This month, Talkshop contributor ‘Lucy Skywalker’ is travelling to Germany to attend a seminar being run by Roderick Graeff, the precision engineering company owner who conducted experiments to prove the existence of a temperature gradient in an isolated fluid column at equilibrium situated in a gravitational field. Graeff’s results matched his predictions, which ultimately derive from the theoretical work done by Johan Josef Loschmidt in the 1870′s. Maxwell rebutted Loschmidt through reference to his own formulation of the second law, a circular argument by assertion. Boltzmann attempted several proofs, but admitted none of them was satisfactory. Loschmidt gained support from Laplace and Lagrange. The issue was never settled because experimental equipment of the necessary sensitivity was not available. Graeff has changed that.
Controversy arises out of the apparent contradiction of the second law of thermodynamics, detailed in the well commented Loschmidt thread here at the Talkshop in January. Strong contributions were made by physicists and mathematicians, and it is worth a read. You will also find links to relevant material, including Graeff’s experimental methodology and results, criticism of these from Dan Sheehan (1,2,3), who convened a ‘second law violations’ conference in 2002, and various papers sprinkled through the comments cited by protagonists from both sides of the debate.
The long running arguments against the gravito-thermal effect made by Team WUWT (Anthony Watts, Willis Eschenbach, Leif Svalgaard, Robert Brown, and Ira Glickstein) since Nikolov and Zeller published their original conference poster (which doesn’t rely on Loschmidt’s Gravito-Thermal theory anyway) are currently resting on two threads which attack Hans Jelbring’s 2003 and 2012 papers, (without actually critiquing the gedanken experiments he set up), in which they didn’t square up to important scientific arguments from our side of the debate, as this comment from ‘Trick’ regarding one of them along with my response exemplifies:
May 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm
May 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm
Willis says at 12:51pm:
Ahhh… the non-GHG ideal gas column contest restarts. Team Tallbloke & Trick et. al. vs. Team Willis & Robert et. al.
Willis means Fig. 1 in link “there” as “it”, so interested readers can therein discover in l-o-o-o-n-g comments that Team Willis & Robert did NOT conclusively show “it” (Fig.1) “…to be another failed perpetual motion machine.”
Willis asks of our Team:
A: Again, the conclusive citation being a 2004 peer reviewed published paper by Verkley & Gerkema 1st cited by poster Roberto Caballero in “there” thread:
Robert’s Fig. 1 is exactly the construct in Verkley & Gerkema Part 2b where their paper rigorously shows the temperature profile (of Fig. 1 in the “there” WUWT post) in z is non-isothermal, isentropic in compliance with 0th, 1st & 2nd thermo laws. No perpetual motion. Robert manifestly misses this by classically assuming T(z) constant with dz to perform the integration right before his eqn. 6.
Assuming that T is constant to perform the dz integration then writing T is shown manifestly constant in z by the integration doesn’t cut it.
Verkley et. al. 2004 paper cited above still stands as doing the T(z) integration properly based on Bohren&Albrecht 1998 text cited therein. Team Willis & Robert et. al. have NOT cited any later rigorous proof conclusively showing Robert’s Fig 1 (“it”) “another failed perpetual motion machine”.
Trick, thank you for staying on the case with this important issue. I fear that the opposing team believe the issue can be settled by shouting longest and loudest and most repetitively, whilst intermingling the most ad hominem arguments into their voluminous output, rather than by addressing the actual science.
They also studiously ignore the experimental evidence and ignore all calls for replication at an accredited lab. Instead, they dismiss the experimenter as a “crank”. This is just more ad hominem attack which attempts to divert attention from the key issue. One of our group is heading to Germany in a fortnight to meet the experimenter at a seminar he is giving. I will be publishing a full report afterwards. prior to that, I will be making a call for questions to put to him, so please visit my site and pitch in.
So here is that call for questions. This is our chance to get answers from the man who has taken Albert Einstein’s injunction regarding the necessity for theory to be confirmed or disproven by experiment seriously. As Einstein said in private correspondence with Robert Millikan, June 1921:
Experimentum summas Judex – Experiment is the final arbiter.
This point was reiterated by Raghu Singh in the thread on his gravity theory:
A new theory should not be judged by an older theory. A new theory is initially judged by whether: it is internally, physically consistent; it re-discovers older predictions; and it discovers at least one new prediction. The model meets these criteria. Only observations and experiments may falsify a theory. A theory confirmed yesterday could be falsified tomorrow.
This is as true for Maxwell’s incomplete formulation of the second law of thermodynamics as it is for Einstein’s theory of relativity. Science progresses by investigating, understanding, and integrating novel results into the corpus of knowledge. Not by ignoring results and hurling ad hominem abuse at proponents of new theory. Not by misdirecting debate by setting up straw man arguments and misinterpretations of those theories’ content. That way lies dogma and ignorance. The high road to knowledge lies up the steep hill of the learning curve, not in the mire of self satisfied reflection on the past merit of flawed or incomplete theory. Strongly contested debate over scientific ideas is healthy for science, provided it is conducted fairly and with good grace. I hope the protagonists from the other side of this debate will step up their game and address the science instead of attacking the scientists.