6pp Oppo- Catt,  6 12 17

General comment

We need to look for the “lateral arabesque”. Did Maxwell give mathematicians the opportunity to hijack electromagnetic theory when he said;

James Clerk Maxwell, A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, vol. 2, art. 782, p432; “Hence our theory agrees with the undulatory theory in assuming the existence of a medium which is capable of becoming a receptacle for two forms of energy.”?


In this penultimate paragraph I mention in passing The Lateral Arabesque, ‘Arabesque’ having the meaning ascribed to it by Dr Peter rather than its dictionary meaning. In the engineering sense, the supposed situation where academia controlling a discipline – electromagnetic theory for example – maps onto the real subject, is unstable. If at any moment the professors administering a discipline happen to be weak in one branch of it, they will tend to not examine their students in it, and so will tend to select out those up and coming students who have that sub-discipline as their strength. Positive feedback down the generations of students will further the retreat from that particular sub-discipline.

Comment on page 3

thick as two short planks”

I question whether it originated as late as 1970, but if it is so recent that explains why the phrase has not yet reached Italy. If really so recent, as the 30,000 Google hits aver, we can understand why it has been misquoted by Oppo as; “two thick short planks”. However, I find that I, an Englishman, already misquoted it as “two thick” rather than the correct sequence “thick …. two”. This repeat of a misquote indicates that Oppo’s only source is Catt.

Oppo should have kicked the whole subject into the long grass, Vector Calculus. It is most fortunate that he stayed with differential equations, into which Heaviside simplified Maxwell into four differential equations from (what are said to be) the original Maxwell twenty Quaternions. Oppo missed an opportunity to obfuscate here. My co-author Dr. David Walton says vector calculus (∆s) is further divorced from physical reality than differential equations.


At this point it is helpful to reflect on the point of Oppo’s six pages. I put forward Harry Ricker’s analysis.

http://www.ivorcatt.co.uk/x81oppoharry.htm “[Oppo] not only completely misunderstood what you are saying, …. ….. you are a crackpot …. …. prove what [he believes] is already true …. “


Oppo correctly says that the first Catt equation (1) is nothing more than 1=1.

That was the point of starting here, from the known 1=1 to the unknown,  During my lecturer training and teacher training I may have been taught to go from the known to the unknown, (University lecturers do not get teacher training.) 1=1 to Maxwell’s Equations. Do Maxwell’s Equations say anything beyond 1=1? In my articles we see the progression from 1=1 to banal decorations of the same identity.

[Oppo]  “Maxwell’s equations for this case are:  dE/dx = dB/dt    dB/dx = µε dE/dt (3) – …. equations written for an electromagnetic wave propagating …. ”

Does Oppo think these equations say E causes B and B causes E? If not, what is the point of these equations? (I explain away the – sign elsewhere. It also contains no information.)

In the article he is supposedly commenting on http://www.ivorcatt.co.uk/x18j184.pdf . On page 188, I come up with the equally plausible (and vacuous) equations dE/dx = -ZoεodE/dt  and dE/dx = -ZodD/dt , where E causes E. (Zo and εo are constants.) I say that these similarly banal equations have never been mentioned, because it is even more obvious that they carry no content, as with 1=1. In contrast, Maxwell’s equations are camouflaged a little.

E or D, the electric field, is always proportional to B or H, the magnetic field. All that is done is to juggle with E, H, µ and ε, E and H being in fixed proportion and µ and ε are constants.

As always in text books, Oppo then without any justification produces a sine wave! “A transverse electromagnetic wave …. ” is not a sine wave. It is absolutely any possible wave. Any wave form whatsoever can propagate down a transmission line, as Oppo begins to admit in the figures on page 6. However, stuck in the era of radio before computers, he and his like will never discuss a digital pulse (travelling down a USB cable). This is because then the only possible equation is E=kB (E and B are in fixed proportion) and the velocity c = 1/√µε

Imagine “The genius of James Clerk Maxwell, the man who made equations speak”, and all Maxwell’s equations said was E=kB and  c = 1/√µε . That would let the cat out of the bag, that electromagnetic theory is not mathematical. Mathematicians like Oppo have invaded my subject, dumping meaningless mathematics on it while ignoring the physics. Note the other “lie” creeping in in Figures ,12 and 3, that the waveforms will have to be periodic. A signal down a USB cable carries information by having a pseudo-random sequence of 1s and 0s. If the signal were periodic (repetitive), it would not carry information.

Comment on page 4

Oppo says a great deal about sine waves –half a page. But he is supposed to be deconstructing my two articles on Maxwell’s Equations, which do not mention sine waves. Neither do Maxwell’s Equations. The sine wave is probably never mentioned in my five books on electromagnetic theory, or my published articles on Maxwell, or my IEEE articles. http://www.ivorcatt.co.uk/x0305.htm .

Oppo lives in the age of radio, which includes radar. In the real world this was overtaken by digital systems half a century ago, but academia and all education and all text books, and Google suppress digital electronics. https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22transverse+electromagnetic+wave%22&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjh9ebL0vHYAhWmCsAKHW4-A-8QsAQIggE&biw=1600&bih=769 . I checked the course notes in my Engineering faculty in Cambridge, and it was all sine waves. The Cambridge engineering student is taught that what goes down a transmission line is a sine wave. Then he is submerged in mathematics, which is not possible with a digital signal. Mathematics does not stick to a single pulse, and even less to a single step, which is what digital is about.

Late on page 4 Oppo says my wood is “at thermodynamic equilibrium”.  He has no justification for saying that a burning piece of wood had uniform temperature. He clearly fails to grasp the fact that I start with truisms (1=1), gently develop truisms to Maxwell’s Equations, which is all they are, and then develop the same for some wood which has density proportional to temperature, mimicking B always being proportional to H with burning wood. Maxwell’s Equations are going up in flames. Feynman said they were more important than the American civil war of the same decade. Einstein said they were the basis of relativity. It seems they lack content. No wonder spineless men like Yakovlev or Davies go into hiding. People like that are frightened of major scientific advance.

At this point I received Stephen Crothers’ 12pp deconstruction of 6pp Oppo. So I am allowed to stop. He has done a remarkable job.

Ivor Catt   28 January 2018