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Reciprocal System of Theory
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Reciprocal System of Theory

The Reciprocal System of Theory (RST) is a non-standard cosmological theory. It is held by advocates to be a theoretical framework capable of comprehensively explaining all physical phenomena from subatomic particles to galactic clusters. The framework, based on the work of Dewey B. Larson, an American engineer and author, was originally described in his book The Structure of the Physical Universe in 1959 and has more recently been published in three revised and enlarged volumes. The ideas are promoted by the members of 'The International Society of Unified Science, Inc.' (ISUS) whose only stated objective is to "advance in all ways deemed feasible the Reciprocal System of physical theory as proposed by Dewey B. Larson".

The RST and the work of Larson is essentially unknown or ignored in the mainstream physics community, since it is completely at odds with relativity, quantum mechanics and the Big Bang and many other modern theories. It is generally dismissed by those physicists who are aware of it because it is based on an entirely different assumption as to the nature of the physical world. The RST assumes that all physical phenomena proceeds from the existence of motion, combinations of motion, or relations between motions. Of course, this theory conflicts in many ways with current physical theory, which is based on the assumption that matter and energy are the fundamental constituents of the universe.

This conflict can be seen in many areas. For instance, RST proponents point out that, in the RST, gravity results from the inherent, three-dimensional motion that constitutes matter, and thus explains why gravity acts instantaneously between masses separated by large distances, while requiring no intervening medium of transmission to do so. In contrast, general relativity posits that the force of gravity results from the interaction of mass with a four-dimensional medium called space-time. Consequently, a conflict arises between the two theories over the existence of a real physical medium. If general relativity's model of gravity is physically real, then gravitational radiation, a ripple, or a wave in the universal medium, caused by very large explosions of stars, though extremly small and hard to detect, ought to exist, providing direct evidence of the physical reality of the general relativity model of the space-time medium.

While indirect evidence for the existence of gravitational radiation from binary neutron star measurements has been studied in recent years, as yet no direct evidence of a universal, physical medium has been found. General relativity predicts that, due to gravitational radiation, the orbit of binary star systems will decay at a specific rate. This decay is observed, and the rate is as predicted by general relativity, to an accuracy of 0.5%. In the meantime, both earthbound gravitational wave detectors, such as LIGO and VIRGO, and spaceborne detectors such as LISA and others, are expected to detect more direct evidence of gravitational radiation, which would confirm the existence of a physically real, universal medium of four-dimensional space-time, contrary to the prediction of the RST that such a medium doesn't exist.

RST proponents also claim that it is consistent with recent observations of fluctuations in the CMB (see WMAP). Within standard inflationary/Big Bang cosmology, the peak in the fluctuation spectrum at about 1 degree is interpreted as showing that the geometry of the universe is approximately flat on the largest observable length scales, and that the cosmological parameter Omega is equal to one, to within a few percent error. These data are problematic for traditional (non-inflationary) Big Bang cosmology, where Euclidean geometry appears to be highly unlikely. However, when the Big Bang is supplemented by the theory of cosmic inflation, a flat Universe on large scales is seen as the most likely outcome. RST has not been invoked by any mainstream physicist as a resolution of this problem.

It should be noted that the interpretation of the 1 degree peak in the CMB spectrum depends strongly on the history of the early universe. Hence if RST cosmology differs significantly from the standard inflation/Big Bang scenario, the data will have to be reinterpreted and may not be a good indication of the curvature of the universe.

According to proponents of the RST, the recent discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe is also good news for it. The observed acceleration is thought to be produced by a gravity-like repulsive force. Some think that this force, dubbed "dark energy," by Michael Turner of the University of Chicago, might be vacuum energy, represented by the "cosmological constant" (Λ) in general relativity or possibly something called "Quintessence." While this new force is thought to be similar to gravity, and though it is in conflict with established theories, a similar outward scalar motion has been an integral part of the RST from the beginning, and is a component in the RST's calculations and explanations of both the large-scale structure of the universe and its atomic and molecular scale structure. It plays a fundamental role in the RST's explanation of the recession of galaxies, star formation, galaxy formation and the explosions of stars, without the need for the "Big Bang," or black holes to explain these processes. RST is not necessary, however, to explain this outward motion--Einstein himself proposed the cosmological constant soon after his proposal of the theory of relativity, and other mainstream scientists are exploring theories of expansion that have nothing to do with RST directly.

In Nothing But Motion, Larson makes theoretical predictions of the periodic order of the elements. He claims that his theory accurately derives the elements in correct order without employing the concepts of electrons and atomic nucleus, and predicts that the maximum number of elements in the periodic table is 117.

In Basic Properties of Matter, Larson makes theoretical predictions for a large number of properties of a range of chemical species, including atomic mass, interatomic distance, compressibility and heat capacity. It appears that he calculates these values from simple closed-form analytic formulas. If accurate, this would be a vast improvement on the complex calculations required to make theoretical predictions under quantum mechanics. However, in many cases Larson does not specify precisely which formula should be used, and the formulas used are sometimes changed from species to species with very little explanation. Also, Larson lists characteristic constants for the various species which are specific to RST, such as "specific electric rotation". He does not give an unambiguous procedure for calculating these constants, and based on that book alone, it is impossible to rule out the allegation that they were selected arbitrarily to make the predictions fit the data.

According to its proponents, RST can also be used to solve the famous problem of the precession of the perihelion of the planet Mercury. This problem was first solved using Einstein's equations of general relativity, which assumes relative values of space-time in the equations of motion, as opposed to Newton's assumption that space and time should be treated as absolute concepts in the equations of motion. Larson, in the RST, also assumes absolute values of space and time, but goes beyond Newton in the definition of these crucial concepts. Using these definitions, K.V.K. Nehru produced a paper describing the orbital motion of high-speed planets. The result he found from the RST was precisely the same as that from relativity. Hence, like general relativity, the RST is fully in agreement with accurate measurements of Mercury's orbit.

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