Andrew Prentice

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Andrew Prentice is an Australian mathematician. He is known for using unorthodox methods to make a range of surprisingly accurate predictions about the solar system. He also established the theory of supersonic turbulence. He is currently Emeritus Professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Monash University.[1]

Lecturing style[edit]

Andrew Prentice was a member of the lecturing staff at Monash University, Clayton. He was considered an excellent teacher,[2] known for his quirky style, including writing on the chalkboard using both hands – almost at random, his anecdotes and random utterances have become folklore amongst Monash mathematics and astrophysics students.


Prentice has made a long list of controversial predictions about the nature of our solar system, based on the Modern Laplacian Theory. The assumptions of the theory have largely been shown to be incorrect,[3] but to the surprise of many of his colleagues, NASA missions have confirmed that many of his deductions from the theory were remarkably accurate. Some of his best known predictions are:[4]

  • In 1977, Prentice hypothesised that a rocky moon belt existed at four planetary radii from Jupiter's centre. Two years later, such a rocky ring was discovered, though closer to Jupiter than Prentice had predicted.
  • He predicted that Uranus had two more moons or moonlet streams than commonly thought. Nine years later, a new moon (Puck), was discovered to be orbiting Uranus, in addition to a family of nine moonlets
  • In 1981, Prentice theorised that the mass of Saturn's moon Tethys was in fact 20–25% larger than the generally predicted level. Three months later, it was confirmed to be 21% larger than previously thought.
  • In 1989, he predicted that Neptune had four additional dark moons, at 5, 3.5, 2.5 and 1.8 radii in Neptune's equatorial plane. By the end of the year, four dark moons were discovered in Neptune's equatorial plane at 7, 3, 2.5 and 2.1 radii.
  • He predicted that dry ice would be the main carbon-bearing chemical on Triton. Three years later, infrared devices confirmed this.

Selected works[edit]


External links[edit]