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Common Misconceptions in Astronomy and Physics

Page history last edited by Ian Kimber 3 years, 7 months ago


Common Misconceptions in Astronomy and Physics



This is the completed Powerpoint presentation


Common Misconceptions in Astronomy and Physics


A page version of this is under development.  Also a new short version of the evolutionary cosmology concept is under development for a presentation in January


Common Misconceptions in Astronomy and Physics

Ian Kimber August 2020


Presentation aims

Part 1

  • A lot of scientific presentation concentrates on  the “Gee Whizz” and unexpected results in Astronomy, Quantum Physics and Gravitational Physics. 
  • They fail to include some of the more commonplace facts. 
  • This can result in people’s understanding of the way things really work becoming distorted. 
  • I hope that this talk will put things into a more realistic Perspective.

Part 2

  • I then propose to show you some very recent growing points of scientific understanding of the universe. This will lead on to part 3

Part 3

  • Finally I will show you something about my own innovative thinking on this subject leading to what what I think could lad to a complete theory of everything and a truly evolutionary form of cosmology.  Where Our universe is in fact creating many universes similar to itself during its active life.



The Myth Of Schrodinger’s Cat

  • I will start with the most obvious example.
  • This is a classical case of a scientific thought experiment “illustration” being taken seriously by ordinary people.
  • The cat certainly “knows” if it is alive or dead.
  • If it is dead when I open the box a forensic scientist could tell me approximately when it died.
  • The truth is that it does not require a person to be the observer. A single particle interaction will do.
  • The real “observer” of the radioactive decay are the molecules of gas in the Geiger counter that trigger it to fire and cause the cat’s demise.

Another example of what I mean. 
Taken from a recent issue of a respected science periodical

This was the front page of the new scientist on 1st August 2020


The real truth is that the photon sphere of a black hole is visible.


This is where photons passing close to the black hole go into orbitThere are in fact several rings depending on the number of orbits each photon makes.  (6 days for M87).


These orbits in effect contain an image of the photons entering the black hole from different directions and could be considered as frames of a movie.


The possibility of ever resolving this information is vanishingly small.


It would be totally dominated by the violent activity close to the black hole.


The movie at best would be a small number of frames. 




Quantum theory explained

  • Richard Feynman said "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t.” 
  •  He also said “don’t try to understand the equations, they work,  shut up and calculate.”
  • To go against one of the best minds in physics is a bit daunting, however I will try.
  • I am one of the rapidly decreasing number of scientists who learned their quantum theory from first principles, before new approaches to simplify the notation hid a lot of the basic mathematics from students.
  • The important fact is that the basic equations of a quantum particle calculate the probability of finding that particle at a particular place and time involve quadruple integrals of the wave functions over all of space and all of time.
  • This means that every particle in the universe is in fact existing to some extent in all of space and all of time
  • String theorists favour a universe with ten dimensions, very considerably more than our normal three of space.  They envisage these as being compactified and this is often shown by small “knots” lying on a regular grid representing ordinary space.
  • This is a very bad way of illustrating this.  It is true some of these dimensions may be local, probably a second dimension representing closed orbits of energy for each of our normal three.  
  • This leaves four dimensions that must be “local” to every point in the universe to explain the instant non locality of entangled particles.  This will be returned to in Part 3.

Relativity 1

  • Relativity only applies to relative motions, accelerations and life histories.
  • One of the important features is “Reciprocity” things look the same in either direction
  • For particles moving together at closely similar velocities everything always looks normal. And time passes normally.
  • For fast moving bodies they are in fact “moving through the time dimension more slowly” rather than having their time slowed down.
  • Light travels through time at the speed of light.
  • So, a photon “experiences” no time between when it originated and when it next interacts with something even if this is 13 billion years later as in the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation.
  • The fact that a “stationary” observer at a distance may see time passing slower for things associated with the fast-moving object is largely only interesting to us as observers and irrelevant to the moving objects.
  • The fast-moving objects looking back at us would see exactly the same thing.
  • To understand what is important for fast moving objects we must look at things from their point of view



Relativity 2

  • The triplet resolution of the twin paradox.
  • The first of the triplets goes a long distance away with his clock at a very fast speed and stops with respect to the origin point at the destination.
  • Then radios back to say what the time on his clock is and less time has passed. The two way message includes a synchronisation signal to measure the transit time for light between the two (fixed) locations.
  • The second triplet goes away with his clock to meet the first twin and preforms exactly the same journey at exactly the same speed and on arrival check their clocks and find they are telling the same time.
  • They radio back to the third triplet and all find that exactly the same time has passed since the second triplet left and the clocks are still out of step by the same time as long as the time it takes for the radio messages to pass between them is taken into account (this can easily be done)
  • Both first and second triplets perform the exact reverse journey and when they arrive back they check with the third triplet and find that the time difference is now exactly twice what it was after the journey away.
  • What is the difference between the triplets who travelled and the one that stayed at home
  • The experienced the accelerations needed to travel away from and back to home.
  • The “aging” of every particle in the universe is individual and dependant on the accelerations and decelerations it has experienced.   This is demonstrated by cosmic ray mu mesons.

Relativity 3

  • Strict relativity only applies to an infinite universe in space and time.  
  • Our universe is clearly not infinite in space and time because it had an origin.   
  • The old question “Why is it dark at night?”  Because our universe had a beginning and is not infinite its size is limited by the speed of light and the time since the “Big Bang”
  • Because our universe had a beginning it does have a particular moment of time “now”  that can be measured from its beginning.
  • This unobservable moment is common throughout the entire universe.
  • We cannot have a location for the “big bang”, but we can measure our current velocity with respect to it by measuring it with respect to the cosmic microwave background.
  • We can also infer true velocities for other objects in the universe.
  • The Hubble constant measures the rate of expansion of space not a true velocity.  This space expansion can exceed the velocity of light.




Black holes 1

  • This is the most prolific source of misconceptions. There are a great many of them.
  • We can only experience our universe from the inside and not look at it from the outside. 
  • Even thinking of “looking into” a black hole is wrong.  There is no reason why we cannot consider modelling what will happen during the collapse.
  • You can only consider what is going on from the point of view of individual particles entering the black hole.
  • The event horizon is simply where the escape velocity from the black hole equals the velocity of light. Nothing more.
  • The conditions at the event horizon of a stellar mass black hole during and just after collapse are very violent, but nothing like as violent as the conditions created in the Large Hadron Collider.  Which are many orders of magnitude more violent.
  • There is therefore absolutely no reason that the laws of physics change in any way as the event horizon is crossed by particles.
  • There is no problem with predicting what goes on in the early stages of collapse.
  • How fast would it be travelling if a particle fell from rest into a black hole?   c/2



Black holes 2

  • Black holes suck everything in. WRONG.  It is very difficult to get into a black hole.  Because:- 
  • They are very small compared to their mass
  • It is very easy to have too much angular momentum to fall into them
  • For a good reference to help you understand black holes go to
  • https://www.vttoth.com/CMS/physics-notes/311-hawking-radiation-calculator
  • A typical stellar mass black hole is about 50 miles in Diameter
  • If material falling towards the black hole from a great distance has only the tiniest amount of angular momentum perpendicular to the direction of the hole it will miss it and go round it in an orbit like a comet.
  • Material falling in needs to lose this angular momentum by colliding with other material and throwing some of it out along the axis of the rotation of the black hole.  This is why forming stars and ”active”  black holes have bipolar jets coming from them.




Black Holes 3




Illkustrations to come








Antimatter 1

  • The “elephant in the room” of current cosmological theory.
  • Whenever energy is converted into matter it is always converted into equal quantities of matter and antimatter.
  • Electron Pair production by high energy cosmic rays in our atmosphere is a classic example.
  • When a particle interacts with its antiparticle, they both annihilate in a burst of energy, to return to the status quo.
  • A particle’s, antiparticle is that particle with its charge reversed, its spin reversed, and is travelling backwards through time  i.e. strict CPT inversion. 
  • In effect the particle and the antiparticle are travelling in opposite directions with respect to each other.  In practice the total residual momentum is shared, and if it is very high energy interaction the particles The excess momentum will be largewill end up travelling in a similar direction.

Antimatter 2

  • It is always assumed that in the “big bang”  equal quantities of matter and antimatter were created and that there was for some unknown reason a slight imbalance between matter and antimatter allowed some of the matter to survive annihilation.
  • Modern ultra high energy particle experiments have now proved that this is not the case and any asymmetry is far too small.
  • This clearly means that our currently accepted ideas about the “big bang” universe are in serious need of a major revision.
  • This is the end of the first part of this presentation
  • Current ideas are that the big bang expansion of a matter universe must be accompanied by a collapse towards a singularity of an antimatter universe.  These are coming from Neil Turok  of the Perimeter Institute
  • They also fit perfectly with my ideas of an evolutionary cosmology.

Part 2

  • A review of accepted ideas and problems that help lead to the final leap to a completely new cosmology
  • Most of the following ideas have been around for some time but the loose ends have been brushed under the carpet
  • Because many of them are rather mundane the science popularists have largely ignored them.

A little bit of Maths to start with


  • In everyday life we think of dimensions as the three orthogonal dimensions that we live in up/down, left/right, forwards/backwards.  We are also familiar with our unidirectional fourth dimension of time, past/now/future.
  • In mathematics dimensions are just independent factors that must be included in a mathematical model.
  • So when string theorists say we live in an eleven-dimensional universe we are not talking about eleven directions all intersecting at right angles  but that there are eleven critical factors needed to describe the properties of the universe.

Complex numbers

  • These involve the famous mystic number “i”  which is the square root of -1.
  • The simple fact is that they are a simple way of expressing cyclic motions that repeat themselves periodically like rotations and waves like the orbit of the moon  or light waves.  They in effect make ordinary numbers two dimensional.


Inside the event horizon of a black hole

Roger Penrose in his book “The Road to Reality” A complete guide to the Laws of the Universe.    That inside the event horizon of a black hole multidimensional space collapses and becomes  “time like” while Time expands and becomes multidimensional and “space like”

Other than the theoretical final state of the theoretical “singularity” no serious work on what happens inside the black hole has been done.

Collapse under inverse square law gravitational attraction produces a release of a large amount of energy. It is a constant value for the collapse of a fixed mass shell for every reduction in its radius to half of what it was. This tends to infinity as the radius tends to zero.

This means that the collapse to the theoretical singularity could release an infinite quantity of energy.  This is enough energy for a small black hole to originate a whole universe.

This energy is totally undetectable outside the event horizon. Gravity travels at the speed of light and just like light cannot get out of the event horizon.

Returning to dimensions

Possible space and Time 

dimensions in a stable 

and predictable Universe


“on the dimensionality 

of space-time.

By Max Tegmark

Tachyons are particles 

Travelling faster than light

Or backwards in time.

Another way of looking at 



The laws of physics in our universe

These laws are incredibly finely balanced to allow stars to form and create stellar mass black holes.

See Marin Rees  “Just six numbers”  and many other texts.

If these laws formed randomly our universe is incredibly improbable.

We have been here before the solution to the existence of complex life is evolutionary processes.

Several scientists in the field over many years have suggested this and ways this might happen suggested but so far nothing really plausible or provable has been found.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbYLTqvo774   Lee Smolin   4min

See also

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFgpKlcpzNM&vl=en       12 min



Relating all this to experimental 
and theoretical work 1

Current high energy physics is getting on well with defining the properties of particle interactions including the vital Higgs Boson.

Looking at this from the point of view of the big bang this represents what was going on during the period picoseconds to nanoseconds after the instant “now”.

It should be quite possible to model the processes going on inside a rotating (Kerr) black hole at least as far as this and also get a better idea of where any breakdown point is likely to be.

This should give a lot more insight into how to chose a string theory and a quantum gravitation theory from the vast number of potential theories generated by mathematical modelling

Not considering what is going on inside black holes as far as practical physics will take us is like saying the future of our universe is not interesting because it all ends in the inevitable heat death defined by thermodynamics.


Relating all this to experimental 
and theoretical work 2

String theories are all related to symmetries there are several different basic approach but the mot favoured one is called E8xE8.

This theory can produce a very good match to the physics of our universe but has a problem of a full set of “ghost” particles that are not normally detectable within the universe.

There are several disconcerting and unexplained results in cosmic ray particle analysis. These are stimulating theoreticians.

Firstly, a significant number of the highest energy particles appear to be antiparticles and the energy suggests that the cannot have travelled a long way before being detected because the extremely high energy implies a High level of interaction with the cosmic microwave background which would cause a rapid loss of energy.

Secondly the ice cube neutrino detector in Antarctica is occasionally detecting extreme energy neutrinos exploding out of the earth. This also should not be possible for neutrinos passing through the earth.


This is the end of part 2

Beyond this point is my own personal hypothesis of a full evolutionary cosmology and not part of current thinking.

I do not dispute any current experimental or theoretical work I am just trying to tell the experts that there a few “dark corners” that they should look into a bit more closely.

A lot of my ideas have been published on the web for many years and I have been seriously asking for others to prove my thinking incorrect.  So far I have had no takers.

However the recent progress has enabled a lot of loose ends to be sorted out and I am seriously looking for proper peer review of my work.

An Evolutionary Cosmology

We now have the possibility of considering the possibility of a truly evolutionary cosmology.

When a stellar mass black hole forms in our matter universe the collapse inside the event horizon causes energy to be released from the gravitational field to create a new expanding antimatter universe with the dimensions of space and time exchanged and time effectively reversed.

This is exactly the same way that a collapsing antimatter black hole drove the expansion of our universe.  

There are in effect three complex dimensions of both space and time.

How does this idea fit in with current knowledge?

It helps to explain dark energy because half the energy in the universe is locked in with the antimatter particles that are in the collapsed dimensions of time and exist in the moment “Now” that is common throughout the universe.

These particles are all entangled with the particles in our universe.

This provides a full and understandable explanation of superposition and entanglement in quantum theory.

It explains the high energy cosmic ray particle problem. Because particles falling into the black hole after the new universe has formed will be of the opposite kind to the current expanded universe and will appear randomly anywhere in the universe.

It has ten complex dimensions of space four of which are compactified in the moment now of the universe and one linear (episodically reversable) dimension of time.

Redrawing the diagram

Where does cosmic Inflation fit into this?

What about Quantum gravity

The Laws of Thermodynamics

Whilst it is true  that you 

Can’t Win  and 

Can’t even break even


The second law of thermodynamics

ONLY.  True for Non interacting particles


Evolutionary cosmology references in popular periodicals

NS 11 April 2020  Welcome to the Antiverse.  John Cartwright ref Neil Turok & Latham Boyle

NS  Lee Smolin   24 Aug 2019  Have we got The Universe the wrong way round

This is the end 
of the story so far











A lot of scientific presentation concentrates on  the “Gee Whizz” and unexpected results in Astronomy and quantum Physics.  This can result in people’s understanding of the way things really work becoming distorted.  


It is hoped that this talk will put things into a more realistic Perspective.


Topics list


Dimensions and complex numbers




The second law of thermodynamics

ONLY.  True for Non interacting particles


Relativity only applies to relative motions accelerations and life histories

For particles moving together everything always looks normal.

Fast travel through space involves some travel through time but time still exists separately from this


Strict relativity only applies to an infinite universe in space and time.  Our universe is clearly not infinite in space and time because it had an origin   

“why is it dark at night” is an old proof of this.


This origin was very precisely defined  and this (non observable) moment "now" continues to exist in time throughout the universe


We may not know a location for the origin of the universe but everything can know its velocity with respect to the cosmic microwave background



We can only experience a universe from the inside and not look at one from the outside. 

Thinking of looking into a black hole is wrong. 


You can only consider what is going on from the point of view of a particle entering the black hole


Black holes suck everything in. WRONG.  It is very difficult to get into a black hole





Multiple dimensions. small wrapped up dimensions are really small!


The myth of Schrodinger’s cat and the “observer”


Black hole universe



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