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Reinventing Gravity by John W. Moffat

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Reinventing Gravity by John W. Moffat

Cover of the book Reinventing Gravity by John W. Moffat

Collins

The Bottom Line

Moffat makes an entertaining and easily accessible case for exploring the theory that the alternative gravity theories put forward by himself and other physicists is worthy of consideration, but may be guilty of downplaying the scientific support in favor of the consensus viewpoint.
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Pros

  • Fascinating look at the work of a man who began his work among the great names of Physics.
  • Detailed account of the current challenges facing theoretical particle physics and cosmology.
  • Intriguing, revolutionary, and controversial proposals for solving today's great physics mysteries.

Cons

  • Many of the claims are not supported by mainstream physicists and cosmologists.
  • There is no definitive scientific evidence validating the claims in the book over the consensus view

Description

  • Review based on the 2008 hardcover edition, with the full title Reinventing Gravity: A Physicist Goes Beyond Einstein
  • 272 pages total
  • Includes 16 chapters plus Introduction, Prologue, Epilogue, Notes, Glossary, Bibliography, Acknowledgements, & Index

Guide Review - Reinventing Gravity by John W. Moffat

In Reinventing Gravity, physicist John W. Moffat (of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics) chronicles his own mission to more thoroughly understand the nature of gravity, as originally defined by Sir Isaac Newton and later refined by Einstein's theory of general relativity.

After bringing the reader up to date on the findings about gravity from the ancient Greeks through to Einstein, Moffat then begins to discuss the major issues of modern cosmology, such as the big bang theory, the theory of dark matter, and black holes. The viewpoint reached by Moffat is that there are areas where our current theory of gravity just cannot provide the solutions, and he has little faith that current quantum gravity approaches (such as string theory) will solve the problems.

Moffat then begins to consider some alternative theories of gravity, such as Milgrom's Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND), variable speed of light cosmology, and various other theories that modify our current theory of gravity.

Moffat spends much of the book discussing his own current theory, Modified Gravity (or MOG), which theorizes a varying gravitational constant. In fact, he actually developed three MOG theories, each progressively simpler mathematically and making essentially the same predictions for most gravitational cases except for the strong gravity of the big bang era and the collapse of stars. Not only that, but the theories also matched up with the predictions of the earlier MOND theory in many cases.

Moffat's viewpoint is certainly the minority, but he makes a good case for it and reminds readers that there are always multiple perspectives in science, and that even if a consensus is being reached it's still good to have alternative views exposed and presented for discussion. In this respect, even if they prove false, his approaches are worthwhile.

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