Jayant Vishnu Narlikar (born July 19, 1938) is an Indian astrophysicist. Narlikar is a proponent of steady state cosmology. He developed with Sir Fred Hoyle the conformal gravity theory, commonly known as Hoyle–Narlikar theory.
- Guru: Today I will discourse upon the violence in astronomy.
Disciple: Revered Sir! Will you be describing the violent phenomenon in the Universe?
Guru: Yes, and I will also dwell upon the controversies amongst the astronomers about what these events imply – controversies which are no less violent than the phenomena themselves
- The one aspect of the star-studded night sky which impresses the casual observer most is its tranquility. The peace and quiet of the heavens with the marked contrast to the hurly burly of life on the earth have inspired poets, philosophers, and religious thinkers from time immemorial. Even the amateur astronomer viewing the night sky from his proverbial roof top telescope sees a picture which changes very slowly from night to night. The occasional visit of comet, the fall of a meteorite, or in these modern times the passing of a man made satellite are examples of events which introduce transitory variation on an apparently steady cosmic theme.
- In: Jayant V. Narlikar Violent Phenomena in the Universe, Courier Dover Publications, 16 October 2012, p. 1
- A black hole is the ultimate manifestation of a region of strong gravity. The pull of gravity in a black hole is so strong that even light cannot escape from it and time stands still.
- In: Jayant Narlikar Black Holes, National Book Trust, India, 1 January 2006
An Exclusive Interview with Prof. Jayant Vishnu Narlikar
Gonit Sora [http://gonitsora.com/exclusive-interview-prof-jayant-vishnu-narlikar/ An Exclusive Interview with Prof. Jayant Vishnu Narlikar],gonitsora.com
- I went to Cambridge to do higher mathematics, that was my first goal and appearing in the university exams in mathematics. You are given a menu of various branches of mathematics, pure as well as applied. So I found that applied aspects, especially application to astronomy were very interesting. And the speakers on both courses, that is the lecturers were also very good. At that time, I also read a book by Fred Hoyle called ‘Frontiers of Astronomy’, which gave a very readable account for a layman for what was happening in astronomy. So, all these factors made me go into the research field of astronomy. Because one is required to choose which branch of mathematics one takes as research field. In Cambridge, astronomy is treated as a branch of mathematics. So I choose that.
- Cambridge was my goal, so once I got admission and scholarship, I decided to go there - I went there after my B.Sc at 19, I did my Masters in 3 years, by age 22 and PhD in another 3 years, by 25 years of age.
- There people who were leaders in their field in Cambridge and they lectured. And what impressed me the most was that all these big names never said that they were busy in their research and did not want to be burdened with lectures. They took their part in the lectures actively.
- In 1963, when I completed my PhD, it was mostly on the steady-state theory using mathematical formulations to describe creation of matter. People always argued that you cannot have matter coming out of nothing, what would happen to the law of conservation of matter. It is a normal criticism of the steady-state theory. One could answer it either in one sentence by saying what is the big-bang theory where the entire universe came out of nothing, so you are violating the law of conservation of matter and energy in a big way. But that would be to point out the weakness of the other theories and not answering your own theory.
- So it was better to think of formulations which could explain the creation of matter without violating the law of conservation of matter...For that we used what is called as negative energy, which at that time was considered unrealistic. There was a good example of negative energy, mainly Newtonian gravity. Newtonian gravity is a negative energy system because gravitational potential energy is negative and we i.e, Fred Hoyle and me, worked out a fairly consistent method of describing this whole thing. Today what people call phantom fields, an idea which is catching up with people trying to explain some problems of the big-bang, these phantom fields are what we had proposed way back in the 1960’s.
- in our society at all levels not only uneducated but educated as well are dominated by superstitions of various kinds. The superstitions of the educated are only more sophisticated than those of the uneducated. So one needs to introduce real knowledge in place of superstitious beliefs. You need to explain to people believing in superstitious ideas that the ideas are not correct and this can be verified experimentally. When doing science popularization you have to express some facts of the real universe or the real world to the person who is not willing to believe in it and if you express it in a very pedantic way or say to the person that you are a fool, you should not believe this then it is not good because then he will believe in his superstitions even more. So you have to persuade him to think for himself, you don’t tell him what to believe but you ask him to try this experiment and see what is the reality. So that way you may be able to convince the person.
- Science popularization involves information about science explaining the things and their implications in detail, or any beliefs the reader might have and also tell them about the newer discoveries so as to enlarge the persons horizons.
- On his approach to science popularization
- In western society, there is a problem similar to India that the income of a research scientist is less than that of a management person. But perhaps the facilities and the infrastructure being much advanced in the western universities, they are able to attract and retain the people. In our case this can happen but not to the extent we would like. A corrective measure to some extent has been taken by the establishment of the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs). They are doing for pure sciences what IIT’s do for applied sciences. Since they are attracting good talent it may happen that you will have more input in research in the next ten years.
- On the decline of interest in science education among students
- During another examination the question paper read, ‘do any six questions, all questions carry equal marks’. But I attempted more than six questions and wrote for the examiner, “examine any six questions, all questions carry equal marks.
- In the Cambridge mathematical tripods, they said, ’do six questions. Complete questions carry proportionately more marks than an equal number of fragments. Till you attempt half of the questions you won’t get full credit’. Upon declaration of result I found that I had scored 110 out of hundred in one paper, 140 in another and likewise in all the rest. I was confused. So my tutor explained to me that although they write ‘do six questions’, you can attempt as many as you want. They award you marks for whatever questions you answer correctly and the ranks are on basis of the score.
Neutrino misbehaviour suggested 50 years ago
- Space-time in an expanding universe changes over time, so the full quantum description of a neutrino. in that type of universe is different in the past and the future. Neutrinos would behave in both expanding and unchanging "steady state" universes.
- Found that in a universe that is expanding after a big bang event, neutrinos would turn up at a detector before they were emitted. Only future-going neutrinos were possible in the Steady state cosmology while the ever-expanding big bang models gave neutrinos travelling into Steady State theory to the past.
- If you see firm evidence of neutrinos arriving at the detector before they are sent, that can't happen in a Steady steady state cosmology, so the [[w:Big Bang|big bang has to be right. Or equivalently, no faster-than-light neutrinos, no big bang.
- The Gran Sasso results could be seen as tentatively offering support for the big bang theory – if we could find a way to test that they are indeed travelling backwards in time.
- I have not been able to relate the idea to the 'faster than light' neutrinos since there are no causality checks to decide if they are travelling in the past.
Jayant Narlikar's Cosmology
In: Vinodh Ilangovan, K. Manish Sharma, P. Chitra Jayant Narlikar's Cosmology, NCBS news, 23 January 2010
- According to the big bang theory the universe is only 13 billion years old... We made some observations a year ago which we are still trying to explain but the simplest explanation seems to be that there stars that are 20 billion years old.
- When you claim that the universe started in this particular way you are making a very profound statement. If I make a statement saying that the sun started in a certain way, I would immediately be asked for proof that the sun started in that way. I will have to go around gathering evidence of [[w:Solar systems}Solar systems]] forming, stars forming. I will have to produce evidence saying that this is how new solar systems are being formed, so the sun must have been formed in the same manner. That is a reasonably credible assumption.
- Now with the big bang there is only one event that happened. So like the sun you can’t say that there are other big bangs going on that are what ours was like. The second problem is that at the big bang mathematics and physics break down. So there is no way of mathematically describing it. That is not a satisfactorily scientific approach, to ascribe something to speculations which you cannot justify using mathematics and physics.
- ...mention is made of evidences in favour of the big bang, like the microwave background. It is a relic radiation supposed to have formed very early after the big bang. As the universe expanded it cooled down and its present temperature is at 2.7 K. The only fact which is measurable or has been measured is that there is a background of 2.7 K temperature. Saying that this is left over from the early universe is a speculation. It is a part of a theoretical structure I am supposed to have built which enables me to say that it is a relic of that early-on era. We have given a different explanation. Helium forms by fusion of hydrogen inside a star like the sun, leading to radiation. One can ask the following question: if all the helium that you find in the universe was formed in stars sometime or the other, how much radiation will be formed and what would its temperature be? The answer is 2.7 K. If you ask a big bang person why his relic radiation today has a temperature of 2.7 K he doesn’t know. This alternative explanation that I’m giving is able to do more than what the big bang does. So I don’t see any reason to say we have a very positive proof of the big bang happening.
- In our theory we have multiple “mini bangs” and these mini bangs are not mysterious like the big bang but they come because of the concentration of what we call negative energy fields. Whenever there are pockets of negative energy, they explode and produce a mini bang. We believe there’s a mini bang producing energy in the centre of quasars, which are very bright star like objects. Gamma ray bursts, which are the explosive creations of gamma rays, are another example of a mini bang. These are actually happening. These can be described by normal physics, but the big bang cannot. The big bang theory does not use any mathematical formulation so they can’t say why the bang occurred.
- Since the universe is infinitely old, you should see some very old stars. According to the big bang theory the universe is only 13 billion years old. No stars should be older than 13 billion years. In our cosmology, stars older than this should exist. So we are on the lookout for very old stars. We made some observations [a year ago] which we are still trying to explain but the simplest explanation seems to be that there stars that are 20 billion years old.
- Fred Hoyle and Wickramasinghe have argued that microorganims fill up the whole of space. One finds dust and biological molecules between stars. Why not microorganisms? They assumed in one example, E. coli filling up interstellar space and then they calculated how much the absorption of light at different wavelengths from the E. coli model would be. They showed that the extinction curve i.e. absorption curve, was precisely followed for some infra red source. So their argument was that these micro organisms must exist.
- Biologists conventionally think that it is a crazy idea. First they argued that micro organisms cannot last through the passage through UV, X rays, gamma rays. Now people have shown in laboratory experiments that bacteria learn to survive. So that argument doesn’t work. People are still not receptive. It is like the heliocentric theory of Copernicus. Biologists are going through the same phase.
- Science in India is getting better support now than in the past... Doing research has changed in the way that it is very grant oriented. The mentality that some accepted paradigm must be believed has become more rigid.
- Each scientific institute in my opinion should have a public outreach program...all the research you are doing is funded by the government. The government gets MONEY from the people, so you owe something to the people. You are shutting yourself in an ivory tower, saying that all these people outside the scientific community do not understand it. That is not the right attitude.
When Prof Jayant Narlikar saw the sun rise in the west
In: Baninder Rahi When Prof Jayant Narlikar saw the sun rise in the west, The Indian Express, 6 April 2013
- It was around dusk when my companion and I noticed the position of sun closer to the west horizon, and the sun was going up.
- We all know that sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and earth spins on its axis from west to east. But on that day my jet plan was at 60 degree latitude near Greenland and the plane exceeded the speed of rotation of the earth on its axis so the sun was found moving from west towards east.
- His scientific explanation with regard to the position of sun closer to the west horizon, and the sun was going up, which he had noticed.
- The circumference of earth at equator is 40,000 km and by dividing it with 24 hours (earth completes its rotation in a day), it comes out to 1,667 km. This reverse phenomenon happened at 60 degrees latitude because their jet plane managed a speed of 833.5 km which is half of circumference of the earth.
- We have seven colours — violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red (Roy G. Biv). Our atmosphere has a number of particles and when light falls on them, it gets scattered. With blue colour having less wavelength and more scattering qualities, it scatters and makes the sky blue. While red colour has opposite qualities than blue so traffic lights are of this colour.
- His observations on the "strange events in our solar system" and as to why the sky looked blue and red colour was used in traffic lights to signal to vehicles to stop.
Astrology came with Alexander, says Jayant Narlikar
Times News Network, in: Astrology came with Alexander, says Jayant Narlikar, The Times of India, 3 October 2013
- In the Vedic era, there was never a seven-days-a-week concept. Similarly, astrologers were also not known at the time. They came later, when Alexander came to India and brought several of them along with him. Indians carried forward astrology.
- The study he conducted with Dabholkar goes to explain why astrology is not a science through a simple experiment. They adopted an experiment conducted by Bernie Silverman, a graduate student of Michigan State University, USA. They collected horoscopes of 100 scholarly students and 100 students with learning difficulties.
- Our test asked a focused question and the astrologers could not point toward any ambiguity in interpretation. We told the astrologers that the real predictive success could be claimed only at the 70% level for their sample size. The test demonstrated the hollowness of the basic claim of astrology.
About Jayant Vishnu Narlikar
- He, a Cambridge physicist who, along with Fred Hoyle, Thomas Gold and Hermann Bondi, believed there was no start to the universe – no "big bang", as Hoyle so memorably (and mockingly) put it.
- His idea may not solve the mystery of faster-than-light neutrinos, and it may not even shed much light on it – the details of the analysis might be wrong, or be filled with old-fashioned ideas. But I thought it was fascinating that a 50-year-old New Scientist story touched on a topic that is all over the headlines today.
- Michael Brooks in: "Neutrino misbehaviour suggested 50 years ago"
- He is a cosmologist of international repute and best known for his work on the conformal gravity theory, together with his mentor Fred Hoyle. He also set up the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune. More recently, he was involved in an effort to sample air from the atmosphere at heights of 41km for microorganisms. This study reported at least two strains of bacteria and one fungus that were cultured in the lab. If these findings hold up to further enquiry, they provide a new perspective on life on earth and its beginnings.
- Vinodh Ilangovan, K. Manish Sharma, P. Chitra Jayant Narlikar's Cosmology, NCBS news, 23 January 2010
- The [Maharashtra Bhushan] award was in the waiting for a long time and he truly deserves it. Having been associated with him for over 40 years, I have seen him work calmly towards achieving all his targets and also encouraging all his colleagues to give work their very best.
- Naresh Dadhich in: Rohan Swamy ways, Indian Express, 10 March 2011