Jean-Pierre Petit: Faster than Light - a scientific comic strip
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translated by John Murphy
About Jean-Pierre Petit
Jean-Pierre Petit (born Jean-Pierre Levy on April 5, 1937, in Choisy-le-Roi, near Paris, and raised under his mother's name during World War II) is a French physicist, specializing in fluid mechanics, plasma physics, magnetohydrodynamic and theoretical astrophysics; he was director of research at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research) - CNRS and active as an astrophysicist at the Marseille Observatory. He is a pioneer in magnetohydrodynamics and magnetoaerodynamics, fields which presently have tended to be neglected in mainstream scientific research. In cosmology, he worked on the bi-gravity theory, and has been long involved in the study of the UFO phenomenon. He is the author of over thirty books and of a great number of scientific articles.
A charismatic and mediatised personality and an epicenter of scientific controversy, Jean-Pierre Petit has been maligned, misquoted and slandered. For example, his biographical article in wikipedia states:
Petit also envisages that the US Army would have accidentally discovered how to generate antimatter through superdense states of matter by the use of magnetically focused underground thermonuclear explosions of several megatons. Some antimatter bombs would have been created, but too powerful to be tested on Earth they would have been camouflaged into what was known as the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, then detonated on Jupiter. Most of his colleagues judge this story as fancy.
In fact, Jean-Pierre Petit wrote and published on his website an article in which he examined the nature of the object Shoemaker-Levy 9, which he thinks is not a comet. In it he also examines the strange hypothesis stated above ("hypothesis of document SL9"), which did not originate with him and which was first stated in an anonymous document published on the Internet, and subsquently much discussed on the web. The conclusions of Jean-Pierre Petit are the following (I translate word for word):
The most likely hypothesis seems therefore to be that of an asteroid of the C1 carbonated chondrite type, the comet hypothesis must be eliminated, as for the hypothesis of document SL9, it is inconsistent with the presence of silicates, of numerous metals and with the absence of baryum, despite the fact that all the calculations of masses are coherent.
The only point which remains to be elucidated is its non-detection until March 1993, only pictures taken of Jupiter during the months of July/August 1992 would permit a definitive answer to this question.