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Sloan Digital Sky Survey data motivates reassessment of ΛCDM cosmology

Posted: November 22 2018
by Alexander F Mayer
The two fundamental requirements of physics are rigorous intellectual honesty and reliance on quantitative evidence; without these two revered foundations of our community, physics is an intellectual activity without substance. On rare occasion historically, the community of scientific researchers within a discipline are confronted with new theory supported by new quantitative evidence that overturns what Thomas Kuhn called “the dominant paradigm.” Such transitional epochs are difficult, as they require personal agendas to be subordinated in service to the advancement of science, with failure to do so (including the tactic of willful ignorance) constituting a grave breach of professional ethics.

The field of cosmology was established just over a century ago in February with the publication of A. Einstein, “Cosmological Considerations in the General Theory of Relativity,” SPAW, 142 (1917). The next month saw the publication of W. de Sitter, “On the relativity of inertia. Remarks concerning Einstein’s latest hypothesis,” KNAW Proceedings 19(2), 1217 (1917). Then came a series of three remarkable papers culminating in W. de Sitter, “Einstein’s theory of gravitation and its astronomical consequences. Third paper,” MNRAS 78, 3 (1917). That paper was augmented by W. de Sitter, “On the curvature of space,” KNAW Proceedings 20(1), 229 (1918), which covered a June 1917 lecture by the author.

In his seminal paper, Einstein introduced the innovative idea of a Universe of finite space and energy with no boundary. In his initial March paper, Willem de Sitter criticized the “separate position” of the time component in Einstein’s metric, which he found to be “contradictory to the complete symmetry of the field-equations.” Soon thereafter, following a recommendation by Einstein’s close friend and colleague, Paul Ehrenfest, de Sitter found a new exact solution to the field equations. The time component of the new metric modeled a symmetric relativistic time dilation between strictly-local time coordinates (represented by ideal clocks) that was correlated to the cosmological radial distance between them. Astrophysically, such “ideal clocks” are instantiated empirically by radiation of known frequency in the rest frame (e.g., the hydrogen spectral series and the 21-centimeter line).

A peculiarity in the mathematical physics of de Sitter’s cosmological metric is that it requires the condition of zero average matter density [math], which naïvely seems to imply an “empty universe.” Accordingly, it was considered to be “purely mathematical,” having “no real physical meaning.” This historical interpretation of the mathematics overlooked the fact that in a finite, boundaryless Universe of uniform energy density on large scale, the antipodal hyper-hemispheres in [math] have systemically (i.e., azimuthally-averaged) relativistically reversed proper time coordinates. Accordingly, in the context of relativistic physics, the locally-positively-valued energy content of the two respective hemispheres are of equal magnitude (being some large finite value), but opposite polarity. It follows that the sum of these two energies (i.e., the net Cosmic energy) is zero in that context. Such realization implies that the de Sitter metric was misjudged as a mere mathematical curiosity and that its time component could possibly model the empirically-observed distance-correlated galaxy redshifts and corresponding cosmological relativistic time dilation. Then the underlying cause of that empirical phenomenon would be the curvature of finite boundaryless Cosmic space, and not the now-assumed general expansion of space between the galaxies that presupposes a primordial explosion from a space-time singularity that defies physical explanation.

Given such new insight, standard professional scientific procedure requires a thorough investigation (i.e., to confront the new model with the best available quantitative evidence), regardless of strong prejudice and social pressure in favor of the consensus standard model (viz., “intellectual phase-locking”), which subjective realities have no bearing on empirical reality. That evidence exists in the form of raw observational data from modern galaxy redshift surveys, exemplified by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (

In conjunction with deriving the predictive formulas that are consistent with the Riemannian Cosmic geometry of the de Sitter metric, such an investigation has been conducted. Because that set of a priori predictive equations for astrophysical observables share a single free parameter, which is the indirectly-measurable estimated Cosmic radius [math], it is impossible to adjust the predictions to the observables in any way. (For relative, rather than absolute measurements, there is no free parameter in any predictive formula, only an arbitrary scaling constant.) Thus, positive (or negative) correlation of each of the set of observables to its respective predictive formula within the new set of coordinated mathematical predictions provides rapid verification (or falsification) of the proposed new model. Following is the abstract to the detailed online report of the investigation and its ResearchGate URL.

The objective, statistical nature of SDSS astrophysical datasets, which were not driven by any theoretical agenda, reveal false and misleading prior measurements (e.g., redshift-distance) driven by confirmation bias in the context of such agendas. SDSS theta-z, redshift-magnitude (both spectroscopic and photometric pipelines), and galaxy population-density data are shown to conflict with the ΛCDM standard cosmological model. However, all four of these distinct and independent data sets are similarly consistent with a new cosmological model that revives de Sitter’s 1917 solution to the field equations, long thought to entail an “empty universe.” That new model, which represents a paradigm shift in cosmology, derives from considerations of symmetry and local proper time modeled as a geometric object, motivated by Minkowski (1909). The canonical idea of a non-relativistic universal time coordinate (i.e., ‘Cosmic Time’ from initial singularity) is supplanted by a relativistic, strictly- local time coordinate involving no such inscrutable singularity. The confrontation of all new predictive equations, having no free parameters, with corresponding SDSS data sets definitively resolves the modern quandary of astrophysical observables interpreted as accelerating cosmic expansion, induced by ‘dark energy.’