What is happening at Estonian universities?
Editor: Marek-Lars Kruusen
At the University of Tartu, theoretical physics is clearly too focussed on the views of string theory (according to which the Universe has more than four dimensions), even though this physics theory has not been proven by experiments or even theoretically convincing. The basics of string theory are also taught in the master’s and doctoral programs of physics in the University of Tallinn.
However, the Tallinn University focusses mainly on Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity or studying the nature of gravity and plasma physics (e.g. making a plasma focus device), which is mainly necessary for understanding the construction of a thermal-nuclear reactor. TalTech naturally focusses on technical specialities, but the National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics focusses on the main topics in cosmology such as dark matter and dark energy in the Universe. It is unclear why the University of Tartu or Tallinn University teach string theory which has not been proven by experiments.
Nevertheless, when professors competed for the rector position, ye University of Tartu was called a ‘research university’ and the knowledge taught there ‘evidence based’. For greater clarity, it can be said that the problem with sting theory is not in the fact that, for specific reasons, it cannot be proven by experiments, but the problem with this theory taught by professors is that the theory or rather a collection of ideas does not have any real connections or even overlap with empirically proven laws of fundamental physics.
String theory moves away from that and nears what we call ‘fantasy’, or in this case a ‘mathematical fantasy’. In a paradoxical way, there are large problems with understanding the basics of fundamental physics in the universities of Estonia, even among the honourable professors of large universities. For example, it is taken as truth that the singularity of spacetime exists in the centres of black holes even though mathematical and physical analysis has not convincingly confirmed this. Also the importance of discovering waves of gravity is an issue that is clearly overemphasised in the field of physics as gravitation as the geometrics of the spacetime curvature was known and has now been proven for nearly a century.
As for general relativity, cosmology and quantum mechanics, Estonian physicists have a clearly distorted understanding of their physical nature. For example, with regard to Einstein's theory of general relativity, too much focus has been put on tensor-mathematical research and description of the field of gravity, even though its physical nature has remained the same and quite easily understandable for a whole century. Einstein's mistake actually was that he did give the humankind a new understanding of gravity, but did it in the most complex way, i.e. in the form of tensor-mathematics of curved spaces, the number of variations in the solutions of which exceeds the limits of actual physics. Today, it has been mathematically proven that general relativity or the field of gravity can be largely described without tensor-mathematics. The theoretical physics research projects of the University of Tartu regarding the time and space of the Universe are funded by the Estonian Research Council.
Which in turn is managed by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. At the moment, they are working on a Dark Universe research project that attempts to explain the nature of dark matter and dark energy found in the Universe. There are tens of different theories in the world, but the scientists do not in any way associate cosmology with the physics of relativity and therefore they do not understand why the expansion of the Universe is speeding up in time. It is also questionable why the Estonian Research Council funds such research project, which are obvious dead-ends. If Estonian researchers do not provide answers to the main questions in fundamental physics, there is no reason to cite or even fund the theories they consider excellent, which might have only mathematical importance, not physical importance and which therefore do not contribute to the development of technology.
The physicists of the University of Tartu and Tallinn University have not scientifically stipulated even such questions as, for example, why microparticles behave as waves, why the mass of a body curves spacetime, why time slows down when nearing the speed of light in vacuum, why the law of conservation of mechanical energy arises from the homogeneity of time, did the inflation of the Universe expanding actually exist, can the main views of the physics of relativity be implemented to cosmology or the expansion of the Universe etc.
Fundamental physics has been at a standstill since the middle of the 20th century. But it is even worse that the field of fundamental physics at universities has begun taking a distorted path, which actually leads nowhere and only undermines the development of science and technology of the humankind. This is why it is extremely important to turn attention to Estonian universities and the scientists working there who are developing and teaching fundamental physics in a, at least partially, distorted way.
Keywords: university, education, Estonia.