Academic Background

G.H. Mickey Thompson


Just call me Mickey. I was named after my Scottish grandfather, George McLean. When I was a toddler, however, my dad told my mom, “He doesn’t look like a George. He looks more like a Mickey”.

Walt Disney had recently morphed Steamboat Willie into Mickey Mouse and Dad felt Mickey’s demeanor and mine were a good match. I was in grade school before becoming fully aware my middle name was not Mouse. Now I’m a retired IBM Engineer and amateur scientist, presenting himself as a cosmologist and theoretician, determined to share his hard earned—and unique—view of the universe.

I need to confess up front that I have no academic credentials that support my authority as a scientist; so it may seem pretty Mickey Mouse that I, of all people, would be taking on this serious mission. Thus, I need to first make the point that I am a serious and well-grounded academic. Personality and marketing are not my strong suits. So my friends and family may find me a bit out of character here as I attempt to toot my own horn.

Art Gilmore was IBM’s Seattle branch manager in the 1960s. After having diagnosed and repaired tough mainframe computer problems at IBM’s Boeing account for several years, I had a lengthy skip-level interview with Art. There he confided that my field manager, who had no computer background, may have underrated my performance. Art chided me, saying, “He who tooteth not his own horn, his horn shall not be tooteth”.

In 1966 Art recommended me for an opening as Service Planning Rep in Poughkeepsie, NY, IBM’s mainframe computer hub. Soon I was flying around the country helping local specialists diagnose complex problems, occasionally having to educate our engineers about hardware and software design flaws we encountered. I also audited unannounced system products, to make sure they were designed to be more reliable and serviceable than their predecessors.


After completing my Air Force enlistment, I joined IBM in 1959 as a Field Engineer on the Air Force’s Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system. SAGE was built around the world’s largest and most powerful computers, each containing 50,000 vacuum tubes. After five months of training I was assigned to install and service systems at McChord Field in Tacoma, WA. In 1961 I received another 9 months of training on transistorized 7090 scientific systems and peripheral devices and was assigned to our Seattle office. By the end of seven years with IBM I had tallied more than 4,000 formal classroom hours on electronics, mechanics, system theory and architecture, programming, tools and test equipment, business practices, data communications, etc. I had also completed another dozen or so self-study courses outside of business hours.


Poughkeepsie (Poe-kip’-see) housed 13,000 computer pioneers and had world-renowned competency centers in system architecture, physics, materials, electronic components, circuit design, and all the other arts and sciences necessary to drive our booming industry. We were connected to research centers and universities throughout the world and management behaved as though we were all one big family. We also fought and argued as though we were family.

It was an honor to serve humanity in IBM’s gung-ho environment. Government was a prime customer during this cold-war era and most IBMers were red-blooded patriots. This was not simply due to our support of national defense, as we were also teammates with other American industry giants who competed with Russia in the international space race.

This love-in between America and big business was not to last, though, and one of President Johnson’s last acts, as he left office in 1969, was to instigate an antitrust lawsuit against IBM. This not only broke the hearts of a quarter of a million IBMers, it also set the stage for the meltdown of both IBM and AT&T, whose Bell Labs research division had long been recognized as the world’s premier research institute. Since WWII and prior to 1969, antitrust law was mostly a threat that government used to keep big companies in line—which was often warranted. This wholesale dismantling of our nation’s strength, however, marked the beginning of an ongoing struggle between America and its lifeblood industries.

The divorce between America and its industries is now complete. Corporate giants are busy building their own fiefdoms and seldom lunch with congressional leaders anymore. Congress and the president are no longer inspired by the dreams of our brightest thinkers. Instead, they’re continuously sold a bill of goods by special interest lobbyists on K Street. China is now the only country in the world that can raise its magic wand and make cities, seaports, airports, spaceports, and high speed transportation systems suddenly appear. Americans are asking, “Why can’t we do that anymore?” It should be no surprise that American industry has taken its love to other nations who still reciprocate that love. But I digress and that’s another story for another time.

My point is that in the 1960s one could learn far more and far faster at IBM than one could learn in academic institutions; especially if one were interested in business, science, technology, economics, politics, industrial design, management, marketing, human relations, business law, and many other skills that made IBM successful. There I met far more unheard of philosophers and philosophies than you can shake a stick at. Virtually all were about real-life and the potential of mankind, rather than the often irrelevant esoterica of academia.

So rather than investing in college tuition I spent a few hundred dollars a year subscribing to science and business journals, newspapers, trade press media, National Geographic, and a broad sampling of other journals—not over four years—but for more than half a century.

At IBM I became a through-the-ranks systems engineer, electronic engineer, development engineering manager, system architect, and division technology strategist, not to mention other miscellaneous specialties. In my off hours I was the mediocre father of three great kids and perhaps an inept husband. Fanatical scientists and engineers are often social misfits and it’s clear to me that I’m tainted with some of those genetic defects.

My insatiable curiosity tends to imprison me at my computer and in my reading chair. It drives me to learn all I can about life and the universe, including evolution, biology, and medical breakthroughs. My greatest strength is in being able to diagnose and fix or prescribe fixes for most anything, be they machines, work environments, reference manuals, training curricula, tools, philosophies, strategies, religions, governments and what have you. It’s an obsessive compulsion, but that’s what it takes to provide the tenacity to dog down tough problems.

It was not until after 1991 that I began to acquire more social graces. I had returned to my Spokane, Washington hometown where my aging parents still lived. I became a neighborhood and community activist and soon joined the Unitarian church, its choir, singles group, and building committee. I served three and a half years on the board of trustees, helped found a humanist group, took on all sorts of chores and eventually remarried; yet I still continue my serious reading and am a bit of a loner.

It was long after I retired that I noticed things going awry in the field of cosmology. I had followed the evolution of giant telescopes since adolescence and had high regard for astronomers and space scientists. But the cosmology theorists interpreting their findings and modeling the universe were befuddled and going off the deep end with string theories. In earlier years string theory was just an interesting exploratory notion. I was curious about any evidence these math geniuses had, or might find, to support their view that there may be more than three spatial dimensions (Einstein’s time dimension is not spatial). Over the years they had tried many experiments but found no such evidence, so I thought their proponents might just stay out of the way and do their quiet investigations until they discovered some acceptable science worth presenting.

Anyone who understands basic math knows you can do calculations in as many dimensions you care to conjure. They also know that no matter how rigorously you do your calculations on unreal entities, the results still come out unreal. String theorists have managed to camouflage their findings, perhaps even to themselves, and have begun to insist that their methods will just have to do, as there are no other explanations for the cosmic phenomena being reported. I and many others disagree with them. That’s why I got involved and where my cosmology story begins. I remained silent until I thought I had something more realistic to offer.

By the late 1990s I became outspoken and wrote letters to editors of Scientific American and other science journals, presenting what I saw as mistaken conclusions. None of these letters were published, however, and I soon learned that getting your views published in science journals was far more difficult than getting them published in the newspaper. If you have no academic credentials and/or strong affiliations with those who do, there’s no way you can throw your observations over the wall and into the midst the closed science publishing community. Since my friends don’t share my deep interest in cosmology and even the intellectuals among them are not able to comment on my science writings, I found myself naked and unarmed when it comes to beating down the doors under those ivory towers.

My strategy, then, is to take my case to amateur and/or professional scientists everywhere, in the hope someone, somewhere, will have better connections and help deliver the message. That message is about an alternative view of the universe and includes a descriptive model of the big bang that is more coherent, cohesive, and comprehensive than models in current favor.

In order to better communicate with a non-specialized audience I’ve deviated a bit from the rules of publishable science writings. While I’ve appended a list of science references at the end of my Back to Infinity paper, I’ve also included some hyperlinks which are easier to locate and generally easier to read. Many of those links lead to Wikipedia, which is not accepted as a valid reference source in the science world. Frankly, though, Wikipedia does an excellent job of analyzing and policing the quality of its material. I’ve seen several published science articles that wouldn’t pass muster with Wikipedia’s authorities.

So if more detail or other background information will help clarify a point, click on the hyperlink. On the other hand, if you want to verify that my sources support my conclusions, you can rummage through the less convenient references at the end of the paper.

I solicit your constructive feedback to help improve either the accuracy or the clarity of my writing.


Mickey Thompson     6/12/2015



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