

NOTE: Thanks to CMB for pointing out a blindingly obvious problem with E having any dependence other then mc^2 is shown by dimensional analysis. The SI unit of energy is the Joule, which happens to have dimensions of kg m^2 s^(-2) which of course is exactly the same dimensions of mc^2. Carezani's guess of E=mc^3 is of course dimensionally impossible proving yet again how ignorant of basic physics the people at AD are.

This I think is where AD is most easily seen to fall into the crank theory bracket, making one of the most fundamental mistakes you can make in a theory, contradicting yourself. Stating that something is not true (or knowing that it cannot be true according to your theory), then using the fact that it is true elsewhere because you don't have anything better or even worse because you know it is in fact true from experiment. If AD wants to be taken seriously it has to be able to derive E =mc^2 or something like it itself, if as Carezani claims, AD is formulated similarly to SR then it should be simple to show that E=mc^2 is either true or false in AD, why hasn't any of the ADherents done this?

The Neutrino
Ah the poor neutrino, most innocuous of all the ADherents figures of hate. Yes that's right the ADiots really have it in for the poor neutrino, why? you may ask. Well because the neutrino was first postulated by Pauli to explain beta decay, where a neutron decays into a proton and an electron (and neutrino). It was observed that the energy contained in the observed decay products (electron and proton) did not add up to the amount of energy contained in the neutron, so Pauli postulated that an unobserved particle (the neutrino) must be carrying away some of the energy.

It seems that the irrational hatred of the neutrino shown by the SAA is a historical hangover of the formulation of AD. AD was originally claimed to have been formulated to explain beta decay without the need to postulate a neutrino. Unfortunately for Carezani the neutrino was first observed in 1956 about ten years after he came up with AD, the neutrino is now convincingly detected everyday in dozens of different experiments leaving the ADiots with one of two routes, to accept that the neutrino exists and try to salvage their theory or the route that they have (after much deliberation I'm sure) chosen, to stick their fingers in their ears and go "la, la, la I'm not listening to you". They ignore all of the vast quantities of data that clearly and convincingly show that neutrinos exist, instead claiming that the detections of neutrinos are either mistaken or fraud. This is of course laughable and ludicrous, some of the experiments done with neutrinos are incredible, they have been detected from the Sun (if you're wondering what that shows, its a picture of neutrinos from the Sun that have passed through the Earth), from nuclear power plants, particle accellarators and even supernovae in other galaxies for Jebus' sake.

Explain this to the ADiots and they simply claim that all detected neutrinos are other misidentified particles, this just doesn't hold water. Especially since experiments such as MINOS, in this experiment neutrinos produced in a particle accelerator are detected at two locations, one very close to the source of the neutrinos, the other 735km away and 716m underground. Guess what, if you turn off the particle accelarator beam, the signal stops, at both detectors, so what could travel 735km through solid rock without interacting with anything? Hmm, also very fast, near the speed of light, hmm, oh yeah and has the correct properties of spin (as in particle physics spin), charge and lepton number, predicted by looking at the reactions that create the particles? Oh yes thats right the Neutrino.

In simple laymans terms, evidence for the neutrino is now incontrovertable, the fact that AD can apparently explain the energy of one particle reaction, beta decay, without the neutrino must therefore be seen as yet another nail in ADs coffin. This is without even needing to go on and point out that without the neutrino most of the conservation laws of particle physics (spin, lepton number) would not be valid and the entire of particle physics would come crashing down, damn looks like I did point it out.

So there you have it, only a few of the myriad of ways that Autodynamics fails to reproduce anything that even remotely matches observation. We haven't even touched on the rank hypocrisy of its ADherents yet, accusing SR of inventing particles that don't exist (the neutrino which does), then inventing two of its own (pico-graviton and electro-muon which don't). Any visitor to the AD literature will see many examples of fuzzy logic, misunderstanding of SR, downright contradiction (repeated statements that AD only applies to decay cases, then an entire page on how everything can be thought of as a decay case). To me the theory stands out as the most complete of crank theories, but crank theory it is.

AD probably made some sense back in the 1940s, if you ignored the fact that it is physically meaningless in the real Universe, its unfortunately a theory that has far outlived any possibility of it being of any use, existing now as far as I can tell only to sell more copies of books on the subject or memberships to the SAA.