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Cause and effect    

Is there a simple confusion of cause and effect in popular science? Is the movement of air and/or water the cause of charge separation on Earth, or are electromagnetic forces the primary cause of movement? Could electric currents be the prime mover, so to speak, behind rotational and spiral patterns in the universe?

The electric force is 10^39 times more powerful than gravity, and in its various manifestations it holds the universe together.

Michael Faraday was called a charlatan and a fraud when he announced that he could generate an electric current merely by moving a magnet inside a coil of wire. We may have moved on since then, but is there any good reason to believe that Nature would ignore the simple utility of the electric motor?

Furthermore, Faraday often thought about experiments that could connect gravity and electromagnetism.

"...no terms could exaggerate the value of the relation they would establish." Michael Faraday, 1850

In the 19th century they were looking for simplification, whereas today we seem to be obsessed with inventing new forces and particles, many of which are described as virtual. We even hand out awards for such speculations. Before Faraday, William Weber derived an electrical gravitational force law, and even had a planetary model of the atom. This was 40 years before Bohr and Rutherford!
  Spiral weather patterns
Alfvén's Electric Universe crisis    

In 1989 Hannes Alfvén had an article published in the Boston Globe, Alfvén's Electric Universe. As early as 1937 he had proposed that our galaxy contained a large-scale magnetic field and that charged particles moved in spiral orbits within it, owing to forces exerted by the field. Plasmas carry the electrical currents which create the magnetic field. Alfvén, of course, is regarded as the Father of Plasma Physics and Plasma Cosmology.

Boston Globe Alfvén

At his Nobel Prize acceptance speech he took the unprecedented step of predicting the crisis in cosmology we witness today, decades later, based on simplistic interpretations of his theories, misunderstandings of same, and ideas he no longer subscribed to like 'Frozen-in' magnetic fields. See Technical 1. His quote, below, says it all.

"Students using astrophysical textbooks remain essentially ignorant of even the existence of plasma concepts, despite the fact that some of them have been known for half a century. The conclusion is that astrophysics is too important to be left in the hands of astrophysicists who have gotten their main knowledge from these textbooks. Earthbound and space telescope data must be treated by scientists who are familiar with laboratory and magnetospheric physics and circuit theory, and of course with modern plasma theory."


“We have to learn again that science without contact with experiments is an enterprise which is likely to go completely astray into imaginary conjecture.” Hannes Alfvén






"It is an embarrassment that the dominant forms of matter in the universe remain hypothetical." Jim Peebles, Princeton Cosmologist

Particular problems    

It seems no small irony that the solar system is used as a metaphor for diagrams of the atom, and that electromagnetic forces are known to hold the atom together, while the analogy is never reversed. Electromagnetic forces are considered of no significance on astronomical scales.

Part of the problem relates to the Standard Model, which is yet to reconcile many forces. As it stands it fails to account for gravity, and the particle responsible for mass, the elusive Higgs boson, remains hypothetical. (Gravity is often described as a property of mass.) Was the Higgs really discovered in 2012?

The Standard model. From the site:

"Gravity is not yet part of this framework, and a central question of 21st century particle physics is the search for a quantum formulation of gravity that could be included in the Standard Model."

  "There is no model of the theory of gravitation today, other than the mathematical form." Richard Feynman
Quantum Theory and Relativity    

Both Quantum Theory (Particle physics) and Relativity (Space time continuum) are considered correct, and yet remain incompatible. It could be argued that neither are credible until a unified theory can be produced, and thus far most attempts are not looking promising. This is not to suggest that Plasma Cosmology has all the answers, but it highlights the fact that the door needs to be left open to alternative ideas.

Some have described Relativity as a theory about the ocean, and Quantum Theory as about the ripples, but problems in reconciling the two remain.


"I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” Richard Feynman


Anomalous electromagnetic phenomena  
The phenomena below confirm that we also have much more to learn about the nature of plasma, electricity and magnetism. See the speculations page for questions relating to the electron.  
Maxwell's Fourth Equation    

In truth, this Fourth Equation is too obvious to be named after anybody. It works like a mirror image of the third equation, Gauss’ Law, which relates to electric charge. The fourth equation says that the sum total of a magnetic field crossing over the surface of any sphere must always be zero.

The trouble is, there is no known particle that generates magnetic field the same way an electron generates electric field. Physicists remain hopeful of finding one, and in anticipation they have named it the magnetic monopole. However, as yet they have found absolutely nothing.

If magnetic monopoles are ever found, then the fourth equation will have to be modified to include magnetic charge. Faraday’s Law will also have to be modified to include magnetic current (magnetic monopoles flowing), just as Ampere’s Law includes electric current (electrons flowing).

To visualise this problem, imagine a sphere with a magnet inside. This law says that for every bit of magnetic field going out of the sphere, there must be an equal amount of magnetic field going back into the sphere. This is the same thing as saying every magnet must have both a north and a south pole. If you could cut a magnet in half and have just a north pole, you'd have just found the first magnetic monopole!

This is one of the great mysteries of physics and cosmology. Why, when the universe was created, did we get trillions of electrons, but, as far as we know, not a single magnetic monopole?

  "The phenomena of electrical discharge are exceedingly important, and when they are better understood they will probably throw great light on the nature of electricity as well as on the nature of gases and of the medium pervading space." James Clerk Maxwell, Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism.
Gerald Pollack on Electric Water    
Water has many magical properties. The electric view, ignored by textbooks, begins to explain these...    

"What I am going to tell you about is what we teach our physics students in the third or fourth year of graduate school... It is my task to convince you not to turn away because you don't understand it. You see my physics students don't understand it... That is because I don't understand it." Richard Feynman


Morphic Resonance    

Rupert Sheldrake is one of the world's leading and most innovative biologists. He is best known for his theories on morphic resonance and morphic fields, which lead to a vision of a living, developing universe with its own inherent memory.

Here is a link to his brilliant and controversial talk Science Set Free — 10 dogmas of modern science, from the 2013 EU conference! The video was taken down by TED and YouTube after complaints from certain quarters. What did they have to fear? The censorship controversy sparked an internet firestorm in view of the negative implications for free speech and progressive science.


The Hessdalen Lights


Various theories have been proposed to account for the mysterious lights that appear in the valley at Hessdalen, Norway, from aliens to the misidentification of more mundane phenomena. The light shows are real enough, regardless, and well documented. See a typical picture, right.

Electromagnetic hypotheses are surely the most viable. Could the lights be the product of piezoelectricity generated by local rocks given their high crystalline and quartz content? Such rocks are known to produce intense charge densities under strain. Related to this hypothesis, it has also been suggested that the lights could be formed by clusters of macroscopic coulomb crystals produced by the ionization of air and dust — a dusty plasma model, in other words.

At the very least this phenomenon reminds us that we still have much more to learn about plasmas and electromagnetism.

  Hessdalen lights Norway

Ball lightning


Ball lightning remains an enigma, and is still denied by some despite numerous eye witness accounts. It is almost certainly a plasma related phenomena.

It is a rare effect in which a glowing, drifting bubble of light, typically some eight inches in diameter, appears. On the very rare occasions it is seen, it often, though not always, follows a regular lightning strike. Many scientists used to contend that the glowing ball was merely the after-image seen by the witness after a regular lightning strike (A spot in your eye in other words). More and more scientists are beginning to accept the existence of ball lightning as a true electrical phenomenon, however.

  Ball lightning?
Saint Elmo's Fire    

In September 1949 William Sanborn was standing near a marsh in Yellowstone National Park when he saw a hazy patch of blue light sweep toward him. He estimated that it was over one hundred feet wide and almost a thousand feet long. Sanborn could feel his scalp tingle, and felt the snapping of tiny sparks as he brushed his hair with his hand, but obtained no shock from touching any object on the ground or outside his car.

Exactly what Sanborn experienced is unknown, although it does resemble a phenomenon known as Saint Elmo's Fire — a glowing electrical halo that can envelope the mast of ships, airplane wings and church steeples during stormy weather. Earthquakes have also been known to generate electrical phenomena and Yellowstone is a geologically active region.

  "Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality." Nikola Tesla