The Higgs Fiasco and the Electric Sun [ w/ videos]

Famed physicist and science writer Michio Kaku said it best: if physics doesn’t discover the Higgs Boson Particle it would be a “disaster” for modern physics. The entire edifice of cosmology we’ve been taught to believe real – from the Big Bang to black holes, dark matter and dark energy, it all collapses.

Well, the most highly touted scientific breakthrough of the year, the discovery of the Higgs Boson Particle by the CERN supercollider facility in Switzerland, is one of two things: the confirmation of physics, an event of such magnitude that physics will have to wonder what they’re going to do with themselves – or a fiasco that announces a “tipping point” in physics, which would then have to crumple a century’s worth of theory and toss it into the trash can, starting over from scratch. There is a renegade group of scientists who firmly believe the latter will be the case. They brandish the theory that the universe is primarily electric, not gravitationally-driven, and their star witness is very much a star: none other than the Sun.

The Sun's corona, one of numerous phenomena unexplained by the Standard Model of physics, which Higgs has "proven."
The Sun’s corona, one of numerous phenomena unexplained by the Standard Model of physics, which Higgs has “proven.”

The Higgs particle is the final, and necessary subatomic particle postulated by physics, the final member of a family that includes not only the familiar proton, neutron, and electron, but also the neutrino and the quark. Among these particles, the Higgs’ role is critical: it supplies mass; indeed, it explains why there are objects with mass in the universe at all.

So what is the problem? The problem is that the actual results announced by CERN do not match the Higgs field as it was advertised. Once the data from the summer announcement was finally released to the public in November,

The original Higgs data from back in July had shown that the Higgs seemed to be decaying into two photons more often than it should—an enticing though faint hint of something new, some sort of physics beyond our understanding. In November, scientists at the Atlas and LHC experiments updated everything except the two-photon data. This week we learned why.

Yesterday researchers at the Atlas experiment finally updated the two-photon results. What they seem to have found is bizarre—so bizarre, in fact, that physicists assume something must be wrong with it. Instead of one clean peak in the data, they have found two. There seems to be a Higgs boson with a mass of 123.5 GeV (gigaelectron volts, the measuring unit that particle physicists most often use for mass), and another Higgs boson at 126.6 GeV—a statistically significant difference of nearly 3 GeV.

This is explained as “a statistical fluke” or the result of a mechanical error. The CERN Large Hadron Collider team has announced that it will iron out these problems before March, when it plans to announce its success in finding the elusive particle. Others aren’t so sure. Science writer Michael Moyer observes “But more data has now arrived, and the blip hasn’t gone anywhere. The Higgs boson continues to appear to be decaying into two photons nearly twice as often as it should.”

This raises an ominous question: Are two different Higgs Boson particles any Higgs Boson particle at all? Have physicists simply discovered yet another of an infinite regression of particles? Have they discovered anything important at all?

Michael Moyer has his doubts. So does science writer Michael Slezak, noting that

The Higgs boson is sending mixed signals: its mass seems to vary depending on how it is measured. What’s more, oddities in the way it decays into other particles, first noticed when the team at the Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery of a new boson in July, do not seem to be going away.

It would be too much to say that either Moyer or Slezak doubt the Higgs discovery or the Standard Model generally. However, there is at least one school of scientists that entertains something considerably stronger than doubt. They’re ready to call the entire project of cosmology since Einstein fundamentally misguided. According to them, there are no black holes, no dark matter or energy, and there never was a Big Bang. According to this school of thought, all this is a misinterpretation of scanty experimental data.

In fact, according to them, it is something worse. Modern physics as we understand it, as has been explained to the public by science-spokesmen like Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Brian Greene, is almost entirely a product of mathematical modeling which decades ago unmoored itself from any responsibility to make deductions based upon observed data coming from nature. And the universe they describe looks quite different from the universe with which we have come to be familiar.

They are the Plasma Cosmology school, or, more popularly, the Electric Universe school. They claim to have observed anomalies all across the universe, things observed through telescopes that cannot be explained by the Standard Model. They claim a winning of streak of predictions they have made that have been confirmed, to the consternation of physics who live by the Standard Model. Such anomalies include the results of the Deep Impact collision on Comet Tempel One; they include galaxies that are redshifting at different speeds – according to what we have been told about the nature of redshifting – but which are visibly connected to each other.

Above all, they include the Sun, which has a number of features that have no satisfactory explanation according to the Standard Model. The Standard Model, which holds that the heart of the Sun is a fusion reactor, has great difficulty explaining why the solar atmosphere is millions of degrees hotter than the surface; why the corona exists at all; what sunspots are, and why, while being the parts of the Sun closest to the interior, are the coolest parts of the Sun’s surface; why the solar wind accelerates when it leaves the Sun; why the Sun has differential rotation at different latitudes; and several other features.

The core thesis of Electric Universe cosmology is that the predominant force in the Universe is not, as the Standard Model would have us believe, but rather, a vastly more powerful force: electromagnetism. The consequences of this difference are enormous. For instance, we now have a Sun whose power does not come from within it, but from outside. Both the Sun and other generators of power in the universe – Black Holes, pulsars, quasars, etc. – are rather to be understood as nodes in a cosmic webwork of electrical filaments spanning the universe. A star like our Sun is best understood as a node where two or more such filaments meet in space.

Electric Universe advocates point to more. They claim to have produced scalable examples of the Sun, the galaxy, and other bodies in laboratory experiments, using nothing but Electric Universe principles. Accordingly, they hold in polite scorn the physics we have come to know as a sort of elephantiasis of mathematics, in which anomalies are explained away by ad hoc speculation. Particles such as the Higgs Boson particle are perfect examples of such speculation. No one has actually observed them. They were inferred mathematically, then “proven” through experiments that offered various forms of indirect proof. Indirect -and, as we have seen with the Higgs, inexact as well.

The stakes are high, so the resistance is fierce. If the Electric Universe people are right, all physicists now working, are working on nothing; all physics students are learning nothing; enormous sums of money have been allocated for nothing. A scientific crisis quickly morphs into a vast professional crisis. And we who simply wish to learn about the universe will have to start over again from scratch.

by Todd Jackson

34 Responses to "The Higgs Fiasco and the Electric Sun [ w/ videos]"

  1. Hawaiiguy Kailua   October 24, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Thats the unrealistic problem in a nut shell, modern science has a lot of good data and adding plasma cosmology will only help to make a more complete model. I know the EU scientists, and they really are brilliant, would gladly work within modern cosmology to help build toward a greater understanding for future generations. They know gravity is there, but they also know it has never been explained as to “how” its there. That modern physics have spent almost zero time on the true origin of gravity, is just another in a long line of “kick the can and invent the road as you go”. I welcome EU science, its fascinating, ground breaking (even though its actually over 150 years old), sensical, observable and it will only help in our understanding of the cosmos. And thats what science is supposed to be about, isn’t it?

  2. pm   September 18, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Plasma Cosmology and the Electric Universe share some ideas in comment, but are different theories. The former was developed by Nobel Winner Hannes Alfven, and can be read about in many peer reviewed journals. The latter is relatively new, and just states that electric fields and current play a significant role in astronomy.

  3. The Mad Hatter   February 14, 2013 at 1:57 am

    I think Mem was being ironic. Of course you’ll never see black holes by definition. The mainstream view requires you to “see” several examples of new physics: dark matter, dark energy, and neutronium (neutron stars), none of which have an iota of physical evidence.

    Alice in Wonderland said that “one can’t believe impossible things”, although the White Queen replied that “sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast”. The Standard Model is cross between Wonderland and the Dark Side from Star Wars.

    • Matt Butcher   February 14, 2013 at 2:38 am

      Ahh… Apologies to all concerned. It can be difficult to get the intonations from this kind of thing and it can be confusing when put into the EU context because of all the flak it gets. Thanx Mad Hatter. Sorry Mem.

  4. Matt Butcher   February 14, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Dear Mem, your comment is as piontless as saying ‘please focus on god. Eventually you’ll see him.’ You’re clinging to a belief system. Let it go and look out of the window…

  5. Mem   February 13, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Please, focus on the blackhole. Eventually you’ll see it.

  6. Pete Richter   February 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    LOL, Electric Universe advertisements are funny. I can’t believe this got into an actual news article, but whatever.

    • Dr. Paul J. Werbos   February 14, 2013 at 5:13 am

      I did check the story a bit further. The part about two HIggs channels was most interesting,
      but it tracks back to an article in Scientific American. So far as I can tell, the invocation of Kaku was quite misleading. On balance, however, it is easy enough to filter out the misleading part, and for me it was a good thing that the story was published.

  7. nik   January 10, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Electric Universe makes more sense than the Big Bang thing, that’s for sure. The Big Bang in my opinion is and always was the kind of theory the future will laugh about – it’s childish, like the belief that the sun rotates around the earth, or that the earth is flat.

    But be that as it may what never ceases to amaze me is how “science” does not like to adhere to the most basic of scientific principles: The openness to new ideas, and the neutral evaluation of facts. These principles are the basis of modern science, yet they are ignored completely, if not turned on their heads.

    Physicists hang on to their theories even though all the generations before them have been wrong about the most basic things. If you come up with an alternative view of the universe, they call you crazy. Western Medicinal science does the same when I tell them Reiki works.

    A real scientist who has spent 50 years researching traditional physics would call the day that it was revealed that all that they ever learned was wrong the most exciting day of their life.

    • Dr. Paul J. Werbos   January 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      This is a really great statement by Kaku (though I figure I should be agnostic on the issue of Big Bang or no Big Bang at this point). If I had seen this statement earlier… I would have made more of a point of trying to talk to him, when we both attended a Humanity 3000 meeting a few years ago. (Still, the link to the original would be interesting.) The observation of maybe TWO HIggs channels is especially exciting to me, since I just predicted that in a paper I submitted just a few weeks ago, for theoretical reasons. Re the Big Bang, I have been troubled that the more recent “decisive proofs” seem to involve a whole lot of interpolated data, based on theories about Type … supernovas; I have wondered whether alternative models, going back to the raw data, might do as well or better, using statistical tests related to the original data. I am sorry that I have not seen the right kind of comparison either by advocates or by opponents of Big Bang. But I have not spent anywhere near as much time on that kind of issue as on issues related to Higgs and such.

    • Reid Barnes   January 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      Are we clinging to conclusions taken from ‘red shift’ measurements that show that the cosmos matches Euclidean 3-space but is given age estimates based on self-contradicting non-Euclidian geometry that produces relativistic space-time stretching? The answers have been obscured because of misconceptions spawned by flawed non-Euclidean geometry in the theory of relativity. Are we ready for a galaxy formation paradigm shift? Check out this FB Note:

    • E.R.   January 21, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      Hear, hear!

  8. JFGBDET   January 1, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Don’t panic, or Huzzah. You all know the past hundred years of “science” is but a twinkling of understanding in the context of an infinite expanse of time and space. What we accomplish during our brief lives should not be celebrated as right or wrong. It is but a scatter plot on some graph, of which we see only a portion. It is The Pursuit of meaning and knowledge, not their absolute definition, that is of ultimate value.

  9. Harold P. Jackson   December 31, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    The Elecric Universe proponents can demonstrate in a laboratory those physical phenomenona which occur in the Cosmos. Please pay attention. You may learn something.

  10. Matt Campbell   December 31, 2012 at 6:10 am

    I have been a “fringe pseudo scientist” for fifty years and I’ll choose the EU over the SM. We may be called coocoo, but it does not change the reality. It is a step better than being burned at stake I suppose.

  11. Chuck Anziulewicz   December 31, 2012 at 5:26 am

    He who controls Magnesium controls the Universe!

  12. David Kennerly   December 31, 2012 at 2:19 am

    The first appearance of the name “Velikovsky” finally roused me from my credulous stupor. They did have me going there, for a bit!

  13. David D.   December 31, 2012 at 1:22 am

    The knee-jerk rejection of the Electric Universe from so many quarters should raise alarm bells, especially given its steady and growing support and, moreover, its many successful predictions which are now well documented and undeniable … and yet continue to be denied by the blind followers of prevailing dogma. The EU has a simple and winning formula – sceince based on evidence and observation; not speculative, abstract mathematics with no plausable basis in reality. It’s proving difficult to turn the gravy train around though.

  14. John Eubanks   December 31, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Exactly 98 percent of the Higgs research is significantly flawed. The Electric Universe theory is actually 99.314 percent flawed. Therefore the Higgs research is more better. I base these figures on pretty much nothing. That’s right, pulled them right out of – outer space.

    • John Eubanks   December 31, 2012 at 12:20 am

      Oh, and the Answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything is 42. Needed to be said.

  15. Tony Spud   December 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    How nice of them to provide us with musical enhancement to the videos, so that at least 3 words in every 10 are lost in noise. I’ll wait for a print version – if there ever is one.

  16. Whys   December 30, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Many thanks to the author. I feel like I’ve been the only one saying it.

  17. Jose Ortiz Physics Undergrad   December 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I think the next generation of discoveries in the physical sciences will be from studying emergent phenomena, learning the secrets behind the most complicated hidden dramas in the universe, using computers.

  18. Ursus Orribilus   December 30, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    The plasma theory (Electric Universe) seems to me more elegant and intuitive than the Standard Model theory of the universe. That said, in the four videos of The Electric Universe presented here, the music is fatally distracting, because in much of it, the voices of the narrators are drowned out by the overloud music. This seems to be a prevalent practice in too many of the cosmology video lectures I find all over the internet. The use of background music in these lectures is as much a violation of Occam’s Razor as calling the Higgs boson the ‘God particle’ is.

  19. Am_Sci   December 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    The Electric Universe is fringe stuff that explains nothing. Even if the Standard Model needs to be adjusted, there is no reason to start taking cranks seriously.

    • John Major Ph.D   January 11, 2013 at 8:09 am

      Your statements are easily contradicted. Over 99% of the visible universe is in the plasma state. By definition, plasma responds strongly to electromagnetic forces more than gravitation forces. Gravity is dominant where matter is both neutral, and larger in size than grains.

      You start taking new people seriously when you have to invent stuff to support a theory, eg., dark matter and dark energy (never seen in the labs), neutron stars (unstable in the lab), black holes (invisible, and powerless against electromagnetic jets).

      • Dr. Paul J. Werbos   January 11, 2013 at 8:37 am

        There certainly are cranks who believe in the electric universe, or who have doubts about the Big Bang, but there are also cranks who believe in the US Constitution and cranks who believe in a great moment of creation. I suspect that Kaku would want us to look at some other version of his side of the story, besides emotional appeals against neutron stars. Is there a way to get to a more rational dialogue?

        • John Major Ph.D   January 11, 2013 at 8:48 am

          There are cranks who believe all kinds of things, Doesn’t make them necessarily wrong. The electric universe seems to be consistent with a lots of astrophysics, and inconsistent with others. Seems no different to the Standard theory. Science and reason are the final arbiters.

  20. John Bailo   December 30, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Man, I’m so glad I switched my major to Bio back in the day to wait this stuff out.

  21. Jeff Boerst   December 30, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Multiple Higgs is what is predicted by super symmetry per string theory, so if there ARE more than one, then string theory finally has an empirical way to be studied… The electric universe idiots are fringe pseudo scientists at best, as proven by their neglect to mention this all to important detail.

    • Don Schultz   December 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      I fail to appreciate your criticism of “fringe pseudo scientists” since String Theory proponents might be included indeed be whacks searching for parallel universes.

      • Don Schultz   December 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm

        I fail to appreciate your criticism of “fringe pseudo scientists” since these might include String Theorists searching for parallel universes.

  22. Reid Barnes   December 30, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Has a misconception spawned by non-Euclidean geometry in the theory of relativity been holding back the search for the Higgs? Check out the Facebook Note:

  23. Dr. Paul J. Werbos   December 30, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Hey, neat! To solve certain mathematical problems, I submitted a paper last week with four alternative tweaks of the Higgs field, two of which (including the most promising one) required TWO Higgs fields, closely related, not quite the same. I wish I had cited this new empirical work. It does change things — not by unleashing “chaos” in the model but by making things more integrated. (Though chaos theorists might like the model.)


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