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Pierre-Marie Robitaille

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Pierre-Marie Luc Robitaille a.k.a. Sky Scholar (born 1961) is an accomplished radiologist and a Nobel disease-type crank. As director of magnetic resonance imaging research for the Department of Medicine of Ohio State University from 1989-2000[1] he made major advances in the science of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), leading the project to build the 8 Tesla Ultra High Field human MRI scanner.

In 2000, he was asked to step down from his position as director (though he remains a professor) when he began to promote theories that were outside his actual realm of expertise, specifically related to non-mainstream beliefs in the areas of astronomy and physics: he maintains that satellite measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation, believed by most astronomers to be an afterglow of the Big Bang, are actually observations of a glow from Earth's oceans.[note 1]

He also maintains that the sun is not a ball of plasma but is, in fact, made of liquid metallic hydrogen. None of his ideas have been accepted by any reputable physics publication.

Robitaille has been presented as a physicist, cosmologist, and even an astrophysicist, though anyone who has gained actual credentials in these fields would beg to differ. Criticism of his crank ideas ranges from accusations of cherry picking evidence to a failure to understand even rudimentary thermodynamics.

In 2002, Robitaille and his wife paid for a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times,[2] detailing his microwave and sun hypotheses. Mainstream astronomers reviewed and dismissed Robitaille's claims as "untenable" and "completely wrong" and, in the same NYT article, Robitaille refused to either confirm or deny that he was connected with the creationist and/or intelligent design movements.[3] The incident raised questions about the New York Times' policy for printing paid advertisements without checking them for reasonable factual validity. The ad cost nearly a year of Robitaille's salary. When asked why he didn't just put it on arXiv, he replied that he didn't know it existed, although he eventually found his way to viXra[4] and pseudojournal alternative science journal Progress In Physics.

He has since continued to spam non-crank physicists with his ideas, particularly one email run in 2009 widespread enough for recipients to discuss it amongst themselves.[5][6] His work has also been latched onto for support from the nuttier global warming denialists.[7] He is also admired by electric universe advocates: he spoke at the 2014 Electric Universe Conference on his microwave and sun theories.[8]

Now there is a Youtube channel (Sky Scholar) where he discusses some ideas with graphics added.[9]


External links[edit]


  1. Yes, presumably satellites millions of miles from Earth and pointed away from it that can see the CMB don't exist.