A 28 year old mystery

Copyright, Harold Aspden, 2000

If you have read the previous Essay, ES2004, then you may wonder how it is that the those of the science and technology community have not already embraced the notion that Nature has been telling us to research the mystery of the hidden forces that can develop rotation in defiance of the accepted principles of mechanics.

Now, I did say that long before I had ever heard of 'free energy' machines, other than by reference to the historic heresy of 'perpetual motion', I was already, from my fundamental theoretical studies of magnetism and my experimental Ph.D. degree research, convinced that the omnipresent aether could shed energy and angular momentum. This made me pay special attention to something reported in Electronics & Power, the member's journal of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in U.K. nearly three decades ago in October 1972.

It describes a machine of very unusual construction that was demonstrated at the Institution of Electrical Engineers in a lecture delivered by Professor Eric Laithwaite. It was a machine involving magnetic induction and the motion of a roller (steel washer) moving around the inside of a circular track which was part of the stator of the machine.

Although it was not an intended feature of the demonstration, and, indeed, it came as a surprise to Laithwaite himself, when the power feeding the machine was switched off, that roller began to move faster for a period before slowing down. Professor Laithwaite even doubted what he saw until, after the lecture he asked his assistant if he too had seen anything unusual, and his observation was confirmed. In the event, this so concerned Professor Laithwaite that he wrote an article for Electronics & Power entitled 'Unexplained Phenomenon', duly published in the October 1972 issue at p. 360.

Now, for the most part, members of scientific and technological organizations, even those in academia, show little interest in what happens outside their own specialist field, and there are few that 'specialize' in the 'unexplained' and the 'unnatural'. This may explain why only two Letters to the Editor directed at the Laithwaite article appeared in the January, 1973 issue of Electronics & Power. One was by someone who said:
"Professor Laithwaite's dissertation on an unexplained phenomenon is highly entertaining, but surely he casts grave doubts on his own powers of observation and verification of facts by reducing Gideon's redoubtable 300 men to 200! Perhaps the stricture in his introduction that the supernatural does not exist, has led to the exclusion of the bible from his shelves even for reference....."
So here we see how this anomalous behaviour of an electrical machine can be trivialized, simply because the preamble to Laithwaite's article implied that something unnatural had been observed which needed scientific explanation without invoking the hand of God or the mystique of a supernatural influence.

The other Letter to the Editor was the one I wrote in which I stated:
"The observed phenomenon can, of course, be explained if the ether rotating with the copper cylinder and the surrounding ether moved by the counter-rotating washer are coupled by ether eddies, as illustrated in Fig. 8.3 of my book [1]. When Prof. Laithwaite's machine was switched off, the inertia of these coupled ethers evidently transferred angular momentum from the cylinder to the washer via the ether coupling. This sounds weird. specially as Prof. Laithwaite is having trouble reproducing the phenomenon. But it is no more weird than the regularly observed phenomenon of thunder balls. They certainly exist, they cannot yet be made to order and they too are probably due to the phenomenon of ether rotation.

The experiment to work on is that of Wilson [2]. He found anomalous magnetic effects when rotating an object at speed, but went off the scent when he had no success in an experiment using relativity, in which he thought he was rotating the Earth relative to his detector. A century ago, Gore [3] wrote of a demonstration: "These experiments and the following ones produce a striking effect because rotation appears to be produced without reaction of moving parts of the apparatus upon any external or fixed body." Profs. Maxwell and Stokes put Gore off his scent by guiding him to modify the experiment to avoid the phenomenon.

Maxwell contemplated electrical displacement in the vacuous medium in empty space. Are there electrical effects when this medium rotates? Recently, Ryan and Vonnegut [4] have demonstrated that an electrical arc can be stabilised by rotating a surrounding cylindrical cage at low speed. Would this work in a vacuum? Can ether be set in rotation by a central arc discharge? Can lightning produce thunder balls? Can Prof. Laithwaite reproduce his phenomenon?"

[1] ASPDEN, H.: 'Physics without Einstein' (Sabberton, Southampton, 1969), p. 180
[2] WILSON, H. A.: 'Rotations of bar magnets and conductors', Proc. Roy. Soc., 1923, 104A, p. 451
[3] GORE, G.: 'An experiment on the origin of the Earth's Magnetic Field', Proc. Roy. Soc., 1875, 24, p. 121
[4] RYAN, R. T., and VONNEGUT, B.: 'Formation of a vortex by an elevated electrical heat source', Nature (Phys. Sci.), 1971, 233, pp. 142-143

This Letter to the Editor was published in Electronics & Power at p. 21 of the January, 1973 issue. So, nearly 28 years ago, here was something published in the main journal circulated to all members of the IEE in U.K. which pointed a way forward in the onward exploration of what I refer to elsewhere as 'vacuum spin'. In my later years I have come to see this 'unexplained phenomenon' as featuring in the homopolar motor research of Bruce DePalma and the Swiss M-L Converter, both rotary machines. I believe it also features in certain plasma discharge experiments which are claimed to deliver excess energy. However, my message has not been heeded.

Having presented above that Fig. 8.3 of my book Physics without Einstein, I add here, as a kind of footnote, that the book is now out-of-print, all 2000 copies printed having been sold long ago. But I note that those sales were not helped by 'peer review'. Indeed, when the book was sent to the Review Editor of The Philosophical Magazine he replied as follows from his address at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge:
"I feel it is impossible to review a book which claims to provide an alternative theory to Einstein's. If the author is right, the proper place for an assessment is through discussion by scientific societies and in scientific papers. We cannot undertake to provide reviews which give just assessment of major claims in physics."
Signed by: Prof. Sir Nevill Mott, F.R.S., Reviews Editor

At the time I wondered how anyone could ever get the academic world to engage in discussion as to the pros and cons of reviving belief in a real aether medium, without basing the case on a comprehensive book-length dissertation, given the overwhelming popular belief in the doctrines of Einstein's theory. Indeed, I still wonder and, although I have authored many scientific papers since, I have now fallen back on the hope that the reality of the aether will be revealed in its full glory when it shows its hand by delivering 'free energy' as such machines proving this emerge on the commercial scene.

If you wish now to see the next Essay in this 2000 series, which reverts to a topic deep in the heartland of theoretical particle physics, then press:

Why Higgs?

H. Aspden
September 2, 2000