The Physics of David W. Talmage

Professor David W. Talmage (ret) has kindly allowed me to put a copy of his latest physics paper on the web:
Relativity with a Quantum Field

A sharp distinction has been made between the confirmed observations that were predicted and form the essential core of the theory of relativity and the untestable explanations that have become the lore of the theory and its vision of reality. The possibility is explored that it is these explanations, not the observations, that are incompatible with quantum mechanics. The explanation of the gravitational red shift, that photons lose energy as they climb out of a gravitational gradient, is the keystone to this lore. Once this keystone is removed the remaining explanations lose their coherence. Alternate explanations are presented that are not only compatible with quantum mechanics but require the existence of a quantum field.

This is only David’s latest in a fairly long list of papers supporting and exploring Lorentzian Relativity which the excellent Wikipedia article calls “Lorentz Ether Theory” . These were the aether theories that they don’t tell you about in school, the ones that are fully compatible with experiment. For them, the preferred reference frame is undetectable; what Einstein did was remove that reference frame.

The heart of the article is the following observation:

The exact equivalence of gravitational and inertial masses suggests that gravity and inertia have a common cause. If this is so then inertia and gravity are both produced by the same field.. The most likely candidate for such a field is the quantum field. The proposal that the primary effect of the quantum field is the control of the speed of light provides a possible explanation of both gravity and inertia. In the case of gravity matter particles respond to the change in the speed of light caused by the gradient in the quantum field, whereas with inertia a change in the motion of the particles relative to the preferred frame of the quantum field produces a change in the speed of light relative to the particle.

This is along the lines of what I’m doing, except I use a lot more mathematics, and want to tie in the particle symmetries and all that. But David Talmage was there before me and so this blog post is my tribute to his pioneering work on these ideas.

More Papers by Talmage

Some Talmage websites:
Geocities has 7 articles, including the above. An article on the weakness of gravity:

Why is Gravity so Weak?

Gravity possesses several unique features that distinguish it from the other three fundamental forces. Most prominent among these is its relative weakness, which at the level of fundamental particles amounts to approximately 40 powers of ten. In addition to this weakness, gravity also differs from the other forces by affecting all forms of matter and energy and by being effective without being absorbed. Despite these differences, most theoretical attempts to explain gravity are based on the assumption that the underlying mechanism of the gravitational force is the same as that of the other forces. The present model is an attempt to explain the unique properties of gravity as well as the exact equivalence of gravitational and inertial masses. By borrowing well established concepts from quantum mechanics and general relativity and the universe’s scalar field from Brans-Dicke we have proposed a causal model of gravity in which the primary effect of the gravitational field is on the velocity of light. The other effects of gravity and inertia are considered secondary to changes in light velocity….By using this model and Fermat’s principle that light follows the least time path, we have been able to calculate the observed displacement of a star at the rim of the Sun and the time delay of light passing that way.

Note that in Talmage’s view, the speed of light depends on gravitation. This is a variable speed of light theory, and his cosmology has similarities to that of Louise Riofrio, which I discussed in a blog post on the CMB asymmetry. The basic idea is that the speed of light depends on a Newtonian gravitational potential. He goes on to compute the precession of Mercury and the bending of light by the sun.

Also at this website is On the Unification of Gravity and Inertia by David W. Talmage and Richard J. Sanderson.

My version of these ideas is a little different, but equivalent, in a way. I agree that there is a preferred reference frame, and I think that the speed of gravity in it is constant, and about sqrt(3) times the speed of light. What we see as a variation in the speed of light amounts to a variation in the rate of the passage of time, relative to the global time of the preferred reference frame. But as far as rewriting physics, I think these methods are hopeless until we have a fairly complete solution to the elementary particle problems.


Filed under physics

2 responses to “The Physics of David W. Talmage

  1. Kris Krogh

    Hi Carl,

    Thanks for the Lorentzian relativity link!

    I’d like to plug a favorite book, Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, by John Bell. One chapter is “How to teach special relativity,” where he argues that people should be exposed to the preferred-frame approach of Lorentz and Poincaré. Other chapters note this may be necessary for a causal quantum mechanics.

    Cheers, Kris

  2. carlbrannen

    I will get the John Bell book when I am little less poor.

    And I’ll plug another great anti-Einstein author, Ron Hatch. He is the engineer who patented the “Hatch filter” used in the GPS system and is an expert on the clock system used there. He is in favor of Lorentzian relativity. The best synopsis of his ideas is a book that was written by his brother, titled LIGO: Prelude to Revolution.

    Basically, he predicts that gravity waves will not be detected at LIGO. And so far, he’s right:

    His ideas about gravity and E&M seem similar to those of Doug Sweetser.

    I’ve tried to get Hatch and Sweetser to write down their gravity theories in Newton’s form, as accelerations in some fixed coordinates, (so that I can throw them into my GR / Newton gravity simulator) but no dice so far. Instead, I get a lot of theory and the request that I work out the answer for myself.

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