Quasar observed in six separate light reflections

Aug 07, 2013
Quasar observed in 6 separate light reflections
Due to the special gravitational lens effect where light is bent as it passes heavy objects, such as galaxy clusters, a group of physics students at the Niels Bohr Institute observed a quasar whose light was reproduced six times. This has never been seen before. Credit: Håkon Dahle, Nordic Optical Telescope

(Phys.org) —Quasars are active black holes—primarily from the early universe. Using a special method where you observe light that has been bent by gravity on its way through the universe, a group of physics students from the Niels Bohr Institute have observed a quasar whose light has been deflected and reflected in six separate images. This is the first time a quasar has been observed with so many light reflections. The results are published in the scientific journal, Astrophysical Journal.

A group of 3rd-year astrophysics students at the Niels Bohr Institute went on a weeklong course to make observations at the Nordic Optical Telescope, NOT, on La Palma in Spain. Four of the students wanted to do a project together and they discovered a new and exciting observation that the Norwegian astronomer Hakon Dahle had recorded, but had not yet made a further study of.

"Just like 'ordinary' researchers, they then had to make an application for observation time at the Nordic Optical Telescope," explains Professor Johan Fynbo, who was their supervisor at the summer course.

The students were granted observation time and already the first night there was exciting news in the telescope.

"We had three hours to observe and already after one hour we had the first spectrum. It was a new experience for us, but we could see immediately that it was a quasar. A typical characteristic of a quasar is that the has broad emission lines from gas close to the black hole. We were very excited and moved on to the other 'candidates' from observation and later that night we found yet another of the quasar," explains Thejs Brinckmann, one of the astrophysics students working on the project. The other students in the group were Mikkel Kristensen, Mikkel Lindholmer and Anders Nielsen.

Extremely Luminous Quasars

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Animation of the gravitation lens effect

The light they observed came from a quasar, which is an active, at the center of a . Such active, supermassive swallow gas from its surroundings. Due to the tremendous gravitational pull, the gases are pulled from the surrounding region into the black hole with incredible speed and gases near the black hole are heated to millions of degrees. This extremely hot gas emits radiation, which then heats the enormous dense clouds of dust and gas that circulate at a slightly greater distance from the black hole. The heat causes the gas to light up with incredibly powerful emission of light—stronger than the light from many galaxies.

Quasars are thus extremely luminous and can be observed across the entire universe. But light does not always move in a straight line. Light is affected by the gravity of objects it encounters in its path.

"The light from this quasar has been travelling for more than 11 billion years en route to Earth. Between the quasar and Earth is a collection of hundreds of galaxies—a . This galaxy cluster has so much gravity that it pulls the light from the quasar. So instead of radiating in straight lines from the quasar, the light is deflected in an arc around the galaxy cluster. In this way, one can observe not just one, but several images of the same quasar. This is called the gravitational lens effect," explains Johan Fynbo.

Measured Several Spectra

During the allotted observation time over three nights, the four students took spectra of four different images that could stem from the same quasar.

"We analyzed the spectra and we could see that three of the spectra stemmed from the quasar," explains Thejs Brinckmann.

When the Norwegian astronomer Hakon Dahle, who had originally discovered the sources of the quasar, heard about the students' observations, he thought they were so exciting that he decided to study the field further. When he went to NOT a month later, he observed three other so-called 'candidates' for the quasar and they all proved to be from the same quasar.

Never Before Observed

"This is the first time that a quasar has observed whose light has been reflected or 'lensed' in six separate images," explains Johan Fynbo. 'Lensed' are rare and you typically see two or three light-reflections. Six images of the same quasar have never been observed before.

In addition to the quasar itself, you also get other interesting information. A quasar varies in brightness and you can measure that there is a different arrival time for the light from the different observations, because the light paths are not of equal length. In this way you can calculate the geometric model of the light's path. You can also calculate the mass of the galaxy cluster and you can calculate what is called the Hubble parameter, which tells us about the expansion of the universe.

It has been an incredible experience for the students. "It is amazing to be allowed to participate in something that is relevant to research so early in our education," says Thejs Brinckmann, whose appetite for a future as a researcher has been whetted even more.

Explore further: Planets with oddball orbits like Mercury could host life

More information: Article in the Astrophysical Journal: dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/773/2/146

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El_Nose
not rated yet Aug 07, 2013
and here i was hoping that we had seen the first evidence of light wrapping around the universe and coming in from the other side --- ahh well... the simplist explanations are the best
cantdrive85
1.6 / 5 (17) Aug 07, 2013
"The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend."
ROBERTSON DAVIES
sstritt
1 / 5 (9) Aug 07, 2013
Title and article repetedly refer to light reflected by lensing effect. It is refraction, NOT reflection!
TheWalrus
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 07, 2013
"Using a special method where you observe light that has been bent by gravity on its way through the universe, a group of physics students... have observed a quasar ..."

Does this site have an editor?
md444444444
1.4 / 5 (19) Aug 07, 2013
Stephen J. Crothers offers links to all the original research papers that prove black holes have no basis in theory, and neither Einstein nor Galileo's theories predict them. Please read the papers before you dismiss them, and this comment. sjcrothers.plasmaresources.com
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (17) Aug 08, 2013
Re: "A quasar varies in brightness and you can measure that there is a different arrival time for the light from the different observations, because the light paths are not of equal length."

So, the "lensed" quasars exhibit differences -- which begs the question of whether or not they are truly sourced from just one object.

Re: It has been an incredible experience for the students. "It is amazing to be allowed to participate in something that is relevant to research so early in our education,"

Teaching a particular inference as though it is the only possible one is not how we generate scientists who will one day unify physics. Our goal of unifying physics demands that we train students to critically and effectively question the existing theories. The students should necessarily be informed of the larger debate on quasars, given that we expect them to fix the mistakes we've left them with ...

http://www.hilton...0001.htm
Q-Star
2.8 / 5 (16) Aug 08, 2013
Re: "A quasar varies in brightness and you can measure that there is a different arrival time for the light from the different observations, because the light paths are not of equal length."

So, the "lensed" quasars exhibit differences -- which begs the question of whether or not they are truly sourced from just one object.


Ah, come on now, ya know that is a silly argument to refute the article. The differences are in arrival time to observer. The fact that a very complex phenomenon is reproduced exactly with with different arrival times to the collector shows they most probably came from the same source.

If I mailed ya a letter with nothing but "xtoarmqarvematabal18290364212331893645" in it and ya received it on Friday,,,,,, then ya receive a letter on Saturday containing only "xtoarmqarvematabal18290364212331893645" and nothing else,,,, how foolish would ya have to be to think they didn't have a common origin?
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (16) Aug 08, 2013
The problem here is that your example does not exclude the possibility of pairs of quasars being ejected at the same time, and undergoing changes in redshift together over time -- as has been argued by Arp. From the Hilton Ratcliffe link ...

--

Hubble's original redshift data were described by Weinberg [2] as leaving him "perplexed how he (Hubble) could reach such a conclusion—galactic velocities seem almost uncorrelated with their distance, with only a mild tendency for velocity to increase with distance." Hubble himself remained unconvinced that the Doppler effect correctly explained his observations.

[...]

The crucial implication of this was that it was impossible to test redshift-expansion against parallax distance measures, the most reliable method for quantifying celestial remoteness ... Given that uncertainty increases dramatically with remoteness on all axes, it would appear that the Hubble relationship fits where it is tested least.

[...]

HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (16) Aug 08, 2013
[...]

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and the Centre for Astrophysics (CfA) survey, as two examples of modern works, have given us 3 dimensional interpretations of pie slices of the universe that rest, or fall, with redshift distance. All these mentioned surveys produced peculiar patterns when arranged spatially according to redshift, and even more obvious anomalies where resolution permitted detection of material connections between bright objects.

[...]

If one plots quasars' redshift against apparent brightness, as Hubble did for galaxies, one gets a wide scatter, as compared with a smooth curve for the same plot done for galaxies. This seems to indicate that quasars do not follow the Hubble law

[...]

Adopting a strict velocity interpretation of galaxy redshifts requires that as a group the giant Sb galaxies are approaching the Milky Way with a mean velocity of -898 km s-1 while the giant ScI galaxies are receding from the Milky Way with a mean velocity of +824 km s-1."
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (16) Aug 08, 2013
[...]

The implication of Russell's last sentence is crucial—the standard redshift interpretation of velocity would have us believe that galaxies migrate peculiarly by type! The notion of species-dependent universal expansion is an exceptionally strong argument against the Hubble Law.

[...]

Whichever way we treat quasars in cosmological modelling, they are peculiar. If they are distant, they are too bright to be true, and if they are nearby, they call for extraordinary physics to explain ejection. The holographic map of galaxy clusters in redshift space produces fingers and pancakes that point towards us in a way that exaggerates our significance in the scheme of things, and in any event are unlikely to exist in real space. Additionally, the possibility of super-galactic-scale structure weighs against the Cosmological Principle.

--
HannesAlfven
1.8 / 5 (16) Aug 08, 2013
This is more than enough reason to exhibit caution on how we are teaching students to think about the space sciences. We really have a very serious culture problem within our university settings. We are training our scientists to favor the dominant worldview, and even selecting PhD candidates who refuse to "get political". We're creating a continued future of ideological discrimination where fitting into the community is plainly perceived to be more important than critical questioning and thinking.

It's completely unethical to avoid teaching these students about the presence of controversy associated with our dominant theories, for this definitively affects the sorts of questions they will ultimately ask. The students are being used as tools to support the existing theories, and it's being done without their knowledge or acceptance. It's very hard to call this education. Authentic education involves the creation of students who can think for themselves.
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (16) Aug 08, 2013
Even those who personally favor the dominant expanding universe theory should nevertheless plainly observe the danger of teaching ideology as though it is not born of any worldview at all. A fully educated student would be fully aware of the underlying motivations which led to our current beliefs about space. The price of creating ideologically disciplined thinkers within the space sciences is a future for these disciplines which looks startlingly similar to the 4% universe we are currently stuck with. The only way to get out of the current situation is to manufacture critical thinkers who are fluent in all of the most serious weaknesses in our theories. There's simply no other way.

The technical challenges which we see in these disciplines are simply the observable manifestation of underlying systemic educational dysfunction. Critical thinking is no longer valued in cosmology or astrophysics. Legacy and ideology now dominate the educational process.
Gmr
2.2 / 5 (13) Aug 08, 2013
Short HannesAlfven: Arp Arp Arp!
Q-Star
2.3 / 5 (15) Aug 08, 2013
The problem here is that your example does not exclude the possibility of pairs of quasars being ejected at the same time, and undergoing changes in redshift together over time


Take any two humans, (even twins) their DNA and their FINGERPRINTS are not identical. Without except ANY two astronomical objects will portray SOME differences. The trick is to knowing how to find the differences, and assess them for uniqueness.

By the By: No need to post one of your books in several pages, but would ya please tell me in less than 1000 words what ya mean by,,,,,

pairs of quasars being ejected at the same time


That is a nonsensical group of words.

cantdrive85
1 / 5 (14) Aug 08, 2013
The holographic map of galaxy clusters in redshift space produces fingers and pancakes that point towards us in a way that exaggerates our significance in the scheme of things, and in any event are unlikely to exist in real space.


"Most people today still believe, perhaps unconsciously, in the heliocentric universe..."
Hannes Alfven

Which one of you is Artemis, which is Apollo? The two of you sound , err look, so much alike.
Gmr
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 08, 2013


By the By: No need to post one of your books in several pages, but would ya please tell me in less than 1000 words what ya mean by,,,,,

pairs of quasars being ejected at the same time


That is a nonsensical group of words.



It is Arp. He has a broken record in his head that insists quasars are the ejecta of "active" galaxies all to rescue his prayers for a non-big-bang universe. Hannes is parroting him.
Q-Star
2.2 / 5 (13) Aug 08, 2013


By the By: No need to post one of your books in several pages, but would ya please tell me in less than 1000 words what ya mean by,,,,,

pairs of quasars being ejected at the same time


That is a nonsensical group of words.



It is Arp. He has a broken record in his head that insists quasars are the ejecta of "active" galaxies all to rescue his prayers for a non-big-bang universe. Hannes is parroting him.


Aaaah, silly me. So that means there are two people in the world that don't realize that a quasar IS an active galaxy. (Actually, from reading some of the "scientific" ramblings here, I suspect there may be more than two people who don't realize that.)

I wonder if they somehow think they have observed this spitting out process? I would like to see the spitting out of quasars, must be a beautiful thing sure. Most people theorized based on the phenomena we experience or at least is inferred indirectly from phenomena we observe.
Gmr
2 / 5 (12) Aug 08, 2013

I wonder if they somehow think they have observed this spitting out process? I would like to see the spitting out of quasars, must be a beautiful thing sure. Most people theorized based on the phenomena we experience or at least is inferred indirectly from phenomena we observe.


Well, throw out redshift data as a distance indicator and you, too can start seeing random superpositions as smoking guns whenever a quasar is within a few arc seconds of a galaxy.

It's magic what willful misinterpretation of data allows you to imagine!
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (13) Aug 08, 2013
"Arp has shown empirically, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that founding assumptions of the Big Bang and Expanding Universe theories are wrong. Redshift is not an exclusive indicator of velocity, expansion, or distance." Thornhill

http://www.holosc...-matter/

We know from experience empirical evidence means little to the relativist who prefers "thought experiments" for proof of is fantasy.

A little history of Halton Arp's career seems appropriate;
http://www.holosc...in-2009/

It seems the perverse gate keepers prefer to constrain science in favor of their grants, status, and self serving egos.
Gmr
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 08, 2013

It seems the perverse gate keepers prefer to constrain science in favor of their grants, status, and self serving egos.


Well dammit! My conspiracy check is late again! How am I supposed to bow in obescience to my Masonic overlords if I have to genuflect in last year's robes?
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (14) Aug 08, 2013
"This exceeds my imagination." Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
Q-Star
1.4 / 5 (11) Aug 08, 2013
Because each of six images of the above quasar passes different distance through vast cosmic space, they're mutually delayed by few years each other, so you can observe six different histories of the same quasar at the same moment.


Zeph, actually there is not much glean from the six different histories. The 1/2 to 3 or 4 light years of travel is less than a blink of an eye on the scale of such things. Look at Sirius tonight, and then look at Sirius in ten years, nothing will have changed that ya will be able to resolve.
Q-Star
2 / 5 (12) Aug 08, 2013
Well, if the quasar would suddenly explode, you would observe it like six consequential events during few months on the sky. .


I didn't know quasars were prone (or know to explode)? They do go quiet after a period of time, the prevailing theories are they are a rather short duration phenomena, 10 million years or so. (If ya consider that short, which less than the age of the dinosaurs.)

Do ya think we should watch all the quasars in real-time so we might see the "consequential events"? That sure seems like a lot of telescope time. (Considering there aren't that many telescopes capable of doing all this real-time observing.)
Q-Star
2.2 / 5 (13) Aug 08, 2013
So you can consider the observation of multiple quasar images both as the observational evidence of multiverse, extradimensions, multiple time arrows and both AdS/CFT duality, both holographic model - if you really have to...;-)


Or we could stick with the Occum's Razor approach. It's simple gravitational lensing, predicted 98 years ago. Confirmed 94 years ago. And reconfirmed dozens of times since 1979. It's well established science, only the technology to do it is new.

It's just a matter of sufficiently creative & consequential interpretation of it.


Why would one want to sufficiently create and consequentially interpret something that should be a simple and straight forward phenomenon? Hoof beats in Texas probably means horse, not unicorn (at the Dublin Zoo ya might consider a unicorn.)
Q-Star
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 08, 2013
The problem of well tested models and established interpretations is, they don't provide very far-seeing predictions -


I think ya are conflating astrological predictions with astrophysical ( or physical) predictions. Far-seeing is not a scientific approach to science. It's not like predicting a war or the demise of civilization.

but sometimes I'm quite surprised with unwillingness of physicists to find their evidence in routinely observed phenomena.


I thought ya were lamenting that that is what they are doing? Not being "far seeing" enough? Can't have it both ways Zeph.

Whis is quite striking in the light of the space and public attention, which these abstract models are getting in popular press.The contemporary theorists are really mentally separated from the reality,


I agree with that one,,,, I don't like the "esoteric in vogue" approach either. But the lay public wants to read these things, hyper-dimensions, multiverse, superstrings, etc. It sells.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (13) Aug 08, 2013
I agree with that one,,,, I don't like the "esoteric in vogue" approach either. But the lay public wants to read these things, hyper-dimensions, multiverse, superstrings, etc. It sells.


Well, we at least know what motivates you and your "peers". As you say, "it sells". You claim you don't like the esoteric, yet you sell it. Sounds like a snake oil salesman to me.

stellar-demolitionist
4 / 5 (4) Aug 09, 2013
(Franklins)

The unwillingness of physicists to find their evidence in routinely observed phenomena is the same, like not being "far seeing" enough. I don't see any contradiction here.


The routinely observed phenomena in all fields of science are essentially "tapped-out". The easy work has been done. What remains is hard and requires the study of the rare or the collection of large data.

Long ago we found all of the planets in our system. Then we found a few in others. Now we gather broad data to study the range of properties of stellar systems to understand how they form in general and how ours fits into the general picture.

Similar things are true about other areas of astronomy and cosmology.

The frontiers of scientific knowledge and understanding in astronomy and cosmology require observation of the rare and hard to obtain, as well as, broad surveys of what were once rare and difficult observations.
Greenwood
4.8 / 5 (4) Aug 09, 2013
In response to HannesAlfven's list of drivel.

The difference in delay is expected in GR.

Everyone know's Hubble's original work is nonsense, some of his measurements are actually wrong hence why his value was so large. We have better data.

No one would suggest using parallax to calibrate Hubble's law. Look up the distance ladder. These multiply lensed quasars can are actually a distance measure and can be used to determine the distance of the lensed quasar quite accurately.

"Peculiar" isn't objective. The appearance of connecting material doesn't make it so, It can simply be superimposed.

That would only prove there is not a luminosity/distance function for quasars, this is obvious in the fact their brightness can vary wildly. Not all objects have luminosity/distance function. Hubble's famous work did not do that for galaxies, that was earlier work...

Greenwood
5 / 5 (3) Aug 09, 2013
[cont.]Lastly I do have time to read that whole paper but you are taking things out of context. He applied selection rules to the sample of galaxies and seems to have used the Tully-Fisher relation to calculate the anomalous redshifts which he claims depends on type. So there need not be a type redshift dependence, he has introduced a dependence. You cannot then say if it was there before.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (10) Aug 11, 2013
Zeph, actually there is not much glean from the six different histories. The 1/2 to 3 or 4 light years of travel is less than a blink of an eye on the scale of such things. Look at Sirius tonight, and then look at Sirius in ten years, nothing will have changed that ya will be able to resolve.


I'll disagree with that claim. Astronomers have observed entire stars being eaten by an AGN in just a few days or weeks, in some cases maybe even just one day. So being able to observe a quasar with 6 different time delays could allow you to see the same even from 6 different angles (the light passing on one side of the cluster originated from the right surface of the source objects, while the light passing on the left side of the cluster originated from the left surfaces, etc, thus providing not only a time delay to see the quasar at 6 different times, but also the potential to construct a stereographic or holographic image of the galaxy, if an astronomer thinks to match events...
Lurker2358
1.7 / 5 (12) Aug 11, 2013
Franklins:

There is no need for a multiverse to explain the ability to observe the history of an object at 6 different time stamps simultaneously. We can do that with any ordinary object on Earth.

Suppose you have a photo album of your wife, and she has several photos from her childhood, teen years, early adulthood, the wedding, etc. Now put them all on one page and look at them. Viola. You just did the same thing as the galaxy lensing.

Don't be ridiculous man.

Multiverse is an excellent plot device in science fiction, but it gets too much attention in real physics.

You people complain about Christians doing the "God did it" argument, but the physicists have resorted to "an infinite multiverse did it" argument.

If you're looking for an outside explanation, Occam's Razor says one God doing it is more likely than an infinite multiverse doing it. In fact, it is actually infinitely more likely that one God was involved rather than an infinite multiverse...
Q-Star
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 11, 2013
Zeph, actually there is not much glean from the six different histories. The 1/2 to 3 or 4 light years of travel is less than a blink of an eye on the scale of such things. Look at Sirius tonight, and then look at Sirius in ten years, nothing will have changed that ya will be able to resolve.


Astronomers have observed entire stars being eaten by an AGN in just a few days or weeks, in some cases maybe even just one day. So being able to observe a quasar with 6 different time delays could allow you to see the same even from 6 different angles (the light passing on one side of the cluster originated from the right surface of the source objects, while the light passing on the left side of the cluster originated from the left surfaces, etc,


The light arriving from the right & left have the same source, & it's not six still-frames of a movie. Ya are seeing six copies of the same movie repeated at different times. That's how we infer they (six images) are one quasar.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Aug 12, 2013
Almost missed this bit in the article
and you can calculate what is called the Hubble parameter, which tells us about the expansion of the universe

Hadn't thought of that, but that IS clever. Light that has taken different amounts of time will have gone though space that has expanded differently and therefore be redshifted differently. With a bit of fennageling one could even use these multiple reflection to see if it is truly constant or if there's a local variability in the rate of expansion.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Aug 12, 2013
Re: "In response to HannesAlfven's list of drivel ... The difference in delay is expected in GR."

The problem, it seems, is that you're willing to go along with the addition of necessary dark matter -- but not to give competing paradigms a similar helping hand. It actually makes a joke of ad hoc modeling.

Re: "Everyone know's Hubble's original work is nonsense, some of his measurements are actually wrong hence why his value was so large. We have better data."

Yes, we hear this incessantly. And it's definitely true. But, there has also been a trend since that time to increasingly view the data through the lens of this paradigm. The paradigm literally alters the very data which is being taken. It's wrong to pretend for students that this is not happening.

Re: "No one would suggest using parallax to calibrate Hubble's law"

I know. Parallax only works to 1% the diameter of the Milky Way. The point made in the paper still stands, regardless.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
Re: "Look up the distance ladder. These multiply lensed quasars can are actually a distance measure and can be used to determine the distance of the lensed quasar quite accurately."

Yes, within the scope of the popularly assumed paradigm. You might want to get into the habit of asterisking such comments with that statement, in the event that students are being spoken to.

Re: ""Peculiar" isn't objective. The appearance of connecting material doesn't make it so, It can simply be superimposed."

Yes, it appears to be a matter of how much one cares to rescue the old paradigm from the data. Human motive seems to be the biggest factor.

Re: "That would only prove there is not a luminosity/distance function for quasars, this is obvious in the fact their brightness can vary wildly. Not all objects have luminosity/distance function."

So be it. The point still stands, however. It should (in theory) at least affect the questions we ask, as well as how we teach students.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Aug 12, 2013
It's important to note that this article is written about students being taught to interpret astronomical imagery by assuming the validity of the dominant paradigm. It's not clear from the article if the students are ever told about the existence of any controversy associated with quasars, and yet in many claims of lensing, dark matter is required to make the math work.

Note that some would call this sort of behavior reminiscent of the positivism which was used in the field of education to undermine the introduction of alternative educational theories. The insistence on teaching theory as if it is some absolute truth, without any mention of the numerous controversies associated with these theories, is not teaching people how to think. It's teaching people *what* to think.

The failure to analyze or even mention Arp's claims suggests to many of us a fear that students will believe him. Students who don't know exactly why they believe what they believe will fail to ask good ?'s.
Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 12, 2013
It's important to note that this article is written about students being taught to interpret astronomical imagery by assuming the validity of the dominant paradigm. It's not clear from the article if the students are ever told about the existence of any controversy associated with Halton Arp, and yet in many claims of lensing, dark matter is required to make the math work.


I can't speak to what those students are taught. But Arp's "anomalies with redshift" are discussed and taught to students at the University of North Carolina. It's very good teaching example of how observing a single or few "oddities" can lead ya astray if ya don't dig deeper. Arp was wrong. Showing students HOW & WHY he was wrong is part of the program at UNC. (But if ya are seeking an institution that teaches his mistakes as truth, I hope there are none,,,,, that is what the crank interweb sites are for and they do it well enough.)
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Aug 12, 2013
Also, teaching students to think exclusively within the existing paradigm is not what we would call "critical thinking". Critical thinking, by necessity, involves the questioning of paradigms.

The university system appears to introduce a contradiction: The system is designed to train students to "think like a scientist", and yet thinking like a scientist increasingly involves ideological beliefs. In other words, we are inviting students to get into the habit of taking assumptions for granted. The reason we do this is because this prepares them to fit into the larger communities within the organizations they will be involved in. We're training them to be disciplined "professionals" who can think within the cognitive box assigned to them.

But, it appears rather plainly that this is not how one would "unify" physics. So, take your pick: Teach for consensus, or unify physics. But, do not pretend that you can do both at once. Those of us watching all of this aren't that stupid.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Aug 12, 2013
Re: "But if ya are seeking an institution that teaches his mistakes as truth, I hope there are none,,,,, that is what the crank interweb sites are for and they do it well enough."

Um, you are fine with adding in dark matter to make the lensing theory work, but you are nevertheless certain that Arp's statistics must be wrong.

Why in the world do you support teaching ANY cosmology or astrophysics as if it represents some sort of truth? These are the most speculative branches of physics. Students should be very clearly shown where the uncertainty is, for part of their task will be to solve the theoretical problems we have left them.

To the extent that you teach something which is inherently uncertain as though it is certain, you're actually sacrificing society's chances of unifying physics for the sake of making sure that the students agree with the dominant theories.

It's both arrogant and selfish. Students should be permitted to make up their own minds here. Period.
Q-Star
2.7 / 5 (9) Aug 12, 2013
Um, you are fine with adding in dark matter to make the lensing theory work, but you are nevertheless certain that Arp's statistics must be wrong.


The observational evidence works against Arp's explanations. Lensing theory was posited prior to any mention of dark matter. It worked just fine before and after the evidence for dark matter started showing up in the observations.

Einstein's GR predicted lensing in 1914, it was confirmed by Eddington in 1919. Zwicky and Ort didn't propose dark matter until the 30's and it was in response to a completely different phenomenon. But I suspect ya have been told that before, but like to leave it out of the debate.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Aug 12, 2013
Re: "Einstein's GR predicted lensing in 1914, it was confirmed by Eddington in 1919."

It's astounding that people continue to suggest this even though it's already widely acknowledged that the evidence (the photographic plates) was selectively shared to make the case.

It appears that critical thinking is simply not valued in the astrophysical/cosmological communities anymore. From a review of the book, "A History of the Theories of Aether", we can see that this has become a sort of tradition ...

---

"Maxwell's theory of action through an all-pervading plenum has had its triumphal acceptance. Those who could not or would not understand the theory have for the most part passed away. One of the greatest and one of the last of them was Lord Kelvin. He was a deep student of fluid and of elastic media, he was ever seeking an intelligible mechanical

[...]
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
[...]

conception of the ether; he apparently never found one which was completely satisfactory to him, and it is doubtful if he ever became a real sympathizer with Maxwell's ether. To all this the publication of his Baltimore lectures in 1904 bears witness.

These difficulties which bothered Kelvin and which troubled everybody in the early days of the theory have by no means all been resolved; they have merely been ignored. The real triumph has not been physical but psychological; we no longer ask those awkward questions which are inimical to the theory, we take the whole fabric as we find it and unquestioningly make application of it. If there be questions, they are of a different sort.

In recent years some active minds have been looking forward toward the formulation of new theories, toward the abolition of the ether. The theory of relativity and the hypothesis of energy quanta have been the two ideas upon which they have chiefly focused their attention.

[...]
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
[...]

If they in their turn shall triumph, it will probably be not for the reason that all the questions which the opponents of the theories now bring forth shall have been satisfactorily answered, but because the questioners shall have ceased to question. We advance by ignoring our known ignorance and by concentrating upon our assumed knowledge.

---

The date on that is May 1913.

Now, compare that with a YouTube lecture involving Sean Carroll given at CalTech which was titled "Dark Matter vs Modified Gravity". You won't find the video there today because it was taken down. At the end of that video, after a lengthy attempt to cast doubt upon modified gravity, Carroll was confronted by a Caltech grad student ...

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"Can we go back to the bullet cluster? … I think there's a danger in over-stating the case, and the danger is that you gave a long story about the past history, and the interpretation of where the stuff is.

[...]
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (11) Aug 12, 2013
[...]

You don't know all of that. You have a plausible story. You see some stuff. People try to think, "Gee, what could cause this?' And, you know, there's a pretty good story for that. But, you don't know that that's the whole story … You've gotta a whole kind of history -- a biography of astronomy … which you wouldn't want to use in too sharp a way …"

---

One wonders what ever happened to this student ... Jeff Schmidt points out in his critique of the physics discipline that comments such as this are used against the grad students behind closed doors when it comes time to grant their PhD's. The qualifying exam scores are simply taken into consideration alongside the students' observed ability to work on the problems which have been assigned to them.

See Schmidt's book, Disciplined Minds, which with the help of Noam Chomsky became the physics discipline's largest freedom of expression case in its history. More than 1,000 researchers backed Schmidt up with their signatures.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
From http://www.julesn...489.htm, an interview with Jeff Schmidt:

---

I got interested [in the] topic when I was going to professional training myself, getting a PhD in physics at the University of California, Irvine. It seemed like the best of my fellow graduate students were either dropping out or being kicked out. And by 'best,' those were the most concerned about other people and seemed less self-centered, less narrowly-focused, most friendly people...they seemed to be handicapped in the competition. They seemed to be at a disadvantage not only because their attention was divided, but because their concerns about big picture issues like justice and the social role of the profession and so on, caused them to stop and think and question, whereas their unquestioning gung-ho classmates just plowed right through with nothing to hold them back.

[...]
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
[...]

As I mentioned, there's about a 50% drop-out rate for students entering University programs in all fields; and what I found was that this weeding out is not politically neutral. To put it bluntly, the programs favor ass-kissers."

---

In a different YouTube video -- this one still up -- titled "Piling Conjecture Upon Conjecture", Peter Woit explains why unification has not occurred ...

---

(at 12:27 - 13:33)

"Our fundamental problem with unification is that a certain number of ideas have been tried out which all have well-known problems -- and string theory is now one of them. But there's a lot of things that haven't been tried … If you start to get to know the subject, you realize the number of people working on the subject … It's a fairly limited community. It's a few thousand people … And … most of them are kind of following the lead of a fairly small number of people. The number of actual different ideas that people are trying out is actually quite small …

[...]
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
[...]

These things are very difficult. You would have to go spend several years of your life doing this, and if no one else is interested in what you're doing (and most likely, whenever you're trying out new ideas, it's not going to work anyways). The way the field is structured, it's kind of very very hard to do that kind of work, because it's likely to damage your career. If you're trying to do it when you're young, you're gonna very well end up not having a job."

---

Again, I challenge you to make a choice: Either we create critical thinkers who can unify physics -- which necessarily involves teaching the uncertainty and controversy -- or create a unified community of physicists who exhibit strong consensus and are fluent in thinking within assigned parameters.

But, don't pretend that the same system can do both at once with one single program. It's a contradiction.
Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 12, 2013
HannesAlfven says,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Blah, blah, and blah,,,,,,


And he continues,,,,

Five more pages of: Blah, blah and blah,,,,


Have ya ever been able to say anything in your own words? Or without posting volumes of unconnected and out of context quotes?
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
Re: "Have ya ever been able to say anything in your own words? Or without posting volumes of unconnected and out of context quotes?"

The article is clearly about educating students about quasars. All three quotes are 100% relevant. In fact, I would go a step further and suggest that the inclination to compartmentalize everything in physics is part of the problem. This is clearly not the approach which led James Maxwell to connect light with E&M.

Schmidt comments on the role of hyper-specialization in physics as well. From page 92 ...

---

"The historical trend is toward an increasingly fine division of labor and an increasingly strict confinement of individual employees to their assigned areas of work. This trend affects professionals and nonprofessionals alike, distancing all employees from decision-making on the overarching moral and political issues. Professionals are forced into increasingly narrow specialization during training,

[...]
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
[...]

and more than ever must specialize even further once on the job, especially when they are employed in large organizations, as is increasingly the case. So even the employees whom management trusts politically to use relatively broad technical and organizationl knowledge of the production process find management confining them to work on smaller and smaller pieces of the big picture. No professionals are immune. Even philosophers, who at one time struggled to develop thought that encompassed all human endeavors, are now hired on the basis of their willingness and ability to carry out the minutely specialized work of analytical philosophy. Consequently, they increasingly identify themselves as masters of the associated specialized tools and methods, rather than as independent moral and political thinkers."

---

I'm sure you will consider this to be irrelevant as well ...
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
Two Harvard psychologists, Lahey and Kegan, wrote a book titled Immunity to Change. Their thesis is that the most common mistake which leaders make is to confuse an adaptive change challenge for a technical one. The first Amazon reviewer states ...

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"Not simply a book about organizational transformation, Immunity to Change is a challenging analysis of how our well-developed methods of processing information and experience become barriers that hinder our attempts to achieve adaptive change.

[...]

People deal with fear and anxiety as a normal part of life. They don't feel this fear most of the time because they have created effective internal anxiety management systems. Those frameworks for evaluating experience are beneficial and necessary but can also form a hidden barrier to the desire to achieve adaptive change. The development of a more complex mental framework (the "self-transforming mind") help the individual recognize the filtering effect

[...]
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
[...]

Looked at this way, any change which is adaptive rather than technical will, as a matter of course, put at risk "a way of knowing the world that also serves as a way of managing a persistent, fundemental anxiety." The authors argue that we can only succeed with adaptive changes by recognizing the seriousness of the internal challenge we face. The desired change can put at risk "what has been a very well-functioning way of taking care of ourselves."

[...]

If they are correct, however, they are providing the beginnings of a critical understanding of the barriers to fundemental change as well as a methodology both to detect and resolve the problem."

---

Lahey and Kegan's research suggest that our resistance to change serves important psychological purposes, and they've used their technique (based upon this theory) to effectively facilitate the mergers of Fortune 500 companies.

So, is the physics discipline unique in that it exclusively faces technical change challenges?
Q-Star
3.2 / 5 (11) Aug 12, 2013
From page 92 ...


So after posting 92 pages, don't ya think ya done enough boyo?

Psssst, physics has been beyond the point where any one person can know every sub-discipline completely,,,, and it's been that way for a long, long time. Last year alone, there were over 1200 journal articles published on just galaxies and clusters. (And that doesn't include all the crank and crackpot foolery.)

Maybe it would do ya some good to read a few of them instead of posting the same old quotes from books and work done by people 50 years ago.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (14) Aug 12, 2013
Re: "physics has been beyond the point where any one person can know every sub-discipline completely,,,, and it's been that way for a long, long time."

You're missing the point then entirely. From page 92 ...

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"By making employees easier to replace and by deflating their feeling of accomplishment in their work, the division of labor strips workers of their sense of power in the workplace, discouraging them from challenging management on the way the work is organized. And the division of work into narrow tasks (most of which are the same even when the product is different) denies workers a feeling for what they are producing, thereby discouraging them from challenging management on the nature or design of the product or service. Hence the division of labor, by making self-management seem impossible and by strengthening management's control over the workforce and over the content of the work, helps make the hierarchical system of production more secure."

---

Sinking in yet?
Q-Star
3.2 / 5 (11) Aug 12, 2013
Blah, blah, blah,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sinking in yet?


Not yet, but I'm sure that ya will continue trolling.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
Let me repeat: It's the largest freedom of expression case in the history of the physics discipline. And the topic of the book pertains directly to how we train physicists -- which is also the topic of this article.

One Amazon reviewer notes ...

"The level of insight into the motivations of professional training schools is right on the mark. I am currently a graduate student as well as an employee at a major university. I can see first hand the professionalization (read indoctrination) of the graduate student. I can also see with more insight the dynamics that go on in an academic office. I now understand why those in charge of forwarding the ideology of the office are not micromanaged, and those not trusted to forward the accurate ideology are micromanaged."

---

The various reviews are almost as enlightening as the book itself. It appears that the physics discipline has already had its Snowden moment. It's just taking a lot longer for the word to get out.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
Confirming the other quotes, from page 41 of Disciplined Minds ...

"Professionals generally avoid the risk inherent in real critical thinking and cannot properly be called critical thinkers. They are simply ideologically disciplined thinkers. Real critical thinking means uncovering and questioning social, political and moral assumptions; applying and refining a personally developed worldview; and calling for action that advances a personally created agenda. An approach that backs away from any of these three components lacks the critical spirit ... Ideologically disciplined thinkers, especially the more gung-ho ones, often give the appearance of being critical thinkers as they go around deftly applying the official ideology and confidently reporting their judgments. The fact that professionals are usually more well-informed than nonprofessionals contributes to the illusion that they are critical thinkers."
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (13) Aug 12, 2013
Ideologically disciplined thinkers, especially the more gung-ho ones, often give the appearance of being critical thinkers as they go around deftly applying the official ideology and confidently reporting their judgments.

That's Q, to a tee.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
It's really problematic when it's possible to dig up quotes critical of the discourse in physics which are just as accurate today as when they were stated 100 years ago. When people suggest that these things are not relevant, it's as if they are suggesting that we should just continue on for another 100 years, in hopes that something different will by chance transpire. If the system has been designed to train professionals, we should not expect it to, by chance, produce anything beyond that. We should be thankful to Jeff Schmidt that he sacrificed his career to become a whistleblower. The real victims here are the taxpayers and the students. If people feel resentment about the things that Jeff, Woit or Fred Hoyle (who lodged his own complaint of the university programs in the Cosmology Quest docu) have stated, it should be directed at the universities.

If you look carefully at what is being claimed, it is a feedback-type system which, all combined, props up conventional theory.
Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 12, 2013
Real critical thinking means uncovering and questioning social, political and moral assumptions; applying and refining a personally developed worldview; and calling for action that advances a personally created agenda.


Questioning social assumptions ya say? I was assuming that ya were a social creature, but I was wrong it seems. Ya seem to have turned into a forum vandal.

Questioning political assumptions ya say? I'm thinking that ya voted for that fellow who wanted to search out space monkeys hiding in the galactic core.

Now when I'm thinking about your morals, the only assumption that I can critically make is that ya have no moral character, ya let others (and a limited number of others do all your word mongering for ya.)

Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 12, 2013
Real critical thinking means uncovering and questioning social, political and moral assumptions; applying and refining a personally developed worldview; and calling for action that advances a personally created agenda.


Yes indeedy-roo Sir, ya have sure shown us that ya are indeed a critical thinker (as long as your thoughts come from three books.)

An approach that backs away from any of these three components lacks the critical spirit ...


Now that is a hoot. Ya have failed on all three components. Ya own three books, they are the only things ya post here ad infinitum, (for ya lesser critical thinking sorts, that means over and over and over as if saying the same thing 1000 times makes it more true.).

Don't ya get tired and sad by only parroting the words of other people. (Unhappy people at that.)