The Final Theory - Universal theory??

I had a difficult time deciding where to put this. I think after awhile we’ll have to start a thread in Great Debates, but for now it’s just informational.

Got a solicitation online for a book, The Final Theory. It directed me to a website, Here, where the book was described and where a free copy of the first chapter was offered.

Evidently the book has been around for a couple of years, but several different types of searches of the archives turned up no SDMB hits.

I downloaded the free chapter and skimmed about half of it, but frankly this kinda stuff is way over my head. Lots of it seems logical, but I took only Physics 101 in college, so I don’t know.

Anyway, has anyone read the book? If so, what’s the story?

Even viewing the site and reading the first chapter… does this seem valid or is this the work of a nutjob? And if so, why?

The logic seems good, what little I’ve read, but re-writing the theory of gravity?

It seems like a natural somewhere in The Straight Dope!

The odds of an electrical engineer figuring out the TOE would seem to be pretty long. Plus, the book is self-published, and the web page of the self-publishing press where you can order the book includes this significant quote:

My verdict; a slightly more lucid Time Cube.

You may want to email a moderator and have this moved into GQ, as the people who could evaluate this best are more likely to see it there.

I skimmed the first chapter, and while I didn’t see anything obviously wrong, his intentional avoidance of math makes me a little nervous.

I used to know how to contact moderators, really I did, but now I can’t figure it out. How about a hint? Contact Us goes to webmaster… I know there’s a list of moderators, but I can’t seem to find it.


Go to the first page of MPSIMS and scroll to the bottom, the mods are listed down there to the right.

Thread moved to GQ at OP’s request.

(Also, if you click on the “Report this thread to a Mod” button, you automatically send an e-mail to all of the forum’s mods, saving you the trouble of having to compose several e-mails.)

Dude be wack. Right off the bat, he seems to be confused about basic physics:

This really just shows that the guy isn’t clear on freshman physics. Energy is defined in a physics context as a force times distance; if you don’t move, then you don’t expend energy. And besides, I would hope that he wouldn’t be claiming that if I took two magnets and put them in two vises a couple of feet apart, then the vises would require me to hook them up to a battery just to stay in place.

(italics original) cf. Item 17 of John Baez’s Crackpot Index. This gets into philosophical issues, but my position is that if a model predicts something observed (e.g. electron interference, baryon spectrum) via a seemingly unorthodox notion (wave-particle duality, quark colour), that should be viewed as strong evidence that the model is right, not that it’s wrong. Science is supposed to conform to the physical world, not our philosophical notions.

And that’s just in a cursory five-minute reading of the introduction. In other words, JohnM’s assessment is about right.

The Science Flaws page is kind of amusing. For example:

Wow! Who knew?


“Norman! The loons!” :slight_smile:

You just say that because you’re educated stupid. :slight_smile:

Technically, he’s right - energy is expended. No work is done on the environment, but energy is dissipated internally in the muscle in order to maintain a constant separation of the magnets. Muscle cannot store much energy by stretching, the way, for instance, a spring or elastic body would. It has to continually burn ATP to maintain a contracted state. The energy is liberated as heat.

If this were not true, you could hold a 10-pound weight at arm’s length indefinitely without getting tired.

MikeS, this isn’t right either. You do expend energy holding two magnets apart with muscles. On a cellular level, there is a lot of movement, and a lot of force being applied, because muscle contraction, even resistive muscle contraction, is not a static process.

Yeah, well I’ve got two sheepskins from West Virginia University that say you’re right!

In one sense, the author is ignorant, because he doesn’t seem to understand the concept of potential energy.

The moon is able to orbit the earth without massive energy expendature because all of the space+velocity points in its orbit have the same potential energy. Similarly, the magnet stuck to the refridgerator has a stable level of potential energy. In order to release the potential energy of the moon, or of the magnet, you need to change the velocity by expending energy.

But on the other hand, he has a point – our explanations for why the points along the moon’s orbit all have the same potential energy are just mathematical equations that describe the orbit.

There is no a priori reason why orbits have to be that shape; they just are. You can try to explain the macroscopic behavior with microscopic behavior, or the other way around, but the bottom line is that there is a strange calculus about what circumstances have “the same energy” that constrains the way everything behaves, from the small to the big. Despite our best efforts, the behavior of the small and the big don’t seem to be connected in any rational way.

This is not at all right. The moon has an elliptical orbit. When it’s closer to the earth, the potential energy is lower but the kinetic energy is higher (because it moves faster). When it’s farther from the earth, the opposite is true.

Further, conservation of energy is a concept that is often helpful in doing calculations, but it’s not helpful to explain much. To figure why the Moon is in its orbit and really understand it, you just have to look at its instantaneous velocity, position, and the forces on it, over time.

I had to jump in here because I have a maxim that you can’t explain anything to a layman with COE, and this touches on that.

Please stay. I’m trying to understand all this!

I think we have a lot to learn, and I hope that Straight Dopers (no pun intended) can help me understand!

OK, contact with a different world reveals… what?

Q: How can freezing water expand, even bursting metal pipes, with no energy input to explain it?
A: According to today’s science, this is impossible. As we all know, every energy output requires a balancing energy input to remain within our laws of physics.
A balloon left in the sun will expand and burst, in the process doing work against the surrounding atmosphere as well as its elastic skin, but this is balanced by the energy input from the sun, so it is no mystery.

However, freezing water has no energy input. In fact, it has just the opposite of an energy input – energy is continually drained from the water as it cools toward freezing. So, how does the water suddenly expand with such force from within that it easily bursts metal pipes? No scientifically viable answers to this mystery can be found from today’s scientists – only confused explanation attempts that crumble under logical scrutiny.

Hahaha, thanks ! There’s nothing I like better than starting the day with a good laugh :slight_smile:

From a scan of the first chapter, the guy is simply repeating the well known difficulty in combining gravity with the other 3 (electrostrongweak) fundamental forces, hopefully unified by the Grand Unification Theory. He also makes some claims which are simply not true - nobody proposes that the effects of gravity are Faster Than Light, and yet he uses it as his central argument that Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation is a violation of Einstien’s Relativity.

The Theory of Everything will need to explain both the very large and the very small. The best place to ‘look’ is the scale on which gravity and electrostrongweak forces are equal in strength: the Planck length (~10[sup]-35[/sup] m).

Superstrings and supergravity were promising for a while, but there are 5 kinds of strings and no reason to choose one over another.

M Theory is now the leading Theory of Everything contender, attempting to unify superstrings and supergravity by treating a string as a “rolled up” membrane.

Isn’t it WORK = force . distance
Expend energy? I though energy was only converted from one type to another. As hyperelastic says in the magnet example it is ATP to heat. You could do away with the magnets and just push your hands together.