Subject: Re: WER?
Date: Sat, 29 May 2004 01:14:20 +0300
From: Dimi Chakalov <>
To: Clifford Will <>

On Fri, 28 May 2004 14:28:29 -0500 (CDT), "Clifford M. Will" wrote:
> Please remove me from your mailing list.
> C. Will

Sorry, I had the impression that you like alternative theories of gravity.

I suppose this is also your reply to my request for a copy from your "Does Spacetime do the Twist? The launch and implications of Gravity Probe-B", which I needed to be prepared for your talk "Alternative Theories of Gravity" at GR17.

See you in Dublin.


On Thu, 13 May 2004 03:10:19 +0300, Dimi Chakalov wrote:
> Dear Professor Will,
> It seems to me that the answer to the question above is 'Jain'.

> Anyway, I would like to ask you for a copy from your forthcoming
> (Friday, May 14th) lecture "Does Spacetime do the Twist? The
> launch and implications of Gravity Probe-B".
> Regards,
> Dimi Chakalov
> --

Note 1: I'm used to such harsh replies from theoretical physicists, my first request for opinion & preprints was in August 1981. I wrote to Prof. David Abramovich Kirzhnitz (USSR), requesting his opinion on my speculations on the quantum vacuum, and in October 1981 I got a letter in which he said nothing, but from the bottom of his communist heart.

That was in the dark communist era. Now we have email, and it's much easier to say nothing, as did Prof. Clifford Will (probably also from the bottom of his heart).

Clifford Will has written a nice book "Was Einstein Right?" (hence the acronym WER?), but the reason for my interest in his research is the following excerpt from his web site, Has the Speed of Gravity Been Measured?:

"How can we really measure the speed of propagation of gravity? (...) The real way to measure the speed of gravity is to detect and study gravitational waves."

I have a bit different opinion on Sergei Kopeikin's project, which you can read here.

D. Chakalov
May 29, 2004

Note 2: Clifford Will has published a very intriguing article in Sec. Special Focus in October 1999 issue of Physics Today [Ref. 1].

I'm afraid two important issues are 'swept under the rug'. I intend to ask Clifford Will two questions, after he delivers his talk "Alternative Theories of Gravity" at GR17.

Firstly, the comparison of detecting GR waves to the detection of neutrinos is by no means justified. Unlike neutrinos, the hypothetical graviton may not exist (cf. Mário Everaldo de Souza, Gravity cannot be quantized, gr-qc/0208085, and Angelo Loinger, "Quantum gravity": an oxymoron, physics/0308042). What Clifford Will failed to explain is the implications of non-existence of graviton to the theory of detecting GR waves. Hence my first question:

Q1: If the graviton cannot exist in principle, what would you need to fix in your theory of detecting GR waves?

Secondly, the very idea of detecting the polarization of gravitational waves [Ref. 1, Fig. 3] could be wrong, since there is no solution to the puzzle of 3-D space in GR, nor any answer to the question of how can these putative waves propagate within themselves, and with respect to themselves (cf. Kip Thorne's lecture at GR17). Here comes my second question:

Q2: Albert Einstein has said that the representation of matter by a tensor was only a fill-in to make it possible to do something temporarily, a wooden nose in a snowman [Ref. 2]. Was Einstein right (WER?)?

Should this question sound strange, may I suggest the reader to consult Hermann Weyl [Ref. 3]. The crux of the matter is in the equation of continuity (Ibid., pp. 268-269, Eq. 55): we assume that "outside" the world canal, the stream-density  si  vanishes, "if not entirely, at least to such a degree that the following argument retains its validity".

However, the stream-density does not vanish entirely, and we cannot set it to strictly zero: Hermann Weyl was talking about an artificial "isolated system" (Ibid., p. 268). So, if we place the global mode of spacetime "outside" the world canal and "between" any point at which  si  is tending asymptotically toward zero, the whole case changes drastically, as anticipated by Einstein [Ref. 2]. And please don't forget the enigmatic [lambda]. More from Lawrence Krauss [Ref. 4].

I don't expect Clifford Will to reply to these questions, and I don't expect any of his colleagues to pay attention to these issues either. Then by 2011 they will find out that the so-called gravitational waves cannot be detected (see LISA and LIGO), and we will witness a drastic case of total ignorance and lack of understanding the basic problems of Einstein's GR.

Then Clifford Will will stand out and say, "People sometimes make errors", just as Edward Weiler did on September 30, 1999, after the crash of Mars Polar Lander spacecraft.

It happens. Just don't tell me you knew nothing about it, Clifford.

D. Chakalov
May 31, 2004
To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle
George Orwell, 1946


[Ref. 1] Clifford M. Will, Gravitational Radiation and the Validity of General Relativity. PHYSICS TODAY 52, 38 (October 1999). Based on a talk given at the April 1998 meeting of the American Institute of Physics,


"First, detection of the waves would in and of itself be a striking confirmation of general relativity, despite the fact that their existence is strongly supported by the binary pulsar. Here the situation is reminiscent of neutrinos: the direct detection of neutrinos by Frederick Reines and Clyde Cowan in 1956 was a impressive discovery (worthy of the 1995 Nobel Prize) despite the pre-existing confidence in their reality from beta decay.

"Polarization of gravitational waves. A laser-interferometric or resonant bar gravitational-wave detector measures local relative displacements (of mirrors or of mechanical elements), which can be related to a symmetric 3x3 strain tensor. This tensor can in turn be related directly to components of the Riemann curvature tensor of spacetime generated by the wave. The six independent components of the strain tensor can be expressed in terms of polarizations (modes with specific transformation properties under rotations and boosts). Three are transverse to the direction of propagation, with two representing quadrupolar deformations and one representing a monopole "breathing" deformation. The other three are longitudinal, with one an axially symmetric stretching mode in the propagation direction, and the remaining two quadrupolar (see Figure 3). General relativity predicts only the first two transverse quadrupolar modes, independently of the source; this goes hand in hand with the notion that, at a quantum level, gravitational waves are associated with a spin-two particle, the "graviton"."
[(see Fig. 3).]

"FIG. 3. Six polarization modes for gravitational waves permitted in any metric theory of gravity. Shown is the displacement that each mode induces on a ring of test particles at 0o and 180o phase. The wave propagates in the +z direction. There is no displacement out of the plane of the picture. In the transverse modes, the wave propagates out of the plane; in the longitudinal modes, the wave propagates in the plane. In general relativity, only the transverse quadrupolar modes are present; in scalar-tensor gravity, the transverse breathing mode may also be present."

[Ref. 2] Albert Einstein: "The representation of matter by a tensor was only a fill-in to make it possible to do something temporarily, a wooden nose in a snowman."

From Albert Einstein's Last Lecture, Relativity Seminar, Room 307, Palmer Physical Laboratory, Princeton University, April 14, 1954, according to notes taken by J. A. Wheeler. In: P. C. Eichelburg and R.U. Sexl (Eds.), Albert Einstein (Friedrich Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig, 1979), p. 201.

[Ref. 3] Hermann Weyl (1922), Space-Time-Matter, Fourth Edition, translated by Henry L. Brose, Dover Publications, New York, 1951, p. 270:

"And yet, physically, it seems devoid of sense to introduce the  tk as energy-components of the gravitational field, for these quantities neither form a tensor nor are they symmetrical. In actual fact, if we choose an appropriate co-ordinate system, we may take all the  tk  at one point vanish; it is only necessary to choose a geodesic co-ordinate system."

[Ref. 4] Lawrence M. Krauss, Cosmological Antigravity, Scientific American, January 1999, pp. 53-59.

pp. 54-55: "In the general theory of relativity, the source of gravitational forces (whether attractive or repulsive) is energy. Matter is simply one form of energy. But Einstein's cosmological term is distinct. The energy associated with it does not depend on position or time -- hence the name "cosmological constant". The force caused by the constant operates even in the complete absence of matter and radiation. Therefore, the source must be a curious energy that resides in empty space."

p. 59: "The universe is either open or filled with an energy of unknown nature".