The Work of Anthony Peratt

Anthony Peratt is a physicist whose work of primary interest to this discussion is in the field of plasma physics. He received a PhD in electrical engineering and plasma physics in 1971 and went onto work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1972-1979) and held the position of a Guest Physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics (1975-1977). He worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1972-1979) and since 1981 he has worked for the Los Alamos National Laboratory, while also holding a number of other positions, i.e.

  • Guest Scientist at the Alfvén Laboratory in Stockholm (1985)
  •  N-Tunnel Diagnostics Program team leader for Los Alamos (1991-1993)
  • Scientific advisor to the US States Department of Energy (1995-1999)
  • Currently researching the evidence for major space plasma events

At face value, the span of Anthony Peratt’s career and work suggests that he has to be taken as a ‘serious’ scientist, although the major focus of this discussion is his more speculative work related to galactic formations. In the early 1980’s, Anthony Peratt used the supercomputer facilities at the Maxwell Laboratories and later at Los Alamos National Laboratory to simulate Hannes Alfvén’s concept of galaxies being formed by primordial clouds of plasma spinning in a magnetic filament. Galaxy formation was modelled as two adjacent interacting Birkeland filaments, which produced the required flat rotation curve without the need for dark matter. The simulation, as shown below, begins with two spherical clouds of plasma trapped in parallel magnetic filaments, each carrying a current of around 1018 amperes.

The clouds spin around each other until a spiral shape emerges from which Peratt concluded that the shapes seen appeared to characterise galaxy formation that corresponded to Halton Arp's ideas that galaxies formed out of quasars ejected from an AGN. Peratt went on to note that when scaled to cosmic dimensions the simulations show:

  • A burst of synchrotron radiation of luminosity ~1037 W lasting 107-108 years.
  • The topology of double radio galaxies and quasars
  • The formation of elliptical galaxies due to plasma trapped and compressed within  elliptical magnetic boundaries.
  • A spatially varying power law along the major axis of double radio galaxies in agreement with observations;
  • A super-luminosity and fading of jets as the betatron-induced acceleration field sweeps over and ignites previously confined plasma.

The lifetime and evolution of quasars and double radio was further addressed by continuing the simulation to some 5*109 years, which it was argued showed the following results:

  • The transition of double radio galaxies to radio-quasars to radio-quiet QSO's to peculiar and Seyfert galaxies, finally ending in spiral galaxies.

  • Barred and normal spiral galaxies resulting from the inflow of plasma from the outer Birkeland currents onto the elliptical galactic centre.

  • The characteristic rotational velocities of spiral galaxies including the fine-detail vortex cotangent structure on the flat portions of the spiral-arm velocity components.

  • The horseshoe-like regions of near neutral Hi gas in spiral galaxies resulting from the convection and neutralization of plasma into regions of strong galactic magnetic fields.

  • Galactic magnetic field components with field strengths reaching 2*10-4G at the galactic centre and as high as 10-2G in concentrated regions.

However, the possibly most significant aspect of this simulation work is the fact that the  results were posted prior to any observations within actual galaxies. This said, it appears difficult to find a balanced review of this Peratt’s work because the reviews are either polarised towards supporters or detractors of the model with very little middle ground. A flavour of the ‘for and against’ arguments will be interleaved into the following discussions in order to, at least, try to represent some balance to both sides of the debate.