Oppo walks the plank,

or rather two planks.


I myself published a great deal on electromagnetic theory in the New York IEEE. , but was always blocked by the London IEE/IET. However, when I got too far ahead of the IEEE peer reviewers, publication was no longer possible.

Later, a three man team developed – Dr. David Walton, Malcolm Davidson and Ivor Catt. My team published a great deal on electromagnetic theory in downmarket Wireless World , and Macmillan published our book, , but we were embargoed as far as peer reviewed journals, IEEE and IET, were concerned. I decided to bite the bullet, and address the revered “Maxwell’s Equations”, which turned out to be the Heaviside-Maxwell Equations. I knew it was dangerous to analyse such a sacred cow, so put only my own name on the articles. Thus, my two colleagues Dave and Malcolm would survive any resulting shocked furore. (Rather than a furore, I was “disappeared” for more than a third of a century. No furore – no nothing)

Extraordinarily, Maxwell says his equations don’t even distinguish between action at a distance and action by the medium of intervening fields.

“Since, as we have seen, the theory of direct action at a distance is mathematically identical with that of action by means of a medium, the actual phenomena may be explained by the one theory as well as by the other, provided suitable [non-mathematical] hypotheses be introduced when any difficulty arises.” – “A treatise on electricity and magnetism”, James Clerk Maxwell, vol. 1, sect. 62, p70, 1891/1998. Obviously, the theory is in the English (non-mathematical hypotheses), not the maths. Today, in classes on electromagnetic theory, students have lots of maths dumped on them, and no theory, or “hypotheses”.  ; . Today, a lecturer can manipulate the maths, and set exam questions in it, but he doesn’t understand the theory.

My first 1980 article was relatively gentle; “Maxwell’s Equations Revisited”. . There were 19 replies, now no longer available. On p81 the editor, the late Tom Ivall, says he had decided to publish a representative sample (by Gordon Scarrott ). It begins by discussing the equation which is identical to equation (1) in the Oppo six pages. The Scarrott “sample” of p81 seems to say the equation ꝺh/ꝺx.dx/dt=ꝺh/ꝺt is illegal, while Oppo dismisses it (eqn.1 p3) as valid, saying that it merely means the (valid) truism 1=1.

My second article; “The Hidden Message in Maxwell’s Equations”  frightened off everyone. For 30 years, nobody commented. This was in line with the Pieraccini admonishment thirty years later; .  «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”.

There the matter rested for thirty years, until my partner Liba told me Professor Oppo would be giving a lecture in the Italian Institute, London, entitled; “The Genius of James Clerk Maxwell, the man who made equations speak.”

Ten days before his December 1 2017 lecture, I asked Oppo to read and comment on my two articles. Apart from threatening legal action, he agreed to do so after his lecture.

It was so important to get written comment on the Equations from an “expert” that, very fortunately, Monica Vandory of Salzburg delivered a stunning attack on Oppo for threatening legal action against me. . That must have been what caused him to bite the bullet, and deliver what I call six pages rebutting my articles – the first comment on my articles for thirty years. , and the first ever on the second. Comments; .

This was a diversion from my main operation, “The Catt Question” [cattq] into which massive effort, trying to elicit copmment, had gone during the thirty years. Cattq is a much better stamping ground when trying to get serious discussion of electromagnetic theory from any “experts” in the world, since it is impossible to confuse it with mathematical obfuscation. Cattq is dangerous because, like Newton’s first and third laws, it is impossible to attach mathematics to it. Note the “no comment” on the Wakefield experiments, by Oppo or anyone else. ; .


Returning to the 6pp Oppo.

In the first half of page 3 Oppo takes my equation and shows that it is a truism, that something is equal to itself. But that was the whole purpose of the equation, “from the known to the unknown”. I start with an obvious identity and in simple stages show that a Maxwell Equation is merely an identity, and tells us nothing. The subterfuge is, using the fact that E and H are always in fixed proportion, one side of the Maxwell equation uses D or E, and the other side uses B or H. Using the same stratagem, in my paper I produced the ridiculous equation dE/dx=--Z0Ɛ0dE/dt, see page 188 of . Thus, not only does changing E cause H and changing H cause E, but also changing E causes E! The truth is, E and H do not cause each other, as Einstein and Feynman wrongly believe, and everyone else followed them into error.


 The second part of Oppo’s first page is routine text book material. As always, the sine wave is infiltrated in it in Figure 1. Oppo says “Figure 1. A transverse electromagnetic wave propagating along the direction x at a generic time t in agreement with Maxwell’s equations.”

In my first article on Maxwell I wrote; “The result is either

dE/dx = - dB/dt   (3)


dH/dx = - dD/dt   (4)

The text books say the “solution” to this pair of equations is a sine wave! See references 3 to 7. (In fact, almost anything is a solution to these equations.)

At this stage, the whole subject starts to look sophisticated and profound.  


This was a mistake. My colleague Theocharis corrected me, saying “anything is ‘in agreement with Maxwell’s Equations’”. (However, he then did a one year diploma in the mathematics of Physics, and drifted into mathematical Oppoland, suggesting some equations might “answer” cattq.) Certainly these equations are wide open. After all, any waveform can travel down a transmission line, so anything must be a solution to the equations. Catt showed that they also immortalise two thick short planks. ; “Maxwell’s Equations compared with two thick short planks”

So Oppo’s Figure 1 is a complete red herring, but useful propaganda to pretend that electromagnetism is closely linked with the sine wave. The sun sends light (electromagnetic energy) to us. It is not monochromatic, so the energy has any waveform. Maxwell’s Equations should be able to apply to light from the sun.

|Oppo completes page 1 saying “By considering the simplest form of a travelling wave, one can easily find that .... ” and there follow sine waves. But the steady signal, 0v or 300mv or 3v, down a USB cable is far simpler. Why pretend that a sine wave is simpler than a DC level or 0v to 3v step?

Either any signal down a transmission line is a permissible form, and so is a “solution” to Maxwell’s Equations, or, since any wave shape can travel down a transmission line, Maxwell’s Equations are not fit for purpose. [Note 1]


[Note 1] This is just obscurantism. Energy travels in the x direction (Figure 1) at the speed of light. The amount of energy at one point has no knowledge of the energy ahead of it or behind it. They are “elsewhere”, effectively in other universes.

The nearest we get to this point in the jumble in Wikipedia is here; Spacelike vectors are in elsewhere. The terminology stems from the fact that spacelike separated events are connected by vectors requiring faster-than-light travel, and so cannot possibly influence each other.” Different parts of a waveform in a transmission line can have no effect on each other, and may be of any form including a sine wave. Oppo throws in a red herring when he talks about a particular form of wave in a transmission line. However, politically it is useful, part of the propaganda to imply that electromagnetism has something to do with the sine wave, and therefore with a glut of mathematics.

Ivor Catt, April 2018