Knutonian Physics could change everything

Becker County resident presented work at the American Physical Society meeting in Nevada.

Knute Thorsgard was invited to present his work, "Knutonian Physics," at the American Physical Society's annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES — After working on a speech for 50 years, Dr. Knute Thorsgard was invited to present it at the American Physical Society meeting at the Caesar’s Forum Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Monday, March 6.

The Detroit Lakes resident submitted his work, “Knutonian Physics ” for review and was picked to speak at an event anticipated to draw upwards of 10,000 attendees from around the world.

“That doesn’t mean anyone is coming to see me,” he said, adding for years he’s been told his theory is “so wrong, it’s not even wrong.”

Whether the auditorium has one person or several thousand seated to hear his presentation, Thorsgard is going to argue cosmic horizons cannot be caught, but cosmic waves can be caught, and they can reverse suddenly. To simplify the concept, he suggested one picture themselves on a boat.

“You are watching waves come over one edge of the horizon and disappear over the other edge,” he said. “You start to chase the wave; going faster and faster. Eventually, you are going the same speed as the wave; you’re surfing the wave. If you go faster, you start passing the waves. Now, suddenly the waves are coming over the front edge of the horizon where they were disappearing, and they are disappearing over the back edge where they had been coming from. You just caught the wave, but you can never catch the horizon.”


Thorsgard said his theory has the potential to give those in the science fields a cosmic center.

Knutonian Physics.jpg
Knute Thorsgard created an animated explanation of “Knutonian Physics” that can be found on YouTube.

Being drawn to matters of cosmic importance began when Thorsgard was attending boarding school in Brisbane, Australia while his parents conducted missionary work in Papau New Guinea. He recalled the day a science teacher held up a frame. Inside the frame were sticks, strings and shells.

“He asked if anyone could tell him what it was,” Thorsgard said. “I said that it was an Ojibwe dream catcher. It wasn’t, but it looked like one to me.”

What he learned was that the items in the frame corresponded to the islands on the map at the front of the classroom. Twists in the teacher’s lesson taught Thorsgard that many Polynesian anglers could be out of sight from land, but see wave patterns as if they were road intersections.

A water wave carried him to wanting to learn about other waves, such as light and sound. He had an affinity for science and often read about the matter regardless of where in the world he landed.

As a young adult he spent time as a flatland cowboy in eastern North Dakota helping breed cattle.

“I spent more time with the horizon than my shadow,” he said. “The horizon was there at night, cloudy days.”

He said after one winter on the range he took his parent’s advice and headed back to school. He was contemplating becoming a veterinarian so he went into biology. Eventually, he went on to become a doctor.


During one of his college classes the concept of “Knutonian Physics” came to him. A professor had asked him to define what was a personal, portable, self-adjusting ratio involving distance that remains equal for all observers despite motion.

“Well, that’s the horizon, I said; it’s a personal, portable, self-adjusting ratio of height to distance for all equal observers despite motion,” Thorsgard said. “He got this funny look on his face and said, ‘I mean the speed of light.’”

While the teacher went on to discuss the speed of light, the idea Thorsgard found in that moment was like a planted seed. After years of tending to the seed, he watched the plant grow, despite the shade that many threw at it. Now, he looks forward to letting it blossom by sharing it at the American Physical Society annual meeting.

“If I get this accepted I will be back in; the spider came in from the cold,” he said.

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