A contrarian approach to understanding some fundamental concepts in physics.
In this debut science book, retired engineer Hardison makes arguments for re-evaluating the work of Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Max Planck, and others who developed the basic principles that physics students are still taught. Specifically, he advocates a new understanding of the universe under a different paradigm. However, he isn’t writing for general readers but for committed science buffs who can follow the hundreds of equations he uses to elucidate elements of his theory, which rests on the assumption that the speed of light is not a fixed number but “essentially infinite.” This, he says, is because light is transferred from one atom to another instead of moving through space. Hardison’s theory does away with such concepts as wave/particle duality and mass as a relative quality of matter. Although the analysis is extremely detailed and technical, relying on variable-laden equations and depictions of multidimensional space, the author recounts his work in a casual, often wry, tone. At one point, for example, he explains that “I will have more to say on this subject (with some difficulty)”; later, he summarizes an argument with the phrase, “I tweak my nose at negative potential energy.” The author’s conclusions matter mainly on a theoretical level; cellphones, for example, will continue to work and the Earth’s orbit will remain unchanged whether the speed of light is constant or infinite. Physicists’ understanding of the forces that shape the universe would be shaken, though, if Hardison’s analysis is correct. That, however, isn’t something that most readers are in a position to judge, so it will be left to peer review and further research to determine the validity of the book’s central theory. In the meantime, readers with strong groundings in mathematics and physics may find this to be a thought-provoking approach to key questions about the nature of the universe and how it came to be and the conclusions that one may reach by re-evaluating basic assumptions.
A dense, technical, but well-written argument for a new scientific interpretation.