“Catt’s Anomaly”


L’anomalia (di Catt)” by Massimiliano Pieraccini, pub. Rizzoli 2011. In Italian.



1 December 2015

Forrest Bishop <forrestb@ix.netcom.com>

7:43 PM (1 hour ago)




to me, Stephen, HARRY


Dear Ivor,

I hired a translator. I'd like to get more of it translated as well. Here's a bit more. It still needs some tuning up.

M, A, F, ? added by Ivor Catt

M  «So what are you working on now?» Massimo asked Alexander after greeting him. The entire wing of the monastery as underground, so the ground floor was above their heads. On the edge of a wall a big rock was jutting out in plain view, so hard and massive that the builders had clearly decided to leave it there where they found it. 

A  «On the Catt anomaly» replied Alexander seriously

M «Are you kidding?» “Nobody with an ounce of common sense would risk their career and scientific reputation to study the Catt anomaly” Massimo thought,  “and even if they were spending time on this, they wouldn’t be telling people about it”.

A  «Why should I be kidding?» Alexander replied. «Ivor Catt is one of the most brilliant minds in electronic engineering. Maybe you forgot he invented the smartest system for the construction of semiconductor memories.»

M  «Yes, sure. Now, though, he’s a maverick. For years he’s been openly opposing the whole academy.»

A  «I don’t know a single brilliant scientist who hasn’t been opposing your academy» the other replied.

M  «Maybe. But how can one maintain that classical electromagnetism should be compared to poltergeists and other such nonsense? He put himself in the position of a heretic in the first place!»

F  «The Catt anomaly? What is it?» Fabio intervened after joining them, holding in his hands a plate full of arancini.

M  «It’s an unresolved paradox of classical electromagnetism» Massimo cut it short.

F  «I didn’t know there were any.»

A  «Obviously you won’t find the Catt anomaly in university textbooks» Alexander pointed out sarcastically. He felt like talking about it, and Fabio was getting curious.

F  «So the Catt anomaly is not an actual paradox of electromagnetism, right? It’s just one of those tests that you give your students to understand to what extent they understand physics» Fabio insisted.

M  «No, I don’t think so. Professors aren’t so cruel.» A waiter offered them some canapés.

F  «But is there a solution?» 

M  «A solution within the framework of classical electromagnetism?» Massimo said, choosing from the tray.

F  «Yes, certainly, something in compliance with the laws of physics that we know.»

M  «Not that I know of. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.» He bit into the canapé.

F  «But what’s your opinion?»

M  «Science is not such a monolith as it looks in manuals» Massimo said, not answering the question directly. «It has rather a patchy structure: here and there, very well explained details give the impression of an extraordinary explanatory power, but all around them are huge gray areas that no one is willing to investigate, because everyone thinks there is nothing much there»

F  «So isn’t the Catt anomaly interesting enough?»

M  «Quite the contrary, it is very interesting.» He finished chewing his capers canapés. «It's not a real problem though, it’s a sort of thought experiment. I'd rather say it is a matter of consistency.»

?  «Exactly. It's not a trivial matter.»



“Catt’s Anomaly”

Actually “The Catt Question”.

Translated by Ivor Catt/Google Translate 2.10.2015


L’anomalia (di Catt)” by Massimiliano Pieraccini, pub. Rizzoli 2011. In Italian.


Middle of p40 to middle of page 45


"And now what do you do?" Massimo asked to Alexander after greeting him. The entire wing of the monastery was underground and ground level was over their heads. On an edge did show if a large overhanging rock, and massive hard thing that the builders had evidently preferred them leave it where they found it.

"Anomaly Catt" Alexander replied seriously.

Are you kidding?"

"No one with a modicum of common sense would risk career and reputation for scientific study anomaly Catt" I think Max, "and even if we devoted the same time, certainly would not say around."

"No one with any sense would risk career and reputation of scientific study anomaly Catt" I Max ", and even if we devoted the same time, certainly would not have said around."

"Why should I kidding?" says Alexander. "Ivor Catt and one of the most brilliant minds of electrical engineering. Maybe forget who invented the process more intelligent for the realization of semiconductor memories."

"Yes, of course. But now and a maverick. For years and in direct conflict with the entire academy".

"There genial scientist that does not conflict with your academy" replied the other.

 "More Maybe. But how do you argue that the classical electromagnetism should be compared to poltergeists and other nonsense like that? You and place him in the position of the heretic!"

"Disturbance of Catt? What stuff and?" Fabia intervened at that point, just come with the hand a plate full of croquettes.

"It is an unresolved paradox of classical" short cut Massimo.

"I did not know there were any."

"Of course you do not find the anomaly of Catt in the university textbooks" look sarcastic Alexander, He wanted to talk about it, Fabio was intrigued.

"Sure you do not find the anomaly of Catt in university textbooks" look sarcastic Alexander, He wanted to talk about it, Fabio was intrigued.

Kaposka took a paper towel from the buffet table and estrassela pen from his pocket. "Imagine two parallel metallic plates, or a waveguide." Drawing two rectangles very elongated. "Pick up your phone and place it between the two plates. The electromagnetic wave of mobile phones produced no more pass through them, but it had to propagate into the gap between the plates."

"Yes, of course, and guided wave. And what may be yet to be studied in a well-known phenomenon?" Fabio press him between the sceptical and the curious.

"And just in the simple things that are hidden secrets most interesting" ruled Kaposka with ostentatious pomposity.

"As you will have taught your teachers" and I glance accomplice at Redi, "led a wave and an electric field that moves at the speed of light between two metal plates." Drawing arrows in the space between the two rectangles representing the parallel plates on towel buffet. "Beyond the plaques there electric field." It draws so oblique lines in the outer rectangles. "So far there's no doubt. But the electric field can not be abruptly interrupted, if you interrupt to say that he found an electric charge, right? This means that there are charges on the plates that move along the field. "He paused to make sure his listener had understood." Think about what I said: there are charges on the plates that move along with the wave, the his own speed "and emphasize" the same ".

"Yes, of course" said Fabio, who perhaps was beginning to understand.

"At the speed of light!" Alexander exploded. "But to bring the speed of light an electric charge, an object with mass, you should provide endless energy! This gives us the relativity of Einstein,,,," concluded doing towel and throwing a ball like a bullet in the trash that He was next.


"Professor Kaposka he was kidding, right?" He asked Fabio Redi when Alexander was gone.

"Yes, perhaps" he said, looking around for familiar faces.

"So the fault of Catt and not a true paradox of electromagnetism, right? And only one of those tests that are given to the students to see how they understand physics" insists Fabio.

"No, I'd say no. There were professors so cruel."

A waiter offered them croutons.

"But the solution there?"

"A solution in the framework of classical?" Massimo made choosing from the tray.

"Yes, certain, consistent with what we know of the laws of physics."

"To my knowledge, no. But it does not mean it does not exist." He bit into the toast.

"But do you think?"

"Science is not the monolith that appears in the manuals" took away Massimo. "He has quite a structure leopard spots: here and there, very well explained details give the impression of an extraordinary explanatory power, but all of us are huge gray areas that no one bothered to investigate, because everyone thinks that there is not much injured interesting. "

"And the anomaly of Catt and not enough?"

"Not at all, and very interesting." Purpose of chewing toasted capers. "But it's not a real problem, and a kind of thought experiment. I'd say, more than anything, a matter of internal consistency."

"Exactly. It's not a trivial matter."

"Yes, but on closer inspection the internal coherence of science and a property rather elusive. It usually does not disturb the daily activities of the scientist. Who does research and used to beat separate ways, and when it finds one sbarata, rapidly changing path: the important and the result, no matter how you get there. The theory works? You can do experimentally verifiable prediction? This is enough. After all opinions and accepted by all that the internal consistency of the scientific work is ensured by the same reality. "

A little 'as the evidence in a police investigation "Affero Fabio." The consistency and assured by the fact that they refer to an actual event. "

"That's right. But you know why we are so sure? Because we assume that reality is coherent, if we observe it from different points of view. If a theory seems inconsistent, but predictions in agreement with the experimental data, much worse for the consistency of the theory, because the consistency of reality is not questioned. "

"Basically you're telling me that a correct theory and only to the extent that has been verified experimentally. That which has no validity itself" recapitulate Fabio.

"That's right. Although few scientists would be willing to admit it."

"Yes, this I can understand. But back to the anomaly of Catt, electrical charges move or not at the speed of light?"

"Catt resolve the issue at the root: claims that electric charges do not exist."

"It could be true?"

"And who knows? Maybe it possible to formulate an alternative theory that speak no charge, but for some strange entities that do not worry about travelling at the speed of light. The problem is that this theory may be inconsistent from somewhere else."

"This is not easy to discover" agreed Fabio. "But, ultimately, the charge exists or not? It is not a side issue. This is not philosophy."

"Exactly. And that's the problem: we do physical but we keep banging your head against the philosophy!"

The hall was still full of people as though some were beginning to leave. Fabio was talking to a young researcher. Massimo followed distractedly gaze a group of three people walking away. A chubby dark-skinned man with small slit eyes, one in plaid shirt with suspenders, and a third looking resigned trotting alongside the other. They passed over the door and disappeared into the cloister. She appeared on the same port. Giulia Perego.

Mora. Long hair tied over the head with studied nonchalance. Wisps framing her face. As a simple, refined elegance. Knee-length skirt and white blouse.

Maximum I observe it and observe the men who would turn in its path. She was well aware. Massimo had the impression that the woman's eyes had lingered for a moment on him, before he was caught by a young man who warmly greet kissing her on the cheeks. He saw her disappear into the other room trying stomach tightened. If he had known that she was there in Erice, certainly he would not come. For no reason.