Go to 9 minutes

1983 letter

“I cannot see the point in inducing prominent

 people in the field to take part in this.” - Howie, 1983

The Conquest of Thought

Conflation  Go to 23 minutes. “…. The more education you have, the more brainwashed you are.”


I quote from M Polanyi, “Personal Knowledge”, pub. RKP 1958/62, p151;

 The two conflicting systems of thought are separated by a logical gap .... Formal operations relying on one framework cannot demonstrate a proposition to persons who rely on another framework. .... Proponents of a new system [are] excluded for the time being .... from the community of science. .... The refusal to enter on the opponent’s way of arguing must be justified by making it appear altogether unreasonable. Such comprehensive rejection cannot fail to discredit the opponent. He will be made to appear as thoroughly deluded, which in the heat of the battle will easily come to imply that he was a fool, a crank or a fraud.


In new window

Re: Misrepresentation?


4.  It was foolish of me to introduce the photon concept which I thought might help to answer the question about how the EM step could accelerate immediately to the velocity of light.” – A Howie 19sep2020



Prof. A Howie

Sat, 19 Sep 2020, 18:21 (1 day ago)

to me, Brian, Alex, Malcolm, Anthony, Steve, michael.pepper

Dear Ivor,

In a possibly fruitless effort to remove all doubt let me summarise my

1. I agree that your picture of EM steps travelling to and fro at the
velocity of light gives an interesting picture of both the charging up
of a capacitor and of the discharging of a charged capacitor when it is
shorted by a resistor.

2. This picture seems pretty straightforward for a coaxial cable.
However, as I described before, it is not quite so simple for a parallel
plate capacitor particularly one with circular plates. Here the
cylindrical EM waves have a problem getting to the centre and some
additional contribution from simple charge flow is needed.

3. For several reasons, this travelling step picture is completely
incapable in my view of describing the static state of a charged
capacitor when it is sitting completely disconnected.

  (a) Without a constant energy input, the moving EM steps will be killed
by ohmic attenuation.  One of your recent messages seems to indicate
that you accept that ohmic dissipation does exist.  However it acts to
reduce the amplitude of the steps not to slow them down as you seem to
suppose it might.  Cancellation between the current flow associated with
oppositely propagating steps is only partial.

   (b) In most cases there will be some radiation and consequent loss of
energy from from the ends of the capacitor when an EM step reflects
there leading to a reflection coefficient less than one.  The coaxial
cable with its central electrode is an exception to this.

   (c) The idea that the moving steps which were involved in the charging
process just able to continue when the capacitor is disconnected runs
into difficulties because in the final stages of charging their
amplitude has reduced to extremely (even infinitesimally) small values.

4.  It was foolish of me to introduce the photon concept which I thought
might help to answer the question about how the EM step could accelerate
immediately to the velocity of light.  I should have just left this as a
consequence that this is the only velocity at which such EM waves or
steps can travel.  The photon (which is just the particle manifestation
of an EM wave) consequently has zero rest mass. 
Instead of helping the
discussion this unfortunately provided another diversionary opportunity
for you to parade your disbelief in wave particle duality.

Wakefield has nothing to do with the subject of wave particle duality. Either the energy in a charged capacitor is stationary, or it is not.

For Palmer, they are merely two “descriptions” of a charged capacitor.

We could “describe” a log of wood as having phlogiston (or caloric), or as not having phlogiston (or caloric). – Ivor Catt

As stated above I do not believe in the travelling step picture for the
statically charged capacitor and therefore I have never thought that
photons could play any role in maintaining the static charge.  I am not
so concerned about having such a crazy view erroneously attributed to me
however.  When repeated it will convey immediately to anyone who
understands the physics of what is going on that either I or more likely
the person who repeats the statement has a very imperfect grasp of the


On 2020-09-19 16:46, Ivor Catt wrote:
> Dear Brian,
> Is Archie correct when  he says you saw no heresy in ? e.g. "that there is no such a
> thing as a static electric field in a capacitor.
> "
> Are DHJ united?
>             Davies, Howie, Josephson.
> Ivor  Ship  Howie cattq The Instrumentalist universities are today doing more harm than good. Peterson, Sowell. eggs to Oxford lost 40 years "This longitudinal field
firstly supplies the driving force necessary if current is to flow in a
non-perfect conductor” – Howie. photons analysis of his equations was not allowed ("outrageous" according to Howie) Frightening  the way that the energy stored in a
charged capacitor is actually conveyed across the plates that to be strictly correct, - Jo on Howie Being there photons

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

 The IoP editor refused to publish my riposte.