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on 10 January 2014
I enjoyed Andrew Thomas' first book, "Hidden in Plain Sight", rather a lot, if only because it was a refreshing change from the sometimes dogmatic mainstream. In recent decades it does feel that Physics has become somewhat mired in problems. String theory seems to have swallowed whole careers with little in the way of tangible result. Thus far at least, "dark energy" & "dark matter" are really just alternative terms for "unknown, unexplained & not yet actually detected". These mysterious invisible explanations for things we don't understand may yet go the way of "phlogiston" and "the ether".

Anyway, having enjoyed his first book, I decided to buy his second and I think I enjoyed it even more. Could the theory that Andrew Thomas puts forward actually be right? Who knows, but in my opinion he puts forward a rather interesting argument. When I first read it, I found his conclusion rather jaw-dropping. At least it was a satisfying conclusion, like the revelation at the end of a good murder mystery. Certainly thought-provoking. I need to read it again. The axiom about "if it's too good to be true..." is rarely wrong, and this theory almost seems too good to be true.

While I was reading, I found myself thinking about a concept from Chaos Theory that he doesn't mention - attractors in dynamical systems. Is the Schwarzschild radius real? Well, yes. Could it be a rather important attractor? Perhaps. Can it really explain so much about some many of the current mysteries in physics, with just a tiny tweak to Relativity? Well, maybe. Or maybe not. But for 99p on a Kindle, it's certainly worth a read so you can try to decide for yourself!

I have to note that the Kindle edition at least has poor editing and proof-reading in places, (possibly because he can't afford an editor at these prices) but it didn't affect my enjoyment.

All in all, an enjoyable, stimulating & thought-provoking read.
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on 22 October 2013
Ok, I have now read and enjoyed both of Andrew Thomas's books. His easy and informative style gives us an excellent introduction to many of the difficult concepts of modern physics. However, he also claims to have found answers to some of the most difficult remaining questions. In his first book he has unified Quantum Physics and General Relativity and in his second solved the problems of Dark Energy and the "fine tuned" Universe with a simple modification to the law of Gravity.

So as I finish the second book I have now to admit to an ever growing suspicion. Both books present hypotheses worthy of if not the Nobel Prize, then at least a major upheaval in the world of physics. But no, barely a ripple - just try Googling either the book titles or Andrew's name. Apparently he has not published any peer reviewed papers in this area - just a pair of very low priced books (good value on Kindle at 0.99 for pure readability).

So unfortunately I have to believe we are being presented with some nicely argued but ultimately empty ideas. I would very much like to be proved wrong but I suspect these novel new ideas need to be tested at a much higher academic level than the Popular Science section of Kindle books. And there the ball is very firmly in the court of Andrew Thomas.
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on 5 February 2014
I have now read (quickly) both Andrew Thomas's books. I am not a physicist but judging by his website Andrew Thomas has a pretty good understanding of quantum mechanics and relativity and where he has made the odd mistake he seems refreshingly willing to amend his site when improvements or mistakes are pointed out. Many top class Physicists have been uneasy because current quantum mechanics ,and cosmology theories throw up singularities and infinities. I am not sufficiently qualified to comment on this except to say that theories that lead mathematically to singularities and infinities are ,I feel , suspect.

I would like Thomas's theories which seem pretty good to me considered by some serious Physicists/Mathematicians to see how rigorous they are. It may be they are wrong or need amendment but I find his books to have many new ideas , to be very readable and understandable.

There is no doubt that Physics/Cosmology currently are in bad shape ( normalisation to get rid of infinities, the vacuum energy catastrophe ,singularities, forced adoption of the anthropic principle, dark matter , dark energy, superstring theory ) . Thomas's ideas get rid of most of these problems but the problem in getting his ideas evaluated is that most of the people able to evaluate these ideas rigorously have spent their careers and lives pursuing what may be wrong ideas that have lead to these problems.

I don't think physicists should be overly snooty about this . A recent survey of active Physicists had from memory, about 40% accepting the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Physics, a large percentage supporting the many worlds interpretation (in several flavours ) and the rest split between about 10 other interpretations. And this is supposed to be an exact science.

String theory at least has an elegant idea (all particles resulting from different modes of vibration) and has spawned some impressive mathematical advances. That said it has n't done much else.

To get back to the book well written, incredible value, thought provoking, as far as I know very original, and I hope correct. Its up to the Physicists and Mathematicians to tell us. The few criticisms I have seen of it in reviews have been mainly by Physicists with vested interests and have been inaccurate. As an example one criticised Thomas's use of "nature". Thomas was obviously using the noun as a convenient shorthand for the laws of nature (or science ) in that same way that Einstein used "God". At this level of criticism no wonder Physics ( which I love and find fascinating ) is a mess.

Sure Thomas gives little mathematics but the point is his two books come up with some original ideas and if the mathematicians and physicists can evaluate these and give them rigour maybe as the originator of these ideas he should deserve a major share of any plaudits or prizes.

As a final thought I realise that Susskind , Witten and others must be absolutely brilliant but I can never watch their lectures without a small voice inside me saying "bull s--t"
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on 23 June 2014
A cosmological theory is proposed to account not only for the accelerating expansion of the universe but also for its flatness, without calling upon either primordial inflation or dark energy. Quite an undertaking, which would leave a few Nobel laureates with somewhat hollow awards, if it worked.

Drawing upon mainstream cosmology, the thesis examines some reasons why light emitted from a source may fail to reach an observer: insufficient time; intervening space expanding faster than light can travel; gravity at source so strong as to impose superluminal escape velocity. The first two define the limits of our observable universe at various times; the third concerns black holes.

The author then notes a curious coincidence between the current extent of our locally observable universe (calculated as speed of light divided by Hubble parameter) and its notional Schwarzschild radius based upon the included mass.

It is truly surprising that the two radii should be similar (to within an order of magnitude) but perhaps too much can be made of this. The author’s proposition is that we therefore effectively exist within a black hole and must expect to observe negative gravitational effects (the implications for anyone residing just over the horizon are not examined). This is a bold proposal, as also is the notion that the universe will settle down at about its current size or average density on account of its overall zero energy content.

Negative gravity, as against any primordial cosmic inflationary phase, is also taken to explain the flatness of the universe’s geometry. Little is made of the tiny temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, for which Alan Guth’s inflation theory also provides an explanation. And the recently-claimed observation of evidence for gravitational waves in the CMB will (if confirmed) provide further support for a short-lived inflationary expansion. Guth must be very relieved.

I took less from this book than from the standard primer “An introduction to Modern Cosmology” by Andrew Liddle which provides a seriously convincing account of what is known and currently explicable in a perhaps ultimately incomprehensible universe. The concept of the zero energy universe has also already been expounded in the thoroughly cogent and readable narrative “A universe from nothing” by Lawrence Krauss.
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on 4 September 2013
Brilliant. Even if the central insight of this book turns out to be wrong, I recommend you buy it if only from the profound sense of intellectual satisfaction it brings. And if it turns out to be right, all the leading minds in cosmology will be quoting Thomas Huxley ("How extremely stupid not to have thought of that!") with Mr Thomas as their Darwin.
If, like me, you have ever read a book on cosmology costing 10 or 20 times this one and found yourself afterwards feeling cheated of the full story, and asking "If there's so much of X around, how come we don't know what it is?" , "Yes, but why did inflation stop - why isn't it happening now?", or "Is the anthropic principle/multiverse really the best explanation you have for this cosmological constant/coincidence Y?", then this the book for you.
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on 2 April 2015
The 'Equation of the Universe' is the relation between mass-energy (mc squared) and gravitational-energy, where they are postulated to be equal and opposite, resulting in a value of exactly zero. It was known to Einstein, so isn't exactly new.
Using Relativity, quantum theory, a few Universal constants and the fact that Nature always minimises the energy of any given system, the Author derives the 'Equation' simply and straightforwardly (basic level algebra) and uses it as a hypothesis to demonstrate that the Universe has many of the characteristics of an expanding black-hole i.e an object with sufficient mass to prevent anything escaping from it, no matter how fast it is travelling.
I find this concept of the Universe immensely satisfying, corresponding as it does with my beliefs over many years- it seemed glaringly obvious!
I always liked the analogy of the galaxies as 'spots' on the surface of an expanding balloon, the distances between the spots continually increasing, but I couldn't work out how the thickness of the rubber would fit in. Now I see it as the material within the event-horizon- dare I say the 'dark-matter'- circulating as a band at the far reaches of space.
There is no time element in the Andrew Thomas Hypothesis, so the Universe may be coasting gently towards stability without the need for a big-bang, rapid inflation, gravitons, dark matter particles, strings, multi-universes etc. and it's age completely unknown! R.I.P Fred Hoyle...
Well, what do you want for a Quid...?!

I note, wryly, that other Reviewers appear to have a similar respect for professional physicists as they show to politicians...
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on 26 October 2013
Very enjoyable and, surprisingly, quite easy to read. I don't know whether the author's alternative theory (re the universe expansion) is correct or not, but at least it is thought provoking.
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on 16 October 2013
This was a very enjoyable book. It was easy to understand and very thought provoking. I do not see a problem with making adjustments to Einstein's Theory of Relativity as long as the data fits and Andrew showed that the data does fit. After all Einstein made adjustments to newton's 200 year old Theory of Gravity.

I have read both books by Andrew and I loved them both. I hope Andrew writes more books presenting us with more thought provoking hypothesis'
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on 3 November 2013
Excellent book really enjoyable and thought provoking interesting to think about having to update the theory of relativity good read
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on 30 December 2014
I found this an interesting, balanced and refreshing read, and will read it a second time, pausing longer over the ideas it contains. Too many physicists seem to treat cosmology as a Faith, like a religion, where they just learn what seems popular, understand little, explain little, ignore evidence, and fail to create simple hypotheses that generate novel predictions that can be tested. Witness the long-term obsession with String Theory (still an hypothesis, not a theory). The absence of peer review matters little, if the potential reviewers have opposing faiths, and a research grant and professorship to justify.
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