Oppo walks the plank,

or rather, two planks.

I myself published a great deal on electromagnetic theory in the IEEE. However, when I got too far ahead of the IEEE peer reviewers, this 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 Wireless World, and Macmillan published our book, , but we were embargoed as far as peer reviewed journals were concerned. After a great deal of publishing in Wireless World and the IEEE, 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 name on the articles. Thus, my two colleagues would survive any resulting shocked furore.

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. It begins by discussing the equation which is identical to equation (1) in the Oppo six pages. The “sample” of p81 seems to say the equation is illegal, while Oppo dismisses it as merely meaning the (valid) truism 1=1.

My second article; “The Hidden Message in Maxwell’s Equations”  frightened off everyone. 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 lecture on December 1 2017, I asked Oppo to read and comment on my two articles. Apart from threatening legal action, he agreed to so after his lecture.

It was so important to get written comment on the Equations from an “expert” that, very fortunately, Monica Vandory delivered a stunning attack on Oppo for threatening legal action. 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.

This was admittedly a diversion from my main operation, “The Catt Question” [cattq] into which massive effort had gone during the thirty years. Cattq is a much better stamping ground when trying to get serious discussion of classical electromagnetism, since it is impossible to confuse it with mathematical obfuscation.

Returning to the 6pp Oppo.

In the first half of page 3 Oppo takes my equation and shows that it 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 mrerely an identity, and tells us nothing. The subterfuge is, using the fact that E and H are always in fisxed proportion, one side of the Maxwell equation uses D or e, and the other half 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.


 The second part of his 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 article   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 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 think 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 cannot only apply to monochromatic light.

|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?

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, if Maxwell’s Equations debar any wave shapes, they are not fit for purpose. [Note 1]

At the bottom of page 3, Oppo says; “By considering the simplest form of a travelling wave, one can easily find that .... .... sin .... sin .... Obviously Oppo, along with text book writers, thinks there is something relevant about the sine wave. What Oppo “finds” a sine wave. What he finds is thast if one travels along, one loses time but gains distance. E = E0(kx-t) You start with a value E, which travels along at velocity 1/k. The amplitude E at time 0 moves along to any new points x after any time t. Like the previous equations, they are truisms which get us nowhere.

There then follows a clutter of dubious mathematics.

Half way through page 4, Oppo writes; “Catt then incorrectly postulates that the temperature T of a plank of wood at thermodynamic equilibrium .... ”. The plank’s temperature is not in equilibrium. It is burning. As before, the wood’s density is proportional to its temperature. Both vary. Maxwell’s equations are going up in smoke. The parallel with “thick as two short planks” is not exact.

The point is at a lower temperature than the rest. Temperature of the plank is proportional to its density.

Towards the end of page 4, Oppo gets thoroughly confused. If planks of wood are different from electromagnetism, then equations which apply to both apoply to neither.

The last three lines of page 4 are extraordinary. Does Oppo not know that one can change terms in equations by replacing B with H or E with D, the link being µ and Ɛ? So since velocity c is 1/√µƐ , then if such equations contain c2, This is because a certain choice has been made between B, H, E and D. The presence of c2 does not alter the message in an equation.






[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 i9mply that electromagnetism has something to do with the sine wave, and therefore with a glut of mathematics.