Advanced Stellar Propulsion Systems

Copyright Ó 1995, 1998-2007 by Brian Fraser.
Addendum updated: August 2009
All Rights Reserved.
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I was wandering in a bookstore one day and saw one of those StarTrek engineering manuals. I leafed through it and saw all kinds of detailed and interesting drawings. I wondered if the book explained how the "warp drive" worked. I found intriguing terms like "dilithium crystals," "phase inducers," and "inertial dampers." But the book did not explain how this interstellar propulsion system operated, except that it was based on the warping of space. I was disappointed and did not buy the book. But the idea of such a propulsion system fired my imagination. Was it possible? Could I design one?

But I never gave the problem much thought after that. I enjoyed StarTrek because it had good psychological themes, not because it was high-tech. And I really had not the slightest idea how I would design a warp drive.

Eventually though, my mind came back around to confront this problem. I seem to like solving "impossible" problems. I also am intrigued about learning how the human mind solves such problems and creates new concepts and insights seemingly from nothing. I tend to solve problems intuitively, and so the process is not obvious to me.

And so this article is about gravitation and a possible basis for an advanced propulsion system. If you are a regular reader of science magazines you will find the ideas presented here reasonably clear. They are not inherently hard to understand, but they are very different and will require quite a bit of patient reflection. Some background in physics would help you with the terminology.

Also, this article is more concerned with finding the right questions, and the right principles, than with finding the right answers per se. I also think you will find it to be a good example of a useful problem solving attitude I call "creative arrogance." (For more about creativity see: "Creativity in Science and Engineering", Ronald B. Standler,1998, )

The Key Premise

A previous article, An Atom or a Nucleus? refuted the commonly held belief that atomic matter is made up of fundamental particles. Instead, the evidence from physics points to the idea that matter is actually some sort of relationship between space and time. Matter gravitates, and in order to design an advanced propulsion system, an understanding of gravity is very necessary. It follows that we need to know a lot more about how these space-time relationships operate.

Two lines of evidence suggest that matter is comprised of ratios of space and time. The first is the requirement of consistency in the units of measurement in the mathematical equations describing physical phenomena. In common terms this means that if an equation has the units of measurement of apples, oranges, and pineapple on one side of the "=" sign, then it must have fruit, or fruit cocktail units of measurements on the other side; it cannot equate to typewriters or airplanes.

Certain equations in physics are descriptive of fundamental phenomena and space/time ratios appear in these equations. E = cB and E = mc2 are two well-known examples. The "c" term stands for a constant that appeared in Maxwell’s equations pertaining to electromagnetic phenomena. That constant turned out to be the speed of light and so physicists have continued to use the letter "c" to denote that speed. It is quite high—about 186,000 miles per second. It is clearly a space/time ratio. But note that it is used with E (energy), M (mass) and B (magnetic flux density). In order for these equations to be consistent in their units of measurement, E, M, and B must also be space/time ratios. If mass and energy are space time ratios, then every entity in the physical universe must be ultimately reducible to a space/time relationship.

The second line of evidence is that certain physical entities can be inherently described in terms of space/time ratios. The most prominent feature of the photon (light), for example, is a property called "frequency", which has the units of "cycles per second." Frequency is a special sort of speed and can be treated as a space/time ratio.

This is also true of particles having mass. Electrons have a property called "intrinsic spin." This is not the ordinary type of spin you could visualize on a spinning toy. In fact it can be demonstrated in one-dimensional systems where ordinary angular momentum cannot even be defined. Atoms also possess this kind of spin ("intrinsic angular momentum") as the Stern-Gerlach experiment demonstrated in 1924. Intrinsic spin and angular momentum are also akin to speed, but imply rotational space/time relationships instead of linear or oscillatory ones.

In other words, photons (light), atoms, and subatomic particles all seem to possess inherent space/time ratios of various sorts. As far as we know the entire universe is made up of these three classes of entities and so this again amounts to saying that everything in the universe is a space/time ratio.

This would actually resolve the fundamental particle dilemma. As was pointed out in An Atom or a Nucleus? there can be no such thing as a fundamental particle. Particles can be converted into radiation and radiation into particles, but that which is truly fundamental cannot change into some other thing. If radiation and matter are comprised of space/time ratios, then their interconvertability is understandable. When an electron annihilates a positron, for example, a rotational space/time relationship simply converts into the form represented by radiation. Both are still fundamentally space/time ratios.

We cannot explain what space and time really are. Such an explanation could only occur from a viewpoint that is outside of the physical universe, and therefore outside of the scope of science. We humans have an intuitive feel for space and time, but they are both inherently unanalyzable. The function of space and time, on the other hand, seems to clearly involve the concept of separation. It is as though God created them so he could say, "I am here, and you are there. I am me, and you are you." This "separability" is fundamental to concepts like "locality," "identity," and "existence." These are all very important to the physicist and to our understanding of the universe.

Apparent Properties of Space and Time

While we cannot explain what space and time are, it will be fruitful to note their key properties. These seem to be as follows:

1. Space is three-dimensional. Space has a property we could call "extensionality" and it manifests this property in three independent ways, and is typically described by three independent numbers. This is just a technical way of saying space is "three-dimensional."

2. Time progresses. The most obvious effect of time is to order events in time and to separate such events in time. Time seems to progress only in one direction.

Note that the ordering of events in time seems to be independent of their ordering in space. I can lay out cards on a table, but their spatial order says nothing about which card was laid down first or last.

3. Time is three-dimensional in the same sense that space is three-dimensional.

This peculiar conclusion is forced upon us when we try to account for the observed properties of light. The Michelson-Morley experiment, Bradley’s telescopic stellar aberration, and de Sitter’s problem, all suggest that the speed of light is constant in all unaccelerated reference systems in a vacuum. The measured speed does not depend on the speed of the emitter, or upon the physical reference system used for measurement. This actually facilitates our understanding of the universe, but is also counterintuitive. An illustration will help clarify the meaning of these statements.

Suppose two automobiles are moving directly away from each other, one traveling north and the other, south. Suppose that their speedometers each show 50 miles per hour as the rate of travel over the ground. Simple intuition tell us that the separation rate of these two automobiles relative to each other is 100 miles per hour.

But now suppose we repeated this experiment using two photons instead of automobiles. Photons move at speed "c" the speed of light. The rate at which the two photons separate—the total spatial separation divided by the total time separation—is expected to be 2c. Simple experiments do in fact show a speed of 2c, but the more fundamental evidence mentioned above suggests that this speed is only an artifact of the reference system. The photons physically separate at the actual rate of c, not 2c.

The simplest way around this uncomfortable conclusion is to claim that time is three-dimensional like space, and that photons travel simultaneously in both space and time. As the accompanying illustration shows, the two photons have moved one spatial unit away from the source and are separated from each other by two spatial units. But if light travels through time, the total temporal separation would also be two units. This keeps the ratio constant and so the speed of the photon, whether relative to the source, or relative to the other photon, would always be c. In other words it is both constant and independent of the reference system.

This seems like a good explanation except that temporal positions cannot be depicted in a spatial reference system. So how do we know this is really happening? Is there any evidence that photons have a physical position in three-dimensional (or "coordinate") time? Yes, there is.

Modify the above illustration by requiring that the two photons be emitted in the same event. For example, there is a device that can convert a single violet photon into two red photons; the total energy remains the same and the requirement that they originate in the same event is satisfied. These photons can then separate as shown in the illustration. It can be shown that if something alters the polarization of the photon moving to the right, something will also happen to the polarization of the one moving to the left. The two photons could be widely separated, even miles from each other, and this will still happen. How can one photon "know" what has happened to the other? Could some effect be propagated across space at twice the speed of light? Or is this what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance"—a concept that makes physicists very uncomfortable?

The underlying explanation seems to be simple. The photons are moving in both space and time. In space they are separating, but because they originated in the same event, they remain in the same temporal location, and that location moves away from the source and carries the two photons. It follows that if I disturb one photon, the other one becomes disturbed because they are both in the same temporal location, even though they are not in the same spatial location. Our spatial reference system is incapable of depicting temporal locations, and so the effect looks like the incomprehensible "action at a distance."

This effect, though not the explanation, is actually well known to physicists. It was first described in a scientific paper written by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen in 1935 and which later came to be known as the "EPR paradox." It was originally a "thought experiment" with no experimental basis. But in the 1960s a mathematical theorem by John S. Bell allowed this paradox to be tested experimentally. Several experiments of widely differing designs were performed since then and the physical reality of the EPR paradox has been thoroughly confirmed. Physicists still have not found a plausible explanation for this effect and articles about it continue to appear regularly in the scientific and engineering journals. It is a fascinating and classical problem in quantum physics.  (For further discussion see: The Problem of Quantum Locality)

4. Space progresses in the same sense that time progresses.

We readily sense the progression of time, but space seems to "stay put" and not progress. If space did progress, it would manifest itself as an expansion. Everything in our environment would be moving away from everything else. I know of only two instances where this seems to be the case: photons always move outward and away from the source of emission, and galaxies are moving away from us as well as each other (the "expanding universe"). Both effects involve what could be called "free space." But if both space and time are three-dimensional, and if both progress, why do we sense the progression of time but not space?

To humans, one second of time is a readily comprehensible quantity. But physically a natural quantity of time is more likely on the order of the Rydberg fundamental frequency, or about 10-16 seconds. That means that we humans apprehend an enormous amount of time at one glance. What if our view of space could be similarly enlarged? What would we see if our desktop unit of space were 1016 light-seconds? That is roughly 300 million light years. Our galaxy is about 100,000 light years in diameter. On this scale we would need a microscope just to see a galaxy! If our desktop were large enough to hold say, 100 of these units of measurement, we would be looking at 30 billion light years of space in one glance. The evidence from astronomy indicates that under these circumstances we would definitely sense the expansion (progression) of space. But we would not have any obvious clue that it is three-dimensional.

This idea, incidentally, is consistent with statements in the Bible about the "stretching out of the heavens." (Job 26:7, 9:8, 37:18, Psalm 104:2, Isaiah 40:22, 42:5, 44:24, 45:12, 48:13, 51:13, Jeremiah 10:12, 51:15, Zechariah 12:1)  It is also consistent with recent discoveries in  astronomy pertaining to Einstein's cosmological constant, dark energy, etc: "REPULSIVE FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE", Physics News Update, March 4, 1998,

Summary of Key Space/Time Concepts

Space and time are apparently always coupled into ratios. The master ratio is apparently the speed of light, c, which must represent the basic speed of space/time itself. This appears to be the "nothing datum" for the physical universe. (Other ratios are "not nothings," in other words, particles or radiation.) The temporal portion of this ratio is the "time" that we humans perceive as progressing. The progression of the spatial portion explains why the universe expands (the "expansion of the universe"). This expansion is not due to the "Big Bang" that scientists claim blew the stars and galaxies apart during the birth of the universe; it is due to the progression of space itself.

Space and time are not the backgrounds or settings in which events take place. They are the events themselves. I know that readers will have a great deal of difficulty with this and I have had to sacrifice some technical accuracy to keep things understandable. For now, the reader should try to work with both viewpoints.

"Nothing happens until something moves." Albert Einstein

Gravitation and Space/Time ratios

If matter reduces to a space/time ratio, then matter is on the move. But where is it going? We know matter gravitates towards other matter and so the obvious answer is "towards all other matter." Gravitation would be a nice property to incorporate into a stellar propulsion system because it inherently causes motion towards other things. If we want to visit another star system, we must move towards it, not away from it! J

The summary section above left us with a completely empty universe that was expanding at the speed of light in both time and space. If we could mentally stand outside of this universe and throw some things into it, what would happen? There are three major cases:

Let’s say I throw in a handful of special fluff powder. This special powder has no mass and when it engages the physical universe, all of its component particles are swept outward and away from the original location at the speed of light. The original locations of each of the particles are swept along in the expansion of space. If we called these particles "photons," we would realize that photons are actually stationary; they have no motion relative to space or to time.

That nicely solves a major dilemma in physics: the need for a medium in which to propagate the wave motion of light. In this scenario, light is stationary; it is not propagated, does not go anywhere, and has no need for a medium. It would be swept outward and away from its source at the speed of light, and that is exactly what is observed experimentally!

Now suppose I create some stuff that has a property I will call "antimotion." This antimotion, in effect, figures out which way space and time are expanding and moves in the opposite direction. We will suppose that the speed of the antimotion is equal to the speed of light. What happens if I place a handful of this stuff into the physical universe? From my viewpoint it will remain stationary, because the antimotion exactly opposes the outward expansion of space/time. Note carefully that it appears to be stationary because it is actually moving at the speed of light relative to the space and time in which it is located!

This nicely solves a major dilemma in astrophysics: the need for an explanation of the stability of globular clusters. A globular cluster is a roughly spherical blob of tens of thousands of stars. The cluster does not rotate and so astronomers would expect gravitation to draw the stars together, causing the whole cluster to collapse. But they are manifestly very stable structures. What apparently happens is that the inward gravitational motion of an individual star is exactly balanced out by the outward expansion of space/time. Gravitation moves things "towards" and the expansion moves things "away." The result is an equilibrium and the structure is stable.

Now suppose I create some more of this antimotion stuff but this time make it so it moves anti to the expansion of space/time at twice the speed of light. When I throw a handful of this stuff into the universe, the space/time expansion tries to move it apart, but the antimotion has twice the intensity and causes it to move together. We would say the particles "gravitate" together. Note carefully that they come together, not because they are exerting "gravitational forces" on each other, but because they are on their own independent course, and that course is "anti to outward" in every case for each individual particle.

But how would matter acquire this antimotion? You have already read the answer. Matter is an intrinsic space/time ratio. It is already in motion (or "is motion"). The motion only needs to be opposite that of the space/time expansion.

A deeper analysis shows that this motion can be completely described by one number (like +1 for the expansion or -2 for the antimotion). In other words, its sole distinguishing characteristic is just a magnitude. This is unusual because we usually think of "motion" as having both a magnitude and a direction. So this motion literally has no direction except to say that it is "towards " or "away." To oppose the outward expansion, the intrinsic antimotion does not need a direction, just a magnitude with the correct + or - sign.

It can now be seen that gravitation is not a force. It is more properly treated as a motion. Picture an apple dropping to the earth. The earth has far more mass than the apple, and therefore far more "intrinsic motion." So it is the earth that rushes to meet the apple. The apple itself is relatively stationary in space because it has the least mass and therefore the least intrinsic motion. (See Principle of Equivalence below)

The expansion is centerless and is everywhere the same. Gravitation, however, is bound to a center and has a distinct spatial distribution of its intensity. A unit of mass has a definite quantity of motion and this motion is distributed equally in all directions. If this mass were surrounded by a spherical surface, all points on the surface would receive an equal amount of motion. The same would be true if the sphere were made larger, except that this same definite quantity of motion would now be spread out over a larger surface and would therefore be less intense. The surface area of a sphere is directly proportional to the square of its radius. Hence, the intensity of the motion towards a unit area on the surface of the sphere will be proportional to the inverse of the radius squared. If we think of the gravitational motion as being caused by forces, then this type of (motional) gravitation would have an inverse square force distribution just as expressed in Newton’s law of (conventional) gravitation. (See also Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol 2, p 1-5,4-7)

It can be seen that if there were two units of mass instead of one, this unit area would receive twice the motion. Hence, the total gravitational motion will be directly proportional to the total amount of mass. Note, however, that this will be the case only if the gravitational force is measured by its effects on a one unit test mass. If the masses have more than one unit of mass, they will give the appearance of attracting each other in direct proportion to the product of their masses, as the accompanying illustration shows.

The only other item in Newton’s equation that needs an explanation is the proportionality constant, G. This constant presents us with two perplexing questions. G does not represent a "thing" and therefore cannot legitimately have units of measurement. So why isn’t it just a pure number? And why is a proportionality constant needed in such a fundamental equation as that for gravitation? Its presence suggests that the units of length and mass do not match the physical reality.

The explanation is that Newton’s equation is a good mathematical description of gravitation but it tells us nothing of the concepts underlying the phenomena. It says "this is what is happening" instead of "this is why and how it is happening." Another of Newton’s own equations, F=ma, states that force is proportional to mass times acceleration. But his gravitational equation, in contrast, states that force is proportional to the product of two masses, divided by the square of the distance between the two masses. This creates problems with the consistency of the units of measurement and so in conventional physics, G is arbitrarily assigned units of measurement such that the units on both sides of the "=" sign are the same.

This is an unnecessary contrivance however. The r2 term in the denominator does not have the units of "length squared," for example. In reality the r2 term represents the ratio of two areas: the ratio of the total spherical surface to a single unit of area (as shown in the illustration). The term is therefore just a pure number—unitless. Similarly, for reasons explained above, the units of m1 m2 are just "mass", not "mass squared". These are the only insights needed for the "intrinsic motion" explanation of gravitation, but most of us still like to think of motion as being caused by an external force. If so, an acceleration term must be introduced into the gravitational equation. It has a magnitude of one unit and its sole effect is to convert the equation from the motional representation into a force representation. The gravitational equation reduces to F=ma and G becomes unitless just as it should be.

The development here is thus consistent with Newton’s equation for gravitation.

Because gravitation based on intrinsic motion is not a force, it will seem to act instantly, and not have a finite propagation delay like light. This would apparently also be true for magnetic and electric "force field" phenomena because their equations take the same form as that for gravitation. This conclusion is consistent both with Newton’s equation itself (which says that the force is not dependent on time) and with the modern technical use of Newton’s equation in orbital mechanics. Although this conclusion is in disagreement with the prevailing views of the scientific community, it could be tested experimentally. (See also The Speed of Gravity in the Addendum below)

Other misconceptions about gravitation have to do with how the intrinsic gravitational motion appears in the commonly used three-dimensional "spatial reference system." Gravitation is a net inward motion at the speed of light in all three spatial dimensions simultaneously. It seems paradoxical that gravitational motion is inherently three-dimensional, yet it can be completely described by one number (a signed magnitude); this property seems to make it, in some sense, one-dimensional ("scalar"). Just as peculiar, our "three dimensional" spatial reference system is inherently capable of portraying only one dimension of the gravitational motion. This means that the full gravitational effect cannot be seen in the reference system—only that portion of the motion parallel to the (arbitrary) alignment of the reference system can be measured by our instruments. And, although the gravitating material also has a three-dimensional time coordinate, our instruments can only see the motion that takes place in space.

Scientists have good factual reasons to believe that the gravitational force is weaker than the electrostatic force by a factor of 4 x 1042. I would not expect the gravitational force to be that weak however; the low value may actually be an artifact of the reference system.

Also, the above discussion of antimotion supposed that the intrinsic motion of the atom is an integral multiple (two in this case) of the speed of light and that this causes a net "towards" motion of the atoms. We recognize this effect as that of gravitation. What is not so obvious is that, according to this viewpoint, what we commonly call the speed of light is actually the speed of the gravitational system. My own belief is that c itself is a constant. But the c we measure while in our position in this galaxy will not necessarily have the same numerical value as the c that represents the speed of space/time. This will have all sorts of implications for physical systems that move at high speeds and for equations like E=cB and E= mc2. (See also Shapiro Time Delay ; Other links: "Experimental evidence that the gravitational constant varies with orientation" , ; , )

An Advanced Interstellar Propulsion System

A spacecraft and everything in it is made of atoms. The atoms move "towards" all other atoms in three-dimensions. Suppose this inward intrinsic motion could be canceled in all three dimensions simultaneously. If this could actually be done, every atom would become locked into a space/time location that would move outward and away from its original location in a direction that is entirely arbitrary. From our viewpoint the spacecraft would simply explode outward at the speed of light (the motion that each atom would acquire would be exactly like that of the photon)

This example shows that the principle of "antigravity," strictly speaking, is not what is desired in an advanced propulsion system for spacecraft. It would have two obvious problems: it blows things apart, and the motion it produces is not steerable in any manner.

However, my impression from the Periodic table is that mass somehow involves a spin that is intrinsically two-dimensional, not three-dimensional. If this is the case, then an "extra spin" is required to distribute the intrinsic two-dimensional spin such that it opposes all three apparent dimensions of the expansion of space. In other words, it is the distribution of the effects of intrinsic spin that we recognize as gravitational mass. The mass of our everyday encounter has the full distribution and "stays put" in our reference system. But suppose, by technical means, we were able to alter or "align" the "superficial" spin of a group of atoms. This would leave the intrinsic spins of the atoms unchanged (no "cancellation of atoms" to worry about). But such atoms would now "stay put" in only two dimensions, and take off at the speed of light in the remaining one. I believe this could be the foundational principle of an advanced, interstellar propulsion system.  I hope to pursue the details in future articles. (See Spin Polarization and "Motion Cancellers" in the Addendum below for some related information.)

For now, let's suppose that the technical means employed could produce an effect that is only one-tenth of one percent of the theoretical value. What sort of capabilities would a spacecraft have which utilized this system?

Such a craft would have a destabilizing effect on world security. It would, however, be a great boon to business. It could fly from New York to Tokyo in less time than it takes for passengers to get on board.

3. If this technology could  operate on the atoms of the occupants just as effectively as the spacecraft, then the occupants would  experience the same motion as the spacecraft and would move right with it, experiencing no acceleration. From their viewpoint the spacecraft would seem stationary. (In other words they would not be smashed against the walls when the spacecraft takes off at 186 miles per second). From the viewpoint of the occupants, commanding the spacecraft to move away from the earth would only seem to make the earth recede rather than make the spacecraft move.

4. Such a spacecraft would be independent of the medium in which it operates. It does not operate by "antigravity" or by repulsion, so it needs nothing to push against. It would work in interstellar space, in the atmosphere, even in the ocean.

Is it possible? Are there indications that such an effect can be produced? And are there related effects that could give us some insights on this subject?  I hope to write more about these topics in the future.

The Social Realizations

Articles like this one are intended to appeal to technically-minded people who enjoy scientific topics. But they are not intended to merely publish interesting insights  about physics. Instead they are intended to be a subtle type of "value practice" which should have socially positive effects. I try to comment on a few of these "social realizations" in each article:

1. A factual, but unexpected and radically different viewpoint can be powerfully productive.

This article has given simple, logical answers to such questions as: What causes gravitation? How could the EPR paradox be explained? Is there such a thing as a fundamental particle? What is matter made of? What accounts for the constancy of the speed of light? How can light move from one place to another without an interconnecting medium? These and other "incomprehensible problems" were suddenly solved by a simple insight that had several unexpected consequences.

That is not to say that these ideas will be readily understood or quickly adopted by the scientific community. Radically new ideas still tend to be pictured in terms of old familiar ones and a lot of time and effort is required to break free from these conceptual restraints. Another problem is that the scientific community frequently confuses fact with theory (and even uses theory to "correct" the facts more frequently than it cares to admit). A radical departure from what is commonly accepted is viewed with a sense of betrayal—as though unclean and unwashed infidels were trespassing on the holy turf of the experts—as though someone were making a bomb threat instead of offering a new window into the universe.

Radically new ideas also have qualities that engineers and scientists don’t like: they are vague, imprecise, incomplete, sloppy, have a non-rigorous development, and "raise more questions than answers." They produce the usual false leads, misconceptions and dead ends, as well as attract attention from fringe groups and mass media who invariably spread inaccuracies and get everything blown out of proportion. (In this case follow the science, and ignore the psychological and social pollution.) New ideas are also very fragile and vulnerable to criticism by those who say "it can’t be done" and who can easily point out all kinds of "reasons" the new idea can fail and make everyone look stupid. And not everybody wants an antidote for arrogance either.

I cannot even guess whether the propulsion system described above will ultimately be developed. But I am sure there will be immense and varied benefits from efforts to learn more about the properties of space/time ratios.

2. Finding the right question is more important than finding the right answer.

Solving a problem is often just a matter of straight-forward time and effort. But how do you find the right problem to solve? One principle that I must emphasize very emphatically is to think in terms of what needs to be done rather than what can be done. Think with the final result in view, not the tools you will use to get there.

Suppose you want a better understanding of the structure of the atom. If you thought in terms of tools—using experts in nuclear physics and particle accelerators costing billions of dollars—would you have come up with the idea that the atom does not "have" a nucleus or that matter is not fundamentally made of particles? Probably not. And what if you tried to do something for which there were no tools at all, such as design some kind of "antigravity" propulsion system? If you were accustomed to thinking in terms of tools, you would not have a clue where to start.

You would actually make faster progress if you were able to cast aside your preconceived ideas, your "safe, proven truth," and depend on ordinary fact-centered perception. The problem will speak to you with a weak little voice, calmly telling you it does not want to be a problem, and even telling you how it can be solved. But its solution demands that you take the plunge into terra incognita—the land of the unknown. This land will not mistreat you, but it is a land of strange and bewildering things, where few people feel comfortable. Yet it is a land where many can be productive in spite of their fears.

Besides avoiding this key fallacy, an approach I find helpful in getting to the root cause of the problem is to keep asking questions until no further question of the same sort can be asked: "Why is the software so hard to maintain?" It is because we wrote it without standards. "Why didn’t the management support the use of standards?" They did not realize how important standards were. "Why didn’t they realize how important standards were?" Probably because they saw their task as that of managing projects instead of people. (etc.)

I make a mental graph of this that looks like a "L " (an upside-down Vee). The left side represents the questions and goes upwards and ends at the point where no further question of the same sort can be asked. In this example, I would eventually get to the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and have to ask a question like "Why did the CEO do that?" This is outside the scope of the company, and is not a question of the same sort. So at this point I start looking for answers, and list them down the right side of the "L ", generally corresponding one-to-one with the questions. I often end up with most of the questions, most of the answers, and many very useful insights.

Unfortunately, corporate management is usually not interested in insights of this depth. When they ask "What went wrong? Why did this fail?" they are all too often looking for someone to blame. They brag about "management for results" but this usually turns into "management of the results." Results managers can only assign blame, limit the damage, and try to clean up the mess. It is simply too late to do anything else. Real management has to manage the process that leads to the result, and must be based on finding the right thing to do, and on supporting the people who do it. Demanding results without supplying the tools and support to get those results will be ineffectual.

Once you find the questions and the answers, it is important to do something with them. I worked for an engineering firm that believed that 90% of its "technical problems" actually had their origins in the company culture. But even with this realization—which was a pretty good one for socially dense engineers—they still did not do anything to fix their culture. The company missed out on the great benefits this could have produced within just a few years.

3. The historical response to discovery now has another opportunity to repeat itself.

The script goes like this: First they say "You are crazy and we can prove it!" Then they say, "Well, you are not crazy, but it is unimportant." Finally they say: "Well, it is important, and we knew it all along!"  

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788 - 1860)

I hope this article will better empower you to imagine things that were formerly inconceivable. You now have real insights into perplexing problems that scientists have not been able to solve after centuries of research and lifetimes of studies. Hopefully you can now muster the courage to punch through similar conceptual barriers and ‘boldly go where you have never gone before.’ And, again, all it took was an example, in this case a simple article to point the way. (And not a cent of taxpayer’s money was spent producing it!)

See also Addendum below.

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Mitigation/Elimination of Sonic Shock Waves
The Speed of Gravity :  not less than 2 x 1010c
The Speed of Electric Fields
How to Construct a Sensitive Gravity Meter
Renewed Interest in the Eötvös Experiments 
What the Neutron Interferometer Reveals about Gravitational and Inertial Mass
Spin Polarization of Atoms and Photons
Some Related Links about "Gravity Modification Experiments"
Gravitational Lensing and Deflection of Photons by Gravity

The Gravitational Redshift  and the Principle of Equivalence 

The Shapiro Time Delay

Lack of Recoil in Railguns
The Relativistic Correction Factor, Gamma ( g )  
Why is gravitation an accelerated motion? What powers gravity?
The Kinematic Time Shift,  Gravitational Time Shift   ( 2-22-03, edited 7-17-07)
"Motion Cancellers"
  Motion Couplers and Momentum Converters 
    Space/time dimensions for some electromagnetic quantities
Speculation on Potential Uses of Antigravity

Mitigation/Elimination of Sonic Shock Waves

An article in Aviation Week & Space Technology (AW&ST,  May 15, 1995,  "Air Spike' Could Ease Flight Problems," pages 66-67), shows that research in electroaerodynamic technology is alive and well.

The article says that the aerospike technology "could reduce the drag and heat transfer problems associated with hypersonic flight." It mentions that vehicles so designed could travel at Mach 25 (orbital velocity) but be subject to Mach 3 conditions in the region behind the shock wave. The ultimate goal is to build earth-to-orbit vehicles that reduce transportation costs by a factor of 100 to 1000. Such a vehicle might be "blunt bodied, lens-shaped or saucer-shaped" and would fly blunt face forward (like an Apollo heat shield). The electric energy drives the air radially away from the craft and transforms the traditional conical shock wave into a weaker parabolic one. The air behind the shock is very low in density and this reduces the heat transfer effects. The article also mentions a magnetohydrodynamic fan engine and how it could eliminate sonic booms so that a lens shaped craft "is silent but very bright in hypersonic operation." One photo and a drawing are shown.

An article from Meridian International Research has this note (in part) about electroaerodynamic technology:

Tests were further carried out in a supersonic windtunnel of 1.5 by 3 inch test section using Schlieren photography.

In one test at Mach 1.5, an 8 degree double wedge airfoil model 1.5 inches in span and 0.375 inches in chord was used.  When a charge of 70kV at 0.01milliamperes was applied to the leading edge, the shock wave disappeared.  The power used was 0.7 watts.

For a 20 metre span straight wing, this would equate to less than 400W of electrical power. (Electroaerodynamic Sonic Boom Elimination, Meridian International Research, )

This technology could probably also be used with the railgun method of lauching vehicles into orbit. In this scheme the vehicle is accelerated on earth and shot through the atmosphere into a highly eccentric orbit.  But atmospheric drag and heating effects on the vehicle during launch are serious problems.  The use of an electroaerodynamic shield may circumvent these effects. Such a relatively inexpensive launch method could be used for supplies and fuel.

Elimination of sonic shock waves is normally difficult to do in open atmosphere. However, the waves can be suppressed in closed containers by clever techniques.  This leaves me with the impression that the techniques used in open atmosphere have just not gotten clever enough (at least not on civilian aircraft). , files/Physics Today.pdf ,

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The Speed of Gravity :  not less  than 2 x 1010c

"The most amazing thing I was taught as a graduate student of celestial mechanics at Yale in the 1960s was that all gravitational interactions between bodies in all dynamical systems had to be taken as instantaneous. . . .Indeed, as astronomers we were taught to calculate orbits using instantaneous forces; then extract the position of some body along its orbit at a time of interest, and calculate where that position would appear as seen from Earth by allowing for the finite propagation speed of light from there to here. . . . That was the required procedure to get the correct answers."  And thus begins an article by astronomer Dr. Tom Van Flandern about the speed of gravity. ("The Speed of Gravity - What the Experiments Say" , Tom Van Flandern, Physics Letters A, 250 (1-3) (1998) pp. 1-11;   ( ). The article was reprinted in Infinite Energy, Issue 27, 1999, pages 50-58.

My own article about the nature of gravity shows that it can be treated as an intrinsic motion that is not propagated. Thus, the gravitational effect of a change in the position of a celestial body is felt instantaneouslyeverywhere in the Universe. This is in accord with Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation, where the speed of gravity is unconditionally infinite. Although Van Flandern does not believe that the speed of gravity is infinite, he does discuss experimental evidence that sets a lower limit on the speed. "Standard experimental techniques exist to determine the propagation speed of forces. When we apply these techniques to gravity, they all yield propagation speeds too great to measure, substantially faster than light speed."  The speed of gravity, "if it is a force of nature propagating in flat space-time [is] not less  than 2 x 1010c." (That is, not less than 20 billion times the speed of light).

The most obvious and incontrovertible experimental evidence for an extremely high speed of gravity is that gravity has no aberration.

To understand this effect imagine that you are standing out in a light rain storm and that the raindrops are falling straight down. You have a straight piece of plastic pipe in your hand that is about four inches in diameter and about four feet long. You want to align the pipe so that the raindrops fall down the pipe without touching its inside wall. Not surprisingly you find that the pipe has to be aligned straight up and down, exactly parallel to the falling rain drops. But now suppose you begin walking. You still want the raindrops to fall down the pipe without touching the sides. You find that you now have to tilt the pipe in the direction of your motion, otherwise the raindrops will collide with the inside walls of the pipe. If you were moving very fast (compared to the speed of the falling raindrop) you would have to point the pipe almost horizontally in the direction of your motion in order for the raindrops to "fall" straight down the center line of the pipe.

An effect like this was found for starlight and telescopes. It was discovered by an astronomer named Bradley in 1728. It arises because the Earth is moving around the Sun at a speed that is significant (i.e., not ignorable) compared to the speed of light. The effect is well-known and is called "stellar aberration". It requires that telescopes be "misaimed" slightly so that the light will travel directly down the center-line of the telescope. The magnitude of the effect is dependent on the Earth's motion around the Sun relative to the starlight. It can displace the apparent position of the stars by up to 20 seconds of arc. Likewise, the apparent position of the Sun in the sky is displaced 20 arc seconds from its true position.

When photons are emitted from the Sun, they take about 8.3 minutes to reach Earth. By that time the Earth has moved significantly in its orbit. The incoming photons are no longer on a strictly radial path, "straight down the tube" as it were. Instead, they have a very small tangential component. Because light has momentum, the effect would   tend to slow the Earth in its orbit. The effect is known as the Poynting-Robertson effect; it causes dust particles in orbit about the Sun to spiral inward.

Now what about gravity? Let's suppose that the Sun "emits gravity" just like it emits photons. Do we see an aberration effect for gravity as we do for photons? Radiation pressure is repulsive but the effect of gravity is attractive. If there were such an effect, it would tend to speed the Earth up in its orbit rather than slow it down. "The net effect of such a force would be to double the Earth's distance from the Sun in 1200 years. There can be no doubt from astronomical observations that no such force is acting," notes Van Flandern.  "From the absence of such an effect, Laplace set a lower limit to the speed of propagation of classical gravity of about 108c, where c is the speed of light." (Laplace, P. 1966 Mechanique Celeste, volumes published from 1799-1825). Astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington noted this effect too. (Eddington, A. E., Space, Time and Gravitation. Originally printed in 1920, reprinted by Cambridge University Press, 1987.)

If gravity and light propagate at the same speed, then the angle between the acceleration vector for the Earth-Sun system and the incoming photons from the Sun should be zero. Precise measurements however show that the Earth accelerates toward a position that is 20 seconds of arc in front of the visible Sun (that is, the Earth is accelerating to where the Sun actually is, not to where its light shows up in the sky 8.3 minutes later). This again shows that light and gravity cannot have the same propagation speed.

A third manifestation of the difference in propagation speeds comes from solar eclipses. The Sun has an aberration of 20 arc seconds. The Moon, however has an aberration of only 0.7 arc seconds due to its slower motion around the Earth. The Moon requires 38 seconds of time to move 20 seconds of arc in the sky relative to the Sun. During an eclipse the time of gravitational maximum can be compared with the time of light minimum. If there is no difference in propagation speed, the two times should coincide. But as Van Flandern notes: "We find that the maximum eclipse occurs roughly 38 +/- 1.9 seconds of time, on average, before the time of gravity maximum. If gravity is a propagating force, this three-body (Sun-Moon-Earth) test implies that gravity propagates at least twenty times faster than light."

The article dicusses other evidence from radar ranging and spacecraft data. These set a lower limit on the speed of gravity of  109 c. Evidence using data from binary pulsar PSR1534+12 suggests an even more stringent lower limit of 2 x 1010 c.   

The article also discusses Lorentzian relativity, Special Relativity, and General relativity, gravitational waves, gravitational radiation, supernova explosions, and other very interesting topics. It is clearly written and has several useful tables, illustrations, formulas, and a bibliography.


"The Speed of Gravity - What the Experiments Say"

"Experiments indicate that gravity and electrodynamic forces both propagate far in excess of lightspeed." (from abstract)

Meaning of the "speed of gravity"

"Kopeikin and the Speed of Gravity"

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The Speed of Electric Fields

Newton's law of gravity has no time dependence, and no velocity dependence. According to Newton's formula (F=Gm1m2/r2), the gravitational force acts instantaneously. If the Sun, for instance, were to suddenly disappear from existence, the light that had been emitted from it would still continue flowing towards Earth for about 8.3 minutes, but the gravitational effect would disappear instantly.

This also means that the gravitational force from a moving body will show no aberration due to its motion. The force from a "source" of gravity will point directly (that is, radially) to a "detector" of gravity with no displacement due to time, or motion, and with no need to calculate "retarded positions", etc.  

Most of us are familiar with the concept of aberration even though we do not use the term. Next time you hear a high-altitude jet aircraft in the sky, look up and see where it is. You'll find that it is far ahead of the sound that it makes. This is because sound  in the atmosphere travels approximately 1 mile every 5 seconds.   For a jet directly overhead at 30,000 feet the sound won't reach you for about 30 seconds. During that time the jet travels an additional 4 miles or so. Hence, the sound and the source of the sound seem to be in two different positions. This difference is the "aberration" and the position directly overhead is the "retarded position."

Other equations in physics, such as that for Coulomb force (F=kq1q2/r2), have the same form as that for  gravitational force. This raises obvious questions: Does the force between electric charges act instantaneously? Is the force free of aberration if one of the charges is moving? 

The previous article ( The Speed of Gravity :  not less  than 2 x 1010c ) presented evidence that the propagation speed for such forces is at least extremely fast, far in excess for that of light:

"Experiments indicate that gravity and electrodynamic forces both propagate far in excess of lightspeed." (from abstract)

We would now like to find evidence that is more directly in the realm of electrical science, instead of astronomy. In astronomy, "all gravitational interactions between bodies in all dynamical systems had to be taken as instantaneous."  But will this hold true for electrical forces? How do physicists design particle accelerators, where the  speed of the particle  is comparable to the supposed "speed of the electric field"?  Does the speed of the field seem to be instantaneous, or do the designs have to allow for an aberration effect and "retarded positions."

Professor of Physics, A. P. French, has a relevant note in his very informative book, Special Relativity (1968), p. 242-243; 267:

"Now the electric field due to a stationary source charge is radial and, of course, spherically symmetrical; that is, it is the  same in all directions. It is simply the Coulomb field . . . . If the source charge is moving uniformly, the electric field is no longer spherically symmetrical. Its strength is different in different directions.  But, at each instant, the direction of the electric field is still radial with respect to the position of the source charge at that same instant.

If you think about this last result a bitthat at each instant the electric field due to a uniformly moving source charge is directed radially away from the position of the source charge at that same instantyou may begin to realize that this is a very surprising result."

To see why this is so surprising, consider the following illustration:

ElectricChargeAberration.gif (5448 bytes)
The electric field from a moving electric charge has no aberration.

Electric charge, q1,  is moving at high speed in a particle accelerator from X1 to X2. A charge detector is located at P and  it can detect both the intensity and direction of the field associated with q1. Hypothetically, q1 is emitting an electric field which propagates at the speed of light. As q1 passes through location X1, the field is on its way to P, but takes a finite time to get there. But by the time the field reaches P, q1 has actually moved to X2. From what direction then does the detector at P see the electric field as q1 arrives at X2. Does it see the field as though it were at the "retarded position" of X1? Or does it see it as emanating from X2 where q1 is presently located?

French continues:

"Nevertheless, the field at P points away from the present position of q1. Nature behaves in such a way that, for a uniformly moving source charge, even though the field produced at some point P originated from the location and behavior of the source charge at an earlier time, nevertheless the field points away from the position of the source charge at the present time. It is as though nature calculates where the source charge should be at the present time and acts accordingly. . . . Thus  a result which at first glance may seem rather obvious is seen, upon closer examination, to be quite surprisingbut nevertheless true."

But it is surprising only if, as French says, "if we believe that no effectno mass, no energy, no forcecan be transmitted with a speed greater than c". If the electric field propagates instantaneously, then the lack of aberration is no surprise at all. We just simply have a different problem requiring a different explanation, namely, how can electric fields propagate instantaneously?

The answer to that problem is simple. Electric fields don't propagate. They are "non-local" in a spatial reference system, much like the concept of time, which is not affected by spatial position.

The concept of  "non-local" effects is hard to grasp for most people. So consider a few illustrations. Suppose I have a cloth doll and I stick a pin in it. The pin leaves a hole in the doll. We could say that the effect of my action was "local", that is, cause and effect are clearly related, and they are related spatially.

Now suppose I go to the local Voodoo-Dolls-R-Us store, and get a voodoo doll that has been "correlated" with some evil criminal in Haiti. I stick pins in the head of the doll, and the guy in Haiti instantly gets a headache. This is an example of "non-local" action. Cause and effect are separated. I would have a hard time proving that the guy's headache is actually due to my actions with the doll.

Let's say I go back to the store and get their deluxe model, the Universal Voodoo Doll. I stick pins its head, and all humans on Earth (including me) get a headache at that same instant. This is an even stronger version of "non-locality". The effect simply does not care about "where" or "there". The only "connection" the headache events share is the instant of time, which is the same for all victims.

Electric, magnetic, and gravitational fields act this way. They have "non-local" effects. It is as though they produce instantaneous "action-at-a-distance" without any intervening medium or "connection" in space.  Physicists are uncomfortable with this concept. They get such a headache thinking about it,  they even call it "voodoo physics" occasionally.  They would much rather believe that the fields are propagated at the speed of light, despite the evidence to the contrary.

The source of these non-local effects is temporal motion.  Instead of being the everyday "space divided by time" type of motion, it is just the inverse: "time divided by space".  It is a motion in coordinate time instead of coordinate space. It does not have a spatial starting point, nor a spatial end point, nor a spatial trajectory connecting the two. It is inherently a "when" type of motion that does not know or care about "where". It is non-directional (knowing only "towards" or "away"), has instantaneous effects, and is unlimited in spatial extent.

Read The Origin of Intrinsic Spin to learn more about temporal motion. Read The Problem of Quantum Locality for more about the non-locality concept. The notes following the article on the Shapiro time delay (below) might also be helpful.


Special Relativity, A.P. French, 1968, Chapter 8, "Relativity and electricity", p. 242-243;267. All italics in the citations are from the book.

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How to Construct a Sensitive Gravity Meter

The January 2000 edition of Scientific American has an interesting article about constructing a simple, inexpensive, but very sensitive gravity meter ("Detecting Extra Terrestrial Gravity", pages 94-96). More details, including photos, can be found at  (titled "The Hi-Q Gravimeter/Seismometer") Also, if you need some coaching in the construction details or application, you might refer to

Renewed Interest in the Eötvös Experiments

Baron Roland von Eötvös (Eötvös is pronounced somewhat like "ut vush"; rhymes with "brush") was a Hungarian scientist who ran a series of precision gravitational measurements from the late 1880s to 1922. He used a special torsion balance with two weights; one weight was mounted horizontally and the other vertically. In this scheme one weight would be affected by the acceleration of gravity, and the other by the "centrifugal force" caused by the rotation of the earth. In effect, this allowed him to compare gravitational and inertial mass and see, with great precision, if they were equivalent. He also tested weights of differing composition (copper, water, platinum) to determine if "mass" was in someway dependent on composition.   His experiments were very carefully and patiently done. They were state of the art until the early 1960s.

You can review various diagrams of his torsion balance at:

Chapter XI. Gravity Measurements with the Eotvos Torsion Balance  (at

The results of his experiments showed that gravitational and inertial mass were equivalent to within a few parts per billion and were independent of composition. Later researchers, using a somewhat different approach, improved the precision by a factor of about 1000 over what Eötvös had obtained. But in 1986 some new interest developed in these experiments:

Ironically, a re-examination in 1986 of Eötvös definitive paper of 1922, sparked a lively controversy when the examiners concluded that, contrary to the long-held interpretation, the data in the paper actually provided evidence for a composition dependence of the gravitational acceleration. The origin of this effect (the establishment of which is far from certain) has been attributed to an attractive 'fifth force', . . . that depends not just on total mass, but on certain properties of the 'heavy' elementary particles (the baryons) of which a mass is composed. . . . the baryon number per unit of mass is not necessarily the same for dissimilar materials, since the packing of the baryons can be different."  (And Yet it Moves: Strange Systems and Subtle Questions in Physics, Mark P. Silverman, 1993, p. 190)

"neither the concept of baryon number, nor the mass defect existed at that time. Without these concepts, Eötvös could have spent considerable time and effort in a fruitless attempt to find out why the scatter in his data points was larger than his error estimates. We can easily sympathize and imagine the gnawing feeling that something was wrong, or that something very important was being missed." (

Back then (1922) the concept of intrinsic spin had not been developed either. And as the reader may know from reading the Advanced Propulsion article above, understanding intrinsic spin is crucial to understanding gravitation.   Thus:

"To date [early 1990s] these experiments have not confirmed the original suggestion of a fifth force, as inferred from the Eötvös data by Fischbach and co-workers . . . . However, neither has any group pinpointed an error in the Eötvös experiment which could be the source of their suggestive data. Since all of the recent experiments differ from the original Eötvös experiment in various ways, the possibility remains that there is some theoretical model in which a subtle aspect of the original experiment which we have heretofore overlooked could explain why those authors saw an effect while the more recent ones do not. The significance of the Eötvös experiment is that it will continue to be a stimulus for new ideas, such as the recent suggestion . . . that spin may have played a role in the original work. However the search for new gravity-like forces turns out, it is clear that the Eötvös experiment has played a fundamental role in shaping our understanding of gravity and other possible forces in Nature." (See for the complete references)

See also Some Thoughts about Intrinsic Spin in the article Intuitive Concepts in Quantum Mechanics.

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What the Neutron Interferometer Reveals about Gravitational and Inertial Mass

Another interesting hint that gravitational and inertial mass might not be equivalent comes from experiments with neutron interferometers using the Mach-Zehnder configuration.

First a bit of background about this type of interferometer. The Mach-Zehnder interferometer is one of several types of optical interferometers. Schematically it looks much like the illustration below, except of course it uses light instead of neutrons. Light comes in from the left and is split into a reference beam and a test section beam. The upper horizontal segment will have some sort of test apparatus inserted into it. It might be a simple tube (large or small, long or short) which has windows on each end. The test section is commonly used to study the flow of gases and is often a section of a wind tunnel, or a shock tube.  The reference beam and test beam are recombined and form an interference pattern at the detector, which, in the case of an optical interferometer, could be a viewing screen or a photographic plate.  Interferometers are very sensitive to minute changes in path length differences between the reference and test sections. The differences are caused by density variations in the gas due to flow patterns in the test section. What the observer will see is a series of fringesa pattern of fuzzy dark lines that may look like curves or nested circlesthat correspond to the flow contours of the gas.

For instance, this type of interferometer has been used to study the behavior of plasma in a tube. The tube is something like a common fluorescent light tube with clear windows at each end, and with a magnetic coil wound along the length. It is placed in the test section. The interferogram with the plasma and magnetic field off, is a series of parallel lines. When the plasma and magnetic field are turned on, the pattern of parallel lines then shows a series of fine, nested concentric rings embedded in it, which represent the "pinch" confinement of the plasma. (See Optics, Eugene Hecht, 2nd ed. 1987, p358-359).

For the case at hand, neutrons are used instead of light. Neutrons, like all particles, also have wave characteristics. The neutron wave function can be computed for an interferometer and used to predict the relative number of neutrons that will appear at the detector (a counter) for a specified circumstance. Neutrons have mass, and in this case we want to see how the presence of a gravitational field affects the neutron when it moves horizontally in the field. Classical physics predicts that it will not be affected. Quantum physics predicts that it will be, because the wave function has a potential energy term dependent on the height of the neutron in the field. The apparatus depicted schematically below compares the behavior of two neutrons following paths that have a height difference in the gravitational field.


neutintr.gif (14089 bytes)

When the experiment is actually done, the neutron intensity is found to vary periodically with the height of the upper horizontal section.  This can be seen in the following diagram:


neutrslt.gif (9051 bytes)

This result is relevant to studies of  gravitation:

"The observation of this neutron interference phenomenon . . . demonstrates convincingly that the Earth's gravity can affect the motion of elementary particles under circumstances where it is not the gravitational force itself, but the difference in gravitational potential energy, that has direct physical significance. Interestingly, it illustrates as well that the equivalence principle [of gravitational and inertial mass] may be of questionable validity in the realm of quantum mechanics." (For a discussion of the particulars, see And Yet It Moves: Strange Systems and Subtle Questions in Physics, Mark P. Silverman, 1993, p. 195-198)

The effect is as though a gravitational field has a kind of "index of refraction for mass" in addition to manifesting a gravitational force. This effect might remind us of the interference effect that occurs when light is reflected from a pane of clear glass (see the third illustration in Counterintuitive Quantum Mysteries). As the glass is made thicker and thicker the reflectivity cycles from 0% to 16% then back to 0% then back to 16% and so on. Similarly, as the neutron interferometer is tilted about the axis of the incoming beam so as to change the height of the upper horizontal beam in the gravitational field, the number of neutrons detected by the counter cycles from a maximum to a minimum, then back to maximum, then to minimum, and so forth. It is as though the path length in the upper section  were changing as the apparatus is rotated.

This is pretty hard to understand if gravitation is viewed simply as a vectorial force. The force concept is mathematically convenient but it does not depict the real situation and can be conceptually misleading. On the other hand, if the space/time ratio interpretation of gravitation is used, then gravitation is seen as a coupled motion, and the motion is operative in all three linear dimensions simultaneously (see discussion of scalar motion). The neutron has mass and therefore participates in this motion. The height in the field will therefore affect the speed of the neutron's horizontal motion and this is equivalent to a change in path length that can in turn be detected by the interferometer. As the change in equivalent path length cycles through multiples of the wavelength, the number of neutrons counted goes through maxima and minima.

(There  is a related mystery, incidentally, the perplexing Aharonov-Bohm effect. Its difficulties are likewise caused by misconceptions about what scalar and vector potentials really represent. Also, the photon redshift  in a gravitational potential ("Gravitational Redshift") as shown by the Pound & Rebka experiment (which used a Mössbauer detector instead of an interferometer) is a scalar potential effect very similar to that described above for the neutron interferometer. See for an overview and    ("Gravitational and Aharonov-Bohm Phases in Neutron Interferometry", Gerbrand van der Zouw, PhD-Thesis, University of Vienna, 2000) for a specific article.  See also The Gravitational Redshift article below.)

Normally we would not be concerned about this effect. With ordinary massive objects the effect cannot be seen because the wavelength is too small. The wavelength of the neutron in this experiment was 1.4 Angstroms (essentially that of a thermal neutron at 300 K) This is comparable to interatomic distances in a crystal lattice, which in turn makes such crystals usable for neutron mirrors.  In contrast, a one micron speck of dust with a mass of 10-15 kg and moving at a velocity of one mm/sec has a wavelength of  6.6 x 10-6 Angstroms. This is about a million times smaller than the interatomic distance. For something with the mass of a bullet, the effect would be utterly undetectable. Gravitational and inertial mass would therefore be equivalent "for all practical purposes." In other words, the trajectories of cannon balls would be independent of their mass.

However, when "practical purposes" start to include finding the design principles for asymmetric gravitational propulsion systems, this effect becomes highly relevant. This kind of experiment needs to be repeated with neutrons and atoms (such as hydrogen and helium) that have been spin polarized. This may introduce some asymmetries and even get rid of the fringe shift under certain conditions.

Other Links:

Quantum Gravitational States ,

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Spin Polarization of Atoms and Photons

The concept of atomic spin and spin polarization is a bit abstract for some of my readers. I intend to cover this topic more fully in an article on quantum mechanics at this site. For now, to get a better intuitive feel for this topic, the reader might explore some of the following links:

An article explaining how spin angular momentum can be efficiently transferred from photons to atoms can be found at:

Some practical applications of spin polarized atoms in the medical field can be found at:

"Hyperpolarized Helium" (J.R.MacFall,   H.C.Charles,  J.Smith)at   Select Hyperpolarized Helium.

"Hyperpolarized helium technique joins doctors imaging arsenal"  (By David Nigro in "The Chronicle online")

"A Novel Lung-Imaging Method Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging With Hyperpolarized Helium-3"

(An MRI image of a human lung that used optically polarized Helium-3)

"Head Full of Xenon?"

"Tiny Bubbles Help Researchers See Inside of Blood Vessels" (by Karyn Hede George)   (click Cancel on the password dialog box)

As can be inferred from the above articles and applications, an atom can retain a particular spin polarization for a substantial amount of time. The "relaxation times" of spin polarized atoms are affected by the environment. "If the inside walls of the cell are suitably coated, collisions with the walls have little effect on the spin state of the atoms. . . . For example, for hydrogen atoms bouncing off teflon walls, tens of thousands of collisions are required for the magnetic moment of the hydrogen atom to become disoriented."  (Quantum Mechanics, C.Cohen-Tannoudji, et al., 1977, p. 452)

The reader will note, of course, that none of these articles have anything to do with "antigravity."

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Some Related Links about "Gravity Modification Experiments"

There are plenty of articles about "antigravity" on the Internet. A very few are listed below. Peruse them and their many links at your leisure:   "Impulse Gravity Generator Based on Charged YBa2Cu3O7-y Superconductor with Composite Crystal Structure", Evgeny Podkletnov, Giovanni Modanese. See "Motion Cancellers" below for more details.

As explained above in the note about the Eötvös experiments, there is a possibility that gravitational mass might have a composition dependence. This may seem to go against everything you have been told about THE LAW OF GRAVITY (!). If you need help in breaking out of the mental cages, consider a related phenomena, magnetism. We know magnetic effects can be created by electric currents. But they can be created in other ways too. So-called "permanent magnets" do not need any electric current to create a powerful magnetic field. And some permanent magnet compositions, Heusler alloys, do not even use ferromagnetic materials.  One Heusler alloy has a composition of 65% copper, 25% manganese and 10% aluminum. (See ) Would you have suspected such an alloy (chiefly copper) to be magnetic?  There is also the Barnett effect whereby a weak magnetic field can be produced by rotating an unmagnetized iron cylinder at high speed about its long axis. Would you  have suspected that rotating something that is non-magnetic and non-electrical would produce a magnetic field (the phenomena is known as "gyromagnetism")?  So keep an open mind. Someday, "antigravitic" materials, schemes and phenomena  may be just as common and ordinary as the magnetic ones are today. History shows that today's science fiction is tomorrow's technology.

Links pertaining to technology that was ahead of its time:       microwave experiments prior to 1900     
Ignaz P. Semmelweis and childbed fever                    famous bad predictions

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Gravitational Lensing and Deflection of Photons by Gravity

According to what has been presented in these pages, one would expect that photons would not be deflected by a gravitational field. Simply put, photons have no mass, and their path of travel should therefore not be affected by the presence of a massive body. Yet we see statements like the following in physics and astronomy textbooks:

". . . A beam of light will accelerate in a gravitational field in the same way as do more massive objects.   For example, near the surface of the earth, light will fall with acceleration 9.8 m/sec2. This is difficult to observe because of the enormous speed of light. For example, in a distance of 3000 km, which takes about 0.01 sec to cover, a beam of light should fall about 0.5 mm. Einstein pointed out that the deflection of a light beam in a gravitational field might be observed when light from a distant star passes close to the sun . . . . Because of the brightness of the sun, such a star cannot be ordinarily be seen.  Such a deflection was first observed in 1919 during an eclipse of the sun." (Modern Physics, Paul A. Tipler, 1978, p. 41)

According to this effect, light from stars will be bent slightly when moving past a dense, massive body. Light from the background stars that grazes the surface of the sun would be deflected 1.75 seconds of arc. For a white dwarf, the effect would be about 1 minute of arc. For a so-called neutron star, the effect would be 30 degrees.   The observational effect would be much like looking at a field of black dots on a sheet of paper through a magnifying glass. Light from the dots is bent inward by the magnifying glass, but the effect to the observer is that the dots seem to move apart (become "magnified"). Of course, we have to ask the question: Is this predicted effect real, or is it just theoretical?

The existence of such an effect  for the sun was supposedly proven observationally by professor/astronomer Arthur Stanley Eddington during a total solar eclipse on May 29, 1919. The eclipse blotted out the Sun's disk (and the bright effects in earth's atmosphere) thereby allowing the positions of the "fixed stars" very near it to be recorded on photographic plates. These star positions could then be compared with the same star positions on other photographic plates taken at night during a different time of the year.

Einstein's prediction of deflection was 1.75 seconds of arc right at the edge (or "limb") of the Sun. Unfortunately, the stars that were actually observed were all outside of two solar radii from the center of the Sun, and the maximum predicted deflection for that location was 0.8 arc seconds. As any amateur astronomer knows, the "seeing" at night at ordinary locations is 2 or 3 arc seconds or worse, due to instabilities in the atmosphere. Hence, this experiment (performed during the day!) was done under less than minimum acceptable conditions, well into the noise level. Furthermore, one would want to measure stars distributed all around the Sun, but nature did not cooperate. Only a couple of the plates had "fairly good images of five stars, which were suitable for a determination". And these few, unfortunately, were all on one side of a line that could be drawn through the Sun's center. Other sources of error could have been significant too. The lensing effect, as seen by a telescope with a 343 cm focal length, would amount to a change in star position of only 0.01 mm on the photographic plate. Distortions of the optical system because of temperature changes during the eclipse could be another source of error. A change in focal length of only 0.1 mm could produce scaling errors between the eclipse plates and the reference plates of about the same order of magnitude as that predicted by Einstein. The observations were also done in the field, not at a regular observatory. Later experiments showed even wider scatter of data, differing from Einstein's prediction by as much as 60 percent.

Hence, I am not convinced that these observations were "proof" of gravitational lensing. The experiment required very delicate measurements but had large margins of error and uncertainty inherent in them. (For more technical details, see Infinite Energy Vol. 7, Issue 38. 2001 p. 19, "Anomalies in the History of Relativity", Ian McCausland, reprinted from Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 13, No. 2, Summer 1999)

Other proofs of gravitational lensing involve, not star deflections, but duplications of quasar images:

Another example of the influence of curved spacetime is a gravitational lens. Very distant galaxies, called quasars, sometimes lie almost directly behind a massive galaxy. The result . . . is that we see what appear to be two identical quasars instead of just one. (Understanding the Universe, Phillip Flower, 1990, p. 591)

I cannot accept this as a proof either. It presumes the existence of an unobservable massive galaxy. Also, quasars, as clearly shown by their redshifts, involve motion that is greater than the speed of light. According to what I have presented in this and other articles, such speeds are temporal. That means that quasars have, at a minimum, one dimension of motion in time, with the other two dimensions remaining in space. How this kind of phenomena maps into a spatial reference system is not well understood. Apparently, the missing dimension can make the phenomena look as though space were split in two, much like we were seeing the object along with its mirror image. In fact images of other energetic astronomical objects show a mirror effect much like that claimed for some quasars. Some examples: 

Hourglass nebula:         ,  
Eta carinae:                  , .
NGC 7009 Saturn Nebula                  
NGC 7027                                       
NGC 6826                                       
CRL 2688 Egg Nebula                       
M2-9 Wings of a Butterfly Nebula       

NGC 5307: A Symmetric Planetary Nebula

Hence, the apparent duplication of some quasar images may be due to an effect that is completely different from that causing the supposed deflection of star light by gravitation.

All is not lost however:

"Eclipse observations to test the relativity effect have continued over the years, but the measures are very difficult to make and the precision of the confirmation is not high. Far higher accuracy has been obtained recently at radio wavelengths. Simultaneous observations of the same source with two radio telescopes far apart can pinpoint the direction of the source very precisely.  The United States National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Greenbank, West Virginia, with radio telescopes 35 km apart, observed several remote astronomical radio sources . . . when the sun was nearly in front of them. The apparent directions of the quasars showed shifts similar to those of stars seen near the sun. The accuracy of these observations is high enough to confirm the Einstein prediction to within 1 percent." (Exploration of the Universe, G. O. Abel, D. Morrison, S. C. Wolff, 1987, 5th edition, p. 584)

This kind of experiment appears to have an acceptable design. It was like the one performed by Eddington, except it used radio telescopes and quasi-stellar ("starlike") radio sources.  The radio telescopes are in effect the photographic plate, and the plate has to be large because radio wavelengths are much longer than optical wavelengths. It is also capable of   high precision. The interferometric methods used can detect angular separations and changes thereof as small as a few hundred microarcseconds of arc. Hence, I accept the claim as factual, and conclude that starlight is in fact deflected as it passes through a gravitational field. (See The New Physics, Paul Davies (editor), 1989, p.13)

But according to what I have presented at this website, photons do not gravitate and space is not curved.  So how can the path of photons be bent as they pass near the Sun?

I think the answer is simple. It has to do with gravity being a three-dimensional scalar motion (having a magnitude, but no direction except that it is simply "towards" all locations in space, whether occupied of not).  The star light is simply not deflected by the gravitational field of the Sun, nor is the space around the Sun curved. The Sun is a gravitating object and therefore possess this type of scalar motion. In the context of the reference system, however, which seems to insist on assigning vectorial directions to motions that are inherently directionless, we do not see the Sun as moving "towards" the star positions. Rather we invert the picture and claim that the Sun is stationary, and that the starlight is being deflected inward "towards" the Sun. This certainly makes sense in the context of everyday experience, but the alternative interpretation is still consistent with what I have presented here, and will produce the same observational facts.

The effect is as though we had drawn a bunch of dots on the surface of a balloon, then taken one big dot as a stationary reference, and then deflated the balloon. The fabric of the balloon represents space. The dots occupy a fixed position on the surface of the balloon and do not move relative to it, just like photons occupy a fixed position in space and move with it rather than through it. We will say that the big dot (the Sun) is really a little piece of paper, and that as the balloon contracts, the fabric of the balloon is actually in motion underneath it. In other words, the Sun is what is actually moving relative to space. Yet it is  very easy to view it as stationary, and to attribute the motion that it actually has to the star positions, which in fact have no motion.

It is quite natural, incidentally, for physicists and astronomers to talk about curved space in this situation. When I was a kid, I went to a school that had a miniature merry-go-round. We kids would sometimes play "catch" on this rotating merry-go-round by throwing a ball straight across the center to another kid. To an observer on the ground, the ball traveled a straight path once it left our hands. But to us kids on a rotating platform the ball's path was strongly curved, and was very difficult to catch. The same effect could be produced by a kid on the stationary ground throwing a ball to a kid on the merry-go-round. We understood these effects because the mechanics of the situation could be clearly seen. But if we did not know the merry-go-round was rotating, we would have had to invent some other explanation. It probably would have been something like "Space becomes curved in the vicinity of merry-go-rounds".

In other cases physicists introduce unrealities as a matter of convenience. Suppose a missile is launched towards New York from the North Pole. As the missile travels, the earth rotates underneath, until, we shall say, Chicago has moved into position underneath the missile instead of New York. To an observer on the ground, the missile has taken a curved path. Curved paths are normally caused by forces acting perpendicular to the line of travel. If we wish to preserve the illusion that the earth is stationary, we can introduce a "fake force" (the Coriolis force) into the calculations to make the calculated path and the actual path coincide. Such calculations are very important in figuring the paths of artillery shells in flight. (The British found this out the hard way once, when they calibrated their tables for Coriolis effects in the northern hemisphere, and then fought a war in the southern hemisphere, where the effect is just the opposite. The shells initially missed their intended targets by a wide margin.)

You can see another common example of reference system effects by watching the moon rise (day or night).  In the east it may initially appear like an upside-down bowl. As it rises in the sky, it appears to "stand up" on edge. As it sets in the west, it becomes rightside-up like a normal bowl. You might conclude that the moon rotates as it travels across the sky (making half a turn in twelve hours). But this is only an appearance. An observer at the North Pole would not see this behavior (or at least not so obviously).

These examples all involve rotations, and have no direct connection to gravitational effects like the bending of light. They are intended only to illustrate how it is possible for one motion to couple with another motionoften an unnoticed motionand give the appearance of motion of another sort, or even no motion at all. Such "reference system effects" are often very subtle and can cause a lot of confusion when we are trying to investigate fundamental phenomena like the behavior of light and gravity.

I think this section, incidentally, is an example of how college textbooks are often vague and sloppy with their facts, but with a lot of digging through several of them, you can usually resolve the discrepancies and distinguish between fact and theory-presented-as-fact. The texts often have good, if very general, information and the math is very useful too. But the conceptual interpretations are often badly flawed and considerable effort and thought are required to sort things out.

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The Gravitational Redshift  and the Principle of Equivalence

The gravitational redshift is an effect predicted by Einstein's Principle of Equivalence (1907) which was later incorporated into General Relativity (1916). The Principle could be stated as:

A homogeneous gravitational field is completely equivalent to a uniformly accelerated reference frame.

What that means is customarily illustrated with the "Einstein elevator". It is a "thought experiment" that uses an ordinary elevator and a beam of light shining from a side wall to show the consequences of the Principle. There are four cases:

Case #1: The elevator is at rest on the earth. The horizontal light beam coming out of the wall is seen by an observer in the elevator to bend downward. The light falls in the gravitational field on a parabolic path exactly like a ball thrown horizontally, or a stream of water from a garden hose.  (We call this a "thought experiment" because the deflection of the light beam is actually far too small to be seen in the elevator. But it is predicted by the Principle of Equivalence.)

Case #2:  We move the elevator to remote outer space, far away from any massive body. A small rocket engine on the bottom of the elevator accelerates it "upward" at 9.8 m/sec2 (equivalent to the gravitational acceleration on earth). We find that the light beam deflects downward and that its behavior, to an observer inside the elevator, is indistinguishable from case #1.

Case #3: While we are in remote outer space, we shut off the rocket engine. We now find that the light beam goes straight across the elevator without being deflected.

Case #4: We come back to earth and put the elevator in orbit around the earth. The path of the elevator is curved as it falls around the earth just like the Space Shuttle or a satellite. The curved path causes an acceleration which exactly balances out the effect of the gravitational field of the earth. The path of the light beam is again straight.

The idea that gravity could deflect a light beam, incidentally,  is not a recent development.  Newton predicted such an effect with his particle model of light, but the effect predicted by Einstein was twice as great. Einstein's version proved to be correct.

So gravity is equivalent to an accelerated reference frame. This insight is fortunate and helpful. From the standpoint of conventional physics the nature of gravity is mysterious and non-intuitive.  If we set up an experiment and try to predict how it will be affected by a gravitational field, we may have difficulty visualizing the outcome. But if so, we can just put the experiment into an accelerated box. Understanding motion is much easier than understanding the actions of mysterious forces. (See also: Why is gravitation an accelerated motion? What powers gravity? )

In this "motional" interpretation of Relativity, the photons are not attracted downward to the earth. Rather, the earth is accelerating upwards into the photon path (case #1). It is exactly like the elevator accelerating upwards into the photon path (case #2). Because our reference frame is attached to the earth or the inside of the elevator, the photon's path appears to curve.

Relativity treats light as a form of energy that can be attracted by gravity, and so another trick is possible with light. We could place a light source on the floor of the elevator (case #1) and shine it upwards. If light moves upwards "against gravity" it will lose a very small amount of energy and become redshifted. Or we could place the light source on the ceiling and the detector on the floor. In this case light falls in the gravitational field, and it will gain energy and become slightly blueshifted.

This is again indistinguishable from what would happen within the Einstein elevator which is accelerating upwards (case #2).  If the light is on the floor, the detector on the ceiling is accelerating away from the photon. It therefore sees the photon as redshifted. If the light is on the ceiling, the detector on the floor is accelerating towards the photon. It therefore sees the photon as blueshifted. If the elevator is in free fall around the earth (case #4) there will be no redshift or blueshift because the gravitational acceleration is balanced out by an accelerated motion.

In the "motional" interpretation of Relativity, gravity actually is accelerated motion, not merely equivalent to it. The redshift/blueshift that is caused by the accelerated motion of the elevator is the same type of phenomena caused by an accelerating earth. The only difference is dimensional: the elevator accelerates in one dimension; the earth accelerates outwards in three dimensions simultaneously (scalar motionmotion that has only a magnitude and no inherent vectorial direction). Both the elevator and the earth qualify as an "accelerated reference frame" and yet both appear to be stationary when viewed from within each system. In the actual situation, the photons are stationary and the earth, or elevator, accelerates into them (gravitational motion). The "towards" motion applies regardless of whether the earth is moving across the photon path (giving the appearance of a bent path) or whether it moves parallel or directly into it (colliding with it, so to speak, at the speed of light).

The experiments by Pound, Rebka, and Snyder at the Jefferson Physical Laboratory at Harvard circa 1960 have verified the existence of the gravitational redshift/blueshift effect to within one percent of the theoretical value. Those fascinating experiments were done with an extremely high resolution energy spectrometer that utilized the Mössbauer effect in iron 57.  Corrections for relativistic effects are also built into the Global Positioning System (GPS). For additional details, visit some of the following links:

For more insights on multi-dimensional motion, see the various discussions that are scattered around at this website such as those in:

Some Thoughts on Intrinsic Spin
Energy from Massless Particles?

In conclusion it can be seen that the gravitational deflection of starlight ("lensing"),  the gravitational redshift/blueshift, the instantaneous "action-at-a-distance"  and "inverse square force" characteristics of gravitation, and the Shapiro time delay (see below) all have a common origin. They can all be understood in a simple, intuitively satisfying way only if gravitation is treated as an intrinsic motion, not as a force or warps in space.

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The Shapiro Time Delay

In the 1960s Irwin I. Shapiro predicted that there would be a time delay introduced into the round trip time of radar signals as they reflected off a planet passing behind a massive body like the Sun. The delay would be caused by the warpage of space due to the presence of the Sun's mass. (Shapiro, Irwin. I., 1964, Physical Review Letters. 13: 789;    Shapiro, Irwin I.  et al., 1971, Physical Review Letters, 26, 1132) . This was another good test of General Relativity, and the effect does indeed appear to be factual:

"In the two decades following Shapiro's discovery of this effect, several high-precision measurements have been made using radar-ranging techniques that evolved from the Venus echo work of 1959-60. Three types of targets were employed: planets such as Mercury and Venus, used as passive reflectors of the radar signals; spacecraft such as Mariners 6 and 7, used as active retransmitters of the signals; and combinations of planets and spacecraft, known as 'anchored spacecraft', such as the Mariner 9 Mars orbiter and the 1976 Viking Mars landers and orbiters. The Viking experiments produced dramatic improvements in the determination of the time delay, because anchoring the spacecraft reduced errors due to random fluctuations in their orbits (planets are very imperturbable), and because noise introduced into the tracking signal by the rough planetary topography and poor planetary reflectivity is removed by the use of transponding spacecraft." (The New Physics, Paul Davies, ed., 1989, p.14)

shaporbit.gif (8390 bytes)

See also "Delay of Light in a Gravitational Field" and others: , ,

The 200 microseconds is the radar distance equivalent of about 40 miles (roundtrip). So this is like saying that the spacecraft, with a planet attached to it, jumped 20 miles out of its normal orbit as it passed behind the Sun. The observations are "explained" by claiming that the Sun's mass causes a warp in space, and consequently the path of a radar beam passing near the Sun has to go through space that is stretched out, and this causes the additional time delay. 

You have probably seen the illustrations of this effect. They show a rubber sheet stretched out across a hoop (like the top edge of a garbage can). Straight lines are then drawn on the sheet and some lines pass near the center of the sheet, and others are closer to the edge. A weight is then placed in the center of the sheet. The sheet deforms downward, with the greatest deformation being at the center.   The lines are still at their same positions on the sheet, but the ones near the center are stretched out longer than the ones near the edges.  The time delay for a radar beam is thus due to a change in the geometry of space itself, not to fluctuations in the orbital path, and is greatest for signal paths grazing the Sun.

Unfortunately, no one has given a conceptual explanation of how the mass grabs hold of the fabric of space and warps it, and so the "explanation" is not very satisfying. It is like explaining a mystery with an enigma. (I used to be amazed that people actually regarded this as an explanation.) 

I would like to offer an alternative explanation. Consider the following illustration:


shappaper.gif (6817 bytes)

This situation is quite a bit like that with the Einstein elevator. In the elevator (remember) the path of the light beam is actually straight, but the acceleration of the elevator and the observer within it, causes the path to appear curved in exactly the same way a stream of water or a ball thrown horizontally appears to curve downward here on earth (except of course, that light travels very much faster than a stream of water and its path cannot really be seen to curve). If the elevator were accelerating in the opposite direction, the curvature would likewise be in the opposite direction.

In the above illustration, the ball is constrained by a straight metal track and is analogous to the light beam. The paper is what we think is flat, stationary space-time. The motion of the paper is analagous to the accelerated gravitational motion near the Sun. However, if we are residing on the paper like tiny bugs, we have the same motion that the paper has, and do not realize that the paper gets yanked up and down (we feel an acceleration, but we remain "stationary" at the same spot on the paper). We bugs know that the ball is constrained to follow a straight path, but it actually traces out a curved (parabolic) path. We realize that this could be caused by a warp in the fabric of the paper, or it could be caused by motion of the paper, neither of which is observable to us bugs.

So how do we choose between the two alternatives? Equations like E=mc2 suggest that, if the equation is to be dimensionally consistent, then m must be some kind of space/time ratio just like the speed of light (the c term) is a space/time ratio. If this is the case, then mass must be what we call motion or speed. Moreover, Einstein's Pinciple of Equivalence states that gravitation is equivalent to an accelerated reference frame. We could take this one step further and say that gravitation is accelerated motion, not just equivalent to it. The premise of Scriptural Physics also requires an understandable, plainly evident universe (no inherent mysteries). Motion is much easier to understand and more plainly evident than invisible warps in space. Hence, the "motional" interpretation of gravitation seems to be the best one. ( See also: Why is gravitation an accelerated motion? )

There are some superficial difficulties, however, and we must educate our intuition a little bit. Consider this problem: A man jumps upwards from the earth. According to the "motional" interpretation of gravity, the man is floating momentarily in free space, but the earth has motion and rushes out to collide with him, accelerating him thereafter so that he has the sensation of weight. Meanwhile, another man on the opposite side of the planet does the same thing, and experiences the same result. How can the earth be moving outward to meet both men? How can the earth be moving simutaneously in diametrically opposite directions? This must be an unusual kind of motion!

Actually, scientists have the same sort of problem. To explain the expansion of the universe they use an analogy of an explosion (the "Big Bang"). The explosion blows everything apart in a directionless fashion. The motion is simply "away" from the original location. You have probably also heard the analogy of the expanding balloon. Points on the balloon's surface move away from each other as the balloon is inflated. This is another kind of directionless expansion.

Scientists also distinguish between "force vectors" and "force fields".  A force pushing a rocket is in the "force vector" category. But the force around a charged particle is in the "force field" category. Forces are apparent in both situations, but the latter has a kind of "doesn't care" attitude about direction. Its essential "direction" seems to be only "towards" or "away".

The motional interpretation of gravity requires a similar kind of "directionless motion". Mathematicians would call it "scalar motion" instead of "vectorial motion."  It is either "towards" or "away" (from everything) and has no property but a signed magnitude. Note that this is simply a description. It is not a theory or an explanation about what causes this type of motion (see spin). Instead of describing the situation with the term "force field", we just use the term "scalar motion". Again, motion is much easier to understand. The "force field" concept requires action-at-distance, and that is an idea that makes scientists uncomfortable.

Because scalar motion is towards or away from everything, it is necessarily a multidimensional motion in the context of the usual reference system. Instead of using the balloon analogy, let's use a picture on a TV screen. As the camera zooms in on a scene, the points on the picture move outward and away from each other. The picture enlarges or expands. The expansion takes place in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the picture. Yet this is just one motion, not two. It is one motion of the two-dimensional type.

Another analogy uses Microsoft windows on a computer display. Let's say you want to expand a window. You put the cursor on an edge and then do a click-and-drag. This expands the window in one dimension. You can also click-and-drag the other edge, and expand the other dimension. Note that these are two separate applications of one-dimensional motion. But there is an even simpler way to expand a window. Do a click-and-drag on a corner. This is one application of a two-dimensional motion. Conceptually, you could generalize this even further. If you could click-and-drag on the corner of a cube, you would have one motion of the three-dimensional type.

This multidimensional motion is exactly what we need for gravitation. Are you intuitively more comfortable with it now? Or when you watched the picture on the TV, did you find yourself thinking "The camera is warping the space on my TV screen"?  Or maybe "The camera is exerting a force field on the picture"?  Hopefully, your mind simply said "The camera is in motion and that explains what I am seeing."  Actually, your brain does the same sort of image processing as you walk down the street or drive a car. Your visual system has a built in "scalar motion processor", and you cannot get more intuitive than that!

It is this gravitational motion of the Sun then, not warps in space, that introduces the equivalent of "more space" and thus the Shapiro time delay.

8-10-02 Note: The view that gravitation is one multidimensional motion requires that its "propagation velocity"  be instantaneous.  Because it is one motion, like the moving points on the TV picture, there is nothing that is propagated, and the action between all points is necessarily instantaneous.  See The Speed of Gravity above. Note that this "action-at-a-distance" has a different character than the non-local action of the EPR paradox. In that situation, if two photons originate in the same event, their Schrödinger waves become "phase entangled", and even though they separate spatially, it can be demonstrated experimentally that they are still connected somehow, and that an action on one has instantaneous effects on the other, regardless of the spatial separation. (See The Problem of Quantum Locality ). In this case there are two objects (photons) but there are also two kinds of  location, a three-dimensional spatial location and a three-dimensional temporal location. The latter is "non-local" to the spatial system and is responsible for the appearance of instantaneous action-at-a-distance. In the case of gravitation, there are also two objects (say, the Earth and Moon), but only the spatial motion is considered.  They are connected by one multidimensional gravitational motion. There is nothing that is propagated, and so actual measurements of the "speed of gravity" give speeds that are so far in excess of the speed of light that only a lower limit on the speed can be given.

11-9-03 Note: You may suspect multidimensional motion is involved somehow when physicists use words like "fields", "potentials", and the "Aharononv-Bohm effect" to describe the phenomena:

"It is possible to interpret the Aharononv-Bohm effect without supposing that the potentials are real by letting the electromagnetic interaction be nonlocalthat is, by permitting action at a distance. Although physicists have traditionally resisted nonlocal theories, it turns out that nonlocal effects may be built into the quantum-mechanical description of nature. There are experiments for which the most natural explanation seems to require that an action at one location produce an instantaneous result at a distant location. This phenomenon is a subtle one in which the principle that signals cannot travel faster than light is not violated . . . and it is surprising and poorly understood.  It is a different kind of nonlocality from that suggested by the Aharonov-Bohm effect, but each situation hints that the quantum-mechanical universe, in some strange unexpected way, may be a nonlocal one.

The Aharonov-Bohm effect is a rich phenomenon with numerous implications. As only one example, it suggests that in quantum mechanics the concept of force is no longer useful. The equations of quantum mechanics never involve forces, only potentials. . . . the effect does seem to demonstrate that potentials are more fundamental than forces in the microscopic world." (Classical & Modern Physics, F.J. Keller, W. E. Gettys, M.J. Skove, (1993)  p. 915-917.   See also The Problem of Quantum Locality

6-21-07 Note:  Physicist Mark P. Silverman explains a bit about the Aharononv-Bohm effect in a book review ( ):

The Aharonov-Bohm (AB) effect is a quantum interference effect that depends on spatial topology and can be manifested only by particles endowed with electric charge. A split electron beam, for example, made to pass in field-free space around (and not through) a region of space within which is a confined magnetic flux, will, upon recombination, exhibit a flux-dependent pattern of fringes. Thus, by a judicious adjustment of the magnetic flux, one can produce an interference minimum in the forward direction, even though the optical path length difference of the two beam components is null. The electrons do not experience a magnetic field locally, and therefore are not acted upon by a classical Lorentz force. 

There is also the Aharonov-Casher effect:

As neutral particles, neutrons do not exhibit what is traditionally regarded as the AB effect. However, neutrons have a magnetic moment and give rise to a companion topological phenomenon known as the Aharonov-Casher (AC) effect. In the latter, a split neutron beam is made to pass around a region of space within which is a confined electric charge and, upon recombination, gives rise to a charge-dependent interference pattern. The experimental confirmation of this effect, which may be interpreted as an example of spin-orbit coupling, was performed at the University of Missouri Research Reactor in 1991.

And the Colella-Overhauser-Werner effect:

In their book, the authors describe the so-called COW experiments (for Colella-Overhauser-Werner) in which a beam of neutrons, coherently split into two components moving parallel, but displaced vertically from one another, are recombined to yield an interference pattern that depends on the gravitational potential difference of the two beams.

For my thoughts on the latter see "What the Neutron Interferometer Reveals about Gravitational and Inertial Mass" above.

I believe that these experiments show how a multidimensional motion manifests itself when interacting with another multidimensional motion of different dimensions. Gravitational motion inherently has three motional dimensions, only one of which can be manifested in our reference system, which uses three dimensions of spatial displacement and one dimension of time progression displacement. Therefore, one dimension of the gravitational motion acts "Newtonian" or as a "force" or as "gravitational potential energy".   Moreover, the motional dimensions are inverted relative to our common reference system (t/s instead of s/t). This inversion makes the motion non-local, non-directional, and with no spatial trajectory. We use the words "potentials" and "fields" to describe the tendency for this type of motion. The reference system can likewise depict one Newtonian potential, but the other two are not normally manifest.  Their presence, however, can be revealed by clever experimental techniques like those used in the AB, AC, and COW experiments.

All this implies that we can expect yet another mystery to appear on the physics scene someday:  a reactionless force generator. By using field technology, the generator would create a beam of mechanical force, but the generator would not experience an "equal and opposite" (Newtonian) reaction. Instead,  the reaction would be "equal and radial" (perpendicular) to the beam generated, and would seem to cancel itself out within the generator. The system would act like a cannon but with no Newtonian kick-back.

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Lack of Recoil in Railguns

Apparently, an effect similar to that described in the paragraph above has been seen in rail guns. This effect is magnetic, instead of gravitational, but the similarities are intriguing:

"The rails need to withstand enormous repulsive forces during firing, and these forces will tend to push them apart and away from the projectile."

That, in and of itself, is not unexpected, as it is predicted by Faraday's law of induction. What is surprising to investigators is the lack of a reaction force:

“An interesting debate in railgun research circles is the location, magnitude, and cause of recoil forces, equal and opposite to the launched projectile. The various claims do not appear to be supported by direct experimental observation. . . . The research is ongoing but we have observed that the magnitude of the force on the armature is at least seventy times greater than any predicted equal and opposite reaction force on the rails.” (AN INVESTIGATION OF THE STATIC FORCE BALANCE OF A MODEL RAILGUN by Matthew K. Schroeder, June 2007 (thesis paper);  

In other words, there seems to be some "missing recoil" in connection with radial electromagnetic forces.  Investigating, I found this comment (quoted in part) on the Internet ( )

"There is very little room for skepticism about the paper. Large scale tests performed by the US Navy of a prototype rail gun involved a 3.35 Kg projectile with a muzzle velocity of 2520 meters/sec. This gives a momentum in excess of 8000 Kg-meters/sec, enough to send a 200 Kg rail gun backward at over 40 meters per second. A conventional gun with similar performance would require a massive and extensive recoil absorption apparatus. There is none needed with a rail gun. . . .

The lack of recoil in rail guns has disastrous consequences for physics; it is a direct and unequivocal demonstration that the law of conservation of momentum is incorrect."  ("Rail Guns don't recoil", Canup, Robert E., December 2008)

The lack of recoil is, shall we say, "non-intuitive".  But it is certainly not "disastrous" for physics. The momentum is still there, just not where we expect it to be, or acting in the expected (Newtonian) manner.

See also:

"Motion Cancellers" (below).

"The Origin of Intrinsic Spin"

"An Overview of the Nature of Time" by Brian Fraser (has relevant comments about gravitation)

The Faraday Paradox at  

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The Relativistic Correction Factor, Gamma (g)

If you study Special or General Relativity you will soon encounter the "relativistic correction factor", gamma, which is usually given as:

gamma.gif (1121 bytes)

The velocity term,  v,   is the conventional speed of the object in motion and c is the speed of light. Gamma itself is just a dimensionless (pure) number. As per the formula, g  is approximately 1 at ordinary terrestrial speeds. At speeds 99.9% of light,  g  becomes about 22. It is a correction factor, not something that stands alone, and applies to speeds in space. It  is used to compute relativistic momentum, relativistic energy, length contraction and time dilation at high speeds.

Physics textbooks have all sorts of examples about how and why it is used. Here is one concerning muons:

Both the length contraction and time dilation are easy to observe for objects moving at velocities whose magnitudes are an appreciable fraction of that of light. A particularly convincing example is found in the behavior of particles called muons. These are known to be formed at an elevation of around 10,000 m, near the top of the atmosphere, as a byproduct of collisions of rapidly moving cosmic rays with the molecular constituents of the atmosphere. The muons are projected toward the surface of the earth at velocities of about 0.999c. They are unstable particles; on the average each lives for 2.2 x 10-6 sec, as measured in a reference frame in which the muons are stationary, before decaying into other particles. Now a particle moving at essentially 3.0 x 108 m/sec for 2.2 x 10-6 sec will travel only 660 m. Hence it might seem that all muons would have decayed long before they are able to reach the ground, since they must travel around 10,000 m to do so. But, in fact, observations show that nearly all the muons formed at the top of the atmosphere reach ground level.

Time dilation explains the observations. A prediction as to whether or not a muon can traverse the thickness of the atmosphere before it decays should not use 2.2 x 10-6 sec for the time available. This value is the proper time the particles live, on the average, because it is measured in a reference frame in which they are at rest. Instead, the corresponding dilated time should be used since the observations are made in a reference frame in which the muons are moving at a very high velocity. For v/c = 0.999, the time dilation factor has the value rad1.gif (1026 bytes) = rad2.gif (1024 bytes)  = 1/0.045 = 22.  Hence the dilated lifetime has the value 22 x 2.2 x 10-6 sec = 4.9 x 10-5 sec. A particle moving at 3.0 x 108 m/sec for this time will travel a distance of 14,000 m, more than enough to reach ground level before decaying. Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles, R. Eisberg, R. Resnick, Second Edition, 1985, p. A-9

Relativity can even predict the actual numbers of muons expected at sea level, not just the expectation that most will arrive there:

It is easy to distinguish experimentally between the classical and relativistic predictions for the number of muons detected at sea level.  Suppose that we observe with a muon detector 108 muons in some time interval at an altitude of  9000 m. How many would we expect to observe at sea level in the same time interval? According to the nonrelativistic prediction, the time taken for these muons to travel 9000 m is (9000 m)/0.998c » 30 msec, which is 15 lifetimes. Inserting N0 = 108   and t = 15T into Equation 1-0  [N(t) = N0e-t/T], we obtain

N = 108e-15 = 30.6  

We would thus expect all but about 31 of the original 100 million muons to decay before reaching sea level.

According to the relativistic prediction, the earth must travel only the contracted distance of 600 m in the rest frame of the muon. This takes only 2 msec = T. Thus the number expected at sea level is

N = 108e-1 = 3.68 x 107  

Relativity predicts that we should observe 36.8 million muons. Experiments of this type have confirmed the relativistic predictions. Modern Physics, Paul Tipler, 1978, p. 13

Modern physics does not clearly explain why the Universe acts this way.  Consequently,  gamma becomes a type of sophisticated "fudge factor" that is used in the equations to make the answers agree with experiment. Hopefully we can educate our intuition by seeking some additional insights into what the gamma equation is trying to tell us.

With some elementary math, we can rearrange it into a different form:

1-v2/c2 = 1/g2

1 = 1/g2 + v2/c2

c2  = c2/g2 + v2  

The last equation with the sum of squares suggests a Pythagorean relationship or a "Euclidean distance" relationship with the speed of light. The relationship could also be written in terms of orthogonal functions (sine and cosine, complex numbers, vectors, etc.). My own term for this kind of math is "orthogonal sum".

OrthogonalSum.gif (4326 bytes)

A slide from my presentation "The Quest for the Stardrive"

Gamma applies only to speeds in space. However, motion at speeds comparable to that of light involve temporal speeds   (motion in coordinate  time) as well as spatial speeds (motion in coordinate space). If we want to combine a temporal speed with a spatial speed, we have to use an orthogonal sum—exactly what this equation is using.  Hence, we could replace the c2/g2 term with a term that represents a temporal speed, which when stated in terms of our spatial reference system would be an inverse speed. When written in s/t dimensions, such an equation would look like the following:

(s/t)2  [=]  (1/(t/s))2 + (s/t)2  

The [=] means that only the dimensions are being considered, not numeric magnitudes.

These two forms of the gamma equation tell us:

In this interpretation, we can immediately see the reason for time dilation at speeds comparable to that of light. At c, the phenomena remains in the same time unit and does not experience the flow of time. At speed c, clocks would have an indefinitely long tick. Unstable particles would have indefinitely long life-times. At speeds slightly less than light, time flows a little bit, but not nearly as fast as we normally experience it. The muons in the example above have their lifetimes stretched out by a slow passage through the time units.

I prefer to illustrate the relationship of the two speeds with this kind of diagram:

gravspeed.gif (17612 bytes)

To get a better intuitive feel for this, consider this rather contrived illustration. Imagine you are on a boat in a river with some extraordinarily ignorant boatmen. The boatmen do not know what a river is. The river you are on is, to them, a long lake.  When the boat is rowed out to a spot in the middle of the long lake, the "magic wood" in the boat's hull makes the land flow by. You point out that the land seems to move because the boat is in a river of moving water and is being carried along by the motion of the water, and that is why the land seems to flow by. But the boatmen are unconvinced. They are on a lake, and the lake water is stationary. They throw a cork overboard and say "See, the cork stays exactly in the same place as the boat, exactly as it does on land, where we did the same test. We are not moving. It is the land that moves, not us."

Later, you discover that the boat has a motor. And so you propose an experiment. You drive the boat upstream with the motor on. The boatmen remark that "The land has stopped flowing, but now the water moves." They throw another cork overboard, and it rapidly moves away. They seem disappointed that you do not believe in the powers of the "magic wood" in the boat's hull. It is as though you have cheated by using the motor.

One thing you realize in this situation, is that no matter what you do, the boat is always moving. If you turn off the motor, the boat moves with respect to the land. If you drive upstream with the motor on, the boat moves with respect to the water. At intermediate speeds, you are moving with respect to both land and water. If you wrote physics equations to describe the situation, you would always have an extra "speed factor" popping up in the equations somewhere.

And that is how things are in a gravitationally bound reference system. Space stays put, but time flows past us. But if we get into a spaceship and move at the speed of light, we find that space flows past us, but time becomes stationary.  No matter what we do, something is still moving! And a speed factor, c, keeps showing up in fundamental physics equations like E=mc2, E=pc, and E=cB. If we try to measure the relationship between a magnetic field and and electric field, we find that different observers with different speeds, will see different magnitudes of the magnetic and electric components (see the example in the Motion Cancellers article below). And unlike the situation with the boat where the speeds are purely spatial and of the same basic nature, the speed of an object in the context of a gravitational system is a combination of  two speeds of a dissimilar nature. And so the total speed has to be computed by orthogonal addition of the two terms. This means that they are inextricably intertwined with each other, and that our simple concepts of space and time must be augmented with some really obnoxious "relativistic" relationships.

At ordinary everyday speeds these complex relationships can be ignored. But they are still present, and can be detected with high-precision instruments, even at low speeds. An experiment with ultra precise atomic clocks flown on commercial airline flights in 1971 demonstrated the  kinematic time shift (Special Relativity) and the gravitational time shift (General Relativity). And lately there have also been hints of  the Lense-Thirring "frame drag" caused by rotation of a gravitational body like the Earth.

Update 5-19-2003: Buried in this interpretation somewhere is a suggestion that gravitation is necessarily non-directional. Our planet is "moving through time" or "time is passing by us". In other words, our Earth is moving relative to time. The real motion must be some dimensional version of a t/s ratio (coordinate time per unit of clock space). Temporal motion, however, has no direction in space. The gravitational motion can therefore have a signed magnitude, but vectorial direction is fundamentally meaningless here.  It follows that gravity must  necessarily have the 1/r2 or "inverse square" force (motion) distribution explained earlier. Other inverse square forces will likely have an analogous structure (t3/s3 for mass, t2/s2   for magnetic "charge", t1/s1  for electric charge). Also implied is: 1.) the motion of a spacecraft within the spatial system can make the passage of time seem to slow down to zero, but cannot make time speed up, and 2.) the fundamental motion of a spacecraft will always oppose gravitational motion; it must be "towards c" and not "away from c and towards more gravity".

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."  —Jeremiah 33:3, NIV

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Why is gravitation an accelerated motion? What powers gravity?

Acceleration normally causes an increase in speed and change of position. When you accelerate your car on the freeway, you are changing your position and your speed. An engine is required to power this acceleration. If gravitation is equivalent to accelerated motion, then what powers the gravitational engine? And when I stand on Earth, I am being accelerated by it. So where am I going?  What is my current velocity after many years of acceleration at 9.8 m/sec2 ?  How far have I gone during my lifetime?  Why am I still in the same old solar system that I was in years ago?

To answer this, we need to know what other kinds of motion can cause acceleration.  Acceleration can cause a change of speed or a change of direction (or both). In the car we think of acceleration as changing our speed. But we would also be accelerated if our direction were changing (through use of the steering wheel) even though our miles-per-hour were constant.

Let's suppose a mysterious thing happened to my house.  While I slept, the entire house began quietly rotating. I wake up the next morning and pour myself some coffee. In the kitchen the coffee goes straight into the cup, just as I would expect. Then I wander into the living room. I pour myself another cup, but the coffee stream goes somewhat sideways instead of straight down. I begin thinking, "The house is settling . . .  must be on the edge of a sink hole."   But I pour another cup in the kitchen and it again goes straight down. The stream only deviates when I get near the outer walls in other parts of the house. It is as though there is a kind of   "bent gravity" or "wall magnetism" or something. I have no idea what causes it. It is just a mysterious force that was not there yesterday. I know forces result in acceleration. So I start asking myself the same questions: "Where am I going?  What is my current velocity? . . ."

To an observer outside the house, there is no such mysterious force. The effect is caused by rotational motion. A physicist describes it this way:

"Another example of pseudo force is what is often called "centrifugal force." An observer in a rotating coordinate system, e.g. in a rotating box, will find mysterious forces, not accounted for by any known origin of force, throwing things outward toward the walls. These forces are due merely to the fact that the observer does not have Newton's coordinate system . . ." (The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. I, p. 12-11)

Hmmm . . . That reminds us of the Einstein elevator. We gave the elevator a linear acceleration of 9.8 m/sec2 by powering it with a small rocket engine and the result was indistinguishable from normal gravity.   But here we see an alternative. We could put the Einstein elevator in a centrifuge and whirl it around with increasing speed until the occupant experiences the same acceleration. But there is an obvious difference. After the centrifuge gets up to speed, we can turn off the power. The occupant will still experience acceleration even though nothing is powering it (in a normal elevator, the acceleration would stop immediately, but the speed would continue at its last value if the deceleration due to Earth's gravity is ignored)  So here we have the equivalent of "gravity", but there is nothing that powers it. The effect results from uniform, unchanging motion. But it has to be motion of a special sort: rotational motion.

So now we must ask, Could gravitation be a pseudo force?  Physicists have asked the same question:

"One very important feature of pseudo forces is that they are always proportional to the masses; the same is true of gravity. The possibility exists, therefore, that gravity is itself a pseudo force. Is it not possible that perhaps gravitation is due simply to the fact that we do not have the right coordinate system?"  (The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. I, p. 12-11)

In their ultimate character, we could say:

rotational motion is a uniform change of direction with no change of position

temporal motion is a change of position with no inherent direction

In other words it could be that this kind of temporal motion (i.e., gravitational motion) is a completely uniform unaccelerated motion when seen from a more complete, true-to-all-facts reference system.  It needs nothing to power it. But because we are in a spatial reference system,  we experience it as accelerated motion. This is just an idea of course, and needs further investigation and exposition.

"And what is hidden he brings out to the light" —Job 28:11

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The Kinematic Time Shift,  Gravitational Time Shift

The existence of kinematic and gravitational time shifts were confirmed by the Hafele and Keating Experiment in 1971. (Kinematics pertains to times, lengths, speeds, etc. Essentially, it is concerned only with the space and time coordinates, and has nothing to do with masses and gravitation.) The Georgia State University physics/astronomy web site offers us this summary:

Hafele and Keating Experiment
"During October, 1971, four cesium atomic beam clocks were flown on regularly scheduled commercial jet flights around the world twice, once eastward and once westward, to test Einstein's theory of relativity with macroscopic clocks. From the actual flight paths of each trip, the theory predicted that the flyng clocks, compared with reference clocks at the U.S. Naval Observatory, should have lost 40+/-23 nanoseconds during the eastward trip and should have gained 275+/-21 nanoseconds during the westward trip ... Relative to the atomic time scale of the U.S. Naval Observatory, the flying clocks lost 59+/-10 nanoseconds during the eastward trip and gained 273+/-7 nanosecond during the westward trip, where the errors are the corresponding standard deviations. These results provide an unambiguous empirical resolution of the famous clock "paradox" with macroscopic clocks." J.C. Hafele and R. E. Keating, Science 177, 166 (1972) See

Around-the-World Atomic Clocks
In October 1971, Hafele and Keating flew cesium beam atomic clocks around the world twice on regularly scheduled commercial airline flights, once to the East and once to the West. In this experiment, both gravitational time dilation and kinematic time dilation are significant - and are in fact of comparable magnitude. Their predicted and measured time dilation effects were as follows:

Predicted:         Time difference in ns
                  Eastward          Westward
Gravitational     144
± 14          179 ± 18
Kinematic        -184 ± 18           96 ± 10
Net effect        -40 ± 23          275 ± 21
Observed:         -59 ± 10          273 ± 21


The kinematic time shift should be understandable in view of what is presented above about the Relativistic Correction Factor, gamma. But we seem to be left with the question of  "Why would a clock slow down when it is immersed in a gravitational field?"  Most people's reaction is that if a clock acts that way, then it is not a very good clock. Or if it is a good clock, then it must be measuring something, but it is not measuring time. Although this behavior looks rather enigmatic, an explanation can be offered that is simple and intuitive.

The time shift formula is:

(TA-TE)/TE = gh/c2   

where TA is the elapsed time on the clock at altitude,  TE is the elapsed time on the clock on Earth, g is the acceleration of gravity, h is the height difference in meters, and c is the speed of light.  (Note the similarity to the gravitational redshift/blueshift formula:  v/c = gh/c2 ).

Let's mentally estimate how small of an effect we are looking for on the right side of the equation. Taking g as 9.8 m/sec2, h as one meter, and c as 3 x 108  m/sec, we can readily see the ratio is about 1 part in 1016an extremely small effect.

Now plug in some numbers from the Hafele and  Keating experiment on the left side of the equation:

(179 x 10-9sec)
(48.6 hours)(3600 sec/hour)

That gives 1.02 x 10-12 for a height difference of 9400  meters. Dividing out the 9400  gives 1.085 x 10-16 which agrees well with our mental estimate for a one meter height difference.

Consider the conventional explanation for this effect from The Feynman Lectures on Physics (Vol.2, section 42-6 "Speed of clocks in a gravitational field")

"Suppose we put  a clock at the "head" of the rocket ship—that is, at the "front" end—and we put another identical clock at the "tail" . . . . If we compare these two clocks when the ship is accelerating, the clock at the head seems to run fast relative to the one at the tail." (p. 42-9)

The critical thing to understand here is where the clocks are located relative to the motion of the rocket ship. In my elevator example, they would have to be mounted on the ceiling and on the floor, not on the side walls. Understanding the effect is straight-forward and is exactly like the explanation for gravitational redshift/blueshift. Suppose the upper clock is used to control a device that emits pulses of light. The light pulses are emitted once every second and shine downward to a detector on the floor, which compares their timing upon arrival with an identical clock on the floor. During the transit interval of the pulse from ceiling to floor, the elevator is accelerating and the detector is therefore moving faster than it was when the pulse was first emitted. The detector is moving towards the emitter and  sees the pulses as "crammed together slightly". (This is just like a Doppler shift with an extremely low frequency sourcesomething we call a "clock".)   The time separation between the pulses is now less than a second. We could say that the equipment on the floor wonders why the pulses are coming in faster than expected. It concludes that the clock on the ceiling that controls the emitter pulse stream is running fast (or that the clock on the floor is running slow). 

We will reach the very same conclusion if we put the emitter on the floor and the detector on the ceiling. In this case the detector is moving away from the light pulse at a speed slightly faster than when the pulse was emitted. It sees the incoming pulses "stretched out".  The interval between the pulses is now more than a second. And so we conclude that the clock on the floor must be running slow (or the one on the ceiling is running fast). Even though we have reversed the positions of the equipment, we still reach the same conclusion.

Now consider some variations that could be introduced.

1. We leave the emitter and detector on the floor (or ceiling) so that the light path is aligned in the same direction as the motion of the elevator. But we set the elevator to a constant speed (no acceleration). In this case no time shift will be detected. Similarly, no redshift/blueshift would be detected either. The speeds of emitter and detector remain the same and there is no Doppler shift detectable within the elevator.

2. We relocate the emitter and detector (and their clocks) so that they are on the side walls of the elevator and the light path is now perpendicular (transverse) to the motion of the elevator. In this case there will again be no time shift, nor redshift/blueshift.  There will be no effect detectable within the elevator regardless of whether it is moving at constant speed or accelerating. The path of the light is slightly elongated due to the combination of the motions (a straight diagonal line for constant speed, or a slight curve for accelerated speed). The detector, however, can detect only the timing between pulses, and once they start arriving, the pulse rate is the same.

3. We put the emitter on a rocket ship and the detector on earth. In this case we will see the conventional Doppler shift. We can tell whether the rocket is moving towards us or away from us. We can also detect whether its speed relative to Earth is constant, accelerating, or even zero. But only the "radial component of the speed" (the portion directly towards or away from Earth) is detectable. This principle is widely used by astronomers.

So is there a problem with the clocks or not?  No, the problem is with our intuition and the reference system. Gravity is an ordinary everyday thing. We simply do not expect, offhand, that gravity would have any effect on a time measurement.  In contrast, hardly any of us have to measure precise time intervals within a vehicle that is changing speed (accelerating). But if that were an everyday task,  we would be quite comfortable with the gravitational time shift too, because an accelerating reference system has the same effects on time interval measurement as gravity.

"You do not know the activity of God who makes all things."  Ecclesiastes 11:5

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"Motion Cancellers"

A motion canceller (my own term) is a scheme that can be used to cancel (or counterbalance) one motion of a multidimensional motion so that the other motions, which are usually not apparent, become manifest. The resultant motions are perpendicular to the motion used for cancellation.

As applied to gravitation, it means that you can apply a canceling motion (or "force" if you prefer the term) to a stationary object, and it will begin moving (or exerting a force), not in the direction of the canceling motion, but in a direction perpendicular to it.

To get a better intuitive feel for this, consider a non-technical example. It consists of an ordinary spool of thread, a pin, and a card (a business card will do) assembled as shown in the illustration below. Hold the card on the bottom of the spool (using the pin to center it in the hole) and then blow air down the shaft with your mouth. While you are blowing, move your hand away from the card. What do you think will happen?

spool.gif (5125 bytes)

As every kid who has tried this in an elementary science class knows, the card will not be blown off the spool. It will remain attracted to the bottom as long as air is blown through the hollow shaft of the spool. This little experiment is used to illustrate the Bernoulli and Coanda effects of moving fluids. The principle has widespread applications in industry. A few obvious ones are carburetors in cars, steam jet ejectors used for refrigeration,  perfume atomizers, and Bernoulli wands used by the semiconductor industry to lift and move silicon wafers without touching the circuit side (not to be confused with vacuum wands, which are used on the backside).

How does it work? The card is normally bombarded by air molecules coming from all directions and having every orientation. Each ricocheting air molecule has a momentum component that is perpendicular to the face of the card. All these components add up to produce a pressure on each face of the card. As long as the card is fully immersed in air and the bombardment is random, the pressures will be equal, and the card does not move.

But when the card is placed near the spool, and air is blown through the shaft, the pressures become unbalanced. The air flow bends parallel to the surface of the card, and the perpendicular component on the spool side is literally "blown away" (partially). The perpendicular component on the other side of the card is thus unopposed, and an unbalanced pressure develops which moves the card towards the spool. The harder you blow, the more firmly the card moves towards the spool. (The pin simply keeps the card from sliding sideways.)

card.gif (7727 bytes)

A slide from my presentation "The Quest for the Stardrive"

Note that air moving in two dimensions, in a plane parallel to the card, has caused the card to move perpendicular to the air flow. It has made apparent the existence of an effect that is otherwise not observable. One motion is used to cancel a hidden motion; the "canceller motion" does not directly produce the resulting motion, but allows an existing motion to become manifest. (loosely, this meets the definition of a motion canceller.)  If you could repeat the equivalent of this experiment in the vacuum of outer space, the card would simply be blown off, as there is no opposing motion from air molecules.

The motion canceller idea can also give us insights on physical concepts that otherwise seem to be counter intuitive. One class of problems of this sort involves the Poynting vector. This vector, S = e0c2 E X B, tells us how electromagnetic energy flows in space. It is often encountered in discussions about the properties of light, but it applies to other things too, like electric current in capacitors, a resistance wire, magnets with static charges, and so on. It often implies some surprising, and seemingly awkward things. Here is a textbook example from Feynman Lectures on Physics:

"Now we take another example. Here is a rather curious one. We look at the energy flow in a capacitor that we are charging slowly. . . . There is a nearly uniform electric field inside which is changing with time. . . . So there must be a flow of energy into that volume from somewhere. Of course, you know that it must come in on the charging wiresnot at all! It can't enter the space between the plates from that direction, because E is perpendicular to the plates; E X B must be parallel to the plates.

You remember, of course, that there is a magnetic field that circles around the axis when the capacitor is charging. . . . Its direction is shown in [the figure]. So there is an energy flow proportional to E X B that comes in all around the edges as shown in the figure. The energy isn't actually coming down the wires, but from the space surrounding the capacitor." (Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol II, p. 27-7)

Poynting_capacitor.gif (5685 bytes)

(This also brings to mind another topic of popular interest:  the Biefeld-Brown effect.  Suppose the capacitor is  asymmetric in that it has plates with very different areas. The electric field will be shaped somewhat like a cone, instead of a cylinder, and will be highly divergent..  The "lifters" constructed with such principles are usually "leaky", due to corona effects, and require electric current to keep them charged. The current is of course accompanied by a magnetic field.  The resultant Poynting vector is directed inward toward the central axis, but now also has a vertical component. Could this flow of energy/momentum be related to the source of lift claimed for these devices? And does the electric gradient between the ionosphere and the earth (about 100 volts per meter) have anything to do with lift generation? Refs: , , , )

Let's now try a more technical example involving gravitational motion.We run electrons through a metal bar as shown in the illustration below:

gravbar1.gif (4823 bytes)

gravbar2.gif (7110 bytes)

(The idea that an electron is equivalent to rotational space ("spin space" as contrasted to extension space) is discussed more thoroughly in the first three articles of  Some Thought Provoking Issues. It is also illustrative to compare the space/time dimensions of mv2 and Li2 . Both must reduce to the dimensions of energy.   According to the discussion of the Hamiltonian,  energy is  t/s and mass is t3/s3. If electron current is space per time, then the dimensions of L (inductance)   must be  t3/s3, which is the same as that for mass. This makes perfect sense: the nature of the bar is not changed by moving it through space, nor is it changed by moving space through the bar. See also Feynman, :Lectures, Vol 2, p. 17-12) 

In this example, the bar is moving in all three dimensions of extension space simultaneously. (This multidimensional motion of one object is somewhat difficult to visualize, and you might need to review the above two sections about Gravitational Lensing and Gravitational Redshift.) The motion of the electron space through the bar "cancels" the spatial motion of the bar in one dimension. The other two dimensions of the gravitational motion are still active and act perpendicularly (radially) to the long axis of the bar. This resultant is a still a scalar motion and will become manifest with another object possessing the same type of motion.  Hence, two wires so treated will be moving "towards" each other. This is an effect that  we call "magnetic". Also, because it is two-dimensional, the resulting motion is "orientable" in the context of a gravitationally bound reference system.

For more technical examples, see Motion Couplers and Momentum Converters.

A similar effect can be produced by moving a wire through a magnetic field, or by moving electrons in free space through a magnetic field:

magdefl2.gif (13591 bytes)

Dimensional relationships like this involve a factor of the speed of light. In this case the electric field and the magnetic field are related by the equation E = cB, where c is the speed of light. Hence, this "electromagnetic effect" is definitely nothing weak or subtle. It is used in motors, for example, that run everything from simple floor fans to gigantic pumps for municipal water supplies, as well as many other types of devices.

Atoms of the metal bar possess gravitational motion and, again, are moving in all three dimensions of extension space simultaneously. How would an atom act if one of these dimensions of motions could be cancelled by a "motion canceller". We can get a clue from the behavior of massless particles. In contrast to massive particles, massless particles lack one dimension of the gravitational motion. They possess only momentum, not mass. The space/time relationships are shown in the table below. (The table is copied from the article  Energy from Massless Particles? , which has more information on mass, inertia, and massless particles).

Symbol Name Space/time
C Factor Energy Term
E energy t/s c0 E
p momentum t2/s2 c1 pc
m mass t3/s3 c2 mc2

Whereas massive particles are moving "anti" to the outward progression of space and time in three dimensions (t3/s3),  massless particles, like the neutrino, have this anti-motion only in two dimensions (t2/s2). This means that massless particles cannot fully participate in the motion that is characteristic of a gravitationally bound reference system. Hence, massless particles will move at the speed of light relative to such a system. This missing dimension of motion can, of course, have any orientation relative to the reference system.

Now we begin to see what might be required of an antigravity device. Atoms are built from the 4p and 2p intrinsic spins as explained in The Atomic Spin System. There is no way to get rid of these intrinsic spins and still have intact atoms, because the spins are the source of chemical properties a defining characteristic of atoms as well as the gravitational motion. Instead, the most likely approach would be to use a  "motion canceller" to cancel out one dimension of the gravitational motion. If this could be done, the device could be made to move at speeds up to that of light. In essence, the device would act like a macroscopic analog of a massless particle. Of course, the influence of the "motion canceller" needs to be fully controllable.

With these insights, you might want to review the gravity modification experiments performed a few years ago at Tampere, Finland and more recently by NASA. Some of many links:

"Finnish researcher reportedly discovers gravity-change effect"

"Superconductive Components, Inc. awarded phase II contract by NASA on gravity modification"

"Breakthrough as scientists beat gravity."

"Tampere Anti-Gravity Report"

And others:   "Impulse Gravity Generator Based on Charged YBa2Cu3O7-y Superconductor with Composite Crystal Structure", arXiv:physics/0108005 v2  30 Aug 2001, Evgeny Podkletnov, Giovanni Modanese, (32 pages, 7 figures). 

From the abstract: "An apparatus has been constructed and tested in which the superconductor is subjected to peak currents in excess of 104 A, surface potentials in excess of 1 MV, trapped magnetic field up to 1 T, and temperature down to 40K." The apparatus produces a "focused beam" which propagates "without noticeable attenuation through different materials and exerts a short repulsive force on small movable objects and independent of their composition. It therefore resembles a gravitational impulse. The observed phenomenon appears to be absolutely new and unprecedented in the literature." (p. 1)

From the article: The repulsive force "on pendulums made of different materials does not depend on the material but is only proportional to the mass of the sample. Pendulums of different mass demonstrated equal deflection at constant voltage. This was proved by a large number of measurements using spherical samples of different mass and diameter. The range of the employed test masses was between 10 and 50 grams. . . . Measurement of the impulse taken at close distance (3-6 m) from the installation and at the distance of 150 m gave identical results, within the experimental errors. As these two points of measurements were separated by a thick brick wall and by air, it is possible to admit that the gravity impulse was not absorbed by the media, or the losses were negligible. . . . This work indicates that a kind of artificial gravity can be generated using the unique properties of superconducting ceramic materials and a combination of electric and magnetic forces." (p. 8-9, 27)

The illustrations are interesting too: (32.3 kB) (40.0 kB) (22.4 kB) (14.0 kB) (5.1 kB) (3418 bytes) (3125 bytes)          

Antigravity Replication Experiments:
Tampere Replication -- How to
"Demonstration of transient weak gravitational shielding by a YBCO LEVHEX at the superconducting transition",  John Schnurer
A possibility of gravitational force shielding by bulk YBa2Cu3O7-x superconductor", E. Podkletnov and R. Nieminen
"Weak gravitation shielding properties of composite bulk YBa2Cu3O7-x superconductor below 70 K under e.m. field", E. Podkletnov

Other Antigravity Patent claims:

Technical and Theoretical Specifications for Warp Drive Technology
Andrew Peter Worsley, Peter John Twist, June 19, 2003

( ) United States patent database
( ) European patent database
( )    James Ryley's site

(Some words of caution: a patent attorney once told me that devices do not actually have to work to be granted a patent. Patents can be granted on "plausibility" without an actual demonstration of a working device. Also, many offbeat technology patents seem to have a lot of highly technical circumlocution and obfuscatory nonsense in their "Theory of Operation" section. Apparently, this is just fluff to impress patent examiners or investors. Some of these patents clearly merit skepticism.)

A relevant fact is that atomic spin coordination is possible in high-temperature superconductors:

"Many atoms have a magnetic property called spin, which makes them behave as tiny bar magnets. Scientists noticed in experiments even 10 years ago that at a temperature just below the superconductivity threshold, the spins of many atoms in some copper oxide compounds fluctuated in a coordinated manner. . . Now "it's pretty much been proven that the [spin coordination] is present for all high-temperature superconductors," comments Andrey V. Chubukno of the University of Wisconsin-Madison"  Science News, March 16, 2002, Vol 161, No 11, p. 173-174. ( )  

"Secret of superconductivity in sight" 24 January 2002

How high is high-temperature?

"Currently, the superconductor with the highest critical temperature ever recorded is Mercury Barium Thallium Copper Oxide or Hg0.2Tl0.8Ca2Cu3O, which has a critical temperature of 139 K at one atmosphere. This superconductor is a type of ceramic copper oxide and its critical temperature was determined in 1995 by Chakoumakos, Dai, Wong, Sun, Lu, and Xin. Apparently, metal-copper oxide ceramic superconductors have high critical temperatures, which might unlock the key of synthesizing a high temperature superconductor that is superconductive under room temperature conditions."

Some superconductors are very sensitive to processing parameters, such as heating and cooling rates:

"The recent discovery of superconductivity at temperatures up to 125 K has led to unprecedented worldwide research efforts to understand mechanisms and properties so that these materials can be utilized advantageously for energy conservation in applications such as electrical energy transmission and storage, transportation, and electronics. One family of these materials, containing Bi, Sr, Ca, Cu, and O, is very sensitive to the temperature of heating and the rate of cooling during processing. A wide range of properties is possible, depending on these parameters. This sensitivity to heating temperature and cooling rate suggested an investigation in the PSU ballistic compressor to determine the effects of rapid heating and cooling on the properties of these materials."   See also "Enhancement of To of Bi-Sr-Ca-Cu-O Superconductor by Rapid Heating and Cooling in a Ballistic Compressor" Q. Duan, J. Dash, M. Takeo, and J. Huang, J. Appl. Physics, 69, 4897 (15 April 1991);

Clearly the design of such a "motion canceller" would be facilitated by a factual model of the atom (one based on intrinsic spin systems), and by a re-write of all physical equations in terms of space/time (or time/space) ratios. Such an approach will surely lead to powerful and general solutions to perplexing problems in physics. The biggest obstacle by far however, will be in overcoming our own preconceived ideas and misconceptions about how the Universe actually works.


6-14-03 Update: Some additional articles have appeared on this subject: recently:

"Podkletnov maintains that a laboratory installation in Russia has already demonstrated the 4in (10cm) wide beam's ability to repel objects a kilometre away and that it exhibits negligible power loss at distances of up to 200km.  Such a device, observers say, could be adapted for use as an anti-satellite weapon or a ballistic missile shield."  ( Jane's Defence Weekly 29 July 2002, Anti-gravity propulsion comes 'out of the closet', By Nick Cook, JDW Aerospace Consultant, London)  See

The following two citations are from "Investigation of high voltage discharges in low pressure gases through large ceramic superconducting electrodes" ( Evgeny Podkletnov, Giovanni Modanese, 26 Apr 2003 (final version), )

"The propagation velocity of the radiation is still unknown, too. This can be measured in principle by placing two identical detectors A and B along the beam, at a known distance from each other (for instance, the maximum observed distance, AB=150 m). If the beam propagates with the speed of light, then the detection delay will be of the order of 10-6 s. This can be observed by comparing the signals of the two detectors as seen at the middle point between A and B. Then for a check one can exchange A with B. The method requires that the detectors have a temporal resolution better than 10-6 s.  In general, it is difficult to obtain fast rise times in detectors based on mechanical transducers." (Section 5)

"The repulsive character of the force is not explainable in the classical gravitational theory, either." (Section 4.2)

If the Podkletnov gravitational impulse device operates on the motion canceller principle, the "beam" propagation velocity should be infinite. In other words, the effect is instantaneous. Nothing is propagated, for reasons previously outlined in the 8-10-02 Note above in the Shapiro Time Delay article and elsewhere.  The effect is repulsive because the "towards" motion of gravity is cancelled in one dimension between the two participating objects. These objects no longer (fully) participate in the motions of a gravitationally bound reference system and are not coming together at the same rate in all dimensions. The effect will look like "repulsion" in the context of a laboratory reference system.

There are also some more clues about the occupant acceleration problem noted previously :

"Because the impulse gravity beam penetrates bulk material and seems to act independently of target composition, it will uniformly accelerate all spacecraft components in the beam path. Even at high accelerations, the spacecraft components would not experience any internal stresses; a spacecraft being propelled by an impulse gravity beam would behave as though it were in freefall. Uniform acceleration of all spacecraft components means that even delicate payloads might safely undergo very high accelerations." (EVALUATION OF AN IMPULSE GRAVITY GENERATOR BASED BEAMED PROPULSION CONCEPT, Chris Y. Taylor, Giovanni Modanese, page 5; presented 7-10 Jul 2002; Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., 2002.  See )

At this point, the indications are that spacecraft speeds up to that of light appear to be technically feasible and practical (but not as currently envisioned as "beamed propulsion"). Speeds greater than light do not appear to be forbidden, but such speeds would be temporal, rather than spatial. However, that might prove to be an advantage. The "inverseness" of space/time ratios implies that locations which are widely separated in coordinate space are comparatively close in coordinate time. The operational equivalent of the science fiction "warp drives" might prove to be possible after all. (See also the diagram, Speeds in a Gravitationally Bound Reference System and its discussion)

More about Podkletnov:

"Breaking the Law of Gravity" by Charles Platt (Mar 1998)


Some NASA related links are listed below (try rating my website with the criteria in the first citation below):

Millis, M., "NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program", NASA/TM-1998-208400, (June 98) (9 pg.).

Millis, Marc G. "Challenge to Create the Space Drive," In Journal of Propulsion and Power (AIAA), Vol. 13, No. 5, pp. 577-682, (Sept.-Oct. 1997).

Millis and Williamson, ed., "NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Workshop Proceedings,"NASA/CP-1999-208694, Proceedings of a conference held at and sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland Ohio, August 12-14, 1997. (Jan. 99) (456 pg.). **NOTE** A condensed, 10-page summary of this workshop is available as: Millis, M. "Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Workshop Preliminary Results," NASA TM-97-206241 (Nov. 97).

Advanced Space Transportation Program

"To find out more about BPP's challenges and new concepts, check out "Warp Drive, When?"   "

"To stay aware of any further developments or emerging opportunities associated with the BPP Project, please revisit the Project web site from time to time   "

You can also access the NASA WWW and do a word search on your topic of choice. The "Search" capability of "Space Link" may provide you a wealth of  information.

NASA funding mechanisms have had breakthrough propulsion added to their solicitation topics. If you are doing work in this field, you might want to investigate the funding opportunities. See

Some interesting links about space and time:

Luxon Hypothesis: "H. Zeigler proposed in 1909 that relativity phenomena would be a natural result if the most elemental particles of mass were made of smaller particles that all moved at the constant speed of light."

The Reciprocal System,  
The Collected works of Dewey B. Larson,   This is a textbook by David Morin that has "grown out of the first-semester honors freshman physics course that has been taught at Harvard University during recent years." It is quite good. Chapter 5 is about "The Lagrangian Method" which is very useful, general, and powerful in both classical mechanics and quantum mechanics. Chapters 10,11,12, and 13 are about Relativity. I especially agree with the author's approach to teaching:

"One thing many people don’t realize is that you need to know more than the correct way(s) to do a problem; you also need to be familiar with many incorrect ways of doing it. Otherwise, when you come upon a new problem, there may be a number of decent-looking approaches to take, and you won’t be able to immediately weed out the poor ones. Struggling a bit with a problem invariably leads you down some wrong paths, and this is an essential part of learning. To understand something, you not only have to know what’s right about the right things; you also have to know what’s wrong about the wrong things. Learning takes a serious amount of effort, many wrong turns, and a lot of sweat. Alas, there are no short-cuts to understanding physics."  --David Morin

"It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things."
Daniel 2:22

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Speculation on Potential Uses of Antigravity

The term "antigravity" as used below is defined as:

The ability by technical means to exert a  mechanical push or pull on a target object of any material composition located at a distance without actually touching it with radiation, particles, or electric or magnetic fields. The mechanical effect "propagates" instantaneously and does not show wavelength, phase, or aberration effects like light. The effect can be focused, shaped, or concentrated in some manner, as is currently done with magnetic or electric fields, but not in the manner done with light or electromagnetic radiation.

Hundreds of years ago, electric and magnetic phenomena were thought to be unrelated. But the later experiments of Gauss, Faraday, Maxwell and many other investigators showed that they are actually related in very definite ways. Nowadays conventional science suspects that the gravitational field is also somehow related to electric and magnetic fields. But modern progress in this area has been minimal, and gravitation remains an oddball that has not been "unified" with the other fields.

The various articles above suggest that there is a clear dimensional relationship between electric (t1/s1), magnetic (t2/s2) and gravitational (t3/s3) fields. These fields were treated as multidimensional motions (space/time ratios) rather than as some sort of mysterious action-at-a-distance effect. In principle, the concept of motion is completely understandable by the human mind. In practice, particularly as used here, some education of our intuition is definitely required.  Motion of our ordinary experience is expressed as s/t;  this could be the motion of a raindrop falling through the atmosphere.  Motion expressed as s2/t would be like the motion of dots on the surface of an expanding sheet of rubber, or the motion of picture elements as a camera zooms in on a scene. Motion of the t/s form has no "path" in space, and requires "field equations" for its description. Rotational motions of either the s/t form or the t/s form are much less intuitive, as are combinations of "motions-of-motions" like momentum (t2/s2) which is a combination of linear spatial motion (velocity) and rotational temporal motion (mass). Every physical property can be expressed as some sort of space/time ratio (see article).

As you can see, the concepts can get messy very quickly, but with better exposition, better examples, more comprehensive equations, better experimental insights, etc., we should still be able to understand these things. They are not inherently beyond our comprehension.

We have already seen that mass (t3/s3) can be combined with electron current (space per time) to give a resultant magnetic field: (t3/s3)(s/t) = (t2/s2) Note that the field remains "bound" to the mass that is so treated. The big questions implied now are:

1. Can mass be combined with yet another kind of motion so that its interaction with other masses becomes repulsive instead of attractive? 
2. Can concepts like permittivity and permeability be extended to some kind of "gravity saturable" material?
3. Are there special materials (akin to dielectric and ferromagnetic materials) that can facilitate the utilization of such a property?

Actual experiments suggest that antigravity is definitely within reach of the technology available today, and might even be closer than most of us think. Fuller development of this technological capability will have many applications and many serious implications. I  list a few of the more interesting ones below (construction equipment, terrorism, cheating at sports, etc., have not been included):

Gamma ray focusing: Currently X-rays can be focused by grazing incidence mirrors. I know of no such devices for gamma rays, which have much higher energies.

Giant aperture telescopes: In our huge universe, light is actually rather slow. Why bother with telescopes if we can just send a probe there and back at speeds much faster than light?  One answer is that light carries a lot of useful information, and large surveys can be done rapidly from telescopes on Earth. Antigravity will not make telescopes obsolete, but might be used to enhance their resolving power and extend the available spectrum.

Cloaking: It is probably possible to bend light around an object such that the light "flows" in a streamlined fashion. If so, the object would become invisible, at least from one point of view. Shielding a spacecraft from gamma rays might also be possible.

An interesting but different method of cloaking by the use of metamaterials can be found at::   by
Alan Boyle, Science editor, MSNBC:

"Here's how to make an invisibility cloak. Theoretical cloaking device
could soon beocme reality (sort of)

msnbc_12961080_b.jpg (5229 bytes)

"The black lines in this drawing show the path that light rays would take
through a theoretical cloaking device. The device's metamaterial would be
patterned in such a way to route the rays around the cloaked sphere."

"If not us, someone else will lead in the exploration, utilization and,
ultimately, the commercialization of space, as we sit idly by."

A Journey to Inspire, Innovate and Discover [by using obsolescent technology],   p. 12,
June 2004,

"This was a failure of policy, management, capability,
and above all, a failure of imagination."

Tom Kean, chairman of the commission investigating
the September 11, 2001, attacks

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"Unconventional Science", RL Jones,  2005:

". . . in order to identify disruptive technologies it is prudent to "look outside the box", and it is only here that the high-risk high-gain developments will be found." (several examples are given)

"The Dark Matters of Dark Energy: American Military Pursues Antigravity Weapons", Gary S. Bekkum, 2006,

"Towards a new test of general relativity?," European Space Agency, 23 March 2006,

" . . . a superconductive gyroscope is capable of generating a powerful gravitomagnetic field, and is therefore the gravitational counterpart of the magnetic coil. Depending on further confirmation, this effect could form the basis for a new technological domain, which would have numerous applications in space and other high-tech sectors" says ESA study manager Clovis de Matos. Although just 100 millionths of the acceleration due to the Earth’s gravitational field, the measured field is a surprising one hundred million trillion times larger than Einstein’s General Relativity predicts."

"Take a leap into hyperspace", New Scientist Print Edition, 05 January 2006, Haiko Lietz

This is an article about the work of Burkhard Heim in quantum mechanics and general relativity with a possible application to antigravity technology.

"Challenge Takes 'The Economist' by 'Steorn'",   Gregory Daigle, 2006-08-19


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Test your opinion about "What is a UFO?" by reading about "The Battle Of Los Angeles" ( ). On February 25, 1942,  around 3 a.m., a UFO was sighted over Los Angeles, California   The Army fired 1,430 rounds of antiaircraft shells at it with no effect on the object. About 100,000 or more people witnessed the incident. What do you think it was?