to the Editor.
In Electronics World, May 2009, page 17, Roger Anderton
says I made a mistake in my Wireless World March 1980 article - published 29 years
ago! Now, while writing a reply, I re-read some 80 text books in the British
Library, IET Library and Trinity College, Cambridge library. I could not find
the two Maxwell Equations in the form I gave them in 1980. All the books
dealt with Divs and Dels,
which are not fit for purpose. This made me feel very vulnerable, until today
I discovered that in my 1980 article I actually gave the source for my
version, which was in a 1962 book by Kip, from one of the leading science
universities in the world. I quote;
"Our purpose is more easily served if we use another of the many
versions that litter the text books :
dE/dx = - (mu)o dH/dt (9)
dH/dx = - (epsilon)o dE/dt
2. Kip, A. F., Fundamentals of Electricity
and Magnetism. McGraw-Hill, 1962, p. 312"
My 1980 article claimed that Maxwell's
Equations contained more or less no information about electromagnetism. When
I wrote it, I was interested in why the minus sign appeared in his equations.
They appeared to imply information, and gave the impression that Maxwell's
Equations actually made assertions about causality, in the manner of Lenz's
Law. By creating the same equations replete with minus signs for a block of
tapering wood travelling at constant velocity, I showed that these minus
signs did not deliver information about electromagnetism, because they said
the same thing about "two thick short planks". I was attempting to demistify Maxwell's Equations. However, since any hint of
failure to worship Maxwell's Equations led to excommunication, the article
only contained my name as author and omitted my usual two co-authors, whose
reputations would survive my having the temerity to question Maxwell's
Equations. As today's scientists know, the religion called "Modern
Physics" has at its centre the dogma that Maxwell's Equations are the
crowning glory of their faith. No questioning, or even consideration, of the
foundations of Maxwell's Equations is allowed in the Cathedral that is Modern
Physics. They must not be addressed rationally, or scientifically, but only
with religious fervour.
“From a long view of the history of mankind – seen from, say, ten thousand
years from now – there can be little doubt that the most significant event of
the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell’s discovery of the laws of electrodynamics.
The American Civil War will pale into provincial insignificance in comparison
with this important scientific event of the same decade.” – R. P. Feynman, R.
B. Leighton, and M. Sands, Feynman Lectures on Physics, vol. 2,
Addison-Wesley, London, 1964, c. 1, p. 11
What is so sad about Roger Anderton's letter in the
May issue is that he asserts that I am wrong, but neither he nor anyone else
comments on my pointing out that the very foundations of Maxwell's Equations
and the dubious mathematics that has grown up around them have fatal flaws.
For instance, my December 1978 article in Wireless World pointing out that
the necessity for electric charge/current to spread out slowly across the
capacitor plates, which had been overlooked for more than a century, has been
totally ignored, not just by Roger Anderton. This
oversight is inextricably bound up in the invention of a dubious
"displacement current". Among other observations by me which have
been ignored was the one in my July 1979 Wireless World article discussing
the two contradictory definitions of the Transverse Electromagnetic Wave (TEM
Wave), which is the basis of today's Digital Electronics.
I define them as "The Heaviside Signal" and "The Rolling
Douglas L Cohen, in his book "Demistifying
Electromagnetic Equations", SPIE Press, 2001, p75, says that
"Maxwell's Equations show that time-varying electric and magnetic fields
can propagate as waves travelling at speed v = 1/√(e0m0).”
They do nothing of the sort. Maxwell's Equations cannot be demistified, because they contain no information.
Clearing out the mystery leaves us with nothing. The world is full of
students earnestly trying to make sense of them, and wrongly concluding that
their failure to do so means that they are stupid.
Ivor Catt 31 May 2009