"Electronics World", May 2009, p16




Letter to the Editor,

Electronics World

Letter 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 [2]:
dE/dx = - (mu)o dH/dt (9)

dH/dx = - (epsilon)o dE/dt (10)

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 Wave".

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




Homepage | Electromagnetism1 | Old Website