Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Science: To Be, or Not to Be - Or, How I Discovered the Swindle of Special Relativity

If we wish to assure the survival of science into the new century, we must begin by clearing up the mess we have made of it over the last. Let’s start with the swindle called The Special Theory of Relativity. Here we have a roof of wastepaper shingles, set upon the house of fraud that Maxwell built. Einstein’s alleged great achievement, that “triumph of 20th century physics,” was that he saved the appearances of the (then well-known) fraud which the great British faker, James Clerk Maxwell, had constructed over the dead bodies of Ampère, Gauss, Riemann, and, finally, Weber.

This is the story of how I came to recognize the swindle Einstein perpetrated. Like most great liars, Einstein tells you what he is doing, albeit in a devious fashion. Like most discoveries, mine came about through an indirect path. Yet, each step is important in its own way. Bear with me, and you too shall see, if you dare.

First Steps

About two months ago, I read in a column by Jeffery Kooistra in Infinite Energy magazine (Issue 27, 1999) of a simple and paradoxical experiment, originally proposed by Dr. Peter Graneau, the author of Ampère-Neumann Electrodynamics in Metals and other works. The result so fascinated me that I decided to reproduce the experiment on my own. Two 42-inch lengths of half-inch (i.d.) copper pipe were mounted, each on a separate length of 1 x 3 lumber, and laid parallel to one another, like rails, about 12 inches apart. The opposite terminals of a 12-volt automotive battery were connected to the copper rails.

When the circuit is completed, by placing a 24-inch length of copper pipe perpendicularly across the two parallel pipes, the shorter pipe begins to roll down the track, accelerating to the end, and sparking and sputtering as it goes in a delightful display.

One familiar with the Ampère angular force (see 21st Century, Fall 1996, “The Atomic Science Textbooks Don’t Teach,” p. 21), will see that an explanation based on repulsion between elements of current in the parallel rods, and those in the movable, perpendicular portion of the circuit, is at hand—although, the same motion can be accounted for by the algebraically equivalent i x B forces considered in Maxwell’s formulations.

The paradox which the designer of the experiment wished to demonstrate comes in the next part. If we replace the 24-inch copper pipe with an equivalent length of steel pipe, the steel pipe rolls in the opposite direction! Why? I asked Dr. Graneau, who was kind enough to provoke my added interest by telling me that he didn’t know, and that he didn’t know of anybody who did.

Ampère’s Theory of Magnetism

It seemed to me, first of all, that the steel pipe must be experiencing a magnetization under the influence of the current. If so, the question, as I saw it, remained of what was the influence of the other parts of the circuit on the presumed magnet. I recalled that Ampère devoted the largest portion of his famous 1826 Memoire to developing a theory of magnetism, attempting to subsume the entirety of magnetic effects known to him under his law for the force between current elements.

To accomplish this, he made use of the beautiful concept (suggested to him by his close friend, Augustin Fresnel) of the “magnetic molecule.” By this he meant a small, resistance-free, circular current, which he believed to be present in the atomic structure of all things. In the case of ferromagnetic materials, Ampère supposed these molecules to be aligned in parallel columns, compounding their force to produce the total magnetic effect.

In the Memoire, Ampère shows that a magnetic solenoid would produce a rotational moment on a current element, or portion of a circuit, located outside; but that in the case of a complete circuit, there would be no moment. I wondered if, in the case of the backward-moving steel pipe, the other parts of the circuit formed by the copper rails might not act separately from the portion of the circuit passing through the steel pipe. Another experiment, prepared for a classroom demonstration on these topics, had suggested such a possibility.

In the latter case, I wished to show that a magnetized, hollow steel cylinder acted differently than did a classical Ampère solenoid (which had been made by winding a wire around a hollow plastic tube of the same dimensions as the steel cylinder). I had had difficulty achieving any significant magnetization of the steel cylinder, which was made from a section of tubing used for carrying electrical conduit—what electricians call EMT. However, shortly before the classroom demonstration was to take place, I noticed that if the steel tube was wound with wire like the plastic one, and a current run through it, the difference in the form of the magnetization could be demonstrated. To wit, an iron nail or other magnetizable object is drawn into the center of the Ampère solenoid, but only to the outside ends in the case of the steel cylinder.1

At the time, I concluded, without giving it much thought, that the magnetization produced in the steel cylinder when the current was flowing was simply the predominant effect, making the contrivance behave (when the current was on) more like a permanently magnetized piece of steel than an Ampère solenoid.

After reading a part of the Ampère Memoire, I saw the possibility that this same sort of effect might be at work in the case of the backward-rolling steel pipe. It might be possible to convert the case Ampère describes, of a rotational moment created by a solenoid on part of a circuit, to the case in hand. The calculation is, however, difficult, and the experiments necessary to verify it even more so. I have not had the opportunity, yet, to pursue it.

Maxwell’s Fraud Summarized

Had anyone else done so? Unfortunately, the Ampère Memoire is almost never read today; only a small portion of the 200-page work was ever translated into English, and even French speakers rarely, if ever, trouble to work through it. The reason is that James Clerk Maxwell, in the middle of the 19th century, made a new mathematical formulation of the laws of electricity, which he claimed was algebraically equivalent to that of Ampère and Ampère’s successor in the development of the electrical laws, Wilhelm Weber.

Not only did Maxwell make this formulation, but, one must add in all honesty, British political-military hegemony at the time imposed the new view on many reluctant, sometimes even obstinately so, opponents on all continents.

Maxwell’s formulation, however, eliminated consideration of the angular component of the force between current elements. It also removed the most fundamental of Ampère’s assumptions—the unity of electricity and magnetism—by introducing the concept of a magnetic field. There is no magnetic field in any of the writings of Ampère, nor of his successors in electrodynamics, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Wilhelm Weber, and Bernhard Riemann. Magnetism, for them, is considered an epiphenomenon of electricity; it is the force of electrodynamic attraction or repulsion acting between circuits of electricity, called magnetic molecules (and which came to be known later as electrons).

This forgotten part of the history of the subject is most important to what we are about to show.

The First Unipolar Machines

But to return to the thread of our story, I soon became aware of some closely related developments. In 1840, Wilhelm Weber, who then shared with Gauss the leadership of the worldwide association for the study of the Earth’s magnetic forces known as the Magnetische Verein, published in the journal of that society a paper titled “Unipolar Induction.” In it, he described his study of a phenomenon first discovered by Ampère.

Begin with a cylindrical steel rod, magnetized along its axis. If the lead wires from a battery are brought into contact with the magnet such that the magnet is not constrained in its motion (as by brushes), one brush touching it at the top of its central axis, and the other along the circumference of the cylinder and roughly midway between the two poles, the magnet will rotate around its own axis for as long as the current continues to flow. Ampère created such an electric motor, which Faraday had deemed impossible, in 1822.

Unipolar induction, a term apparently due to Weber, by which he seems to mean induction of an electrical current in one direction only (pure direct current in our modern terms), refers to the converse situation. The magnet is rotated, as by a crank, generating an electric current in the lead wires. Weber had some difficulty accounting for the phenomenon, until he modified what he thought was Ampère’s conception of the magnetic molecule to suppose that two separate magnetic fluids (north and south) were contained within the magnetic molecule, and that the portion of the current flowing through the magnet followed a path midway between them.

After Weber, many more studies were made of the unipolar induction. In the 1870s, E. Edlund in Sweden showed that the magnet could be kept stationary, and, instead, a steel cylinder which surrounds it, but which need not be in physical contact with it, could be rotated, producing the same effects. The American physicist E.H. Hall mentions the researches of Edlund as having contributed in some important way to his 1879 discovery of the transverse current phenomenon, now known as the Hall Effect.2

In another form of the unipolar induction, a rotatable steel disk is situated between two steel plates bearing opposite magnetic poles. Brushes with lead wires running from them are brought into contact with the disk at a point near its center, and at a point, or points, along the circumference. Upon rotation of the disk, a significant current is generated in the wires. Description of this form of the apparatus, called a unipolar or homopolar generator, can be found in older textbooks on electrical principles.

In one book, I learned that such machines were being produced commercially by the General Electric and Westinghouse Companies in the 1920s. Such devices can produce very high, pure direct currents, without the need for rectifiers or commutators, but have the disadvantage of producing only low voltages.

Forbidden Words

Readers familiar with the ways of physicists may know, however, that raising the topic of unipolar generators and motors among them is most likely to produce grimaces, embarrassed smiles, or other looks of dismay. The reason for this only became clear to me a short time ago. Up to that time, I had naively thought that there was some doubt as to the actual existence of the effect, so negative is the reaction to the mere mention of the words.

Now I understand, what many already knew, that it is part of the codified religion of the self-anointed priesthood known as academically accredited 20th-century physicists, that such a topic is not to be discussed. The reason is, that Einstein said so.

I began to suspect so just recently, when, a friend, after seeing a demonstration of the backward-rolling steel pipe, opened up a 1950s textbook on electrodynamics to the section on “homopolar generators.” In it, the author described a generator of the rotating disk type just described above. The author went on to say that if the disk is kept stationary and, instead, the magnetic plates surrounding it are rotated, no current is generated!

Students often have difficulty grasping why this should be so, the author tells us. But, he explains to them that they must understand that when the magnets are rotated, the magnetic field lines do not rotate with them!3 Further, the textbook author suggests, one must consider the inertial framework of the observer and the apparatus. Finally, he tells us, that when students still don’t yield, he clears things up by presenting them with another case. He then describes a more complicated experiment involving the relative motion of magnet, steel bar, and ammeter, in which eight different outcomes are possible. And there the chapter ends. Surely, then, everything is clear.

Enter Einstein

I am in some ways naive, but one does not live a large portion of one’s life in New York City without developing a certain instinct for knowing when he is being swindled. A look into yet another but older textbook (under what perverse impulsion I know not), brought me nearer to the truth. For here, on page 8, just upon entering the topic of electrostatics, we are told that, before going any further, we must become familiar with the concept of inertial frames. (That was 1930, when everybody was not so familiar with this idea.) For situations arise in which an observer in one inertial frame will measure an electric field and no magnetic field, while another might measure both an electric and a magnetic field, for example. If we do not take into account inertial frames, we are warned, many problems in electrodynamics, especially those involving rotating magnets will create difficulties for us.

Just at that point I began to suspect the exact nature of the swindle. Was it possible, that—despite all the talk of moving trains, clocks, and shrinking rods—the anomaly being addressed in Special Relativity was actually the much more mundane case before me—the asymmetry between motion of the magnet and motion of the disk? Then I remembered the title of Einstein’s famous paper, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.” Suddenly, its first paragraph made sense:

“It is known that Maxwell’s electrodynamics—as usually understood at the present time—when applied to moving bodies, leads to asymmetries which do not appear to be inherent in the phenomena. Take, for example, the reciprocal electrodynamic action of a magnet and a conductor. . . .”

Was Einstein talking about anything other than the anomaly of the sort manifested in the unipolar generator? If there were any doubt, one needed only to turn to “II. Electrodynamical Part, Section 6. Transformation of the Maxwell-Hertz Equations for Empty Space. On the Nature of the Electromotive Forces Occurring in a Magnetic Field During Motion.” There, in the last paragraph we read:

“Furthermore it is clear that the asymmetry mentioned in the introduction as arising when we consider the currents produced by the relative motion of a magnet and a conductor, now disappears. Moreover, questions as to the ‘seat’ of electrodynamic electromotive forces (unipolar machines) now have no point.”

And so, a true physical anomaly has been caused to disappear by the introduction of an arbitrary postulate—and an absurd one, at that. Thus are Maxwell’s equations “saved.” Could a magician do better?

There, dear reader, is the fraud—or a big part of it—which today’s well-paid fraternity of professional physicists are committed to defend.4 Heed and respect these hoaxsters if you wish. You will pay, like Faust, with your soul. Science, like all creative practice, is a precious tradition of thought, which begins with a profound and religious love for one’s fellow man, and most of all, for those among one’s predecessors who have ventured into that fearful territory “from whose bourn no traveller returns”: the realm of independent, creative thought. Nothing will so quickly turn a gifted thinker into a hopeless sack of lost potential, as moral compromise.

There is the challenge for science, as we enter the new millennium.

—Laurence Hecht


1. This was the subject of an early challenge by Michael Faraday to Ampère’s hypothesis of the magnetic molecule. Faraday reasoned that if Ampère’s conception were correct, the two cylinders should show the same magnetic effect; but his experiments showed that they behaved differently. Ampère showed that Faraday did not understand the conception: the large circular windings of the solenoid are only macroscopic analogues of the very small circular currents hypothesized to reside within the atomic structure of the magnet. Thus, the geometry of the currents in the two cylinders is entirely different, and Faraday’s experimental conception is fundamentally flawed.

2. It might, or might not, be relevant to the case at hand that, shortly after his discovery of the transverse current, which was accomplished in a thin layer of gold deposited on a glass plate, Hall discovered that iron produces a transverse current in the opposite direction.

3. Professor O’Rahilly, author of Electromagnetics (1938) calls this argument, which had already been employed in his day, “hypostasizing one’s own metaphor.” Today, we might use blunter language.

4. Let us allow each man the benefit of the doubt. Some among this fraternity have been so credulous, in their pursuit of fame or money, as to be truly ignorant of the fraud they are paid to uphold. Today, even educated physicists usually lack the historical background to understand how troubling was the challenge posed to Maxwell’s system by such asymmetries. Maxwell’s nasty fraud—the usurpation of half a century’s hard work, steered by the greatest mathematical physicist of modern times, Carl Friedrich Gauss—was in trouble. And people were alive who knew, and still resented, the arbitrary and entirely political manner in which the Ampère-Gauss-Weber electrodynamics was unseated.
Maxwell, who did no more than create a mathematical system which successfully misrepresented all the hard work of Ampère, Gauss, Weber, Riemann and others, had made a big blunder, or several. The Ampère-Gauss-Weber electrodynamics was relativistic, in a non-silly sense; it was atomistic; Gauss knew that the propagation of electrodynamic force was not instantaneous (Weber, Kohlrausch, and Riemann had measured it in 1854, years before Maxwell ever proposed the electromagnetic theory), and was seeking since no later than 1835, a “constructible representation” for it, as Gauss put it in an 1845 letter.
So Einstein “saved the appearances” of Maxwell’s flawed electrodynamics. He should be called the modern Ptolemy. Maxwell is the true “Newton” of modern times. Just as one of scientific history’s most over-inflated impostors, Isaac Newton, reformulated Kepler’s work into an inferior formal system, so Maxwell did the same for the work of Ampère, Gauss, Weber, and Riemann.
Perhaps the defenders of Maxwell’s system prefer to remain in ignorance for the simple reason that the patent untenability of their position becomes only more clear, the more they know of its true history. For example, let one of the anointed priests of this profession respond today, to the devastating blow to their entire straw edifice which Ampère had struck in an 1822 letter to Faraday. Explaining that a perpetual motion was impossible, Ampère showed that the force between current elements which could be turned into a continuous rotational motion, had to come from the work done within the battery. However, such was not the case if one presumed—as did Biot, Laplace, and later Maxwell—that the force between magnet and magnet could be made equivalent to that between current element and current element. For in that case, continuous rotational motion would be possible between two magnets, a conclusion which violates the principle of energy conservation:
“. . . dans les autres théories, on devrait pouvoir imiter, avec des assemblages d’aimants disposé convenablement, tous les phenomènes que présentent les fils conducteurs; on pourrait donc, en faisant agir un de ces assemblages sur an autre, produire dans celui-ci le mouvement continu toujours dans le méme sens; ce que dément l’expérience” (cited in Blondel, op cit., p. 117).

1 comment:

batt said...

nice... but i wouldn't accuse Einstein of misleading us... i mean at least not intentionally :-)..