Catt and Walton’s lecture at Nottingham University on a key experiment

Electromagnetism SU 2 theory experiment

There are actually two different electric charges, hence SU(2) electromagnetism, not merely one charge which can travel backwards in time to reverse its sign (as Abelian U(1) QED dogma untruthfully asserts). On 9 October 2013, Ivor Catt (author of ‘Crosstalk (Noise) in Digital Systems,’ in IEEE Trans. on Elect. Comp., vol. EC-16, December 1967,  pp. 749–58), and David Walton (who after his PhD in atomic physics worked under Nobel laureate E. T. S. Walton at Trinity College) presented a new experiment to the ASL Electromagnetism Seminar at Nottingham University:

Before reviewing the physical mechanism of electromagnetism yet again, a brief comment on personal bad attitude problems in science. What’s curious about these guys is that like all academic hotshots, they’re bigoted “elitists” camouflaged as caring, brilliant socialists, just like quantum field theorist, the sometimes abusive, reliably patronising Dr Peter Woit of Columbia University maths department (string theory critic and author of an interesting new textbook, Quantum Theory, Groups and Representations, which will be published by Springer in 2015) or category theorist Dr Marni Dee Sheppeard: they’re all people who won’t spend a second listening or objectively responding to anybody, but just attack under a false charge, thus refusing to engage with the actual argument.  They do this by inventing a vacuous claim that anyone who has a technical argument must be ignorant of science or is anti-feminism, etc. and launching into a tirade about that, completely ignoring the point.  I’ve spend countless hours talking to Catt and publishing videos (also here and here) and journal articles about his work (Electronics World feature articles in August 2002, April 2003, January 2004, plus an op-ed), but that doesn’t lead to anything but abusive shouting as soon as I make an objective criticism.  It’s the same with all egotists, inside the mainstream or not!  Simplify the 10 commandments to 1, and you are crucified.

Feynman versus Dirac

“Already in the beginning I had said that I’ll deal with single electrons, and I was going to describe this idea about a positron being an electron going backward in time, and Dirac asked, ‘Is it unitary?’ I said, ‘Let me try to explain how it works, and you can tell me whether it is unitary or not!’ I didn’t even know then what ‘unitary’ meant. So I proceeded further a bit, and Dirac repeated his question: ‘Is it unitary?’ So I finally said: ‘Is what unitary?’ Dirac said: ‘The matrix which carries you from the present to the future position.’ I said, ‘I haven’t got any matrix which carries me from the present to the future position. I go forwards and backwards in time, so I do not know what the answer to your question is.”

– Feynman about his problem with Dirac at the 1948 Pocono Conference.  The argument was with Feynman’s U(1) as applied to pictorial Feynman diagrams, a theory where positrons (positively charged electrons) are represented as electrons travelling backwards in time, i.e. the simplistic U(1) single-charge QED theory.  Quotation source: J. Mehra and K. A. Milton, Climbing the Mountain: The Scientific Biography of Julian Schwinger, Oxford University Press, 2000, page 233.  See also the excellent discussion in that book on pages 231-234 of how badly Feynman was treated by Bohr, Teller, Dirac and others, who instead of being constructive and helping to build and improve Feynman’s theory of multipath interference via the path integral, just preferred to try to shoot it down.  Actually, the path integral works for any symmetry group for example SU(2) and SU(3) and not just for U(1) electrodynamics which has the “Dirac problem” that positrons are represented as electrons going backwards in time in the Feynman diagrams.

“Already in the beginning I had said that I’ll deal with single electrons, and I was going to describe this idea about a positron being an electron going backward in time, and Dirac asked, ‘Is it unitary?’ I said, ‘Let me try to explain how it works, and you can tell me whether it is unitary or not!’ I didn't even know then what ‘unitary’ meant. So I proceeded further a bit, and Dirac repeated his question: ‘Is it unitary?’ So I finally said: ‘Is what unitary?’ Dirac said: ‘The matrix which carries you from the present to the future position.’ I said, ‘I haven’t got any matrix which carries me from the present to the future position. I go forwards and backwards in time, so I do not know what the answer to your question is.” - Richard P. Feynman in J. Mehra and K. A. Milton, Climbing the Mountain: The Scientific Biography of Julian Schwinger, Oxford University Press, 2000, page 233
“Already in the beginning I had said that I’ll deal with single electrons, and I was going to describe this idea about a positron being an electron going backward in time, and Dirac asked, ‘Is it unitary?’ I said, ‘Let me try to explain how it works, and you can tell me whether it is unitary or not!’ I didn’t even know then what ‘unitary’ meant. So I proceeded further a bit, and Dirac repeated his question: ‘Is it unitary?’ So I finally said: ‘Is what unitary?’ Dirac said: ‘The matrix which carries you from the present to the future position.’ I said, ‘I haven’t got any matrix which carries me from the present to the future position. I go forwards and backwards in time, so I do not know what the answer to your question is.”
– Richard P. Feynman in J. Mehra and K. A. Milton, Climbing the Mountain: The Scientific Biography of Julian Schwinger, Oxford University Press, 2000, page 233

Perhaps this excessive and damaging egotism from Catt and also leading quantum field theorists is due to bad experiences with other people who have wasted their time with alternative ideas in the past, but that’s no excuse for people taking out your frustrations on other people who are offering constructive theories that are admittedly incomplete and in need for further development and wider circulation before funding.  Now, when I read a book, I try to see what the strongest arguments are, and focus on those.  That’s called objectivity.  “Critics” who ignore the substance of the argument and falsely make a show out of inventing spurious problems, are being subjective.  Emotional rants always leak into “peer” reviews, because if the “peer” reviewer abuses power when possible to reduce workload, they then tell lies about “rudeness” to escape the complaints.  So they’ll always end up, in the analysis of a radical innovation that does have evidence, claiming it is an “exceptional” case that doesn’t deserve their normal objective methods!

Anyway, the physics.  The new experimental data for the charged capacitor justifies the following interpretation of the Dirac equation’s spinor.

Electromagnetism SU 2 theory experiment
Electromagnetism SU(2) theory experiment, from chapter 1 of Electromagnetism 1, ISBN0906340101. See our analysis of why EM’s SU(2) Yang-Mills equations reduce to Abelian U(1) “observed Maxwell equations“.

As the diagram above proves, the classical electromagnetism which Dirac and Weyl assumed true when building U(1) Abelian quantum electrodynamics, contains an error due to a mathematical coincidence (or accident, as Catt put it in his 1995 book Electromagnetism 1), in that the false squaring of the superimposed electric fields for trapped Heaviside energy current cause a four-fold increase in energy density, which exactly compensates for the false assumption that magnetic field energy disappears.  The maths of electromagnetism work, but that is provably due to a fluke, a coincidence, an accident of mere numerology.  (Catt buries or hides the key evidence amid much clutter on his internet site.)  The physics of the EM mechanism is quite different to U(1).  However, Catt himself makes an error of inconsistency in his analysis, in not applying his own “separation of fields” (so vital for him when separating the TEM wave fronts flowing into the cable from the reflected TEM wave coming back from the open end of the cable to superimpose) to the individual fields from each conductor within the transmission line!  You then get the fact that the field quanta are charged, and you also get SU(2) QED.

The classical Maxwell (and apparently Abelian) electromagnetic equations are derived from a simple mechanism which cuts down the SU(2) Yang-Mills equations to the Maxwell ones, by eliminating the Yang-Mills charge transfer term. Since the charged EM bosons are massless, they cannot propagate because the magnetic field resulting from charge, prevents the motion of massless charge! The ONLY possible way massless charges can move, is by cancelling out their magnetic fields using a two-way equilibrium of exchange. Any two similar charges must always being exchange equal charge in opposite directions each second, to cancel out the magnetic fields, eliminating infinite self-inductance. Unless this happens, there is no electromagnetic field. So this mechanism means that massless SU(2) charged field quanta can never change the amount of charge present in an onshell particle: if it emits 1 coulomb per second, it also absorbs precisely the same amount. Hence, the Yang-Mills net charge transfer term is always zero for massless field quanta: effectively turning Yang-Mills equations into Maxwell’s in that case (massless charged field quanta). The Catt analysis of the Heaviside transmission line theory, when extended to include an examination of what’s happening to each conductor within the transmission line (accelerating free electrons radiate radio frequency energy to electrons in the other conductor, and this mutual exchange enables the propagation of electricity. The acceleration of electrons at the electrical wave front on the surface of each conductor in a transmission line is then in an opposite direction to that in the other conductor.

This is the cause of all the shouting from Catt when I tried to get a discussion of this point. His response to any objective criticism or improvement suggestion is to endlessly repeat himself more loudly, precisely what the mainstream does when string theory is criticised.  (A complete waste of time, since I had already read his books.)  This paranoid and delusional approach prevents any kind of critical collaborative progress, except homage.  I’m not interested in a dead science that either makes no progress, or is dictatorially constrained to stumble or crawl along worn paths in a very few research directions, with the most obvious and vital applications blocked by rude, silly censorship.

Weyl applied Abelian U(1) gauge theory to electromagnetism, despite the fact that it U(1) only one charge, whereas electromagnetism 2 charges (positive and negative).  There are also 2 charges in SU(2) isospin for weak forces, and 3 charges for SU(3).  Since electromagnetism has 2 charges, not one as U(1), why not therefore use SU(2) for electromagnetism?  This is just weak theory with massless neutral Z and massless charged W particles.  What is “charge”?  Has anyone ever seen or measured an “electron”.  What they have measured is trapped field with a quantized charge and mass, and named that an “electron”, much the way Pluto was once falsely classified as a planet!

(When interpretations of nature charge, like naming conventions, nature remains unaltered.  Pluto didn’t suddenly change when the consensus of expert opinion downgraded it from planet to planetoid.  You cannot therefore use today’s interpretation of any fact in science as a dogmatic “fact” with which to censor out advances, which may involve new theories which re-interpret the facts differently.  Put it another way, confusing facts with their interpretations is a censorship tool used by peer-consensus dogma-worshipping education, not objective science which tests new interpretations of facts.)

Planck scale electron cores are unobservable: nobody has seen them.  Only the fields and charge to mass ratio of “electrons” have been observed.  The sign of the charge (positive or negative) of the electron is therefore inferred from the field that is measured: the only thing observable about the “charge” of an electron is its field.  Therefore, the field quanta convey the information on whether the “charge” is positive or negative.  This can only happen if the 2 “extra polarizations” that field quanta have are charge indicators.

Field quanta have 4 polarizations, whereas uncharged photons (which don’t convey charge sign information) have only 2 observable polarizations.  The extra 2 polarizations of field quanta must therefore carry the information to the observer as to whether the electric field is one due to a “charge” which is positive, or negative.  Therefore, observations of field do indicate that massless charged electromagnetic field quanta exist, in the context of trapped light velocity field energy in Catt’s experiment, the charge of the field quanta being denoted by the quantum numbers for the 2 additional degrees of polarization.

Dirac’s equation predicted antimatter, suggesting that protons are the anti-electrons.  J. Robert Oppenheimer rejected Dirac’s interpretation in a paper in 1930, due to the mass difference between the electron and the proton (which we explain as conversion of screened QED charge into nuclear field energy, see discussion further below).  Dirac then accepted Oppenheimer’s arguments and revised this to predict what came to be called the positron, discovered by Carl Anderson in 1932.  This positron discovery has since been used by bigots tragically to “shut down the argument”, preventing a more careful analysis.

Sure, positrons arise as anti-electrons.  But that can’t be the full story, or there’d be equal amounts of positrons and electrons around, since Dirac’s equation predicts they they are created (by pair production) in equal quantities.  So although Oppenheimer’s objection to Dirac’s simplistic assignation of the proton as the anti-electron creates a problem of mass asymmetry, it did offer a solution to the question of “where is all the antimatter?”, a question which Oppenheimer doesn’t answer.  We argue that both Dirac and Oppenheimer were being far too simplistic, and in doing so laying down a shaky dogmatic interpretative foundation for U(1) electrodynamics which has messed up today’s electroweak theory.

SU(2) is now electroweak group, with U(1) being dark energy which causes gravitation by a Casimir type pseudo-attraction mechanism (plates being pushed together by spin-1 quanta on external sides, not by the simplistic idea of a mutual exchange of spin-2 superstring gravitons, which don’t need to exist in order for gravity to work).  Once you have an chiral SU(2) theory of electromagnetism where the handed curl of the magnetic field vector around the direction of propagation of a charge is analogous to the left-handed weak force SU(2).  Woit showed neatly in 2002 that you can get the handedness of SU(2) electroweak charges by picking out U(2) as a subset of SO(4).  (However, that doesn’t mean he is interested in really being objective.)

We can’t observe Planck size charges, only their fields, and we find two different kinds of fields: positive and negative.  Positive is not merely an absence of negative charge (hole theory): if there is no an absence of negative charge is zero charge.   Sure, in a sea of electrons, a “hole” behaves analogously to positive charge.  But an empty vacuum is not positively charged.  So absence of negative charge is not automatically positive charge.  Electromagnetism then is a 2 charge SU(2) gauge theory, a massless gauge boson version of SU(2).

If antimatter is produced in equal quantities by pair-production at energies above 1.022 MeV in the big bang, then where is it?  It is in upquarks.  They have 2/3rds the positron charge.  The missing 1/3 charge is due to the fact that electromagnetic pair production within femtometres of the core of a charge absorbs electromagnetic energy density in the polarization process, creating virtual particle which result – when you have pairs (mesons) or triplets (baryons) in close proximity (sharing an overlapping vacuum polarization veil of virtual particles) – converts EM field/charge energy into nuclear (weak and/or strong) fields.  The vacuum polarization effect occurs out to a radius where the field strength is about 1.3 x 10^18 volts/metre, Julian Schwinger’s IR cutoff radius for the running of the electric charge in QED.  Many textbooks wrongly follow Dirac’s sea analogy, which ignores the IR cutoff and claims that pair production occurs throughout the entire vacuum.  It doesn’t occur through the whole vacuum, because only gauge bosons – not virtual fermions – occur beyond a few femtometres: all observed couplings cease to run with energy when the energy is too low for onshell particles to be created (i.e. twice the 0.511 MeV electron rest mass energy equivalent or 1.022 MeV).

When EM fields are attenuated by vacuum polarization (causing the effective charges to run by some logarithmic function of distance and energy), electromagnetic energy density is converted into virtual mesons and virtual quarks and gluons that constitute nuclear fields, the SU(2) weak force and the SU(3) strong force. Thus, the reduction in the apparent electric charge of the upquark from the positron’s value of +1 to the value +2/3 needed to fit observations for protons (two upquarks and one downquark) and other hadrons, is explained and turned into a prediction since we can make detailed calculations with this simple approach. Where upquarks are electron antiparticles formed at very high energy, in addition to the simplistic Dirac/Oppenheimer antiparticle of the free positron which Anderson observed in 1932, where a >1.022 MeV gamma ray approaches a nucleus, you:

1. Explain the apparent paucity of antimatter in the universe, and

2. Have a new way to predict the weak and strong nuclear force running couplings, by making use of the fact of the principle of conservation of energy with the fact that one-third of the electric field energy of the electron exists in nuclear fields around upquarks in hadrons.  Coulomb field energy (half permittivity times the square of electric field strength, in Joules per cubic metre) that’s converted into virtual particle nuclear force gluon fields around upquarks in QED renormalization allows us to do simple QCD calculations of nuclear interaction running couplings from energy conservation! Genius or what?  Anyone can calculate the Coulomb field strength and energy density around an electron, and once you integrate over a shell of expanding radius that you get the total energy; incorporating the logarithmic running of the charge from QED now tells you how the QCD color force varies inversely, getting stronger as the QED running charge gets weaker: the sum of both is equal to that of an electron.

3. As Julian Schwinger explained in 1948, the running of couplings that causes charge renormalization in QED is accompanied by a renormalization of mass, in other words the virtual particles created by pair production in intense fields around a quark core contribute some mass to the quark core.  In fact, most of the mass of hadrons is generated in this way.  A simple model of this allows precise predictions to be made (see, linked here).  Nobel Laureate Dr Gerardus ‘t Hooft responded that the paper was unsuitable for his Foundations of Physics: “because it does notcite current peer-reviewed literature”.  (That’s a catch-22 because this is “new stuff”, with no literature and no “peers” in the field, as such. Duh!)

(In 2006, Harvard string theorist Dr Lubos Motl knocked the nail on the head when he wrote, on Woit’s blog: “Virtually all of string theorists are nice people who never argue with anyone else, they’re not chauvinists, and most of them are feminists. Most of them also think that string/M-theory are robust twin towers that are not threatened by any social effect or passionate proponents of alternative theories or proponents of no theories, and they almost always try to avoid interactions that could lead to tension which also gives them more time for serious work. Almost no string theorists drive SUV and they produce a minimum amount of carbon dioxide.”   Dr Motl was right that they usually “never argue with anyone else”, that’s the whole problem: they’re elitists who sit on their high horses in the clouds and refuse to engage in discussions with objective critics, to participate in constructive arguments, despite all their camouflaged journals of bigotry that paint their work as being precisely the opposite of that.  I made this point in my 2011 paper by quoting the famous string theorist Ed Witten who actually wrote to Nature instructing string theorists to deny critics the oxygen of publicity by refusing to engage in discussions.  Woit, Smolin, Catt, Her Majesty the Queen, and many others maintain prestige that way.)

Physics Review Letters and arxiv weird, egotistic, and frankly vile (not peer) “elitist” moderators proved not only lacking interest in non-standard alternative ideas beyond superstring theory that actually work (predicting cosmological constant accurately in 1996, long before dark energy was even discovered in 1998 from supernovae red-shift observations), but in demented mad bigotry against an attitude of no-bullshit progress:

Nigel says: July 7, 2005 at 7:15 pm Editor of Physical Review Letters says

Sent: 02/01/03 17:47

Subject: Your_manuscript LZ8276 Cook


Physical Review Letters does not, in general, publish papers on alternatives to currently accepted theories � Yours sincerely, Stanley G. Brown, Editor, Physical Review Letters

Now, why has this nice genuine guy still not published his personally endorsed proof of what is a �currently accepted� prediction for the strength of gravity? Will he ever do so? …

Peter Woit says: July 7, 2005 at 7:27 pm I’m tempted to delete the previous comment, but am leaving it since I think that, if accurate, it is interesting to see that the editor of PRL is resorting to an indefensible argument in dealing with nonsense submitted to him (although the “…” may hide a more defensible argument). Please discuss this with the author of this comment on his weblog, not here. I’ll be deleting any further comments about this.

[Note to Dr Woit: the email correspondence went on with PRL’s associate editor for months, with them repeatedly changing goalposts as I revised the paper to incorporate suggestions, until they simply refused to publish anything on this topic.  They thus wasted my time deliberately with lies.  The same for Physics Forums, on which it is heresy to engage in a serious objective campaign to make progress; trivial discussion of mainstream dogma is fine.  In the same way, serious politics campaigning is banned from the House of Commons coffee bars because it always ends in punch ups; small talk about football or cricket results is however encouraged.  Freedom of speech is something that makes our democracy different to Hitler’s and Stalin’s regimes.  Except that there is a rule in small print that it must not be heard if it is heretical.  Nobody points out that Hitler and Stalin had no real problems with people shouting their praise.  It’s therefore only in the treatment of heretics and outsiders that “freedom” or its absence can really be assessed.  Nobody seriously disputes that Hitler wanted everyone be was friends with to be free to praise the Nazis.  Freedom depends on progress is free and unopposed, or is blocked by bigots requiring tougher means.  Historian Edward Gibbon wrote controversially that education is only of use where practically superfluous; he would have been less controversial I suspect if he had written instead that: DIPLOMACY is only of use where it is practically superfluous.  Diplomacy only seems to “prevent wars” and fights where the people are honest, engaging with critics and thus non-dictatorial/civilized on boths sides; diplomacy fails where it is most needed, where one side is a bigoted dictator who refuses to engage in objective discussionOne possible way to proceed would be to publish a book quoting all the errors in fashionable textbooks, debunking each and thus ridiculing the aptitude, PhD credentials, educational background, Nobel prizes awarded, etc., to substandard behaviour and the confusion of facts with interpretations by qft textbooks.  Woit’s book contains many excellent cameos but is organized in such a way that the few key understandable mechanisms in QFT are totally ignored, e.g. Feynman’s 1985 QED book explanation that the uncertainty principle arises from multipath interference (the basis of the path integral) of QED field quanta jiggling the bound electron chaotically as it does its orbit.  The uncertainty principle is pre-second quantization, pre-Feynman’s path integral.  Woit simply ignores this and also the fact that vacuum polarization provides a testable, evolving calculation method and mechanism to understand and predict how couplings run and how masses of particles occur.  But to a great extent, this bigoted, anti-progress approach is used in many textbooks, which seek to misinform readers.  Woit also starts by recommending Eugene Wigner’s worst ever paper – which asserts the ignorance-based dogma bias, on false premises, that the universe is intrinsically non-understandable mathematics.  Of course, as the non-PhD quantum field theory professor Freeman Dyson keeps pointing out, the PhD system is a pseudoscientific: “abomination … a gross distortion of the educational process … the student is condemned to work on a single problem in order to write a thesis, for maybe 2-3 years … this straight-jacket which was imposed on the students … all the PhD students had these same constrains imposed on them which I basically disapprove of.  I just don’t like the system.  I think it is an evil system and it has ruined many lives.”  (See video of Dyson explaining this, linked here.],


8 thoughts on “Catt and Walton’s lecture at Nottingham University on a key experiment

  1. Thank you Nigel. I always find your explination of the workings of our universe convincing and easy to follow. The fact that I am not a scientist will certainly only take away from anyone elses oppinion of what I say here. But with that said, I look forward to the day when your papers are taken seriously by the supposed peer reveiwed mainstream. I worry that the young people growing up in this environment are entering a millenial dark age…

    1. I’ve got some interesting ideas about why we’re currently going through this “peer-review consensus science” eugenics-type mainstream, groupthink, populist quackery: please see my other blog

      “As the nation’s most famed weapons expert, Teller had access to secret atomic data which greatly enhanced his ability to be persuasive in public, while not disclosing the data pertinent to his argument. He could always, if challenged, retreat to a sanctuary of nondiscussable information.”

      – Dr Ralph E. Lapp, The New Priesthood: The Scientific Elite and the Uses of Power, Harper, New York, 1965, page 138.

      Lapp’s 1965 book The New Priesthood begins (page 1) with the following quotation from President Woodrow Wilson, on the dangers of dictatorship by secretive expert advisers, like a Manhattan project:

      “What I fear is a government of experts. God forbid that in a democratic society we should resign the task and give the government over to experts. What are we for if we are to be scientifically taken care of by a small number of gentlemen who are the only men who understand the job? because if we don’t understand the job, then we are not a free people.”

      Lapp then points out how he saw science change during WWII from a poorly funded, low-prestige business of struggling individuals pursuing unpopular technical questions to find the truth, into today’s “big science” of groupthink-dominated government (taxpayer)-funded teams of aim-biased technicians, seeking wealth and prestige, paying only lip-service to freedom and objectivity:

      “Today … the lone researcher is a rara avis (rare bird); most scientists team up to work together toward agreed upon objectives [not an unbiased agenda]. … A single experiment may involve a hundred scientists … the research is no longer unspecified as to objective … democracy faces its most severe test in preserving its traditions in an age of scientific revolution. … scientists in key advisory positions wield enormous power. The ordinary checks and balances in a democracy fail when the Congress, for example, is incapable of intelligent discourse on vital issues. The danger to our democracy is that national policy will be decided by the few acting without even attempting to enter a public discourse … our democracy will become a timocracy. … Even if no formal secrecy is invoked by the government, an issue might as well be classified ‘secret’ if the people in a democracy are incapable of carrying on an intelligent discussion of it. … The danger is that a new priesthood of scientists may usurp the traditional roles of democratic decision-making”

      – Dr Ralph E. Lapp, The New Priesthood: The Scientific Elite and the Uses of Power, Harper, New York, 1965, pages 2-3.

      Lapp on page 8 quotes President Thomas Jefferson:

      “To furnish the citizens with full and correct information is a matter of the highest importance. If we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.”

      Education in fact, not groupthink indoctrination nor the propaganda substitutes for fact used by dictatorships.

      Lapp on page 14 quotes President Dwight Eisenhower’s 17 January 1961 farewell address:

      “Today the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists … In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution … Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. … The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

      Lapp on page 16 quotes Dr Alvin Weinberg (director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1955-1973):

      “I do believe that big science can ruin our universities, by diverting the universities from their primary purpose and by converting our university professors into administrators, housekeepers and publicists.”

      Alvin Weinberg expanded on his critique of “big science” in his 1967 book, Reflections on Big Science.

      We quoted Alvin Weinberg’s analogy of populist anti-nuclear pseudoscientific rants to witch hunts, in a previous post (linked here). Weinberg wrote Appendix B: Civil Defense and Nuclear Energy, pages 275-7 of The Control of Exposure of the Public to Ionizing Radiation in the Event of Accident or Attack, Proceedings of a Symposium Sponsored by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), April 27-29, 1981, Held at the International Conference Center, Reston, Virginia. (The proceedings were published on May 15, 1982, by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, Md.):

      “That people will eventually acquire more sensible attitudes towards low level radiation is suggested by an analogy, pointed out by William Clark, between our fear of very low levels of radiation insult and of witches. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, people knew that their children were dying and their cattle were getting sick because witches were casting spells on them. During these centuries no fewer than 500,000 witches were burned at the stake. Since the witches were causing the trouble, if you burn the witches, then the trouble will disappear. Of course, one could never be really sure that the witches were causing the trouble. Indeed, though many witches were killed, the troubles remained. The answer was not to stop killing the witches – the answer was: kill more witches. … I want to end on a happy note. The Inquisitor of the south of Spain, Alonzo Frias, in 1610 decided that he ought to appoint a committee to examine the connection between witches and all these bad things that were happening. The committee could find no real correlation … So the Inquisitor decided to make illegal the use of torture to extract a confession from a witch. … it took 200 years for the Inquisition to run its course on witches.”

      1. Lapp quotes an editorial by Science editor Dr Philip Abelson on page 30 of The New Priesthood:

        “The witness in questioning the wisdom of the establishment pays a price and incurs hazards. He is diverted from his professional activities. He stirs the enmity of powerful foes. He fears that reprisals may extend beyond him to his institution. Perhaps he fears shadows, but … prudence seems to dictate silence.”

  2. In other words, quite apart from religious type superstitions about innovations only being possible from within the political establishment of card-carrying government funded pseudoscience, we also have the problem that even when someone within the establishment occasionally feels a doubt, he or she will tend to keep quiet about it, rather than risk the modern day equivalent of being burned.

  3. One more point, the video of Catt at Nottingham University may appear awful, and I’m NOT recommending it by including it in this blog post. Catt is awful at communication and presentation, but the video is included here simply to demonstrate that these ideas are not completely being ignored. Catt sabotages every opportunity for discussion because he refuses to do science objectively, just like almost everyone in “big science” (groupthink consensus politics/religion) dogma. He sees his own work as “personal knowledge”, not a discovery of natural phenomena. By making it personal, he then finds that every constructive criticism from me, no matter how politely made (or how rigorously made) is a rude affront to his egotistic genius.

    So I repeatedly had him rant at me for hours, running down the battery and/credit on my phone when trying to speak to him that way, or just waste my time and his own time by off-topic conversation at meetings. His favourite tactic was some Lordly style rebuke to any innovation, such as by saying: “Einstein said quantum mechanics is a lot of rubbish, and I agree.” He would then simply ignore everything I said, and when I finished would say: “After all that waffle, let’s talk real physics” and talk about his own work on electricity again. So it’s impossible to make any progress, or have any real dialogue with people like that. It’s like trying to have a discussion with an arrogant teacher who is bigoted against anyone else’s research, or anything not in their own textbook.

    After a few years of trying to get collaboration or objective feedback from “professional experts”, you come to the conclusion that it’s more productive to avoid wasting years trying for collaboration, and instead you must do research and publish in complete independence during your very limited spare time off from stressful programming work. Otherwise you are driven mad by people who refuse to listen to objective facts, whether they are bigoted “colleagues” or bigoted “professional (non)peer-reviewers” at Foundations of Physics, Classical and Quantum Gravity (an Institute of Physics Journal, whose editor claimed to me that His Majesty Lord the Bountiful Edward Witten had proved that gravitons are definitely spin-2 by pure mathematical genius, without any experiments to prove it of course), Nature and of course Physical Review Letters, where Peter Woit published his theory of everything in the 1980s.

  4. A copy of a comment submitted to Peter Woit’s blog Not Even Wrong:

    For the last time, Peter, qubits don’t exist in second quantization, only in non-relativistic (wrong) first quantization: in first quantization an electron has a wavefunction proportional exp(-iHt) which is collapsed by measurement leading to Bell’s theorem, quantum information speculations, etc, but in second quantzation the electron has a path integral summing one amplitude (or wavefunction) for every possible path Sigma[exp(iS)], hence there is NO SINGLE INFORMATION CARRYING wavefunction associated with an electron which collapses on measurement. Instead, amplitudes for interactions of the electron and field quanta cause indeterminancy by multipath interference, so there is no qubit!

  5. For the full text of the first of the Stanley Brown (Physical Review Letters editor) set of misleading emails, please see:

    There are further emails at of more detailed discussion with the associate editor of Physical Review Letters on 22 January 2003 over the mechanism of gravity (see for brief summary or and related uploads to vixra for more detail). Once specious and otherwise false claims by Physical Review Letters are omitted, we are left with an email from the associate editor Richard Price which arrogantly and ignorantly declares:

    “You are proposing a very nonstandard mechanism for gravity … Your mechanism/model is highly nonstandard and, as such, needs very thorough justification. Physical Review Letters is not the appropriate journal for such a presentation.”

    This last sentence basically terminates any possibility of publishing the facts in the PRL, regardless of the thoroughness of the presentation, because they state that the journal is not the place for a scientific revolution based on proved facts.

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