By GREG FELTES firstname.lastname@example.org
GILBERTS - As a teenager, Jim Bourassa watched futuristic TV shows such as "The Jetsons" with more than a passing curiosity, dreaming of the day that he would live in an idyllic society free of common worries such as energy bills and disease.
Now, the 48-year-old Gilberts resident and real-estate entrepreneur still is dreaming, but he is frustrated by what he sees as a lack of progress.
"I would like to see anti-gravity in our lifetime," he said. "We watched all those TV shows set in the future, and we thought in the back of our heads that during our lifetimes that we were going to see all these things. And yet, you look outside and the cars really don't look any different and functionally they are all the same. If I could help bring some of that about, that would be fantastic."
Bourassa thinks that he might have developed a theory that might make the impossible a possibility. He and David Thornson of Alma founded the Quantum AetherDynamics Institute in Gilberts to promote a new unified force theory that the two co-developed.
"Our theory provides a new foundation for physics, and shows that the key numbers in physics are not just random values, but have an exact value based upon a quantum-scale, dynamic Aether," Bourassa said.
What does that mean in English? Bourassa believes that space around isn't an empty void, but a type of fluid that might have significant practical applications.
"On a practical level, a real big benefit would be clean energy," Bourassa said. "Imagine tapping space itself to power everything. Instead of plugging into a wall, we could have antennae in space. That's the fantasy example, but it's possible if we accept that space is something that can be tapped."
Needless to say, the duo is proud of its discovery.
"Personally, the Aether Physics Model is my opportunity to leave the world a better place than how I found it," said Thornson, who is partly deaf and credits his disability for causing him to think of things in a different way than most scientists.
The institute's Web site, www.quantumaetherdynamics.com, has seen traffic from several educational and governmental institutions. Bourassa and Thornson even sold a copy of a book they wrote on their theory to a member of a "Forbes magazine" top 100 most wealthy and influential list.
Bourassa said the issue now was getting their theory out into the scientific community and allowing it to be tested in laboratories, a process that he estimated would take 10 to 20 years.
Both Thornson and Bourassa are self-taught and they've faced more than a healthy amount of skepticism.
"The average member of the physics community is pretty much unaware of our theory," Bourassa said. "Once they run these equations, we believe it will become more and more accepted because the numbers work. We haven't had one Ph.D. come back and tell us these numbers are crazy. You just have to have the ability to never stop and never give up. You have to have the drive that no matter what the obstacles are, you find a way."
Bourassa has been doing that all his life. He survived a nearly fatal case of spinal meningitis as a 2-year-old, something he said made him stronger and helped him to find God and a purpose.
He has been married to his wife, Marie, for more than 20 years and the couple have a son, Benny, 13.
"To be alive and to be able to do anything to contribute to humanity is a great thing," he said. "I've always had this compassion to want to help."
And this way I can help and not just the local community or my family, but to help all of mankind because this kind of knowledge can have so many benefits. I can't even imagine where it will end."