by Joao Magueijo
This is a fascinating story of a young cosmologist who dared to challenge Einstein's most sacred laws of physics; the speed of light in vacuum is a universal constant. In human experience; space and time are perceived as universally rigid, but Einstein proposed that space & time; space-time could expand or contract but speed of light remains unchanged. On occasions many physicists have wondered, and debated that Varying Speed of Light (VSL) is an alternative explanation to inflation theory. A notable proponent is John Moffat who first expressed this idea to none other than father of relativity himself. Einstein responded by saying that "Every individual has to retain his way of thinking if he does not want to get lost in the maze of possibilities. However, nobody is sure of having taken the right road.... myself least of all." At another instance, Einstein said that "We are standing in front of a closed box which cannot open, and we try to discuss what is inside and what is not." The idea of VSL proposed by this author is not new, but he is one of those who made the theory a little more mainstream in physics. The first half of the book (chapter 2 - 6) discusses the current cosmological problems and inflation theory in layman terms, and in the second half, the author discusses his personal struggles in the pursuit of his controversial theory. He unleashes his mind and heart on any thing that matters; scientific bureaucracy, peer reviewing process, research-grant award mechanism, science administrators, and fellow scientists. The academic rat race is vividly explained along with his leftist and liberal leanings on political and social issues. He expresses cynicism against American and Russian scientists; a reflection of British educational system which refuses to forget 1776 and uncomfortable to admit scientific and technical superiority of another country. The horizon effect of earth is due to its curvature, but the horizon of the universe is due to two factors; a definite age of the universe (13.7 billion years) and speed of light is constant. A consequence of this is when the universe was one second old, when it is known to have started expanding; the radius of the horizon was 300,000 kilometers. This suggests that the universe at its infancy had regions that did not have direct contact with each other, and thus can not explain the observed homogeneity of the universe (horizon problem). The second puzzle in cosmology is the flatness problem; the fate of the universe due to the dynamics of expansion, which results in three possible shapes; spherical, hyper-spherical (saddle shaped), and flat surface. When forces of expansion and gravity of the universe are matched, then the universe will neither collapse in a crunch nor does it expand endlessly leaving the universe in dark vacuum. This balanced state of the universe is highly unstable because the two opposing forces are nearly matched, when the natural tendency is that either the force of expansion or gravity takes control of the universe to increase entropy (Second law of Thermodynamics). This seemingly peculiar state of the universe is not clearly explained by the current cosmological models which call for a reexamination and perhaps reconsideration of existing theories. VSL Model; at critical density of the universe, the density of matter that produces gravitational energy is equal to the density of matter producing expansion. In a closed universe (spherical shape), the mass density is above critical density, therefore gravitation supersedes; simultaneously the energy is lost due to a decrease in the speed of light under VSL model (correspondingly mass also decreases since E = MC(2)). Similarly for an open universe, energy is created (correspondingly mass also increases) from vacuum in the wake of expansion from an increase in the speed of light. Thus the universe gravitates to a flat universe in both closed and open situations but violating law of energy conservation (First law of Thermodynamics), because the total energy of the universe did not remain constant. VSL also explains the horizon problem. In VSL model; regions of the universe, which are denser will loss energy, whereas energy will be created in a sparse regions of the universe thereby maintaining homogeneity. One of the properties of the cosmological constant is that vacuum energy is not diluted by expansion in contrast to matter and radiation. It is gravitationally repulsive and the energy density remains constant upon dilution: Expansion dilutes the lambda energy, but tension created by expansion makes up for the energy dilution thus balancing the power of expansion and gravity and thus keeping the universe flat. Hence vacuum energy theoretically must dominate the universe during expansion, but VSL model suppresses that by converting vacuum energy into matter. Other predictions of VSL include that near black holes the speed of light is zero at the horizon, and it also predicts in an eternal universe with no beginning and no end. Since the cosmic expansion is accelerating and cosmological constant lambda is responsible for slowing the speed of light since a sharp decrease in speed of light converts vacuum energy into ordinary matter and this result in conditions for new Big Bang. The cycle of new creation begins all over again. The negative side of VSL is the violation of energy conservation, but it provides for converting vacuum energy into the matter. This model also favors infinite speed of light during Planck epoch in order to explain the horizon problem. It is proposed that the primordial speed of light would be 32 zeros added to the current value (an extreme scenario for the varying speed of light!). There are several versions of VSL including two alternatives from the authors work. Ultimately experimental evidence should favor one VSL model over all others. Although the author mainstreamed this theory in physics but his shabby literature search ignored the work of John Moffat who must get the credit for the discovery of VSL theory.
by B.N Sharma
From the title of this book and the introduction, it is clear to the reader that the author has performed a comparative analysis of Islamic terrorism against India and Israel (for example, see pages 9 and 17). The fact that the author served in Indian army as an officer gives additional hope to the reader that this book sheds some light into the handling of three wars with Pakistan by Nehru and his daughter Mrs. Gandhi. I read this book with the hope that this is a comparative study of Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism, followed by an examination of the two cultures stressing the similarities of two civilizations, and finally describing the impact of Islamic terrorism in the history of these two nations. If you read this book with this thought, I bet you would be disappointed. The book lacks focus; the narratives are too diffused. The reader expects the author to start with a brief history of Indian religions and culture since the author is born and grew up in India, but he chooses to start the book with the history of Jewish culture. Chapter 2-15 rambles, and reads like an essay written by a high school student on Jewish history. Sentences using simple words instead bombastic language would have attracted more readers. In many instances the reader would be confused since book focuses on Christian and Jewish conflicts (for example, see pages 62-63, 84, 98-99, 115, 120, 130, 136-138, 160 and 163). A very brief discussion on Israel's three wars with Egypt including the 1973 Yom Kippur war known for its military prowess and superiority of Israeli military logistics could have been compared with the three wars of India with Pakistan (pages 109, and 170-173, 175-179, 286). This could have emerged as an interesting chapter by itself. The second part; chapters 16 - 19 describes the history and culture of India. Brief references to the common features of Hinduism and Judaism are found in few paragraphs but fails to expand this into useful discussion (see page 81-82. 194-195, 208-209, 305). The author clearly wants to focus on the destruction brought about by Islamists on India and Israel, but key historical points have not been used in an advantageous way. Sometimes the author shifts focus from paragraph to paragraph. Buddhism was completely decimated by Islamic invaders of India, and Sikhism suffered significantly during 18 and 19 century India, but vague references if ever have been made about these two faiths. In light of these observations, the statement about Mohammed is confounding (see page 305); no expert of Islamic terrorism has found anything positive about the teachings of this Prophet. Chapter 19 -21 are perhaps well written sections of the book that summarizes the impact of growing autocracy of Islamic population around the globe. The comparative analysis of India and Israel are fairly presented in chapter 20 and 21. Bangladesh is known for being one of the poorest economies and also a nation on the list of emerging terrorist nations (pages 286-289). Refugees and illegal immigrants from Bangladesh could be problematic as they threaten the security and integrity of India (page 324). Similarly the return of Palestinian refugees from Arab countries could threaten Israel, and hence Israel unequivocally opposes any increase in Palestinian population. The author could have compared these future problems facing India and Israel. The leftists, liberals, apologists, surrender-prone activists, and losers are legitimizing Islamic terrorism not only in India and Israel but also in Western Europe and North America. The author has made a reasonable presentation of this problem in India, but ignored similar problems that exist in Israel (see pages 214, 278, 294-295, 329). On a lesser note; the historical dates of Hindu epics and civilizations of ancient India presented in this book are not widely accepted in academic circles since they lack rigorous support by academic research in related disciplines (see pages 216, 228, 249, 269-277). Similarly Indo-European language is the mother of all languages and Sanskrit is one of the offspring; this is widely accepted in academics as it is supported by research in linguistics and related disciplines (page 261). The Aryan invasion theory supported by Max Muller and other Vedic experts is a direct product of the conservative environment that existed in 19 century Europe (page 246-247). Many references cited at the end of the book are incomplete; name of the author, publication info etc., are not cited (pages 341-343). For readers who are interested in comparative analysis of Hinduism and Judaism, I recommend; Veda and Torah: Transcending the Textuality of Scripture by Barbara A. Holdrege; and Between Jerusalem and Benares: Comparative Studies in Judaism and Hinduism by Hananya Goodman, and of course Frontpagemag.com, a daily internet newspaper that focuses on conservative values and threat of Islamic terrorism to civilization. Many interesting articles and news stories about Israel and India are published in this newspaper by academics and professional journalists. In spite of many instances of deficiencies found in this book, this is still the only work that addresses this rather important aspect of Islamic terrorism. One last note; the front cover picture is a misrepresentation; the Indian and Israeli flags should have been NE and NW of Islamic flag respectively.
by William J. Kaufmann
This book contains very basic and outdated descriptions of the universe which is no longer tenable. The author expresses his doubt in the summary page (page 126) that theoretical and experimental development in cosmology may change the ideas expressed in this book about the universe. Chapters 2-4 give a brief introduction to general relativity in layman terms, and other chapters describe black holes, galaxies, quasars, and the dynamics of the universe. The chapters on quasars and dynamics of universe are outdated in light of new discoveries in cosmology and astrophysics. In spite of these deficiencies the book is readable and relevant ideas of relativity and cosmology are well presented. I recommend reading chapters 1 to 5.
by Mae-Wan Ho
This book is not for the faint hearted! It requires an undergraduate level of thermodynamics, and some working knowledge of biology, and laws of relativity and quantum physics. The author has done her best to write this book to a general reader about physics and biology of life; a monotonous and tedious job to describe in a book of 250 pages. She is influenced by the work of celebrated physicist Erwin Schrodinger and his passion for understanding life. The reader can see Schrodinger's influence throughout this book. Chapter 2 to 6 deals with Schr�dinger's concept in explaining how a living cell exports entropy in order to maintain its own entropy at a low level or near zero there by circumventing the constraints of Second law of thermodynamics. In the second half of the book the author explores various physical and chemical concepts to show how nature keeps cellular entropy production to a minimum. First, the author discusses how the energy transductions in living cells occur, and she determines that heat transfer is not the major form of energy transduction. The biomacromolecules are setup within the cell to near solid state or liquid crystalline like state such that it promotes synchronicity and coherence through electric, electromagnetic and electro mechanical interactions, which are primary source for energy. Coupled electron transfer reactions and other cyclic process that occur in a nested space - time organization within the cell helps minimize entropy since, for a coupled molecular process the entropy production is zero. Intermolecular dipolar interactions among membrane bound proteins/enzymes, and nucleic acids which act as biological semiconductor devices; and quantum tunneling operate in many electron and proton transfer proteins. DNA and RNA are large dielectric molecules that can sustain coherent excited sates. In chapter 8 - 10 the importance of coherent process that removes biochemical processes away from thermodynamic equilibrium by energy flow have been discussed. The operation of quantum coherence, a coherent state that maximizes both global cohesion and local freedom such that micro domains and nested compartments within the cytosol or nucleus or membrane right down to a single biomacromolecules all functioning autonomously doing different things and at different rates generating flow patterns yet all coupled together in supporting the cellular process. A high degree of coherence, coordination, compartmentalization and regulation of multiple biochemical reactions involving numerous proteins, enzymes, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids is proposed as a compensating mechanism to minimize entropy. While the author does her best to bring everything in literature together to support a reasonable hypothesis, but the experimental evidences in support of these concepts operating in a cell is not very strong and hence it is some way to go for universal acceptance. One important feature devised by nature in electron transfer reactions is a metal mediated reaction that has never been addressed in this book. These transfers are facile quantum chemical reactions where nature has used transition metals (with vacant 3d orbitals) to promote electron transfers between low molecular weight biomolecules that otherwise would be thermodynamically disallowed. Iron, copper and manganese perform key cellular reactions. Alkali metals such as sodium, potassium and calcium also participate in many ionic reactions that offer thermodynamic advantages to a living cell. I found this author to be enigmatic since the book is heavily regionalized in its assertions. She refers to the scientific thought conveyed in this work as Western science throughout this book. Chapter 14 offers a very interesting discussion of entropy, and chapter 15 reminisces about the philosophy of life.