Nigel Cook on "The Catt Question" .

The www is littered with the writing of Nigel Cook about "The Catt Question" . Remarkably, he thinks that it only applies to a voltage step with zero rise time. In fact, when the step has a rise time of (say) 2 nsec, the Question is clearer. Anyway, The Question is about where the negative charge on the bottom conductor comes from.

When we come to his four “Errors in Catt Anomaly”, we find that he confuses the question about where the charge comes from with his “radio emission”, which is nothing to do with it. As to the fourth “error”, nobody except Nigel Cook thinks that the symbol D means displacement current, which is dD/dt. “ .... it shows displacement current continuing after the logic step has passed .... “. It does not.

Ivor Catt   28 September 2012  on 28.9.2012

Note from Nigel Cook:

I've just seen this dialogue from "Kevin Brunt", who entered into lengthy dialogue over Catt with me on my blog a couple of months back[1]. "Kevin Brunt" seems to be a close relative (clone?) of "Sir Kevin Aylward" (Warden of the Kings Ale, not a very important post when there not a King!), a physics-trained electronics engineer and musician, see [2] Sir Kevin Aylward wrote a couple of letters about Catt's "ignorance" to Electronics World. After the first letter, Catt and myself both had letters in the next issue pointing out Aylward's errors. I had emailed Catt and asked Catt to write about the science and experimental validation.

However, Catt wrote instead a long masterpiece of character assassination about Sir Kevin, first ridiculing his spelling of Feynman as Feynmann, then saying that Sir Kevin was technically at fault. My letter followed, tied down to the facts: Sir Kevin claimed that QED (quantum field theory of electromagnetism, quantum electrodynamics) renormalised equations explained the Catt anomaly to 15 decimal places so Catt was just ignorant. I pointed out the problems in QED, and that the predictions Feynman makes are trivial corrections, not a prediction of Coulomb's law, because you have to "by hand" put the 1/137 coupling factor for electromagnetic force strength into QED to make it work. All it does is to make trivial perturbative corrections to electromagnetism (a 0.116% increase in the magnetic moment of the electron, for example).

Catt is certainly paranoid and ignorant, but "string theorists" are even more so. Sir Kevin's second letter to Electronics World, according to the editor, had to be censored because it was just rude. Ultimately that seems to be Catt's aim, to anger people and get rude, unpublishable letters which lead to the subject being dropped and ignored by the media as some kind of tornado in a tea cup. Personally, I think every bigwig is crackpot in some way, including Sir Kevin, so just throwing around "crackpot" or "****er" does not convey any useful information. Since Jesus only had 10 true followers (forget the doubter and the betrayer), the crackpot-labellers of 30 AD would surely have listed him in first place. But what does that tell you? Hitler, by contrast, was praised widely and had millions of supporters, but that did not ensure he was right. I agree that most of Catt's drivel is worthless, but that does not mean his early work is crazy. Nigel 22:53, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Strangely (?)enough, I tend to find myself agreeing with the above sentiments (generally). Everone you dont agree with is a crank or crackpot!--Light current 02:52, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

If someone vaguely says the experimentally proved fact are false or wrong, they are asserting ignorance. The problem with Catt is that he does not know, nor want to learn, Maxwell's equations (the full equations, not just the bits used for mere transmission lines), or modern physics, but nevertheless asserts (without knowledge of them), that they have no content or are drivel. I can state correctly that string theory is not based on observables and does not predict anything potentially measurable, without reading all the maths speculations on the subject. This is not crackpot or "opinion" because it is based on unobserved extra dimensions and has no predictions that are testable. These are facts, and anyone can verify them. But it is false to do the same for modern physics (QFT, general relativity) because it us based on observables, even though the facts are usually embedded in maths. Wave-particle duality is observational fact to the extent that the maths for waves and particles can be applied usefully to the model different observations of the same thing (say, an electron or photon). Gravitation similarly is empirical, it is simply: (experimentally substantiated Newton's law, the low-energy, low-speed limit put into general relativity) + (light speed field spacetime) + (experimentally observed conservation of gravitational potential energy, expressed by the contraction term of Einstein's field equation). All this is both empirically defendable in construction, and also predicts other things that can be tested by measurement. Catt's confusion over what is right and what is wrong is due to a lack of physical understanding. 15:37, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Letter to Catt

I'm making a last attempt to get Catt to correct the "Catt Anomaly" diagram:

From: Nigel Cook To: Brian Josephson ; jonathan post ; Forrest Bishop ; George Hockney Cc: Ivor Catt ; Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:21 AM Subject: Errors of the Catt Anomaly

Errors in Catt Anomaly

1. The Catt anomaly diagram shows a true step, which can't occur in reality. There is always a rise-time, albeit a short one. During the rise time T, voltage and current varies gradually from 0 to the peak current i, so the current variation is on the order di/dT, which is a charge acceleration that causes radio emission with frequency f ~ 1/T. (The Catt anomaly diagram shows 0 rise time, so di/dT would be INFINITE, resulting in an infinitely powerful burst of radio energy of infinitely high frequency, which is absurd.)

2. When you correct the Catt anomaly diagram, you realise that there is radio emission in the direction of traditional displacement current, which Catt fails to show.

3. You also notice that the radio energy emission depends on di/dt, which only occurs while the logic step voltage and current are varying, like displacement current.

4. Catt's diagram of the Catt anomaly is totally wrong for a completely different reason: it shows displacement current continuing after the logic step has passed, in other words, in the part of the step to the left, where Catt shows the voltage is steady.

This is a LIE, because displacement current i = [permittivity].dE/dt = [permittivity].dv/(dt.dx). This shows that displacement current ONLY flows if voltage varies with distance along the transmission line (x) or time (t).

Catt should delete all the displacement current arrows (labelled D) which point downwards in the second diagram, and only show it as occurring where the step rise occurs! Catt will then notice that he has discovered the correct disproof of Maxwell's radio theory. While Maxwell had displacement current at 90 degrees to radio propagation, the two actually are the same thing, so Maxwell's theory of radio is false. Will Catt publish this?

Nigel Cook 10:56, 10 January 2006 (UTC)


Catt's confusion over whether electrons exist means that nobody need pay attention to him. My success in disproving Ivor Catt's confused hogwash at shows how he responds to progress: he ignores it. He isn't interested in progress. Really, the TEM wave to Ivor is what extra dimensions are to string theorists: a snub to reality. This is why Ivor persists in not comprehending advance.

Nigel Cook