GZK cutoff to crackpots in one Google search

Posted by barb on Jun 25, 2004 in Science Musings |

Somehow I know just how to find them. I was Googling for “GZK cutoff”, since I had just read an article disputing the existence of the GZK cutoff*, and I wanted a bit more information. (Plus, the authors of the paper did not indicate whether or not they had submitted the paper anywhere, and I was wondering if they were giving accurate information.)

The first link I went to was an article on UHECR [link disappeared from the Web] (ultra high-energy cosmic rays). I grew suspicious of the author when I read the following:

They say that energy losses suffered by ultra high energy cosmic rays by meson-producing interactions with photons of the big-bang relic background radiation would have a profound effect on what we can “see.”

Why was I suspicious? Most scientists would not say “big-bang relic background radiation”, but would simply say CMB or perhaps cosmic microwave background. I thought I should investigate the author a bit more.

I checked out his resume [link disappeared from the Web] and found that he has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and most of his experience is in computer programming. Now, I’m not saying that amateur astronomers can’t contribute to astronomy research, they absolutely can. He is not one of them.

What really gets me is that he was presented posters at American Astronomical Society Meetings. His abstract for his poster at the January 2004 Meeting was fairly vague; however, I’m not sure how his poster for the October 2002 Planetary Division Meeting was accepted.

And frankly, anyone referencing Velikovsky in the first paragraph of an article [link disappeared from the Web] should not be taken seriously.

I just can’t leave this guy’s site…it’s so bad. He talks about gamma-rays “tickling-to-death” heavy elements in the solar wind, and energies of gamma-rays in terms of Hertz (X-ray and gamma-ray astronomers always use keV or MeV to describe the spectrum). Few of the references in his article are to referred science journals, and those that are do not reference his theories at all.

I just need to turn it off…this is not good for me.

* The spectrum of cosmic rays (relativistic particles, usually protons) that have been detected at Earth is theorized to have a “cut-off” at energies above 1020 eV, because such particles will be absorbed by the cosmic microwave background. (For more, check out the GZK Limit article at Wikipedia.)

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