The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Mathematicians

I have belatedly realized that my concern about the mathematization of physics goes back a long way, more than 50 years. There is convincing evidence of the problem in my 1967 paper , where the same exegesis is given twice, illustrating the drift into mathematical obscurity which then culminates in Wikipedia’s divs and curls .

 In 1964 I made my major breakthrough, identifying the two modes that a signal breaks up into, Even Mode and Odd Mode, when the active signal travels down a conductor in the presence of a passive parallel conductor above a ground plane, 1. If the completely distinct microwave community already knew this, they certainly did not know that two velocities were involved, and probably still do not know this. So at least some of what I discovered was new, unprecedented. I had no access to the microwave community. Later I found they called it “Directional Electromagnetic Couplers” e.g. by B M Oliver. See my citation no. 4 at the end of my 1967 paper .

In the 1960s the “resident genius” in my labs at Motorola, Dr. Jan Narud, head of R&D, told me my “discoveries” were nonsense, but he would give permission for me to publish, but I, not he, would later appear ridiculous. He was regarded as a genius, with particular expertise in electromagnetic theory

I developed some simple maths, which appears as Appendix I and Appendix II (ending here) in my paper as published. Narud objected to this simple algebra, and commissioned Paul Nygaard to write up a much more obscure version (section XI).

Originally, I refused to publish this Nygaard version (section XI), but Wally Raisanen, representing Narud, came to my home in the evening and told me and my wife that unless I agreed to publish (including Nygaard), I would be fired. He also said that to go forward with publishing under Nygaard or Narud’s name with mine omitted was not an option.

I told the IEEE that a Fellow of the IEEE, Narud, was threatening me with firing unless I published something in an IEEE journal under my name of which I did not approve. The reply was that that was a matter for my company, Motorola, and not for the IEEE. So I agreed to publish, and then played for time.

After I had left Motorola, I published, leaving in both versions of the calculations, but with the caveat that my version in the appendices was better. So here, in 1967, we see what came to press 20 years later in January 1986 .

The Nygaard approach is “conventional” in the way the subject is obscured with fancy maths, another similar example being Kip. However, Nygaard and Kip are not as bad as the way the subject is obscured today, with today’s divs and curls . We can follow the decline of electromagnetic theory from my simple and clear exposition in Appendix I and Appendix II , through Nygaard’s more complex version of the same thing, to today’s obscure nonsense in Wikipedia’s divs and curls .

My "blast of the trumpet" came much later than my 1967 paper, in January 1986.

Ivor Catt  16 December 2014