This is a 316-page soft cover book published in April 2002 by C. Roy Keys Inc., http://redshift.vif.com. It contains 22 articles/papers on various aspects of a 300-year-old idea about the nature of gravity, showing that it not only survives to the present day, but thrives. The editor is Matthew Edwards, who also contributed two of the chapters.
The book opens with a Foreword by Halton Arp providing momentum for the rest of the book. Arp points out that the curved space-time interpretation of general relativity lacks causality, and Le Sage-type models are our only current viable alternatives that at least respect the causality principle.
James Evans eases us into the subject with his historical perspective article about sources, construction and reception of the Le Sage model. Here we learn the "bare essence" of Le Sage’s inspiration. The universe is filled with "ultra-mundane corpuscles" of very small size and very high speed that constantly impinge upon matter. On Earth, the apple falls from the tree, not because something from the Earth pulls it down, but because more corpuscles strike the apple from above than from below because the Earth absorbs and blocks some corpuscles from below. Two bodies in space likewise shadow one another from some corpuscle impacts, with the result that the corpuscles that do impact produce a net force on the outward-facing sides of the bodies, pushing them toward one another. From this mode of action, we see the origin of the title of this book: "pushing gravity".
Matthew Edwards discusses the brief revival of Le Sage’s model in the late 19th century, spearheaded by Lord Kelvin. The debates on this subject among Kelvin, Maxwell, and other contemporaries are classic science, with each side making telling arguments. But ultimately, the theory was swept away by the advance of Einstein’s general relativity in the early 20th century.
This reviewer’s own chapter provides the most complete exposition of how Le Sagian gravity produces all the features of Newtonian and Einstein gravitation, and several more features presently unrecognized by physics as well. The key to understanding the phenomena and answering objections is to recognize the need for two different media operating on vastly different scales, a "light-carrying medium" and a graviton medium. This chapter includes the modified Newtonian formulas needed to compute these effects, together with numerical estimates of the new constants in the formulas. These include a gravitational shielding coefficient, a graviton drag coefficient, and a finite-range parameter. The chapter proceeds to show how this picture fits into a broader cosmological and quantum physics context. For example, it leads to a natural mechanism for redshifting light as it travels, providing an alternative to an expanding universe. It also offers an alternative to the as-yet-undiscovered "dark matter", which need not exist after all. It eliminates the singularity when matter collapses to an ultra-dense state (i.e., no more "black holes" as such, although high-matter-density objects still exist). And it introduces enough heat energy to readily explode planets if anything were to interfere with the efficient flow of graviton-heated light-carrying medium from planetary interiors. A list of historical objections to Le Sage-type models and their resolutions is also presented.
The immediately following paper by Victor Slabinski nicely complements the paper just described. A Le Sage-type mathematical graviton model is developed rigorously to the point where we see relationships between fundamental parameters such as the mass, speed, flux density, and absorption and scattering coefficients for gravitons, and the more familiar physical parameters such as the universal gravitational constant, the heat absorbed by matter, and the drag on planetary motions. The chapter ends with numerical constraints on the various parameters, and shows that Le Sage-type models are viable because of the absence of contradiction among the constraints.
Other authors envision the mechanism of gravity operating a bit differently, and often try to develop models around a single medium, with varying degrees of success. Kierein suggests a background of very long wavelength radiation as the cause. Editor Edwards suggests that a background of electromagnetic radiation induces gravitation only in bodies that are in motion relative to the background (e.g. rotating galaxies), due to the form of the relativistic Doppler effect that applies in a preferred reference frame. And Mingst and Stowe show that at least the Newtonian gravitation formula can be derived generically without a specific mechanism.
A few papers show the development of thinking about such models, although they invoke specifics that have since been discredited or at least made highly dubious. Reference to the "Pioneer anomalous acceleration" would fall into that category, as would the Allais pendulum effect, and the notion that anything responsible for gravitational force can propagate as slowly as lightspeed.
Near the end of the book, we find historical efforts to detect Le Sage-associated gravitational effects such as gravitational shielding. Some of this material is of current value and some of it purely historical. The book concludes with several chapters of a miscellaneous character that do not fit well elsewhere, again with a largely historical emphasis.
This book is excellent both for looking back at how physics evolved to where it is today, and for looking forward to where physics may be headed during the coming century. The subtitle’s "new perspectives" are here in abundance.
Many of today’s physicists have not looked or even thought beyond the "curved space-time" explanation for gravitation. Those who have, realize that a curvature cannot be a cause of a motion unless a force acts. For example, in the classical "rubber sheet analogy", a small body on the side of a dent in a rubber sheet made by a large mass will not start rolling downhill unless there is already gravity under the rubber sheet to give meaning to "downhill" and provide a force. But that defeats the purpose of the analogy as an explanation for the cause of gravity. Anyone interested in a serious-yet-easy-to-grasp causal mechanism for gravitation will find this book essential reading.
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