The Electric Universe

The idea of an “electric universe” 10 within the scientific community knows a number of pioneers of which we mention some:

  • Christian Birkeland (Norway, 1876-1917).
  • Irving Langmuir (USA, 1881-1957, Nobel prize 1932)
  • Hannes Alfvén (Sweden, 1908-1995, Nobel prize 1970)

Christian Birkeland was a pioneering scientist, who even participated in an expedition to the North Pole. He studied all kinds of electric phenomena, in the laboratory and in the field, including the Aurora or Northern Light, explaining them in terms of electromagnetic concepts. He never won the Nobel prize, but was nominated several times and his picture still figures on a 200 Krone bank note of Norway.

Irving Langmuir obtained the Nobel prize of 1932, and is particularly known for his investigations in plasma physics – as part of his investigations in electromagnetic phenomena. He introduced the term “plasma” for the first time in electrodynamics.

Hannes Alfvén can be considered the father of the electric universe approach. He obtained the Nobel prize in 1970 for his work on this subject, although unfortunately his research has mostly been ignored by the majority of the scientific community.

More recent prominents in the field include: Anthony Peratt, Donald Scott, David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill, who are actively doing research and publishing results.

This group of scientists approaches the subject along two lines:

  • Pure physics,
  • History combined with mythology.

Although the line of mythology also gives stunning results and many fascinating new insights, time does not permit us to develop this approach here.

The basic assumptions of the electric sky theory are:

  • Space is not empty but filled with plasma.
  • Celestial bodies are not electrically neutral but charged,including our Sun, planets, etc.
  • Interactions between bodies are mainly electro-magnetic (the electro-magnetic force is much, much stronger than gravity: 1039 – a 10 with 39 zeroes!).
  • Steady-state model: no beginning, no end.
  • No Big Bang.
  • No need for black holes, dark matter, dark energy, ...

What is a plasma, in this context?

  • The best example is a neon tube, which is filled with plasma. So a plasma is not something exotic, and we see it all around us. Think for example of plasma displays too.
  • State of matter less dense than gas (solid, liquid, gas, plasma). It is sometimes called the “fourth state of matter.”Although one might be tempted to associate this state with the “fourth ether,” this is not the case: you find plasma in neon tubes, in TV plasma displays etc. But it is coming very close to it.
  • Electrically quasi-neutral.
  • Part of the electrons move freely, dissociated from the nucleus, i.e. not bound to atoms. And the positively charged nuclei also move freely.
  • Within a plasma different bodies tend to form cells, separated by a wall (double layer). This is probably why Langmuir introduced the term “plasma” in comparison with the human cell. Of course we could be talking here of cells with dimensions of millions, even billions of kilometres.

Plasma knows of different phases, depending on the electric tension or potential – think of the neon tube example:

  • Dark:non-emitting.
  • Glowing:radiating light.
  • Arcs:lightning, thunderbolts.
  • Plasma physics is the same in the laboratory and in the universe. Phenomena which we observe on the scale of the laboratory are the same as when observed on a cosmic scale (i.e. with dimensions of billions of kilometres).
  • Only on a cosmic scale processes can take much longer time.
  • Electric charges within a plasma tend to form filaments and currents. Currents run from one place to another when there is an electric difference or potential. Several currents tend to run parallel and then join together like a rope. Here we see again the spiral appearing. You may look at it as a spiral bridge between two poles (or two worlds). Scientist speak here of Birkeland currents, as it was Birkeland who first studied these kind of currents extensively.

[Figure 4: Birkeland currents]

[Figure 4: Birkeland currents]


10.David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill, The Electric Universe.

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