Reply To: Earth's mass and Universal Gravitation

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Hi Stuart!

Unfortunately, there are many problems with Carter’s answer to you. Some of these have recently been addressed in the comments on the Universal Model’s YouTube channel.

In this reply, I’m going to paste in some of the posts from the YouTube comments, and you can click the link above to see the full conversation.


Barry Bickmore
Professor of Geological Sciences
Brigham Young University

William Meservy:

Yes, that’s more correctly said. Thanks for pointing that out.

I would love it, however, if one of the “Universal Model” backers would have the decency to explain to us all how we are regularly able to put satellites into orbit if the mass of the Earth is 1/3 what mainstream science says it is. Did NASA just get lucky the first time?

Surely, you they don’t expect people to pay $70.00 for a book before better explaining how they came about their alternative theory that the mass of the Earth is only 1/3 what we know it to be.

Universal Model:

See our forum response to a question similar to this at the following link:

Barry Bickmore:

So the answer is that they have supposedly measured a new value for the universal gravitational constant, G (from Newton’s law of gravitation). It says,

“UM researchers have replicated this experiment and have found that air resistance actually has an appreciable effect on the pendulum, something that Cavendish did not account for. His experiment needs to be redone in a vacuum so that the air doesn’t slow down the movement of the pendulum.”

However, the Cavendish experiment HAS been done in a vacuum. See this:

William Meservy:

Maybe they didn’t realize that the Cavendish experiment (or its equivalent) has been repeated many more times than once in a vacuum (you can scroll through to find a slew of them):

So the UM’s new gravitational constant to calculate the Earth’s mass at about 1/3 of what is known (roughly 2*10^24 kg) would have to be something around 1.8*10^-10 m^3 kg^-1 s^-2 (using a 6371 km radius of the Earth and gravitational acceleration of 9.8 m/s).

That doesn’t hold up to aggregate experimental values done in a vacuum. Bad news guys.

(I’ve edited this to highlight the fact that the Universal Model requires a new gravitational constant that is off by at least one order of magnitude to produce it’s stated mass of the Earth. Their complaint that the Cavendish Experiment hasn’t been completed in a vacuum is false. It has many times–and those experiments lend to the validity of the experiment whether it is completed in a vacuum or not in a vacuum).

Russ Barlow:

We are not able to discuss fully our position about calculations regarding a revised gravitational constant and an effective change to the Earth’s mass at this time. While we acknowledge the oft-repeated Cavendish experiment, there are other research data we are not ready to publish or discuss so we must withdraw from this subject at present. This matter will be addressed at length in Volume 3. Thank you for your feedback.

Barry Bickmore:

So if all those Cavendish-type experiments were way off (except the one you guys did in your garage), can you at least admit that they weren’t way off because of air resistance? I’m asking because I want to see if you guys are even capable of admitting that one of your arguments doesn’t hold water. <—–pun intended

Barry Bickmore:

Russ, since you guys are still working out some of the kinks in your measurement of the universal gravitational constant, I thought I would help you out by posing a few questions you might want to address, so as to refine your argument.

Universal Model, Vol. 1, p. 107 says this about what is supposedly wrong with previous measurements of the universal gravitational constant, G:

“However, there is one major flaw in the experiment leading to the Cavendish Experiment. Unlike the Earth, the lead balls are not in outer space, and thus, the balls, restricted by the air and influenced by the Earth’s gravity rendered incorrect data. Their attraction should have been measured in a vacuum, in low gravity. Air, a denser medium than the vacuum of space, along with the attractive gravitational force of the Earth, slowed the balls’ oscillation rate. Cavendish neglected to account for the reduced oscillation in the original experiment, leading to an incorrect gravitational constant and errors in the Earth’s density estimates. As we will learn in subchapter 18.4, the New Mass of the Earth, the Earth’s density, recalculated to approximately 2.3 g/cm^3 using the physics of gravitational atuaction and the new geological discoveries outlined in this and other chapters, renders a truer density of the Earth that aligns with empirical observations. We next examine the geological nature of the Earth’s density.”

As I pointed out above, the value of G has been measured in a vacuum, and Will Meservy chimed in with the observation that this has actually been done many times. Well, it turns out that G has even been measured in a vacuum AND in freefall, negating the effects of gravitational attraction by nearby bodies such as the Earth! The paper was published in Science Magazine in 1998. Here’s the paper (figures at the bottom):

The answer they got was G = (6.6873 + 0.0094) x 10^-11 m^3 kg^-1 sec^-2, which is very close to what everyone else (except you) has gotten, even when they were doing it in air and Earth surface gravity. The value implied by Cavendish’s original experiment in 1798 (!!!!!!) was 6.754×10−11 m^3 kg^−1 s^−2, which is only 1% off the 1998 measurement!

So here’s my first few questions:

1. I can imagine that you guys might have set up a vacuum chamber in your garage to perform such a measurement, but what did you do to offset the effects of the Earth’s gravitational field? (Did you launch a rocket into orbit? Did you put the apparatus into freefall like the guys who published in Science? Even if you totally botched the experiment, I would be very impressed if you even attempted either one of those feats.)

2. Why do you suppose your experiments imply very large effects for air resistance and the Earth’s gravitational field, when the guys who published in Science Magazine observed such minuscule effects? (For instance, could it be that you did your experiments in someone’s garage with a cheap vacuum pump that vibrates, and cars were driving by, and you didn’t have an active vibration cancellation table to negate these effects, so it threw off the oscillations of your apparatus? I’m just throwing out some wild guesses, but maybe they will serve as food for thought.)

More questions in the next post.

Barry Bickmore:

Here’s another issue that weighs on my mind. As Will Meservy brought up above, if the true value of G is vastly different than what has been accepted, how do we so successfully put spacecraft into orbit and such? The owner of this YouTube channel replied with a link to this “official” forum response by one Carter Brown to a similar question.

Here’s the relevant part of Carter’s answer:

“Even though this number has been ‘established’, there is another number that is usable and even preferred in space technology. That is called the Gaussian Gravitational Constant, k. It was derived by Carl Fredrich Gauss based on the average orbital period of the Earth. This number does not require a specific mass of a celestial body, and is in fact the number that satellite scientists will use in their formulations and space missions.”

“So, in essence, space missions successfully work because scientists use the right proportions for the mass of planets and asteroids, even though the specific mass isn’t accurately known.”

I had never heard of the Gaussian Gravitational Constant before, so I looked it up on Wikipedia.

I thought of a couple different ways to mathematically test Carter’s answer, but before I go to all that work, I thought I’d raise a simpler issue, first. That is, the Wiki article shows the math to derive the Gaussian Gravitational constant (k), and shows that k has a very simple relationship with the universal gravitational constant, G. That is, k^2 = G by definition. So here’s my next question:

3. If k^2 = G, then wouldn’t a wildly inaccurate value of G also imply a wildly inaccurate value of k? If so, then Carter didn’t really provide a valid answer to the question he addressed.

I am confident that you guys will take these questions seriously, because as Chauncey Riddle, emeritus Professor of Philosophy at BYU said in his review of your book,

“Sessions will possibly be proved wrong about some assertions he has made in his work. This is almost inevitable for anyone doing serious thinking and writing. But the finding of such errors will not be an embarrassment for Sessions. He will laud such finding, because that will mean that the cause of truth will be advanced. His purpose is to bring truth and light to important matters, and if his work stimulates others to produce more truth and light, even unto showing his work needs to be amended, he will be grateful. He will be grateful because he writes not to give the final word but to further the ongoing human inquiry into the powerful ideas about the true nature of the universe that give us all more understanding and power.”