On following the work of Joseph Silk

Joseph Silk Gresham Professor of Astronomy, London

• Research scientist, Service d’Astrophysique, CEA, Saclay
• Research scientist, Institut d’Astrophysique, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris
• Book(s): The Infinite Cosmos, Oxford University Press (2006)
Homewood Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
Senior Fellow, Beecroft Institute for Particle Astrophysics & Cosmology, Department of Physics, University of Oxford: The Cosmic Microwave Background, ArXiv, 2002
AIP Interview with Alan Lightman, 1988 (very inspirational)

Leading expert: Theoretical cosmology, dark matter, galaxy formation, cosmic microwave background radiation, homogeneities in the cosmic microwave background and density fluctuations in the matter of the early universe. A damping effect has become known as Silk damping.

Balzan Prize: Pioneering work on the infant universe.

References: Feedback by Massive Black Holes in Dwarf Galaxies
Challenges in Cosmology from the Big Bang to Dark Energy, Dark Matter and Galaxy Formation
Planck evidence for a closed Universe and a possible crisis for cosmology (Nov. 2019)
Simplified galaxy formation   (https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.08553)

Most recent and fourth email: Oct 20, 2020 at 2:35 PM

Dear Prof. Dr. Joseph Silk,

I thought you would want to know that I updated your Wikipedia page so your Balzan Prize link was not to the wayback machine, but to the Balzan page.

I am also updating our page of references to you and your work: https://81018.com/silk-joseph/

I read your AIP interview with Alan Lightman from 1988. Very moving. You and I started in much the same way. You were obviously a much better student. In the mid-sixties in the USA, I was too involved with politics and social action.  But, I never gave up the quest to understand more about how it all works together.

The current top-level post has a reference to you and your 2017 work with Melchiorri and di Valentino: https://81018.com/the-three/#Silk I am still struggling with it!

Best wishes to you always,


PS.  It would be great if you had your own special page where you could hold Zoom lectures for all your admirers. https://www.josephsilk.com/ is up for grabs! It had been taken by a senator and his wife and eight children from Oklahoma!   -BEC

Third email: Thursday, April 9, 2020

Dear Prof. Dr. Joseph Silk:

  1. Could Planck Time and the other Planck base units be the first moment of time?
  2. Can we force them to be? …what does the universe look like?
  3. Could an infinitesimal sphere be the first expression of a thing? …a  little like Wheeler’s quantum foam or geon?
  4. Could a type of aether and a natural inflation be created by an endless stream of spheres? 

I suspect I would hear four definitive answers: “No.”  …but maybe not?  I explore it here: https://81018.com/uni-verse/  http://81018.com

I wish you well and continued good health.



PS. I did some name-dropping in that homepage when referencing the 1999 Structure Formation conference at INI of Cambridge University. Of course, you attended that conference and I linked that reference to our resource page about your work: https://81018.com/joseph-silk/ (this page)

Second email (Update): January 9, 2019 
Originally sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dear Prof. Dr. Joseph Silk:

Base-2 notation from the Planck units to the Age of the Universe requires just 202 notations. The first 64 notations provide a perfect little outline for a sub-grid mathematical physics whereby Langlands, Wilczek et al (with 31 dimensionless constants), Rees (Just Six Numbers), Weinberg, Witten and a rather sizable group of others might find a few helpful numbers to interpret.

Of course, I thank you for all your very brilliant work over the years.

Ours is a high school study of the Planck base units.
At the 67th notation we found unusual numbers:
2.38509×10-15 meters with a mass of 3.211962×1012kg
276.789 coulombs within a duration of 7.9563×10-24seconds

We have so much to learn; so again, I wanted to thank you for all that you do and for your most recent writings and lectures.

Most sincerely,

First email:  January 11, 2017, 10:21 PM

RE: High school geometry and physics classes
to make your 20 December 2016 paper
a target for study for the rest of this school year.

Dear Prof. Dr. Joseph Silk:

Thank you for your up-to-the-minute accounting of issues facing astrophysics and cosmology in 2017.

We are quite idiosyncratic and we need as much guidance as we can find to show us where we went wrong in December 2011. That is when we backed into a very simple model of the universe using base-2 notation, i.e. exponentiation from the Planck base units to the Age of the Universe in just 200 doublings, steps, or groups. 
https://81018.com/  An introduction
https://81018.com/chart/ Just the numbers.

Might you enjoy receiving an update on our results as we work through your “Challenges in Cosmology” — https://arxiv.org/pdf/1611.09846v2.pdf — and your other ArXiv submissions? Thank you.