Kirchhoff’s Law Proven Invalid, The Implications Are Enormous

Prof. Pierre-Marie Robitaille, Ohio State University, demonstrates why Kirchhoff’s Law of Thermal Emission is not valid, and the implications that invalidity has for all future scientific inquiry.

Pierre-Marie Robitaille, Ph.D.
Department of Radiology and Chemical Physics, Ohio State University
EU2014 Conference, On the Validity of Kirchhoff’s Law of Thermal Emission, Albuquerque 20-24 March 2014

Kirchhoff’s Law of Thermal Emission (abbreviated KLTE hereafter) states that, within any cavity, the ratio of emissive and absorptive power is independent of the nature of the cavity walls.  Prof. Robitaille notes that virtually all laboratory blackbodies are constructed of the same nearly perfectly absorbing materials.  This begs the question of why?  If KLTE is indeed a true and universal law, the materials the blackbody is constructed of shouldn’t matter, since any cavity should do.

When Kirchhoff and Planck were conducting their blackbody experiments, they would take a box and line it with soot, then place elements in the box and monitor the spectra of those objects.  In this blackbody box, the observed spectra of the elements always transformed to that of a blackbody.

Then they took a near perfectly reflecting box lined with silver and put elements in it.  In that case, the spectra of those elements would NOT change to that of a blackbody.  It was only after adding back in a small amount of carbon (a near perfect absorber) did the spectra transform to that of a blackbody.

Planck writes, “It is therefore possible to change a perfectly arbitrary radiation, which exists at the start of an evacuated cavity with perfectly reflecting walls under consideration, by the introduction of a minute particle of carbon.”  Based on Kirchhoff’s and his own findings, Planck derived Planck’s Law of Thermal Emission.

Prof. Robitaille states that, as a result, Planck came to see the graphite particle as a catalyst, when in fact, it was acting as a perfect absorber.  It was the same as if the experimentalists had lined all the walls of the box with graphite.  Kirchhoff and Planck should have considered the perfectly reflecting case as a separate valid case, yet they did not.  This serious error resulted in Kirchhoff and Planck believing that their equations could be applied universally.  Consequently, Planckian radiation is dependent on the nature of the radiating object.

Further, all blackbodies are limited to solids, since only they can be perfect absorbers, and unlike liquids, they cannot sustain convection.  Prof. Robitaille also explains why gases do not follow these laws because they do not emit radiation in a continuous manner, further discrediting the standard model of stars.  The emissivity of a real gas drops with temperature. Planck’s equation remains the only fundamental equation that has yet to be linked to physical reality, which is a direct result of Kirchhoff’s error.

Prof. Robitaille notes that the standard gaseous Sun model uses equations of radiative transfer, and those equations all have, at their source, KLTE.  The invalidity of KLTE means there cannot be blackbody radiation at the center of the Sun, which means the entire standard model of the gaseous Sun is invalid.

The collapse of KLTE also means universality does not exist, which means there are no such things as universal constants, such as Planck’s constant or Boltzmann’s constant.  Laws of physics are formulated based on laboratory findings.  If a laboratory finding shows that a constant is not actually constant, it cannot continue to be used as an assumed constant.

The correct law of radiative transfer comes from Balfour Stewart, a contemporary of Kirchhoff.  Unlike Kirchhoff’s Law, Stewart’s law does not say that all cavities contain blackbody radiation.  Stewart’s law states that, at thermal equilibrium, the emissivity of an object will be equal to its absorptivity.

Because Planck’s constant formulates the basis for quantum physics, and because Planck’s Law of Thermal Emission is based on KLTE, and because Stefan’s Law of Thermal Emission is based on Planck and Boltzmann constants, virtually all the standard models describing astrophysical objects are invalid.  The only time those “laws” are valid is when the cavity they describe is the interior of a perfect blackbody object, which is never the case in reality.

Prof. Robitaille has published a large amount of papers in numerous scientific journals.  A few of Robitaille’s published findings on this subject can be found here:

On the Validity of Kirchhoff’s Law of Thermal Emission (Abstract Only)

An Analysis of Universality in Blackbody Radiation

Kirchhoff ’s Law of Thermal Emission: 150 Years

On the Equation which Governs Cavity Radiation

Further Insight Relative to Cavity Radiation: A Thought Experiment Refuting Kirchhoff’s Law

Blackbody Radiation and the Loss of Universality: Implications for Planck’s Formulation and Boltzman’s Constant

The KLTE talk is actually the second lecture Prof. Robitaille delivered at the EU conference; however, I think it makes more sense to watch that lecture before watching this one, where he relates why the cosmic background radiation measurements are meaningless.

For more scientific tomfoolery, see Epic Black Hole Dispute Between Scientists, where Stephen Crothers explains to Christian Corda why it’s impossible to relate Einstein’s field equations to our three dimensional multi-bodied universe.

  • Jeffrey Wolynski

    Excellent, thank you for sharing this. I guess we must fix the simple understandings before we move on to the more advanced ones, such as evolving/old/dead stars being misleadingly called “planets”.

  • gooseass

    Eye-opening and breath-taking!

  • jumper297

    This is simply a stunning and profound shift in physical science… not especially surprising how we’ve heard nothing (or very little) about it on the news, but this could be presented in layperson’s terms for mass consumption.