Synopses & Reviews
Einstein's gravity theory—his general theory of relativity—has served as the basis for a series of astonishing cosmological discoveries. But what if, nonetheless, Einstein got it wrong?
Since the 1930s, physicists have noticed an alarming discrepancy between the universe as we see it and the universe that Einstein's theory of relativity predicts. There just doesn't seem to be enough stuff out there for everything to hang together. Galaxies spin so fast that, based on the amount of visible matter in them, they ought to be flung to pieces, the same way a spinning yo-yo can break its string. Cosmologists tried to solve the problem by positing dark matter—a mysterious, invisible substance that surrounds galaxies, holding the visible matter in place—and particle physicists, attempting to identify the nature of the stuff, have undertaken a slew of experiments to detect it. So far, none have.
Now, John W. Moffat, a physicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, offers a different solution to the problem. The capstone to a storybook career—one that began with a correspondence with Einstein and a conversation with Niels Bohr—Moffat's modified gravity theory, or MOG, can model the movements of the universe without recourse to dark matter, and his work challenging the constancy of the speed of light raises a stark challenge to the usual models of the first half-million years of the universe's existence.
This bold new work, presenting the entirety of Moffat's hypothesis to a general readership for the first time, promises to overturn everything we thought we knew about the origins and evolution of the universe.
"Gravity has long been the problem child of physics, creating difficulties in finding a Theory of Everything. To complicate matters, most scientists believe that there is a mysterious, unidentified 'dark matter' that makes up most of the universe, and that an equally baffling 'dark energy' is pushing the universe apart. Moffat, an affiliate member of the cutting-edge Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada, has developed a new theory that he calls Modified Gravity (MOG). Moffat says that both Newton and Einstein were wrong, and that Newton's gravitational constant is not constant across distances as large as galaxies and galaxy clusters. Scientists haven't been able to find dark matter because it doesn't exist: MOG values help account for rates of galaxy rotation. Perhaps more revolutionary is Moffat's claim that black holes don't exist either. His theory predicts a 'grey star,' a massive object with many but not all of the properties of a black hole. Moffat's theory thus far has withstood many objections. If MOG stands the test of time, Moffat will have created a paradigm shift not seen since Newton. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Physicist Moffat has developed a modified gravity theory that can explain the behavior of the universe as well as Einstein's, without resorting to the dubious, yet long-claimed, excuse of invisible dark matter. This book introduces general readers to these bold new ideas.
About the Author
John W. Moffat is professor emeritus of physics at the University of Toronto and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Waterloo, as well as a resident affiliate member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada. He earned a doctorate in physics at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge.