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Grand Unification Theory

Posted on 2005-03-29
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I have come across a web site http://www.grandunificationtheory.com by John T Nordberg. If I understand it correctly, he has come up with an idea of balls of light that apparently unifies the forces, redefines time and negates the need for special relativity.
It seems good to me but there is outright scorn of this website on usenet (groups.google.com) however I couldn't find any reasonable arguments against it. Not that I understand anyway. My physics knowledge is limited to high school and self taught from books and websites.
I am interested to know your views on his theory.
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Question by:Caltor
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28 Comments
 
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by:ozo
ID: 13654467
www.grandunificationtheory.com is not responding
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by:d-glitch
d-glitch earned 320 total points
ID: 13655324
Try               http://www.grandunification.com/

Utter nonsense.  Not a clear or coherent thought any where on the site.  He does type well though.
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by:d-glitch
ID: 13655463
Don't believe everything you see on the web.  Better yet don't believe anything.

Here is a list of people who have their own Theories of Everything on the Web.  There are lots more who don't have web skills.
John T. Norberg (who has made the list) is one of a very large group of crackpots.

      http://www.borderlands.de/linklist.php3?a=list&c=9&Section=physics
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by:grg99
grg99 earned 120 total points
ID: 13656544
Balderdash.. Within the first few sentences he puts foot in mouth with:  E x B = G.  

The he "proves" this by a very uncontrolled experiment.  He would  get better results by using iron filings instead of compasses.  This was done over 150 years ago.

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by:aburr
aburr earned 160 total points
ID: 13656690
The web site is interesting. It is useful as a test of one’s overall knowledge of physics. He appears to be one of a number of people who, for various reasons, wish to revolutionize physics without understanding what physics is about. When their ideas are rejected, one reaction is to go the self-publishing route.

One characteristic of this type of “science” is to redefine accepted concepts and then claim that the redefinition leads to great intellectual advances. In this case he redefines the usual definition of the cross product to E and H from the Poyting vector to G ignoring the utility of the current view. (to say nothing of the unit difficulties). He also redefines time ignoring the difficulty with units this creates. Note that in his section on physics he says that his unit redefinitions have yet to be worked out. (His examples of current definition variance are all trivial and not at all fundamental) His explanation of sunspots is just words, no ball-of-light mechanism is given. His Jupiter cause cannot support the observation of the Maunder Minimum and the last double peak.

He claims that all observational support for Special relativity supports his ideas (of course they do, he crafts his ideas with that in mid.) But note that he does not tell one what phenomena his ideas predict that other more coherent and simple theories do not.

One could go on. It is fun to do so, but other more useful activities call.
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by:ozo
ozo earned 160 total points
ID: 13656837
I agree, Nordberg's ideas are pretty silly.

(I note that http://www.borderlands.de/linklist.php3?a=list&c=9&Section=physics also lists Stephen Hawking
while some of his theories are controversial, I would not classify him as a typical crackpot)
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by:BobSiemens
BobSiemens earned 160 total points
ID: 13657139
I think the guy needs to renew his lithium prescription.  

<<<Time is a specific, constant quantity of motion that we use to measure all other
motions, and should be defined to be what is now called the speed of light.>>>

What is motion?  It is having a non-zero velocity.  So

T= (d1-d2) / T

T^2= (d1-d2)

T= SQRT(d1-d2)

It turns out time is the square root of a non-zero distance.

Grand!
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by:eternal_21
ID: 13658148
Oh look, he's copyrighted his Microsoft Paint drawings...

  http://www.grandunification.com/hypertext/FusionDesigns.html#Fusion Designs

I especially like the picture of the "Fusion Instability..."
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by:J-A-L
J-A-L earned 160 total points
ID: 13658851
Gravity is the weakest of all forces so it's unlikely that E * B = G

Jeff
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by:Caltor
ID: 13659937
d-glitch thanks for correcting the url

BobSiemens, could you explain
"What is motion?  It is having a non-zero velocity.  So T= (d1-d2) / T " 
for me please.
Does T stand for Time/Speed of light according to Nordberg's thinking. d1 & d2 are 2 points in space?
This formula is to calculate the speed of light.time? So you are saying that the speed of light/time would effectively be the square root of any distance which is obviously nonsense?
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by:Caltor
ID: 13659951
Has E*B been measured to NOT equal G? If so then that disproves the theory doesn't it?
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nicholassolutions earned 600 total points
ID: 13660820
Dear God, E&M is hard enough without wack-jobs like this. I don't really care to check, but I doubt the units even work out right on his little ExB=G master equation. I'm not going to go crazy listing the ways you know this guy is nuts, but the future, so you don't end up wasting time on things like this again, here's some stuff to keep in mind:

1) Many extremely smart people haven dedicated their lives to science over the years, and they have always sought the truth. All the simple answers to simple questions, and simple answes to tough questions have been thoght of. If this guy had a credible theory, he would not have to publish it on some backwoods website -- he could just take it to a university where it would be openly accepted and celebrated if it were able to predict any experimental observations.

2) Physics is most often spoken in the language of math, and usually math that people without at least an undergraduate degree in physics or math cannot even recognize, let alone discuss the validity of the equations. If you find someone who says he can explain something that stumped Einstein, and he starts by explaining a cross product, chances are he's a quack.

3) Speaking of Einstein, his theories predicted some truly amazing things that no one else would have even thought to look for, as well as explained some things that had confused people for a long time. This guy's 'theory' does neither.

4) Beware of accepting arguments because they seem reasonable given the premise. For example, just because he says classical theory predicts the wrong thing does not mean that it actually does when it is applied correctly to the problem, and just because he says his experiment shows differently does not mean that he has interpreted his results correctly. Even worse, his video may appear to show something when in fact the conditions are not what he says they are. I would not even believe his experimental data without repeating the experiments myself, let alone accept his conclusions regarding what he observed.

5) It is not up to us to prove that ExB is not equal to G (whatever the hell G is in his notation, I couldn't bear reading far enough to figure it out), it is up to HIM to prove that is IS equal to G, and to provide concrete evidence of how his ideas explain what we see in the world. The whole scientific method revolves around the idea of EVIDENCE. If you cannot prove something is true, you can't say that it is. Of course, you're right that if you disprove his pet equation, you take the wind out of his sails, because then you can say definitively that his arguments are untrue, but my point is just to remember that it is not your job to accept things on faith until proven otherwise, it is his job to prove to you why you should believe what he says. What it comes down to is predictive power, as I mentioned above. Take, for example, the argument of evolution theory vs. creationism. You can't prove that there is no God (in fact, maybe there is one, who knows?), you can't prove that he didn't make the world in 7 days, but you can show that Darwin's theory accurately predicts the way that populations evolve (you can literally observe this in fast multiplying organisms like bacteria), that it is consistent with other scientific knowledge gained independently, and that it explains the fossil record. The bible, on the other hand, explains none of this, is verified by none of this, and even directly contradicted by some of it. But the core ideas cannot really be refuted. So, it's a matter of where you place your 'stock'. A good scientist will not say that God obviously doesnt exist and could not have created anything, because he can't support that. But he can say that parts of the bible are obviously disproven by hard evidence, and that he will choose to use science to explain and predict things, because it has proven to be more reliable at doing both. More to the point, a good scientist will not spend his time TRYING to prove that religion is not true, because there are an infinite number of stories he could disprove, and doing so gets him no closer to the truths he seeks. The same goes for this guy's 'theory' -- conventional science is extremely powerful; the evidence for that is all around you. It's not worth your time or energy to figure out what every crackhead is mixed up about what he thinks...

...speaking of which this guy has already taken up enough of my time ;) Seriously, though, learn to trust your critical instinct when it comes to things like this, and spend your time learning stuff that has been proven to be reproducible, useful, and true -- it will serve you well in the longrun.
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by:Caltor
ID: 13661193
Whilst I don't agree with all of your views on science and religion I don't want to have that discussion online.
I appreciate your detailed response. I take it the main point you are making is that the onus is on the person who comes up with a theory to prove it rather than everyone else to disprove it. So he should show how his theory explains current observations and conduct experiments to see if the results match the model's predictions.

The experiment with a compass (allegedly) shows how electric and magnetic fields work across a sphere but I take it they offer no real proof of his theory as the gravity element is missing.
The theory hangs on the idea that ExB=G, so to prove (or disprove) his theory he would have to conduct an experiment that showed the gravitational pull exerted by an object is equal to it's electric field x magnetic field?

In any event according to the website the experiment with spheres is pretty dangerous so that might add some weight to your argument for darwinism ;)
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by:BigRat
BigRat earned 320 total points
ID: 13661297
From the site regarding E x B :-

The black "X" represents the cross product. Vector E cross vector B is equal to the Gravitational Field vector G in green. (This is not the small "g" which represents gravity, nor large "G" which represents the gravitational constant)

Now the real problem here is just EXACTLY what he means by E and B? If these two quantities are the traditional electric and magnetic vectors, then their traditional cross product is effectively an energy function denoting in time and space where the energy is going (see Maxwells work, inter alia). In fact this is actually called the Poynting Vector and actually has units of power per area. He wants to call this a gravitational field vector (no objection) and then says that it points to where the gravity comes from.

Now traditionally gravity comes from mass, to an extent from energy, and the gravitational field vector is a function describing the potential mass action at a distance. But mass does not come into E nor B, so his "gravitational field vector" is not the traditional one.

One must go further into the web site, keping in mind the renaming of the traditional terms until one comes across this gem :-

"The spherical integral of E cross B will define mass."
(http://www.grandunification.com/hypertext/ProblemsWithBOLPM.html#A%20new%20proportionality%20constant%20is%20needed)

Well, a sort of yeeeeeeeesss comes to mind. Since E/B effectively contain energy and traditionally there is a relationship between energy and mass, the yes they could just do that. BUT and it is a big BUT not without a quantization, because, if he wants the elementary particles to be products of his therory he'll have to introduce some sort of quantum mechanics.

And that is where the "grand unification" falls down. (I mean other than not predicting the second law of thermodynamics).

But going back seventy years the comments of Sir James Jeans on Poyntings original work are, I think, noteworthy :-

"The integral of the Poynting Flux over a closed surface gives the total flow of energy into or out of a surface, but it has not been proved, and we are not entitled to assume, that there is an actual flow of energy at every point equal to the Poynting Flux. For instance, if an electrified sphere is placed near to a bar magnet, this latter assumption would require a perpetual flow of energy at every point in the field except the special points at which the electric and magnetic lines of force are tangential to one another. It is difficult to believe that this predicted circulation of energy can have any physical reality. On the other hand, it is to be noticed that such a circulation of energy is almost meaningless. The circulation of a fluid is a definite conception because it is possible to identify the different particles of a fluid; we can say for instance whether or not the particles entering a small element of volume are identical or not with an equal number of particles coming out, but the same is not true of energy."
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by:grg99
ID: 13661336
A few quibbles regarding his experiment:

(1)  In science it's considered proper to do the "null experiment" first.  That is, try it first with just turning the power supply on, no balls present.  Then try the power supply, balls but no wires.  Then try the power supply, just a single wire bridging the gap.  THEN try the full experiment.  Until you know the results for the first 3 cases, you have no valid reason to attribute the results to the final experiment!

(2)  Did he mention whether the balls are hollow or solid?  I don't recall.

(3)  Did he mention whether the balls are made of a ferromagnetic material?.  Didnt catch that.

(4)  Putting 26 volts across those balls is going to do one of three things:
     (a)  The resistance of those balls is going to be something less than a tenth of an ohm.  Power is E squared over R, so if he truly can maintain 26 volts across the balls, they're going to be dissipating about 26*26/0.1 or about 6760 watts.  That's a lot of heat.

     (b) It's unlikely the power supply in the picture can supply that many watts, so it's likely the power supply is going into a current-limiting mode, I'd guess at under ten amps.
     (c)  Even if the power supply can supply enough current, the wires are going to melt in a half a second or so.
     (d)  If the power supply can supply enough current, and the wires can carry the current, the balls are going to melt also.
      (e)  How come he didnt try measuring the magnetic fields in other directions?  

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by:Caltor
ID: 13661757
It is getting a bit over my head so I am content to content myself that his theory is wrong.
I would now appreciate some recommendations on how to split the points.
I think there have been 9 unique responders so would an equal split be fair?
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by:grg99
ID: 13662289
Pls give me a smaller share, I'm just an amateur scientist, with just three semesters of Physics.    Many of the other guyts sound like they actually know what they're talking about!

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by:nicholassolutions
ID: 13666040
>> Whilst I don't agree with all of your views on science and religion I don't want to have that discussion online.
>> I appreciate your detailed response
Just to be clear, I wasnt attempting to bash religion, and in fact, I'm one of the few scientists I know who actually doesn't get exhasperated by the idea of there being a God. There may well be a God, and honestly, some of the results of science can be so amazing that it can be hard to think otherwise. There's nothing wrong with believing in God or adhering to a religion. My point in discussing religion was only that it is a familiar case of a 'theory' (by which I mean a group of ideas that explain why the world is the way it is) not having the ability to make detailed predictions. Many scientists are quite religious, it's just that when they want to make scientific predictions, they use science. Anyways, I just wanted to clear up what I meant ;)
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by:SunBow
ID: 13683610
Caltor >  appreciate some recommendations on how to split the points.

This is your problem, based on your perception. I'm currently trying a weightin system, but its rather experimental yet.  This juggle is yours alone. (doen't mean I won't opt in to opine)

grg99 > Pls give me a smaller share,  

In that case, I'd nominate BigRat for the extra share, addressing diverse elements in a fashion that can be readily disputed or supported. On a similar line, I tend to weight based on contributions, such that, where a nicholassolutions would claim enumeration of a five points, I might try to weight that similar to five separate good comments, if I agreed with the count. Were I to think of it differently, perhaps as four or six separate treatments, I'd go with my perception.  This does not cease its being a juggle act.

I have no contribution of my own. Except for the thought that Einstein just may have completed his unification, and decided/chose to not tell, having moved on to different cares.
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by:Caltor
ID: 13695665
Ok. I'm going to do this as fairly as I can.
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by:nicholassolutions
ID: 13696491
thanks for the pts ;)
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by:Caltor
ID: 13696561
No problem. Just quick question:
"BUT and it is a big BUT not without a quantization, because, if he wants the elementary particles to be products of his therory he'll have to introduce some sort of quantum mechanics."
Doesn't he have a quantum with the photon? Or in his theory a single ball? Or is it all balls??
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by:BigRat
ID: 13705767
The problem with any theory is to cover the facts. The major fact which one has to contend with is quantum-electrodynamics. We need an explaination of the Balmer spectral lines, we need an explaination of the photoelectric effect, and particularly the color saturation effect, and a good atomic orbital theory so as to explain the elctronic and chemical properties of molecules (ligand field theory). Here the quantization of energy at the electronic level plays an important role. There are many other effects explained by atomic quantum mechanics which have benefited science and industry.

Furthermore when one starts to look at the heavy nucleons, their properties and decay products one is going to have to have some sort of quantum-chromodynamics to fit all this together.

The problem with an theory is, that unless it starts to predict things in a logically precise and measurable matter, it won't be taken seriously. Chemists have been using electro-quantum mechanics for around seventy years now with considerable success and they're not going to throw it all away just because somebody comes along with something new, and less still if it is radical. That is why String Theory still finds the going heavy and things like Wheeler space-time are considered esoteric even though Archibald Wheeler is a well respected member of the research community.
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by:Caltor
ID: 13706165
I realise I am way out of my depth here.
"We need an explaination of the Balmer spectral lines"
The Balmer spectral lines is where the lines relate to some multiple of plancks constant h isn't it? IIRC it corresponds to the energy of the particle emitted when an electron deexcites to a lower electron shell in the atom?
So the ball of light theory has no way of predicting that observation?
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by:grg99
ID: 13706418
>So the ball of light theory has no way of predicting that observation?

There is no "ball of light" theory.  E x B has been already studied for many many decades and it is nowhere near equal to any thing to do with gravity.   If the poor sod had been just a little bit cleverer, he'd have made up some equation that isnt so easily verifiable as totally loony.  As it is, the units don't make any sense, there's no gravity every found near E and B fields, and there's the slight glitch of gravity being 10000000000000000000000000000000  (10^40) times weaker than electromagnetic fields, something his formula overlooks.  By his formula, everytime you switched on a flashlight, most of the solar system would get sucked into it.  Doesnt fit very well with experiment.


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by:Caltor
ID: 13706515
I take it flashlights aren't in the middle of blackholes then!?!? :)
Thanks for the explanation. I can see clearly now. Promise I'm not using a flashlight though. Wouldn't want the destruction of the solar system on my conscience.
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by:BigRat
ID: 13708861
>>The Balmer spectral lines is where the lines relate to some multiple of plancks constant h isn't it?

Yes and no. Precisely put these lines appear (the original experiment) when hydrogen was subjected to an electric discharge. Now if the energy of a photon or light particle or even wavelet is hv where h is Planck's constant and v the frequency, why do we just get a set of lines instead of a continuous spectra? After all there is very little difference between hv and h(v+1).

Since all the lines for hydrogen, and other elements, can be calculated from a formula which uses a discrete set of numbers, one must ask oneself why a set of integers should be used. Nowadays the Bohr model of the atom has been greatly extended and investigated and we now have sets of quantum numbers which predict the lines and a lot of other things as well.

Now whether the energy is quantized or space (as in Wheeler space/time amongst others) and "Grand Unification Theory" must takes these simple things into consideration. Your link doesn't even attempt to start on this!
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by:Caltor
ID: 13709151
Wheeler space/time is a new one on me. I look forward to doing some research (read googling :) )on that.
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