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No. 41: Sep-Oct 1985

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All Things Appear To Those Who Accelerate

We have said some nasty things about WIMPS (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles). But perhaps the existence of WIMPS is only a matter of one's private trajectory in the cosmos! Recently, theorists fiddling with the possible consequences of quantum mechanics came up with some shockers:

1. An accelerating observer can detect particles that a stationary observer will swear do not exist; 2. An accelerating reflecting surface (theoretically) creates a flux of particles that stream away from its surface; and 3. An accelerating mirror can carry away negative energy!

After cogitating on such discoveries, Paul Davies wondered, "Might it even be that the apparently solid matter of the Universe around us is only the consequence of our particular motion?" Par-ticles of matter, in this theoretical scheme, would be only chimeras of our individual motions.

(Davies, Paul; "Do Particles Really Exist?" New Scientist, p. 40, May 2, 1985.)

Comment. Omar Khayyam practically predicted this curious state of affairs when he wrote: "We are no other than a moving row/Of magic shadow-shapes that come and go."

From Science Frontiers #41, SEP-OCT 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987