Gravity and Antigravity
Feb 2001, last rev’d Jul 2007
Part 1 of 2
1. Gravity and mass
2. Shielding, electrogravity, antigravity (07/07)
3. Explaining gravity
4. Levitation and technology
5. Human levitation
6. Theosophical writings
1. Gravity and mass
It is said to have been the sight of an apple falling from a tree that, around 1665, gave Isaac Newton the idea that the force that pulls an apple to earth is the same as that which keeps the moon in its orbit around the earth. The reason the moon does not fall to earth is because of the counteracting effect of its orbital motion. If the moon were to cease its orbital motion and fall to earth, the acceleration due to gravity that it would experience at the earth’s surface would be 9.8 m/s² – the same as that experienced by an apple or any other object in free fall.
Newton’s universal law of gravitation states that the gravitational force between two bodies is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. To calculate the gravitational force (F), their masses (m1 and m2) and the gravitational constant (G) are multiplied together, and the result is divided by the square of the distance (r) between them: F = Gm1m2/r².
According to newtonian theory, the gravitational force between two or more bodies is therefore dependent on their masses. However, the gravitational acceleration of an attracted body is not dependent on its mass: if dropped simultaneously from a tower, and if air resistance is ignored, a tennis ball and a cannonball will hit the ground simultaneously. This is explained by means of Newton’s second law of motion, which states that the force applied to a body equals the mass of the body multiplied by its acceleration (F = ma); this implies that gravity pulls harder on larger masses.
If Newton’s two force equations are combined (F = ma = Gm1m2/r²), it can be deduced that, for the equation to balance, the gravitational constant (G) must have the rather curious dimensions m³/kg.s² (volume divided by mass multiplied by time squared).
In her book Gravitational Force of the Sun,1 Pari Spolter criticizes the orthodox theory that gravity is proportional to the quantity or density of inert mass. She goes as far as to argue that there is no reason to include any term for mass in either of the force equations. She points out that to deduce from the earth-moon system that gravity obeys an inverse-square law (i.e. that its strength diminishes by the square of the distance from the attracting body), Newton did not need to know or estimate the masses of the earth and moon. He needed to know only the acceleration due to gravity at the earth’s surface, the radius of the earth, the orbital speed of the moon, and the distance between the earth and moon. And as already said, a body’s gravitational acceleration in free fall is independent of its mass, something that has been verified to a high degree of precision.2
Spolter rejects Newton’s second law (F = ma) as an arbitrary definition or convention, and maintains that it is not force that is equal to mass times acceleration, but weight. Her equation for ‘linear’ force is F = ad (acceleration times distance). Her equation for ‘circular’ force (including gravity) is F = aA, where a is the acceleration and A is the area of a circle with a radius equal to the mean distance of the orbiting body from the central body. She holds that the acceleration due to gravity declines by the square of the distance, but that the gravitational force of the sun, earth, etc. is constant for any body revolving around it. In newtonian theory, by contrast, it varies according to both the mass of the orbiting body and its distance from the central body.
Spolter’s theory contains several flaws. First, her attempt to deny any link between force and mass is unconvincing. She does not question the equation for a body’s momentum (momentum = mass times velocity), yet momentum with a rate of repetition constitutes a force, which therefore cannot be independent of mass. Moreover, weight is a type of force, rather than a completely separate phenomenon. Second, Spolter would have us believe that there are two types of force and energy – one linear and one circular – with different dimensions: she gives ‘linear’ force the dimensions metres squared per second squared, while ‘circular’ force is given the dimensions metres cubed per second squared. But there is no justification for inventing two forms of force and energy and for abandoning uniform dimensions in this way.
Third, defining ‘circular’ force in such a way that the gravitational force of a star or planet remains exactly the same no matter how far away from it we happen to be, is counterintuitive if not absurd. Furthermore, it is disingenuous of Spolter to say that her equation implies that acceleration is inversely proportional to the square of the distance. If it were true that a = F/A, with force (F) proportional to r3 (see below) and area (A = πr2) proportional to r2, acceleration would in fact be directly proportional to r3/r2 = r!
Spolter believes that her gravity equation solves the mystery of Kepler’s third law of planetary motion: this law states that the ratio of the cube of the mean distance (r) of each planet from the sun to the square of its period of revolution (T) is always the same number (r³/T² = constant). Her gravity equation can be rewritten: F = 22π3r3/T2. As explained elsewhere, the factor 22π3 is entirely arbitrary, and Spolter has merely obscured the real significance of Kepler’s constant.3
Gravity does not involve some (mean) area being accelerated around the sun, as Spolter’s equation implies. Rather, it involves a coupling of the mass-energy of the sun and planets, along with their associated massfree gravitational energy. And it acts not through empty space but through an energetic ether – something that is as much missing from Spolter’s physics as from orthodox physics (see section 3). As shown in subsequent sections, the net gravitational force need not be directly proportional to inert mass, as characteristics such as spin and charge can modify a body’s gravitational properties.
Spolter proposes that it is the rotation of a star, planet, etc. that somehow generates the gravitational force and causes other bodies to revolve around it – an idea advanced by the 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler.4 But she does not suggest a mechanism to explain how this might work, or what causes a celestial body to rotate in the first place. She shows that the mean distance of successive planetary orbits from the centre of the sun, or of successive lunar orbits from the centre of a planet, is not random but follows an exponential law, indicating that gravity is quantized on a macro scale, just as electron orbits in an atom are quantized on a micro scale. There is no generally accepted theory to explain this key fact either.
The Devil’s Dictionary defines gravitation as: ‘The tendency of all bodies to approach one another with a strength proportioned to the quantity of matter they contain – the quantity of matter they contain being ascertained by the strength of their tendency to approach one another’.5 Such is the seemingly circular logic underlying standard gravity theory. The figures given for the masses and densities of all planets, stars, etc. are purely theoretical; nobody has ever placed one on a balance and weighed it! It should be borne in mind, however, that weight is always a relative measure, since one mass can only be weighed in relation to some other mass. The fact that observed artificial satellite speeds match predictions is usually taken as evidence that the fundamentals of newtonian theory must be correct.
The masses of celestial bodies can be calculated from what is known as Newton’s form of Kepler’s third law, which assumes that Kepler’s constant ratio of r³/T² is equal to the inert mass of the body multiplied by the gravitational constant divided by 4π² (GM = 4π²r³/T² = v²r [if we substitute 2πr/v for T]). Using this method, the earth’s mean density turns out to be 5.5 g/cm³. Since the mean density of the earth’s outer crust is 2.75 g/cm³, scientists have concluded that the density of the earth’s inner layers must increase substantially with depth. However, there are good reasons for questioning the standard earth model.6
CODATA’s official (1998) value for the gravitational constant (G) is 6.673 +/- 0.010 x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2. While the values of many ‘fundamental constants’ are known to eight decimal places, experimental values for G often disagree after only three, and sometimes they even disagree about the first; this is regarded as an embarrassment in an age of precision.1
Assuming the correctness of Newton’s gravitational equation, G can be determined in Cavendish-type experiments, by measuring the very small angle of deflection of a torsion balance from which large and small metallic spheres are suspended, or the very small change in its period of oscillation. Such experiments are extremely sensitive and difficult to perform. For instance, electrostatic attraction between the metallic spheres can affect the results: in one experiment in which the small mass of platinum was coated with a thin layer of lacquer, consistently lower values of G were obtained.2 Note that variations in the experimental values of G do not necessarily mean that G itself varies; they probably mean that the local manifestation of G, or the earth’s surface gravity (g), varies according to ambient conditions. Scientists have occasionally speculated on whether G is truly constant over very long periods of time, but no conclusive evidence of a gradual increase or decrease has been found.3
In 1981 a paper was published showing that measurements of G in deep mines, boreholes, and under the sea gave values about 1% higher than that currently accepted.4 Furthermore, the deeper the experiment, the greater the discrepancy. However, no one took much notice of these results until 1986, when E. Fischbach and his colleagues reanalyzed the data from a series of experiments by Eötvös in the 1920s, which were supposed to have shown that gravitational acceleration is independent of the mass or composition of the attracted body. Fischbach et al. found that there was a consistent anomaly hidden in the data that had been dismissed as random error. On the basis of these laboratory results and the observations from mines, they announced that they had found evidence of a short-range, composition-dependent ‘fifth force’. Their paper caused a great deal of controversy and generated a flurry of experimental activity in physics laboratories around the world.5
The majority of the experiments failed to find any evidence of a composition-dependent force; one or two did, but this is generally attributed to experimental error. Several earlier experimenters have detected anomalies incompatible with newtonian theory, but the results have long since been forgotten. For instance, Charles Brush performed very precise experiments showing that metals of very high atomic weight and density tend to fall very slightly faster than elements of lower atomic weight and density, even though the same mass of each metal is used. He also reported that a constant mass or quantity of certain metals may be appreciably changed in weight by changing its physical condition.6 His work was not taken seriously by the scientific community, and the very precise spark photography technique he used in his free-fall experiments has never been used by other investigators. Experiments by Victor Crémieu showed that gravitation measured in water at the earth’s surface appears to be one tenth greater than that computed by newtonian theory.7
Unexpected anomalies continue to turn up. Mikhail Gersteyn has shown that ‘G’ varies by at least 0.054% depending on orientation of the two test masses relative to the fixed stars.8 Gary Vezzoli has found that the strength of gravitational interactions varies by 0.04 to 0.05% as a function of an object’s temperature, shape, and phase.9 Donald Kelly has demonstrated that if the absorption capacity of a body is reduced by magnetizing or electrically energizing it, it is attracted to the earth at a rate less than g.10 Physicists normally measure g in a controlled manner which includes not altering the absorption capacity of bodies from their usual state. A team of Japanese scientists has found that a right-spinning gyroscope falls slightly faster than when it is not spinning.11 Bruce DePalma discovered that rotating objects falling in a magnetic field accelerate faster than g.12
As mentioned above, measurements of gravity below the earth’s surface are consistently higher than predicted on the basis of Newton’s theory.13 Sceptics simply assume that hidden rocks of unusually high density must be present. However, measurements in mines where densities are very well known have given the same anomalous results, as have measurements to a depth of 1673 metres in a homogenous ice sheet in Greenland, well above the underlying rock. Harold Aspden points out that in some of these experiments Faraday cage-type enclosures are placed around the two metal spheres for electrical screening purposes. He argues that this could result in electric charge being induced and held on the spheres, which in turn could induce ‘vacuum’ (or rather ether) spin, producing an influx of ether energy that is shed as excess heat, resulting in errors of 1 or 2% in measurements of G.14
All freely falling bodies – individual atoms as well as macroscopic objects – experience a gravitational acceleration (g) of about 9.8 m/s² near the earth’s surface. The value of g varies slightly all over the earth owing to its departure from a perfect sphere (i.e. the equatorial bulge and local topography) and – in the conventional theory – to local variations in the density of the crust and upper mantle. These ‘gravity anomalies’ are believed to be fully explicable in the context of newtonian theory. However, the net gravitational force is not necessarily proportional to inert mass. Section 2 will present evidence for gravity shielding, gravity cancellation, and antigravity.
On the basis of newtonian gravity, it might be expected that gravitational attraction over continents, and especially mountains, would be higher than over oceans. In reality, the gravity on top of large mountains is less than expected on the basis of their visible mass while over ocean surfaces it is unexpectedly high. To explain this, the concept of isostasy was developed: it was postulated that low-density rock exists 30 to 100 km beneath mountains, which buoys them up, while denser rock exists 30 to 100 km beneath the ocean bottom. However, this hypothesis is far from proven. Physicist Maurice Allais commented: ‘There is an excess of gravity over the ocean and a deficiency above the continents. The theory of isostasis provided only a pseudoexplanation of this.’15
The standard, simplistic theory of isostasy is contradicted by the fact that in regions of tectonic activity vertical movements often intensify gravity anomalies rather than acting to restore isostatic equilibrium. For example, the Greater Caucasus shows a positive gravity anomaly (usually interpreted to mean it is overloaded with excess mass), yet it is rising rather than subsiding.
Newtonian gravity theory is challenged by various aspects of planetary behaviour in our solar system. The rings of Saturn, for example, present a major problem.16 There are tens of thousands of rings and ringlets separated by just as many gaps in which matter is either less dense or essentially absent. The complex, dynamic nature of the rings seems beyond the power of newtonian mechanics to explain. The gaps in the asteroid belt present a similar puzzle.
Another anomaly concerns the deviations in the orbits of the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune). A ‘Planet X’ beyond Pluto has been hypothesized; it would need to be two to five times more massive than the earth, and 50 to 100 times further from the sun than the earth is (Pluto is currently about 30 times further from the sun than the earth is).17 The largest object beyond Pluto so far discovered (July 2005) – known as Xena – is about 30% larger than Pluto (which is only two-thirds the size of the moon). It has a highly elongated orbit, and is currently over three times further from the sun than Pluto. Two other minor planets, about 70% the size of Pluto, have been sighted at about the same distance as Xena.18 Whether there is enough mass beyond Pluto to explain all orbital deviations remains to be seen.
- Pari Spolter, Gravitational Force of the Sun, Granada Hills, CA: Orb Publishing, 1993.
- Ibid., pp. 39-40, 141-147; ‘Equivalence principle passes atomic test’, physicsweb.org/articles/news/8/11/8/1.
- Aetherometry and gravity: an introduction, section 10, davidpratt.info.
- Johannes Kepler, Epitome of Copernican Astronomy (1618-21), in Great Books of the Western World, Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1952, v. 16, pp. 895-905.
- Quoted in Meta Research Bulletin, 5:3, 1996, p. 41.
- See Mysteries of the inner earth, davidpratt.info.
- D. Kestenbaum, ‘The legend of G’, New Scientist, 17 Jan 1998, pp. 39-42; Vincent Kiernan, ‘Gravitational constant is up in the air’, New Scientist, 26 Apr 1995, p. 18.
- Spolter, Gravitational Force of the Sun, p. 117; Pari Spolter, ‘Problems with the gravitational constant’, Infinite Energy, 10:59, 2005, p. 39.
- Rupert Sheldrake, Seven Experiments that Could Change the World, London: Fourth Estate, 1994, pp. 176-178.
- F.D. Stacey and G.J. Tuck, ‘Geophysical evidence for non-newtonian gravity’, Nature, v. 292, 1981, pp. 230-232.
- Seven Experiments that Could Change the World, pp. 174-176; Gravitational Force of the Sun, pp. 146-147.
- Charles F. Brush, ‘Some new experiments in gravitation’, Proceedings of the American Philosophy Society, v. 63, 1924, pp. 57-61.
- Victor Crémieu, ‘Recherches sur la gravitation’, Comptes Rendus de l’académie des Sciences, Dec 1906, pp. 887-889; Victor Crémieu, ‘Le problème de la gravitation’, Rev. Gen. Sc. Pur. et Appl., v. 18, 1907, pp. 7-13.
- Mikhail L. Gershteyn, Lev I. Gershteyn, Arkady Gershteyn, and Oleg V. Karagioz, ‘Experimental evidence that the gravitational constant varies with orientation’, Infinite Energy, 10:55, 2004, pp. 26-28.
- G.C. Vezzoli, ‘Materials properties of water related to electrical and gravitational interactions’, Infinite Energy, 8:44, 2002, pp. 58-63.
- Stephen Mooney, ‘From the cause of gravity to the revolution of science’, Apeiron, 6:1-2, 1999, pp. 138-141; Josef Hasslberger, ‘Comments on gravity drop tests performed by Donald A. Kelly’, Nexus, Dec 1994-Jan 1995, pp. 48-49.
- H. Hayasaka et al., ‘Possibility for the existence of anti-gravity: evidence from a free-fall experiment using a spinning gyro’, Speculations in Science and Technology, v. 20, 1997, pp. 173-181; keelynet.com/gravity/gyroag.htm.
- The Home of Primordial Energy (Bruce DePalma), www.depalma.pair.com; Jeane Manning, The Coming Energy Revolution: The search for free energy, NY: Avery, 1996, pp. 82-86.
- S.C. Holding and G.J. Tuck, ‘A new mine determination of the newtonian gravitational constant’, Nature, v. 307, 1984, pp. 714-716; Mark A. Zumberge et al., ‘Results from the 1987 Greenland G experiment’, Eos, v. 69, 1988, p. 1046; R. Poole, ‘ “Fifth force” update: more tests needed’, Science, v. 242, 1988, p. 1499; Ian Anderson, ‘Icy tests provide firmer evidence for a fifth force’, New Scientist, 11 Aug 1988, p. 29.
- Harold Aspden, ‘Gravity and its thermal anomaly’, Infinite Energy, 7:41, 2002, pp. 61-65.
- M.F.C. Allais, ‘Should the laws of gravitation be reconsidered?’, part 2, Aero/Space Engineering, v. 18, Oct 1959, p. 52.
- W.R. Corliss (comp.), The Moon and the Planets, Glen Arm, MD: Sourcebook Project, 1985, pp. 282-284.
- Tom Van Flandern, Dark Matter, Missing Planets & New Comets, Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1993, pp. 315-325.
- Jeff Hecht, ‘Our solar system just got bigger’, New Scientist, 6 Aug 2005, pp. 10-11; ‘The tenth planet’, New Scientist, 4 Feb 2006, p. 20.
2. Shielding, electrogravity, antigravity
Both gravity and electromagnetism obey the inverse-square law, i.e. their strength declines by the square of the distance between interacting systems. In other respects, however, they seem to be very different. For instance, the gravitational force between two electrons is 42 orders of magnitude (1042) weaker than their electrical repulsion. The reason electromagnetic forces do not completely overwhelm gravity in the world around us is that most things are composed of an equal amount of positive and negative electric charges whose forces cancel each other out. Whereas electric and magnetic forces are clearly bipolar, gravity is generally assumed to be always attractive so that no analogous cancellations occur.
Another difference is that the presence of matter can modify or shield electric and magnetic forces and electromagnetic radiation, whereas no weakening of gravity has allegedly been measured by placing matter between two bodies, and it is assumed that this is true whatever the thickness of the matter in question. However, some experiments have found evidence that can be interpreted in terms of either gravitational shielding or of deviations from the inverse-square law.
In the course of a long series of very sensitive experiments in the 1920s, Quirino Majorana found that placing mercury or lead beneath a suspended lead sphere acted as a screen and slightly decreased the earth’s gravitational pull. No attempts have been made to reproduce his results using the same experimental techiques. Other researchers have concluded from other data that if gravitational absorption does exist it must be at least five orders of magnitude smaller than Majorana’s experiments suggest.1 Tom Van Flandern has argued that anomalies in the motions of certain artificial earth satellites during eclipse seasons may be caused by shielding of the sun’s gravity.2
Several investigators have detected gravity anomalies incompatible with both newtonian and einsteinian models of gravity during solar eclipses, but others have detected no such anomalies. During solar eclipses in 1954 and 1959, physicist Maurice Allais (who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1988) detected disturbances in the swing direction of a paraconical pendulum (i.e. one suspended on a ball).3 Erwin Saxl and Mildred Allen confirmed the ‘Allais effect’ when they measured significant variations in the period of a torsion pendulum during a solar eclipse in 1970. One interpretation is that such anomalies are due to the sun’s gravity being shielded by the moon, resulting in a slight increase in terrestrial gravity. Allais and Saxl also detected unexpected daily and seasonal pendulum variations.4
A similar gravity anomaly was measured using a two-pendula system during the line-up of Earth-Sun-Jupiter-Saturn in May 2001.5 During the total solar eclipse in 1997, a Chinese team performed measurements with a high-precision gravimeter. However, in contrast to the Allais effect, they detected a decrease in the earth’s gravity. Moreover, the effect occurred immediately before and after the eclipse but not at its height.6 In the course of observations conducted since 1987, Shu-wen Zhou and his collaborators have confirmed the occurrence of an anomalous force of horizontal oscillation when the sun, moon, and earth are aligned, and have shown that it affects the pattern of grain sequence in crystals, the spectral wavelengths of atoms and molecules, and the rate of atomic clocks.7
Various conventional explanations have been put forward to account for gravity anomalies during eclipses, such as instrument errors, gravity effects of denser air due to cooling of the upper atmosphere, seismic disturbances caused by sightseers moving into and out of a place where an eclipse is visible, and tilting of the ground due to cooling. Physicist Chris Duif has argued that none of them are convincing. He believes that gravitational shielding, too, cannot explain the results, as it would be far too weak (if it exists at all). Independent researcher Thomas Goodey is planning a series of rigorous eclipse experiments over the next few years in the hope of shedding more light on the matter.8
Possible evidence of gravity shielding is provided by experiments reported by Evgeny Podkletnov and his coworkers in 1992 and 1995. When a ceramic superconductor was magnetically levitated and rotated at high speed in the presence of an external magnetic field, objects placed above the rotating disc changed weight.* Weight reductions of 0.3 to 0.5% were obtained, and when the rotation speed was slowly reduced from 5000 revolutions per minute to 3500, a maximum weight loss of about 2% was achieved for about 30 seconds.9 5% weight reductions have been recorded, though not with the same repeatability.
*The weight of a body is equal to its mass multiplied by gravitational acceleration (W = mg). Strictly speaking, an object with a mass of 1 kg weighs 9.8 newtons on earth. However, weights are commonly given in kilograms, with the gravitational acceleration of 9.8 m/s² at the earth’s surface being taken for granted. If the force of gravity acting on a body is reduced, its weight is likewise reduced, while its mass (in the sense of ‘quantity of matter’) remains the same. Note that a body’s apparent weight will change if it is accelerated by nongravitational forces that either oppose or reinforce the action of the local gravitational field; for instance, an electrodynamic force can be used to cancel gravity.
Other investigators have found the Podkletnov experiment extremely difficult to duplicate in its entirety (Podkletnov has not revealed the exact recipe for making his superconductors), but stripped-down versions have produced small effects (on the order of one part in 104).10 From 1995 to 2002 NASA Marshall Space Flight Center attempted a full experimental replication of the Podkletnov configuration, but ran out of resources. A privately funded replication was completed in 2003, but found no evidence of a gravity-like force. NASA has concluded that this approach is not a viable candidate for breakthrough propulsion.11
Gravity and electromagnetism
Various experimental results seem to point to a link between electromagnetism and gravity. For instance, Erwin Saxl found that when a torsion pendulum was positively charged, it took longer to swing through its arc than when it was negatively charged. Maurice Allais conducted experiments in 1953 to investigate the action of a magnetic field on the motion of a glass pendulum oscillating inside a solenoid, and concluded that there was a connection between electromagnetism and gravity.1 Bruce DePalma conducted numerous experiments showing that rotation and rotating magnetic fields can have anomalous gravitational and inertial effects.2 Podkletnov’s experiments seem to confirm this.
A controversial electrogravitics researcher is John Searl, an English electronics technician.3 In 1949 he discovered that a small voltage (or electromotive force) was induced in spinning metal objects. The negative charge was on the outside and the positive charge was around the centre of rotation. He reasoned that free electrons were thrown out by centrifugal force, leaving a positive charge in the centre.
In 1952 he constructed a generator, some three feet in diameter, based on this principle. When tested outdoors, it reportedly produced a powerful electrostatic effect on nearby objects, accompanied by crackling sounds and the smell of ozone. The generator then lifted off the ground, while still accelerating, and rose to a height of about 50 feet, breaking the connection with the engine. It briefly hovered at this height, still speeding up. A pink halo appeared around it, indicating ionization of the surrounding atmosphere. It also caused local radio receivers to go on of their own accord. Finally, it reached another critical rotational velocity, rapidly gained altitude, and disappeared from sight.
Fig. 2.1 A Searl disc.
Searl has said that he and his colleagues subsequently built over 50 versions of his ‘levity disc’, of various sizes, and learned how to control them. He claims to have been persecuted by the authorities, resulting in wrongful imprisonment and the destruction of most of his work, so that he has had to start all over again. His claim that in the early 1970s one of his craft flew round the world several times without being detected does nothing to enhance his credibility.
Although Searl has been dismissed as a con man, there are indications that the ‘Searl effect’ may involve a genuine anomaly. Two Russian scientists, V.V. Roschin and S.M. Godin, carried out an experiment with a Searl-type generator, and observed a 35% weight reduction, luminescence, a smell of ozone, anomalous magnetic-field effects, and a fall in temperature. They concluded that orthodox, etherless physics cannot explain these results.4 However, separating genuine gravity anomalies from electrodyamic artifacts in such experiments is no easy task.
In the 1980s electrical engineer Floyd Sweet developed a device consisting of a set of specially conditioned magnets, wound with wires, known as the vacuum triode amplifier (VTA), which is designed to induce oscillation in magnetic fields. It was able to put out much more power than it took in, by capturing energy from the ‘vacuum’ (i.e. ether energy). In one experiment it lost 90% of its original weight before the experiment was stopped for safety reasons. Sweet later succeeded in making the VTA hover and accelerate upward, with the unit on a tether. He became very paranoid after an alleged assassination attempt, and died without revealing the full secrets of his invention.5
The ‘Hutchison effect’ refers to a collection of phenomena discovered accidentally by inventor John Hutchison in 1979. Electromagnetic influences developed by a combination of electric power equipment, including Tesla coils, have produced levitation of heavy objects (including a 60-pound canon ball), fusion of dissimilar materials such as metal and wood, anomalous heating of metals without burning adjacent material, spontaneous fracturing of metals, and changes in the crystalline structure and physical properties of metals. The effects have been well documented on film and videotape, and witnessed many times by credentialed scientists and engineers, but are difficult to reproduce consistently.6
A Pentagon team spent several months investigating the Hutchison effect in 1983. Four of the investigators came away convinced it was real, while the fifth simply dismissed whatever happened as ‘smoke and mirrors’. Many phenomena were witnessed: a super-strong molybdenum rod was bent into an S-shape as if it were soft metal; a length of high-carbon steel shredded at one end and transmuted into lead the other; a piece of PVC plastic disappeared into thin air; bits of wood became embedded in the middle of pieces of aluminium; and all sorts of objects levitated. Two aerospace companies (Boeing and McDonnell Douglas) have also investigated the Hutchison effect. The problem is its randomness and unpredictability. Indeed, some researchers think that it is at least partly attributable to Hutchison’s own unconscious psychokinetic powers.7
The 2% weight loss Podkletnov says he has achieved with his superconductor apparatus is about 10 billion times greater than allowed for in general relativity theory. Off the record, Podkletnov has claimed that if the superconductors are rotated 5 to 10 times faster than the usual speed of about 5000 rpm, the disc experiences so much weight loss that it takes off.8 Joe Parr and Dan Davidson say they have measured weight losses of up to 50% in a ‘gravity wheel’ – a small wheel with copper triangles around the circumference, which is spun on a shaft by a high-speed motor, between permanent magnets mounted on either side.9
Ether scientists Paulo and Alexandra Correa have also demonstrated that gravity can be controlled by electric means. In one experiment, a 43-milligram piece of gold leaf, suspended from the arm of a wooden beam connected to a sensitive electronic balance (far off to the side), was quickly reduced in weight by 70%. This was achieved by imposing an electrical frequency adjusted to match that of the gold antigraviton (as it is called in the Correas’ aetherometry model). This technique is able to produce 100% weight reduction in objects of known composition in the 100-milligram range.10
There are an estimated 2000 to 3000 experimenters worldwide conducting unorthodox research into technologies beyond the currently accepted scientific paradigms, including gravity control and ‘free energy’ devices.11 The Correas stand out for their rigorous experimental approach. They say that they have observed weight losses with their PAGD (Pulsed Abnormal Glow Discharge) reactors, but the fact that the observations were difficult to reproduce led them to believe that they had not properly protected the experiments from electrodynamic artifacts seated in the input wires or in the arrangement of liquid conductors. Not all alternative researchers are as cautious and self-critical as this, and the standard of research is uneven.
The field of electrogravitics is often said to have been pioneered by physicist and inventor Thomas Townsend Brown (1905-1985). The traditional ‘Biefeld-Brown effect’ refers to his discovery that if an electrical capacitor* using a heavy, high charge-accumulating dielectric material between its plates is charged with tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of volts, it moves in the direction of its positive pole. He found that the greater the voltage and the greater the mass of the dielectric material, the greater the effect. He initially attributed this force to an electrostatically-induced artificial gravity field acting between the capacitor’s plates.1
*Capacitors are devices that store electric charge in the space between two separated, oppositely charged electrodes. Their capacity to store electric energy can be greatly increased by inserting a solid dielectric material into the space separating the electrodes. Dielectrics are materials that are poor conductors of electricity (e.g. ceramics).
In 1952 an Air Force major general witnessed a demonstration in which Brown flew a pair of 18-inch disc airfoils suspended from opposite ends of a rotatable arm. When electrified with 50,000 volts, they circuited at a speed of 12 miles per hour. Later that year, however, an investigator from the Office of Naval Research wrote a report which concluded that the discs were propelled by the pressure of negative ions striking the positive electrode (ion wind), rather than by modifying gravity. Paul LaViolette says that in late 1954 Brown flew a set of 3-foot-diameter saucers for military officials and representatives from a number of major aircraft companies.
When energized with 150,000 volts, the discs sped around the 50 foot diameter course so fast that the subject was immediately classified. Interavia magazine later reported that the discs would attain speeds of several hundred miles per hour when charged with several hundred thousand volts.2
However, the article LaViolette refers to does not say that speeds of hundreds of miles per hour were actually measured – only that such speeds would probably be reached, based on theoretical projections.3
Fig. 2.2 Brown’s electrokinetic flying disc setup.
Patent no. 2,949,550, 16 August 1960.
As of 1953/54, therefore, only speeds of 12 mph had been achieved. This is minuscule given that by 1956 ion-engines capable of 11,250 mph had been attained. Brown thought that his dics might be capable of speeds of over 1200 mph,4 but a 1956 intelligence report entitled Electrogravitics Systems stated that a saucer-shaped interceptor capable of around 2,000 mph (Mach 3), as proposed by Brown, would require ‘ten or more years of intensive development’.5
In the late 1950s Brown carried out vacuum chamber tests which in his opinion showed that his devices continued to experience a thrust even in the absence of ionic wind. But as the Correas explain, and as Brown himself admitted, ‘One cannot ignore ion thrust in vacuum devices’.6 By 1958 Brown had developed a 15-inch-diameter dome-shaped saucer model which, when energized with 50 to 250 thousand volts, lifted itself up and hovered in mid-air, while supporting an additional mass equal to 10% of its weight. There is no convincing evidence, however, that Brown’s later work had anything to do with antigravity; nor did he make any such claim. The Correas argue that what he was working on was ‘in essence an ion-engine having arcjet characteristics and thus belonging to the electrodynamic class’.7
LaViolette, on the other hand, believes that Brown’s work supports his theory that negative charges such as electrons generate an antigravity field (see section 3). He writes:
Brown’s discs were charged with a high positive voltage on a wire running along their leading edge and a high negative voltage on a wire running along their trailing edge. As the wires ionized the air around them, a dense cloud of positive ions would form ahead of the craft and a corresponding cloud of negative ions would form behind the craft. Brown’s research indicated that, like the charged plates of his capacitors, these ion clouds induced a gravitational force directed in the minus to plus direction. As the disc moved forward in response to its self-generated gravity field, it would carry with it its positive and negative ion clouds with their associated electrogravity gradient. Consequently, the discs would ride their advancing gravity wave much like surfers ride an ocean wave.8
In the mid-1950s, over ten major aircraft companies were actively involved in electrogravitics research. Since then no publicity has been given to whatever work in electro-antigravity the US military has conducted. It is quite possible that attempts to achieve antigravity ended in total failure. LaViolette, however, speculates that secretly developed electrogravitic technology has been put to use in the B-2 Stealth Bomber to provide an auxiliary mode of propulsion. His view is based on the disclosure that the B-2 electrostatically charges both the leading edge of its wing-like body and its jet exhaust stream to a high voltage.
Positive ions emitted from its wing leading edge would produce a positively charged parabolic ion sheath ahead of the craft while negative ions injected into its exhaust stream would set up a trailing negative space charge with a potential difference in excess of 15 million volts. . . . [This] would set up an artificial gravity field that would induce a reactionless force on the aircraft in the direction of the positive pole. An electrogravitic drive of this sort could allow the B-2 to function with over-unity propulsion efficiency when cruising at supersonic velocities.9
Fig. 2.3 The B-2 Stealth Bomber.
Each plane costs over two billion dollars.
B-2 pilots and engineers have openly ridiculed LaViolette’s speculations. The official explanation is that enveloping the B-2 in a shield of static electricity is designed to reduce its radar and thermal signature and make it ultra-stealthy. Some writers have argued that it also reduces the craft’s air resistance and thereby improves its lift – but this is achieved aerodynamically rather than electrogravitically.10
The nature of the Biefeld-Brown (B-B) effect continues to generate controversy. According to the classical B-B effect, the largest force on an asymmetric capacitor (i.e. one where the two electrodes are of different sizes) is in a direction from the negative (larger) electrode toward the positive (smaller) electrode. Thomas Bahder and Chris Fazi, at the US Army Research Laboratory, have verified that when a high voltage of about 30,000 volts is applied to an asymmetric capacitor (in the form of a ‘lifter’), the capacitor experiences a net force toward the smaller electrode, but they found that the force is independent of the polarity of the applied voltage.
They calculate that the ion wind contribution is at least three orders of magnitude too small to explain the entire effect, and say that more experimental and theoretical work is needed to find an explanation. They do not believe that the B-B effect has anything to do with antigravity or that it demonstrates an interaction between gravity and electromagnetism.11 Bahder suspects that the asymmetric electric fields created by an asymmetric capacitor lead to a charge flow of ions around the capacitor, and the back-reaction force ‘propels’ it forward.
In 1996 a research group at the Honda R&D Institute in Japan conducted experiments on the B-B effect. Here, too, an upward thrust was created (so that the capacitor appeared to lose weight) regardless of the polarity of the voltage applied. Takaaki Musha holds that the effect may involve the generation of a new gravitational field inside the atom by a high-potential electric field, due to an interaction between electricity and gravitation whose mechanism is not yet understood.12
The B-B effect is said to be demonstrated by cheap, lightweight devices known as ‘lifters’, made of aluminum foil, balsa wood, and thin wire, and powered by a ground-based high-voltage power supply.13 Hundreds of independent researchers around the world are experimenting with these devices. The lower and larger electrode is a strip of aluminium foil stretched between balsa wood struts. The smaller electrode is a thin strip of wire mounted about one inch above the aluminium foil. When a 30,000 volt charge is applied, a hissing noise is heard and the lifter rises into the air as far as its tether will reach. A thrust also occurs when the lifter is oriented horizontally, showing that the effect does not involve gravity shielding. The lifter works regardless of whether the positive or negative terminal is connected to the wire (the leading electrode), though the thrust is slightly larger if a positive voltage is applied.
NASA claims that the motion of ionized air molecules from one electrode to another explains the B-B effect, and has excluded it from its search for exotic new propulsion technologies. So if an electro-antigravity technology based on the B-B effect has really been put to use in the B-2, NASA appears to know nothing about it! It did, however, take out a patent on a tubular version of Brown’s asymmetrical capacitor thruster in 2002 – though without bothering to mention Brown’s name. Such devices certainly create an ion wind, for the breeze can be felt. More stringent tests are required to determine to what extent the effect persists in a vacuum, as experiments to date have not been conclusive. A lifter experiment performed at Purdue University inside a vacuum enclosure gave positive results, but tests by other investigators have yielded negative results.14 A key consideration is the strength of the vacuum. In short, it has not yet been proven that the ‘lifter’ phenomenon involves anything more than electrostatic and electrodynamic effects.
In their own analysis of the so-called B-B effect,15 Paulo and Alexandra Correa begin by highlighting the contradictory results that have been reported, and about which LaViolette, for example, is completely silent. In the case of an asymmetric capacitor with the canopy oriented upward, Brown found that the capacitor lifts whether the canopy is positively or negatively charged (but more so if positively charged), whereas Bahnson (his coworker) found that the capacitor lifts only if the canopy is positively charged, and falls if it is negatively charged. Brown also found that the capacitor falls if the capacitor is turned upside down and the canopy is negatively charged, whereas Bahder & Fazi reported that a downward-oriented canopy lifts whether negatively or positively charged. The Correas argue that since the force on the capacitor is independent of its orientation with respect to the earth’s surface, it has nothing to do with the earth’s gravitational field or with the electric potential of the earth’s atmosphere; the B-B effect is therefore not an antigravity effect and does not demonstrate an interaction between gravity and electromagnetism. Based on their own systematic experiments, they conclude that the original B-B effect has been confused with anomalous phenomena associated with electron emission and cathode reaction forces. But while denying that charges trapped in conventional capacitors produce an antigravity effect, and dismissing LaViolette’s speculations as worthless, they argue that the B-B effect masks a genuine antigravity phenomenon connected with repulsion between like charges.
Gyroscopes: Newton in a spin
Spinning flywheels or gyroscopes can apparently produce ‘antigravity’ effects. In 1989 Japanese scientists H. Hayasaka and S. Tackeuchi reported in a mainstream journal that a gyroscope spinning about a vertical axis in a vacuum experienced a small weight loss directly proportional to the rotation speed. The effect was observed only for rotation clockwise (as viewed from above in their northern hemisphere laboratory). The anomaly was buried in an avalanche of rushed criticism and flawed efforts to replicate the experiment.1 In 1997 Hayasaka’s team reported an experiment that confirmed their earlier findings: when a gyroscope was dropped 63 inches in a vacuum, between two laser beams, it took 1/25,000 second longer to fall this distance when spinning at 18,000 rpm clockwise (viewed from above), corresponding to a weight reduction of 1 part in 7000.2
If a flywheel or gyroscope is forcibly made to precess,* very substantial weight losses can be produced. Professor of electrical engineering Eric Laithwaite (who died in 1997) once gave a demonstration at London’s Imperial College of Science and Technology involving an 8-kg flywheel on a 2.7-kg support shaft, which he could barely lift off the ground with his right arm. After the flywheel was forced to precess, he was able to lift it effortlessly on his little finger, by applying a force of less than 1 kg. In another experiment, a young boy was tied to a pole on a turntable and handed a 1-metre shaft at the end of which was 20.4-kg spinning gyroscope. When the turntable was accelerated, the gyro soared into the air as easily as if the boy was opening an umbrella, and when it was decelerated, the gyro dipped towards the ground. In whichever direction the gyro moved, the boy could easily support it. Another remarkable effect is that if an upright pencil is placed in the path of the shaft of a precessing flywheel, it can arrest the flywheel’s precessional motion without any lateral force arising on the pencil; in other words, the flywheel produces little or no centrifugal force.
*‘Force-precessed’ means that the gyroscope is made to precess faster than arises from normal gravitational action. ‘Precession’ means, for example, that while one end of a shaft is held steady by the hand, the end bearing the rotating flywheel traces a circle, so that the shaft sweeps out a cone.
Fig. 2.5 One of Eric Laithwaite’s gyroscope demonstrations. The top is spinning at 2000 revolutions per minute and is rising quite rapidly up a helical path.3
Since there is no accepted theory to explain this phenomenon, most scientists have tended to either ignore it or to try and discredit it. Laithwaite was ostracized by the scientific establishment, especially after he used a lecture before the Royal Institution in 1974 to demonstrate that a force-precessed gyroscope becomes lighter and produces a lifting force without any counterbalancing reaction force – in defiance of Newton’s third law of motion. The Royal Institution was not amused: for the first time in 200 years, the guest lecture was not published, and Laithwaite was denied fellowship of the Royal Society. He continued to experiment with a variety of complex gyroscopic rigs, and believed he had discovered a brand-new thrustless propulsion system, known as ‘mass transfer’, for which two patents were granted.
Several other inventors, such as Sandy Kidd and Scott Strachan, have built gyroscopic propulsion devices which develop a reactionless thrust. Kidd received financial backing for a time from an Australian company (until it went bust) and British Aerospace, and his prototypes displayed a small anomalous force under rigorous independent testing. He is still developing his devices and says they can now produce 7 kilos of thrust.4
Harold Aspden argues that an out-of-balance linear force is produced by drawing on the gyroscope’s spin energy, so that energy conservation still holds. He explains the phenomenon in terms of his ether-physics model: ether spin decouples the flywheel from the flux of etheric particles that normally give it weight.5 His theory can also account for the amount of lift measured in the Japanese gyroscope experiments. If the theory is correct, it would be more accurate to say that gyroscopes can produce degravitation, or weight neutralization, rather than antigravitation in the strict sense of the word.
- Q. Majorana, ‘On gravitation. Theoretical and experimental researches’, Phil. Mag., v. 39, 1920, pp. 488-504; Q. Majorana, ‘Sur l’absorption de la gravitation’, Comptes Rendus de l’académie des Sciences, v. 173, 1921, pp. 478-479; Q. Majorana, ‘Quelques recherches sur l’absorption de la gravitation par la matière’, Journal de Physique et le Radium, I, 1930, pp. 314-324; Matthew R. Edwards (ed.), Pushing Gravity: New perspectives on Le Sage’s theory of gravitation, Montreal, Quebec: Apeiron, 2002, pp. 219-238, 259-266.
- Tom Van Flandern, ‘Possible new properties of gravity’, Astrophysics and Space Science, v. 244, 1996, pp. 249-261.
- M.F.C. Allais, ‘Should the laws of gravitation be reconsidered?’, parts 1 and 2, Aero/Space Engineering, v. 18, Sep 1959, pp. 46-52, and v. 18, Oct 1959, pp. 51-55, http://allais.maurice.free.fr/English/media10-1.htm; http://www.allais.info/allaisdox.htm.
- E.J. Saxl, ‘An electrically charged torque pendulum’, Nature, v. 203, 1964, pp. 136-138; E.J. Saxl and M. Allen, ‘1970 solar eclipse as “seen” by a torsion pendulum’, Physical Review D, v. 3, 1971, pp. 823-825; Journal of Scientific Exploration (www.scientificexploration.org), 10:2, pp. 269-279, and 10:3, pp. 413-416, 1996.
- Gary C. Vezzoli, ‘Gravitational data during the syzygy of May 18, 2001 and related studies’, Infinite Energy (www.infinite-energy.com), 9:53, 2004, pp. 18-27.
- Qian-shen Wang et al., ‘Precise measurement of gravity variations during a total solar eclipse’, Physical Review D, v. 62, 2000, 041101, http://home.t01.itscom.net/allais/blackprior/wang/wangetal.pdf; Xin-She Yang and Qian-Shen Wang, ‘Gravity anomaly during the Mohe total solar eclipse and new constraint on gravitational shielding parameter’, Astrophysics and Space Science, v. 282, 2002, pp. 245-253, www.eclipse2006.boun.edu.tr/sss/paper02.pdf.
- Shu-wen Zhou, ‘Abnormal physical phenomena observed when the sun, moon, and earth are aligned’, 21st Century Science and Technology, fall 1999, pp. 55-61.
- Chris P. Duif, ‘A review of conventional explanations of anomalous observations during solar eclipses’, www.space-time.info/duifhome/duifhome.html; Govert Schilling, ‘Shadow over gravity’, New Scientist, 27 Nov 2004, pp. 28-31; www.allais.info.
- E.E. Podkletnov, ‘Weak gravitation shielding properties of composite bulk YBa2Cu3O7-x superconductor below 70 K under e.m. field’, 1995; American Antigravity, americanantigravity.com/podkletnov.html.
- Edwards, Pushing Gravity, p. 315.
- Marc G. Millis, ‘Prospects for breakthrough propulsion from physics’, 2004, www.lerc.nasa.gov/WWW/bpp/TM-2004-213082.htm.
Gravity and electromagnetism
- E.J. Saxl, ‘An electrically charged torque pendulum’, Nature, v. 203, 1964, pp. 136-138; Maurice Allais, ‘The action of a magnetic field on the motion of a pendulum’, 21st Century Science and Technology, summer 2002, pp. 34-40.
- The Home of Primordial Energy (Bruce DePalma), www.depalma.pair.com; Jeane Manning, The Coming Energy Revolution: The search for free energy, NY: Avery, 1996, pp. 82-86.
- Rho Sigma (Rolf Schaffranke), Ether-Technology: A rational approach to gravity control, Lakemont, GA: CSA Printing & Bindery, 1977, pp. 73-82, 87-88, 108; John Davidson, The Secret of the Creative Vacuum, Saffron Walden, Essex: Daniel Company, 1989, pp. 200-216; The Searl Effect, www.searleffect.com.
- V.V. Roschin and S.M. Godin, ‘Experimental research of the magnetic-gravity effects’, www.rexresearch.com/roschin/roschin.htm.
- The Coming Energy Revolution, pp. 74-76; Thomas E. Bearden, Energy from the Vacuum, Santa Barbara, CA: Cheniere Press, 2002, pp. 305-321, 436-468, 455, 459-464, 502-503.
- Mark A. Solis, ‘The Hutchison effect – an explanation’, www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Thinktank/8863/HEffect1.html.
- Nick Cook, The Hunt for Zero Point, London: Arrow, 2002, pp. 377-387.
- Ibid., p. 342.
- Dan A. Davidson, ‘Free energy, gravity and the aether’, 1997, www.keelynet.com/davidson/npap1.htm; Dan A. Davidson, Shape Power, Sierra Vista, AR: RIVAS, 1997, pp. 98-104.
- Eugene F. Mallove, ‘A matter of gravity’, Infinite Energy, 8:45, 2002, pp. 6-8, aetherometry.com/mallove_letter2.html; Correa Technologies, www.aetherometry.com/correa_technologies.html.
- Dan A. Davidson, ‘Free energy, gravity and the aether’, 1997, www.keelynet.com/davidson/npap1.htm.
- Paul LaViolette, Subquantum Kinetics: A systems approach to physics and cosmology, Alexandria, VA: Starlane Publications, 2nd ed., 2003, pp. 243-259 (www.etheric.com); Paul LaViolette, ‘The U.S. antigravity squadron’, in Thomas Valone (ed.), Electrogravitic Systems: Reports on a new propulsion methodology, Washington, DC: Integrity Research Institute, 1999, pp. 82-101; Qualight Systems, www.qualight.com/portal.htm; Rho-Sigma, Ether-Technology, pp. 25-49.
- ‘The U.S. antigravity squadron’, p. 85.
- Intel, ‘Towards flight – without stress or strain or weight’, Interavia, 23 March 1956; reprinted in Thomas Valone (ed.), Electrogravitics II, Washington, DC: Integrity Research Institute, 2004, pp. 77-83.
- T.T. Brown, ‘Project Winterhaven – For Joint Services R&D Contract’, written Oct 1952, revised Jan 1953, reprinted in Electrogravitics Systems, pp. 102-114.
- Gravity Research Group, Special Weapons Study Unit, ‘Electrogravitics systems: an examination of electrostatic motion, dynamic counterbary and barycentric control’, Aviation Studies (International) Ltd., Report GRG-013/56, Feb 1956; reprinted in Electrogravitics Systems, pp. 11-44.
- Paulo N. Correa and Alexandra N. Correa, The Gravitational Aether, Part II: Gravitational aetherometry (5), Concord: Akronos Publishing, 2005, monograph AS3-II.7, pp. 43-44 (www.aetherometry.com).
- Paulo N. Correa and Alexandra N. Correa, The Gravitational Aether, Part II: Gravitational aetherometry (6), Concord: Akronos Publishing, 2006, monograph AS3-II.8, p. 43.
- ‘The U.S. antigravity squadron’, p. 85.
- Ibid., p. 82.
- Cook, The Hunt for Zero Point, pp. 194-200.
- Thomas B. Bahder and Chris Fazi, ‘Force on an asymmetric capacitor’, Infinite Energy, 9:50, 2003, pp. 34-44, http://jlnlabs.imars.com/lifters/arl_fac/index.html.
- Takaaki Musha, ‘The possibility of strong coupling between electricity and gravitation’, Infinite Energy, 9:53, 2004, pp. 61-64.
- Infinite Energy, 8:45, 2002, pp. 6-8, 13-31, www.infinite-energy.com/iemagazine/issue45/thelifterphen.html; Jean-Louis Naudin, http://jnaudin.free.fr/lifters/main.htm; American Antigravity, http://tventura.hypermart.net.
- Gravitec Inc, foldedspace.com/corporate.html; Blaze Labs Research, www.blazelabs.com/l-vacuum.asp; Tim Ventura, ‘Inertial nullification in lifters’, americanantigravity.com.
- The Gravitational Aether, Part II: Gravitational aetherometry (5).
Gyroscopes: Newton in a spin
- H. Hayasaka and S. Tackeuchi, ‘Anomalous weight reduction on a gyroscope’s right rotations around the vertical axis on the earth’, Physical Review Letters, 63:25, 1989, pp. 2701-2704; Vezzoli, ‘Gravitational data during the syzygy of May 18, 2001 and related studies’, p. 18.
- H. Hayasaka et al., ‘Possibility for the existence of anti-gravity: evidence from a free-fall experiment using a spinning gyro’, Speculations in Science and Technology, v. 20, 1997, pp. 173-181; keelynet.com/gravity/gyroag.htm.
- Alex Jones, Electronics & Wireless World, 93, 1987, p. 64.
- Davidson, The Secret of the Creative Vacuum, pp. 258-274; www.gyroscopes.org/propulsion.asp; Sandy Kidd, Beyond 2001: The laws of physics revolutionised, London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1990.
- H. Aspden, ‘The theory of antigravity’, Physics Essays, 4:1, 1991, pp. 13-19, in: Harold Aspden, Aether Science Papers, Southampton: Sabberton Publications, 1996, pt. 2., p. 69, paper 13; H. Aspden, ‘Anti-gravity electronics’, Electronics & Wireless World, Jan 1989, pp. 29-31.
3. Explaining gravity
Empty space, curved space, and the ether
Newtonian gravity theory assumes that gravity propagates instantaneously across empty space, i.e. it is believed to be a form of action at a distance. However, in a private letter Newton himself dismissed this idea:
That gravity should be innate, inherent, and essential to matter, so that one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum, without the mediation of any thing else, by and through which their action and force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an absurdity, that I believe no man, who has in philosophical matters a competent faculty of thinking, can ever fall into it.1
Newton periodically toyed with the idea of an all-pervading ether filling his ‘absolute space’, and thought that the cause of gravity must be a spiritual agency, which he understood to mean ‘God’.
The need to postulate an ether is underlined by G. de Purucker:
We either have to admit the existence of [the] ether or ethers, i.e., of this extremely tenuous and ethereal substance which fills all space, whether interstellar or interplanetary or inter-atomic and intra-atomic, or accept actio in distans – action at a distance, without intervening intermediary or medium of transmission; and such actio in distans is obviously by all known scientific standards an impossibility. Reason, common sense, logic . . . demand the existence of such universally pervading medium, by whatever name we may choose to call it . . .2
Logically, every type of force must ultimately be produced by the activity of material – though not necessarily physical – agents of some kind, moving at finite, though possibly superluminal, speeds.
In 1905 Albert Einstein rejected the ether as ‘superfluous’. However, he recognized that gravitational fields were present in all regions of space, and for a time he spoke of a ‘gravitational ether’, but he reduced it to an empty abstraction by denying it any energetic properties. The fact that space has more than 10 different characteristics – dielectric constant, modulus of elasticity, magnetic permeability, magnetic susceptibility, modulus of conductance, electromagnetic wave impedance, etc. – is a clear sign that it is far from empty. But it makes more sense to regard space as being composed of energy-substance, rather than simply ‘filled’ with it.
In 1915 Einstein published his general theory of relativity, which is essentially a theory of gravity. He did not challenge the newtonian notion that inert mass was the cause of the gravitational force. But whereas Newton attributed gravitational attraction to the density of matter, Einstein assumed that the same quantity of matter (‘gravitational mass’) somehow warped the hypothetical four-dimensional ‘spacetime continuum’ and that this deformity made the planets orbit the sun. In other words, gravity is not regarded as a force that propagates but supposedly results from masses distorting the ‘fabric of spacetime’ in their vicinity in some miraculous way. Thus, rather than being attracted by the sun, the earth supposedly follows the nearest equivalent of a straight line available to it through the curved spacetime around the sun.
Relativists attribute the bending of starlight passing near the sun mainly to space curvature. At Jupiter’s distance the bending would be just 0.00078 arc-seconds – and we’re supposed to believe that this minuscule deformity of ‘spacetime’ can cause a planet the size of Jupiter to orbit the sun! Moreover, ‘curved spacetime’ is simply a geometrical abstraction – or rather a mathematical monstrosity – and can in no way be regarded as an explanation of gravity. Although it is commonly claimed that relativity theory has been confirmed by observational evidence, there are alternative – and far more sensible – explanations for all the experiments cited in its support.3
General relativity theory claims that matter, regardless of its electrical charge, produces only an attractive gravitational force, and allows for only very tiny gravitational shielding or antigravity effects. Furthermore, it does not predict any coupling between electrostatic and gravitational fields. In fact, Townsend Brown’s pioneering 1929 paper that reported the possible discovery of electrogravity was turned down by Physical Review because it conflicted with general relativity.
Fields, strings, branes
According to quantum field theory, the four recognized forces – gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear forces – arise from matter particles constantly emitting and absorbing different types of force-carrying ‘virtual’ particles (known as bosons), which are constantly flickering into and out of existence. The gravitational force is supposedly mediated by gravitons – hypothetical massless, uncharged, infinitesimal particles travelling at the speed of light. Since gravitons would apparently be identical to their antiparticles, this theory, too, appears to rule out antigravity, and it also fails to explain electrogravity.
Experimental support for these particle-exchange theories is lacking, and it is not clear how particle impacts can produce attractive as well as repulsive forces. Bosons are sometimes said to carry a ‘message’ telling matter particles whether to move closer or move apart – but this explains nothing at all. Moreover, in the standard model, force-carrying particles, like fundamental matter particles, are regarded as infinitely small, zero-dimensional point-particles – which is clearly absurd. As a result of these idealized notions, quantum calculations tend to be plagued with infinities, which have to be done away with by a trick known as ‘renormalization’.
Einstein spent the last 40 years of his life attempting to extend the geometrical notions of general relativity to include electromagnetic interactions, and to unite the laws of gravitation and the laws of electromagnetism in a unified field theory. Many other mathematicians also worked on this subject, and some of these theories introduced a fourth, curled-up dimension. None of these attempts was successful, and the search for a unified theory continues.
Some scientists believe that string (or superstring) theory, which first emerged in the 1970s, is a major step towards a ‘theory of everything’. String theory postulates that all matter and force particles, and even space (and time!) as well, arise from vibrating one-dimensional strings, about a billion-trillion-trillionth of a centimetre (10-33 cm) long but with zero thickness, inhabiting a ten-dimensional universe in which the six extra spatial dimensions are curled up so small that they are undetectable! This theory has no experimental support; indeed, to detect individual strings would require a particle accelerator at least as big as our galaxy. Moreover, the mathematics of string theory is so complex that no one knows the exact equations, and even the approximate equations are so complicated that so far they have only been partially solved.1
Some scientists believe that beyond string theory lies M-theory, which postulates a universe of 11 dimensions, inhabited not only by one-dimensional strings but also by two-dimensional membranes, three-dimensional blobs (three-branes), and also higher-dimensional entities, up to and including nine dimensions (nine-branes). It is even speculated that the fundamental components of the universe may be zero-branes.2 Such crazy ideas do nothing to advance our understanding of the real world and merely show how surreal pure mathematical speculation can become.
According to quantum theory, electromagnetic fields (and other force fields) are subject to constant, utterly random* fluctuations even at a theoretical temperature of absolute zero (-273°C), when all thermal agitation would cease. As a result, ‘empty space’ is believed to be teeming with zero-temperature energy in the form of fluctuating electromagnetic radiation fields (the zero-point field) and short-lived virtual particles (the ‘Dirac sea’).1 Formally, every point of space should contain an infinite amount of zero-point energy. By assuming a minimum wavelength of electromagnetic vibrations, the energy density of the ‘quantum vacuum’ has been reduced to the still astronomical figure of 10108 joules per cubic centimetre!
*H.P. Blavatsky writes: ‘It is impossible to conceive anything without a cause; the attempt to do so makes the mind a blank.’2 This implies that there must be a great many scientists walking around with blank minds!
The reason we do not normally notice this energy is said to be because of its uniform density, and most scientists are happy to ignore it altogether. However, many experiments have been carried out whose results are widely regarded as consistent with the existence of zero-point energy. The presence of surfaces changes the density of vacuum energy and can result in vacuum forces, an example being the Casimir effect – an attractive force between two parallel conducting plates. However, far more experimental work is needed to test the theory and alternative explanations. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is studying the possibility of harnessing zero-point energy for spacecraft propulsion as part of its Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Programme.3
Whereas conventional quantum electrodynamics derives the zero-point field (ZPF) – sometimes called the ‘quantum ether’ – from quantum theory and assumes that it is generated by physical matter-energy, there is a competing approach (stochastic electrodynamics) which regards the ZPF as a very real, intrinsic substratum of the universe.
Some scientists have theorized that mass, inertia, and gravity are all connected with the fluctuating electromagnetic energy of the ZPF.4 Inertia (a body’s resistance to a change in its state of motion) is said to be an acceleration-dependent, electromagnetic drag force stemming from interactions between a charged particle and the ZPF. The fluctuations of the ZPF are also said to cause charged particles to emit secondary electromagnetic fields, which give rise to a residual attractive force – gravity. In this theory, then, gravity is seen as a manifestation of electromagnetism. It is thought that by reconfiguring the ZPF surrounding a body, it may be possible to modify its inertia, or ‘inertial mass’, and to control gravity.
Some ZPF researchers suggest that there is no such thing as mass – only charges, which interact with the all-pervasive electromagnetic field to create the illusion of matter.5 However, since they do not go on to present a concrete picture of what they understand by ‘charge’ or ‘charged particle’, this theory does not get us very far. In the standard model of particle physics, ‘fundamental’ charged particles such as electrons and quarks are modelled as infinitely small particles with no internal structure – which is clearly a physical impossibility.
According to the impact theory of gravity, which originated primarily with the 18th-century scientist Georges-Louis Le Sage, gravity is caused by physical matter being continuously bombarded by extremely tiny, unobservable particles (‘gravitons’ – a word denoting different things in different theories), which travel through space in all directions far faster than the speed of light. The particles would have to be so small that they only occasionally strike material constituents within the bodies they pass through, so that each constituent has an equal chance of being hit. Any two bodies in space will shadow one another from some graviton impacts, resulting in them being ‘attracted’ (i.e. pushed) towards one another with a force that obeys the inverse-square law. Several competing versions of Le Sage’s theory are currently on offer. They fall into two main groups: those that pursue the particle (or corpuscular) approach, and those that replace the graviton sea by very high or low frequency electromagnetic radiation that fills all of space.1
Graviton collisions with matter would have to be inelastic, since gravitons would otherwise bounce back and forth between two bodies, thereby cancelling the shielding effect. A common objection is that inelastic graviton impacts would quickly heat all material bodies to an enormous temperature. The theory’s proponents simply assert that bodies must somehow radiate as much heat back into space as they absorb. However, there is no clear evidence to support this in the case of the earth.
In newtonian theory, gravity supposedly acts instantaneously, while in relativity theory it propagates at the speed of light. It is sometimes argued that if the sun’s force propagated at the speed of light, it would accelerate the earth’s orbital speed by a noticeable amount – something which is not observed. Tom Van Flandern calculates from binary-pulsar data that gravitons must propagate at least 20 billion times faster than light!2 How these gravitons originate and manage to get accelerated to such incredible velocities is not explained.
While it is logical to suppose that all attractive forces ultimately arise from pushes at some level,* the impact theory of gravity is too simplistic to account for all the relevant facts. Like conventional gravity theory, it cannot explain why all the planets orbit the sun in planes which form only small angles to the sun’s equatorial plane, or why all the planets circle the sun in the same direction as the sun’s sense of rotation. Although Le Sage-type theories can explain gravitational shielding (since matter placed between two gravitating bodies will absorb or deflect gravitons), they cannot readily explain antigravity and levitation, and usually ignore them. No impact theory has been devised to explain bipolar forces such as electricity and magnetism, and adopting an impact theory of gravitation therefore downgrades the link between gravity and electromagnetics.
*If we reason by analogy (as above, so below), the microscopic world is a vastly scaled-down and speeded-up version of the macroscopic world (see The infinite divisibility of matter). At the macroscopic level, it is impossible to find an attractive or pulling force that is not really a push. For instance, a person who is ‘sucked’ out of a pressurized cabin if the door opens while the aircraft is in flight is really pushed out by the greater number of molecular bombardments ‘behind’ them.
If an object immersed in an elastic fluid emits waves of condensation and rarefaction, other bodies will be attracted or repelled depending on whether the wavelength is very large or very small compared with their dimensions.3 This case therefore involves both attractive and repulsive forces, and both are ultimately reducible to pushes, but the underlying processes are far more complex than in the aircraft example.
Researchers in the field of ether physics have developed a variety of models to explain the nature of matter and force. Such theories are already ‘unified’ in the sense that physical matter and forces are derived from the activity of the underlying ether. Subatomic particles are often modelled as self-sustaining vortices in the ether, continuously radiating and absorbing flows of ether. Inertia can be pictured as the drag force exerted by the disturbed ether as a body accelerates through it. Electric charge can be pictured as a difference in ether concentration, and magnetic forces as circular flows of ether. Some researchers, such as Dan Davidson, say that just as electric charge is a gradient in ether, the gravitational force is a gradient of electric charge. This means that if the etheric gradient is changed around an atom, the gravity force will also change. This phenomenon can be amplified by synchronizing ether flows through the nucleus of a given mass, either by rotation or movement or by sonic stimulation, which causes all the atoms to resonate together.1
Paul LaViolette has developed a theory known as ‘subquantum kinetics’, which replaces the 19th-century concept of a mechanical, inert ether with that of a continuously transmuting ether.2 Physical subatomic particles and energy quanta are regarded as wavelike concentration patterns in the ether. A particle’s gravitational and electromagnetic fields are said to result from the fluxes of different kinds of etheric particles, or etherons, across their boundaries, and the resulting etheron concentration gradients. Positively charged particles such as protons generate matter-attracting gravity wells whereas, contrary to conventional theory, negatively charged particles such as electrons generate matter-repelling gravity hills. Electrically neutral matter remains gravitationally attractive because the proton’s gravity well marginally dominates the electron’s gravity hill.
Most scientists assume that electrons are attracted by gravity, but this has not been verified experimentally due to the difficulty of the measurement. LaViolette sees confirmation of his theory that electrons have antigravitational properties in an experiment performed by Evgeny Podkletnov and Giovanni Modanese in 2001, which showed that ‘an axial high-voltage electron discharge produces a matter-repelling gravity wave that travels in the direction of the discharge exerting a longitudinal repulsive gravitational force on a distant test mass’.3 Although the hypothesis that negative charges produce antigravity fields would explain the classical Biefeld-Brown effect (a thrust directed from the negative to the positive electrode of a high-voltage capacitor), it poses the problem of explaining why a thrust can be produced regardless of whether the leading electrode is positive or negative.
Building on the work of pioneering scientists such as Nicola Tesla, Louis de Broglie, Wilhelm Reich, and Harold Aspden,4 Canadian scientists Paulo and Alexandra Correa have developed the most detailed and quantitative model of a dynamic ether currently on offer, known as aetherometry. They have also developed technological applications, such as their pulsed-plasma (PAGD) reactors, which produce more power than is required to run them, their self-sustaining aether motor, and their weight-neutralizer and anti-gravitator.5
The Correas have conducted meticulous and exhaustive experiments with electroscopes, ‘orgone accumulators’ (specially designed metal enclosures), and Tesla coils which point to the existence of both electric and nonelectric forms of massfree (nonphysical), nonelectromagnetic energy, one component of which (known to chemists and climatologists as ‘latent heat’) has antigravitational properties.6 By showing that the ether (or ‘aether’, as they prefer to spell it) cannot be reduced to electromagnetic energy, they have clearly exposed the inadequacy of zero-point-energy models. When electrical massfree waves encounter physical matter (e.g. earth’s atmosphere), they impart energy to charged particles such as electrons, and when these charges decelerate they shed this energy in the form of transient, vortex-like structures of electromagnetic energy, i.e. photons.
Aetherometry proposes that the rotational and translatory movements of planets, stars and galaxies are the result of spinning, vortical motions of ether on multiple scales. Electric and nonelectric ether waves impart impulses to the earth, for example, as they curve in towards the planet, and this influx of energy not only propels the earth but also produces its gravitational field. When nonelectric ether energy interacts with physical or etheric charges it produces either gravitons, which impel a particle or body towards regions of greater mass density, or antigravitons, which impel them in the opposite direction. Gravitational forces are essentially electrodynamic forces that depend on polarity: aetherometry contends that gravity ultimately results from an electrodynamic attraction that occurs when matter, which is mostly neutral (with balanced charges of both polarities), interacts with ether lattices formed by in-phase massfree charges, whereas antigravity ultimately results from an electrodynamic repulsion that occurs when matter has net charge and interacts with the same in-phase charge lattices.7
Empty space, curved space, and the ether
- Quoted in G. de Purucker, The Esoteric Tradition, Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press (TUP), 2nd ed., 1940, pp. 443-444fn; H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, TUP, 1977 (1888), 1:490-491.
- The Esoteric Tradition, 901-902fn.
- See Space, time, and relativity (Einstein’s fallacies), davidpratt.info.
Fields, strings, branes
- Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, hidden dimensions, and the quest for the ultimate theory, London: Vintage, 2000, p. 19.
- Ibid., pp. 287-288, 379.
- R. Forward, ‘Mass modification experiment definition study’, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 10:3, 1996, pp. 325-354.
- H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1977 (1888), 1:44.
- Breakthrough Propulsion Physics, www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/bpp.
- B. Haisch and A. Rueda, ‘The zero-point field and the NASA challenge to create the space drive’, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 11:4, 1997, pp. 473-485; ‘Questions and answers about the origin of inertia and the zero-point field’, www.calphysics.org/questions.html.
- B. Haisch, A. Rueda and H.E. Puthoff, ‘Beyond E=mc²’, The Sciences, 34:6, 1994, pp. 26-31.
- Matthew R. Edwards (ed.), Pushing Gravity: New perspectives on Le Sage’s theory of gravitation, Montreal, Quebec: Apeiron, 2002.
- Tom Van Flandern, ‘The speed of gravity – what the experiments say’, Meta Research Bulletin, 6:4, 1997, pp. 49-62.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th ed., 1898, p. 64.
- Dan A. Davidson, Shape Power, Sierra Vista, AR: RIVAS, 1997, pp. 1-7; Dan A. Davidson, ‘Free energy, gravity and the aether’, 1997, www.keelynet.com/davidson/npap1.htm.
- Paul LaViolette, Genesis of the Cosmos: The ancient science of continuous creation, Rochester, VE: Bear and Company, 2004; Paul LaViolette, Subquantum Kinetics: A systems approach to physics and cosmology, Alexandria, VA: Starlane Publications, 2nd ed., 2003 (www.etheric.com).
- Harold Aspden (aether physics), www.aspden.org.
- Correa Technologies, www.aetherometry.com/correa_technologies.html; Keith Tutt, The Search for Free Energy: A scientific tale of jealousy, genius and electricity, London: Simon & Schuster, 2001, pp. 218-22, 315-7.
- Paulo N. Correa and Alexandra N. Correa, Experimental Aetherometry, vols. 1, 2A & 2B, Concord: Akronos Publishing, 2001, 2003, 2006 (www.aetherometry.com).
- Aetherometry and gravity: an introduction, davidpratt.info.
Gravity and Antigravity: Part 2