"Textbooks present science as a noble search for truth, in which progress depends on questioning established ideas. But for many scientists, this is a cruel myth. They know from bitter experience that disagreeing with the dominant view is dangerous - especially when that view is backed by powerful interest groups. Call it suppression of intellectual dissent. The usual pattern is that someone does research or speaks out in a way that threatens a powerful interest group, typically a government, industry or professional body. As a result, representatives of that group attack the critic's ideas or the critic personally-by censoring writing, blocking publications, denying appointments or promotions, withdrawing research grants, taking legal actions, harassing, blacklisting, spreading rumors." 
Science is in a state of crisis. Where free inquiry, natural curiosity and open-minded discussion and consideration of new ideas should reign, a new orthodoxy has emerged. This 'new inquisition', as it has been called by Robert Anton Wilson consists not of cardinals and popes, but of the editors and reviewers of scientific journals, of leading authorities and self-appointed "skeptics", and last but not least of corporations and governments that have a vested interest in keeping the status quo, and it is just as effective in suppressing unorthodox ideas as the original. The scientists in the editorial boards of journals who decide which research is fit to be published, and which is not, the scientists at the patent office who decide what feats nature allows human technology to perform, and which ones it does not, and the scientists in governmental agencies who decide what proposals to fund, and not to fund, either truly believe that they are in complete knowledge of all the fundamental laws of nature, or they purposely suppress certain discoveries that threaten the scientific prestige of individuals or institutions, or economic interests. Research that indicates that an accepted theory is incomplete, severely flawed, or completely mistaken, will be rejected on the grounds that it "contradicts the laws of nature", and therefore has to be the result of sloppiness or fraud. At the heart of this argument is the incorrect notion that theory overrides evidence
In true science, theory always surrenders to the primacy of evidence. If observations are made that, after careful verification and theoretical analysis, are found to be inconsistent with a theory, than that theory has to go - no matter how aesthetically pleasing it is, or how prestigious its supporters are, or how many billions of dollars a certain industry has bet on it.
But in current mainstream science, the opposite occurs with disturbing regularity. Anomalous evidence is first ignored, then ridiculed, and if that fails, its author attacked. Scientific conferences will not admit it to be presented, scientific journals will refuse to publish it, and fellow scientists know better than to express solidarity with an unorthodox colleague. In today's scientific world, the cards are just stacked too heavily against true scientific breakthroughs. Too many careers are at stake, too many vested interests are involved for any truly revolutionary advancement in science to take place any more. All too often, scientific truth is determined by the authority of experts and textbooks, not by logic and reason.
Referring to the fin de siecle "end of science" mentality and the scientific revolutions following it, Robert G. Jahn writes in 20th and 21st Century Science: Reflections and Projections:
"As we enter the 21st century, science seems poised to execute a similar evolutionary cycle of advancement of their comprehension and relevance. We are opening with a steadily growing backlog of demonstrable physical, biological and psychological anomalies (..) most of which seem incontrovertibly correlated with properties and processes of the human mind, in ways for which our preceding 20th century scientific paradigm has no rational explanations. (..)
Thus, at the dawn of the 21st century, we again find an elite, smugly contented scientific establishment, but one now endowed with far more public authority and respect than that of the prior version. A veritable priesthood of high science controls major segments of public and private policy and expenditure for research, development, construction, production, education and publication throughout the world, and enjoys a cultural trust and reverence that extends far beyond its true merit. It is an establishment that is largely consumed with refinements and deployments of mid-20th century science, rather than with creative advancement of fundamental understanding of the most profound and seminal aspects of its trade. Even more seriously, it is an establishment that persists in frenetically sweeping legitimate genres of new anomalous phenomena under its intellectual carpet, thereby denying its own well-documented heritage that anomalies are the most precious raw material from which future science is formed."
In his debut editorial as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Henry H. Bauer gives a similarly bleak assessment of the state of modern science:
"Mainstream orthodoxy routinely resists novelties that later become accepted. Throughout the 20th century there are examples: Bretz's Spokane flood, McClintock's recognition of "jumping genes", Mitchell's insights into biological energy mechanisms, Woese's Archaea, and McCully's homocysteine. Only late in the 20th century did science reluctantly grant that acupuncture can have some analgesic effect, that ball lightning exists, that the kraken is not myth but the real giant squid, that it is not foolish to look for intelligent life outside the Earth, that 5000-year-old megaliths incorporate substantial knowledge of astronomy, that human beings inhabited the Americas long before the days of the Clovis culture, and that living systems can sense not only electrical but also magnetic fields. Indeed, it may well be that the suppression of unorthodox views in science is on the increase rather than in decline. In Prometheus Bound (1994), John Ziman has outlined how science changed during the 20th century: traditionally (since perhaps the 17th century) a relatively disinterested knowledge-seeking activity, science progressively became handmaiden to industry and government, and its direction of research is increasingly influenced by vested interests and self-interested bureaucracies, including bureaucracies supposedly established to promote good science such as the National Academies, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Parkinson's Law, it may be, applies to science as to other human activities: no sooner has an organization become successfully established than it is by that token already an obsolescent nuisance."
In many cases of anomalous evidence that inconveniences establishment science, simple denial of publication suffices to suppress the anomaly. Sometimes, however, renegade scientists manage to capture the attention of the general public, pleading their case to a larger audience that has no vested interest in the validity of the established theories. When that happens, and significant interests are at stake, the scientific establishment will turn nasty, resorting to misrepresentation or outright falsification of evidence.
Such misrepresentation and falsification of evidence happened after Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischman announced in March 1989 that they had achieved fusion by electrochemical means. Several influential US laboratories (Caltech, MIT, Yale/Brookhaven) reported negative results on Cold Fusion that were based on shoddy experimental work and a misunderstanding of the Pons-Fleischmann claims. They gave a hostile hot fusion establishment the excuse it needed to conclude that the claims made by were bogus. In November 1989, a DOE panel concluded the same after a shallow mock investigation of only seven months.
Eugene F. Mallove, who was the Chief Science Writer at the MIT News Office at the time and now publishes Infinite Energy, a journal dedicated to covering potential new energy sources ignored by mainstream science, played a part in exposing the MIT report as mistaken, possibly fraudulent, and resigned in protest over it in 1991. He writes in Ten Years That Shook Physics
"The 1989 reports of MIT, Caltech, and Harwell have each been analyzed by other scientists and these analyses have been published (see references, page 34 in IE Issue No. 24). Each of the widely cited 1989 'null' experiments has been found to be deeply flawed in experimental protocols, data evaluation, and presentation. Each, in fact, contained some evidence of excess heat as claimed by Fleischmann and Pons. There is evidence that the MIT data was deliberately altered to erase an indication of excess heat. The altered data was published officially by MIT, and it was included in reports to a government agency under the official seal of MIT. The experiment was paid for out of federal government funds. This report had a dramatic impact on the perception of many scientists and journalists.
It is ironic that each of these negative results were themselves the product of the kind of low quality work of which Fleischmann and Pons were accused. The difference was that the reports said what the hot fusion community wanted to hear. This was the legacy of the 1989 ERAB report, but that legacy must now be reversed-and it will be, however long that takes.
Almost two years after they were concocted, Prof. Ronald R. Parker of MIT's Plasma Fusion Laboratory publicly stated that the MIT PFC cold fusion calorimetry data were 'worthless' (June 7, 1991). In the same period (August 30, 1991) after I had challenged this data, Parker stated that 'MIT scientists stand by their conclusions.' Which is it?"
A detailed chronology of this scientific coverup can be found in the same issue.
Most people, including physicists continue to be unaware that low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR) are real, and have been verified in hundreds of experiments throughout the 1990s.
In February 2002, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center of the United State Navy in San Diego released a 310 page report titled Thermal and Nuclear Aspects of the Pd/D2O System  that discusses the overwhelming experimental evidence that the cold fusion effect indeed exists. Dr. Frank E. Gordon, the head of the center's Navigation and Applied Sciences Department, writes in the foreword:
"We do not know if 'Cold Fusion' will be the answer to future energy needs, but we do know the existence of Cold Fusion phenomenon through repeated observations by scientists throughout the world. It is time that this phenomenon be investigated so that we can reap whatever benefits accrue from additional scientific understanding. It is time for government funding organizations to invest in this research."
A March 2003 New Scientist article quotes Robert Nowak, an electrochemist and a programme manager in chemistry at the Office of Naval Research on the suppression efforts that the Navy research had to overcome:
"From the beginning, the idea was to keep things modest. 'We put less than $1 million a year into the programme,' Nowak says. 'Above that level, the red flags go up.' Saalfeld and Nowak never gave the programme its own line in the ONR's budget, but allotted money to it from miscellaneous funds. 'We were to keep working and we were allowed to publish our results, but we weren't supposed to say a lot about it,' Miles recalls. 'Some people were worried that word would get out and it would jeopardise the navy labs' funding from Congress for other research. We didn't even call it 'cold fusion'. We called it 'anomalous effects in deuterated systems'.
' That was still not enough to keep the sceptics off their backs. 'Fairly prominent individuals within the physics community voiced threats,' Nowak admits. 'They said that they were aware that federal funds were going into cold fusion research and they were going to do what they could to stop it."'
That "cold fusion" continues to be ignored by the scientific establishment, and, to add insult to injury, is being used synonymously with "bad science", usually in such expressions as "the cold fusion debacle", constitutes one of the greatest scientific scandals in human history, and a human tragedy. While wars over oil are being fought, a potential source of energy that could solve humanity's energy problems for all eternity is being ignored by all but a small community of researchers. At the same time, the dead-end "hot fusion" program continues to receive billions of dollars in public funds. If there is a scandal associated with cold fusion, this is it.
So addicted is the plasma fusion community to federal research funds that even innovative concepts for hot fusion that threaten to lead to practical fusion energy soon and to a corresponding gigantic embarrassment for the hot fusion establishments are viciously suppressed. A recent example are the suppression efforts aimed at Focus Fusion. Plasma physicists Eric J. Lerner, Dr. Bruce Freeman and Dr. Hank Oona used an innovative design to achieve hydrogen-boron fusion, which, unlike the deuterium-tritium reaction the hot fusion mainstream is trying to create, creates no lethal neutrons. Yet (or therefore?) the discovery met with stiff resistance from the hot fusion establishment. A 2002 press release of the Focus Fusion Society describes the suppressive efforts of the hot fusion establishment:
"On May 23rd Dr. Richard Seimon, Fusion Energy Science Program Manager at Los Alamos demanded Dr. Hank Oona, one of the physicist involved in the experiment, dissociate himself from comparisons that showed the new results to be superior in key respects to those of the tokamak and to remove his name from the paper describing the results. The tokamak, a much larger and more expensive device, has been the centerpiece of the US fusion effort for 25 years. Seimon did not disputing the data or the achievement of high temperatures. He objected to the comparisons with the tokamak, arguing that it was biased against the tokamak. In addition, Seimon pressured Dr. Bruce Freeman, another co-author of the paper, to advocate the removal of all tokamak comparisons from the paper. \u201cBoth of my colleagues in this research have been threatened with losing their jobs if they don\u2019t distance themselves from the comparisons with the tokamak,\u201d says Lerner who is lead author on the paper. \u201cBoth of them had carefully reviewed and approved the paper originally and had endorsed its conclusions. For them to be forced to recant under threat of firing is outrageous. It undermines the very basis of scientific discourse if researchers are not allowed by their institutions to speak honestly to each other."
If the claims about Focus Fusion pan out, it could be the cheap, clean, inexhaustible source of energy that the hot fusion establishment has been promising the world for half a century, but failed to deliver.
If a new class of nuclear reactions can take place under low energy conditions, then it is reasonable to expect even transmutations of heavy elements. But to conventional chemistry and physics, the claim of heavy elemental transmutations occurring in "chemical" systems, apparently validating the ancient proto-science of alchemy, constitutes an even greater provocation than cold fusion.
John Bockris, a distinguished professor of chemistry at Texas A&M and one of the world's leading electrochemists, had to learn this lesson in the early years of the cold fusion scandal. He successfully replicated the Pons and Fleischmann experiment in 1989 and discovered bursts of tritium production.
He then became one of the principal targets of a smear campaign against cold fusion research by science journalist Gary Taubes. Taubes was writing a book on Cold Fusion and had already made up his mind that cold fusion was "pathological science". He spent time with Bockris and his students at Texas A&M, posing as a disinterested seeker of the truth. There, he got the idea that Nigel Packham, one of Bockris' graduate students had "spiked" the cold fusion cell with tritium. The allegation was utterly baseless, but Taubes was out for blood and needed to have his scandal. He got Science to publish his allegations in June 1990. Bockris called the editor and asked for the right to publish a detailed response, but his request was denied. Eventually, he managed to get a one-column letter published denying the allegations. Publication of Taubes' paranoid delusions in Science gave them wide credence and circulation.
A fair-minded Nov 1998 article in Wired sets the record straight:
"'We thought Taubes was genuine at first,' Bockris told me recently, speaking in a clipped, precise British accent that he acquired before he moved to the United States in 1953. 'We exposed our lab books to him, and told him our results. But then he said to Packham, my grad student, 'I've turned off the tape, now you can tell me - it's a fraud, isn't it? If you confess to me now, I won't be hard on you, you'll be able to pursue your career."
(Taubes has been shown Bockris's statement. He prefers not to comment.)
According to Bockris, 'A postdoctoral student named Kainthla, and a technician named Velev, both detected tritium and heat after we took Packham off the work because of the controversy. Since then, numerous people have obtained comparable results. In 1994, I counted 140 papers reporting tritium in low-temperature fusion experiments. One of them was by Fritz Will, the president of The Electrochemical Society, who has an impeccable reputation."
Still, Taubes's report in the June 1990 Science magazine clearly suggested that Packham might have added tritium to fake his results. This reassured many people that cold fusion had been bogus all along. Packham received his PhD, but only on condition that all references to cold fusion be removed from the body of his thesis. Today he works for NASA, developing astronaut life-support systems. "I don't know why Gary Taubes wrote what he did," he says. "Certainly I did not add any tritium in my experiment."
But for Bockris, the worst was yet to come. In 1991, he was approached by a self-taught inventor without formal scientific credentials from Tennessee named Joe Champion who claimed that he had discovered a process that could perform heavy element transmutation. Bockris eventually brought Champion to Texas A&M as a consultant and started experiments to replicate the claimed results. In 1993, the local media got wind of the research and made it widely known that medieval alchemy was being performed at the university! This lead to a second, even nastier scientific witch hunt against Bockris. 23 distinguished professors at Texas A&M signed a petition to the provost asking that Bockris be stripped of his title, and 11 full professors in the chemistry department wrote a letter asking that Bockris be removed from the department. The petition stated
"For a trained scientist to claim, or support anyone else's claim to have transmuted elements is difficult for us to believe and is no more acceptable than to claim to have invented a gravity shield, revived the dead or to be mining green cheese on the moon. We believe that Bockris' recent activities have made the terms 'Texas A&M' and 'Aggie' objects of derisive laughter throughout the world..."
Bockris was subsequently investigated for fraud, based on charges that he was trying to defraud investors with false claims of being able to manufacture gold. He was "completely exonerated" only one week after a hearing in which he had been allowed to present his research and defend himself in January 1994.
The professors in the department of chemistry who had initiated the investigation, lead by distinguished professor Frank A. Cotton, were disappointed at this outcome. So they secretly formed a committee to start yet another investigation. Bockris learned of the existence of this "Ad Hoc Committee" only when information of its existence was leaked to the press in June 1994. In classical totalitarian fashion, he was subsequently denied the right to defend himself before the committee and even to know what the charges were. He later learned that he was being investigated because his results were "impossible".
After 11 months of investigation, Bockris was exonerated again in May 1995. But the official investigation is only part of the story. An article in Infinite Energy which describes the entire affair in full details suggests a psychological explanation for the unscientific conduct of Bockris' colleagues.
"One of the most difficult aspects of the treatment to which Bockris was subjected was social ostracism, starting with Dean Kemp's accusation and not even ending with the second exoneration. There were about sixty-five professors in the large Chemistry Department at Texas A&M. Most ignored Bockris for much of the two-year period in which the University, egged-on by ring-leaders in the Department, acted against him. After the first complete exoneration, two professors did congratulate him, but he was isolated. Bockris' wife Lilli felt it perhaps more than he, because she had a number of faculty wives whom she had known as friends. When she met them now in the supermarket, instead of having the usual kindly chat, they turned their backs on her. Lilli recalls that the year she spent in Vienna after the Nazis took over seemed to her less unpleasant and threatening than the isolation and nastiness which she felt in College Station, Texas from 1993 through 1995.
One would have thought that after all that had been done, everything would be settled now. This was not the attitude of many of Bockris' colleagues. The motivating force for the antipathy may be the subconscious fear that the discoveries of the Bockris group might eventually be proved and recognized. Then his original contributions would be rated as discoveries of great magnitude. There were at least two professors in the Chemistry Department who had made it known that that they expected to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry some day. The possibility that it might go instead to a colleague whose work they so much denigrated must have been an unwelcome thought. (They did not have the attitude of physicist Richard Feynman, who was displeased by the artificial focus on one person's accomplishment that the Nobel Prize system encouraged.)
Having failed in the three official investigations that had been carried out against Bockris, they decided that all they could do would be to persuade the head of the department to have Bockris shunned\u2014as in an excommunication for religious heresy. No one was supposed to speak with the errant Bockris. For a long time, absorbed in his work as ever, he didn't understand that shunning was underway. Most of the colleagues had been ignoring him anyway since the inquiries had begun in 1993. He did notice, however, that whenever he wanted to talk to the Head of the Department, perhaps once every few months, he came to his office and did not invite Bockris to come to his. Of course, he was more than twenty years younger than Bockris, but later Bockris realized that this was an example of the shunning. The Head did not want anyone to see that he was talking collegially with Bockris!
Bockris' colleagues in the physical chemistry division took no notice of the shunning order, which might have gone around unofficially. In practice, the shunning made no effective difference to how Bockris carried out his work, though it was a very considerable act of spite. It proved once again that at least in the Chemistry Department at Texas A&M University, research results which do not agree with existing theory are not tolerated."
The Wired article suspects financial motives behind the scientific establishment's anti-scientific witch hunt:
"Financial factors may have played a part in the fierce animosity exhibited toward cold fusion experiments. When a congressional subcommittee suggested that $25 million could be diverted from hot fusion research to cold fusion, naturally the hot fusion scientists were outraged."
Today, the evidence that transmutation of heavy elements can occur in electrochemical systems has become fairly strong. Yasuhiro Iwamura, Mitsuru Sakano and Takehiko Itoh of the Mitsubishi Advanced Technology Research Center have shown reproducible transmutation of Cesium (Z=55) into Praseodymium (Z=59) and Strontium (Z=38) into Molybdenum (Z=42) in a deuterium-palladium system. Their results were published in the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics.
These results were recently independently replicated by Higashiyama et al at Osaka University and presented at the Tenth International Conference on Cold Fusion in Cambridge, Massachusetts 24 - 29 August 2003.
At www.lenr-canr.org the interested reader can find a comprehensive collection of papers on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions.
Einstein's special theory of relativity, published in 1905, is one of the foundational theories of modern physics. It states that the vacuum speed of light is the same for all observers in initial (non-accelerated) reference frames, and that time and space coordinates combine in a peculiar way when measured from different inertial systems. Exactly how this happens is described by a set of equations called the Lorentz Transformation.
Strictly speaking, special relativity theory does not apply to anything in the physical universe, since gravitational fields, however minute, are always present. It took Einstein about 10 years to incorporate gravity and acceleration into his theory, and the result is known as general relativity. It describes gravity not as a force, but as curvature of spacetime caused by mass. According to general relativity, there can be no such thing as a gravity shield.
Despite the consensus of a majority of physicists that special relativity is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is a well-reasoned experimental and theoretical case against its validity. But relativity dissidents are routinely censored from presenting their ideas at conferences or having them published in the scientific literature. John E. Chappell, Jr., the late director of the Natural Philosophy Alliance (an organization of relativity critics), relates the following suppression experience:
"There has been a particularly vicious attitude towards critics of Einsteinian relativity at U.C. Berkeley ever since. I ran into it in 1985, when I read a paper arguing for absolute simultaneity at that year's International Congress on the History of Science. After I finished, the Danish chairman made some courteous remarks about dissidents he had learned about in Scandinavia, and then turned to the audience for questions. The first speaker was one of a group of about 4 young physics students in the back. He launched immediately into a horrible tirade of verbal abuse, accusing me of being entirely wrong in my analysis, a simplification of the Melbourne Evans analysis-'Evans is wrong; you are wrong,' he shouted. He accused me of being way out of line to present my 'faulty' arguments on his prestigious campus. When I started to ask him 'Then how would you explain...', he loudly interrupted me with 'I don't have to explain anything.' The rest of the audience felt so disturbed by all this, that the question session was essentially destroyed."
Such reactions are not uncommon. To even begin to criticize Einsteins's theory of special relativity has become a scientific heresy of the highest order. The prevailing attitude of the physical establishment is that anyone who doubts the validity of this "bedrock of modern physics" is insane, and that trying to refute it is a symptom of "psychosis".
Caltech Professor David L. Goodstein states in a video-tape lecture
"There are theories in science, which are so well verified by experience that they become promoted to the status of fact. One example is the Special Theory of Relativity-it's still called a theory for historical reasons, but it is in reality a simple, engineering fact, routinely used in the design of giant machines, like nuclear particle accelerators, which always work perfectly. Another example of that sort of thing is the theory of evolution. These are called theories, but they are in reality among the best established facts in all of human knowledge."
Isaac Asimov has stated that "no physicist who is even marginally sane doubts the validity of SR."
An article on relativity dissidents quotes relativist Clifford Will of Washington University expressing a similar sentiment:
"SR has been confirmed by experiment so many times that it borders on crackpot to say there is something wrong with it. Experiments have been done to test SR explicitly. The world's particle accelerators would not work if SR wasn't in effect. The global positioning system would not work if special relativity didn't work the way we thought it did."
Unfortunately for the progress of physics, when opinions like these reach a critical mass, they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Dissent is no longer respected, or even tolerated. Evidence to the contrary can no longer be communicated, for the journals will refuse to publish it. Mathematically and logically, the notion that a theory that has made many correct predictions must necessarily be true is untenable. Scientific models can produce arbitrarily many, arbitrarily good predictions and still be flawed, as the historical example of the Ptolemaic (geocentric) model of the solar system shows. It does not matter how many observations are consistent with a theory if there is only one observation that is not. Ironically, relativity itself should have driven this point home to physicists long ago.
For centuries, Newtonian physics had led science to one triumph after another in explaining the inner workings of the natural world, and at the end of the 19th century, no physicist who was "even marginally sane" doubted its validity. After all, hadn't the validity of Newtonian physics "been confirmed by experiment so many times" that it would have "bordered on crackpot to say there is something wrong with it"? Didn't the operation of the world's steam engines prove the validity of Newtonian physics? And yet, Newtonian physics loses its validity at speeds approaching the speed of light. In hindsight, it is obvious why the discrepancy was never caught. Due to the enormity of the speed of light c, effects of the order of (v/c) only manifest themselves in highly sophisticated experiments. Similarly, even modern technology cannot easily distinguish between relativity and competing theories that agree with relativity at first order of (v/c) but disagree at higher order. One such competing theory is Ronald Hatch's Modified Lorentz Ether Theory
Hatch, a former president of the Institute of Navigation and current Director of Navigation Systems Engineering of NavCom Technologies, is one of the world's foremost experts on the GPS. Concerning the question of whether the operation of the GPS proves the validity of SR, he has come to conclusions diametrically opposite from Clifford Will's. In Relativity and GPS[29,30], he argues that the observed effect of velocity on the GPS clocks flat out contradicts the predictions of special relativity.
Hatch's proposed alternative to special and general relativity theory, Modified Lorentz Ether Gauge Theory (MLET), agrees with General Relativity at first order but corrects many astronomical anomalies that GRT cannot account for without ad-hoc assumptions, such as the anomalous rotation of galaxies and certain anomalies in planetary orbits. In addition, the force of gravity is self-limiting in MLET, which eliminates point singularities (black holes), one of the major shortcomings of GRT. One of the testable predictions of Hatch's theory is that LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, will fail to detect any sign of gravity waves.
Relativity textbooks all contain the story of how the Michelson-Morley experiment supposedly proved the non-existence of a light-carrying medium, the ether. In this experiment, light rays are sent on round trips in different directions and then reunited, resulting in an interference pattern. If an ether "wind" caused the speed of light to be direction-dependent, then rotation of the experimental apparatus would result in a shift of this pattern. But such a shift was never detected, proving the isotropy (direction-independence) of the speed of light, or so the story goes.
But physical reality is more complicated then the foundational myth of relativity would have us believe. An examination of historical papers on the subject indicates that relativists have rewritten history. The M-M experiment of 1887 found only a fraction of the effect size predicted by the stationary ether hypothesis, thus clearly disproving it, but the effect was emphatically not "null" within the accuracy of the experiment.
Dayton C. Miller reviews the evidence in The Ether-Drift Experiments and the Determination of the Absolute Motion of the Earth  and concludes that
"The brief series of observations was sufficient to show that the effect did not have the anticipated magnitude. However, and this fact must be emphasized, the indicated effect was not zero; the sensitivity of the apparatus was such that the conclusion, published in 1887, stated that the observed relative motion of the earth and ether did not exceed one-fourth of the Earth's orbital velocity. This is quite different from a null effect now so frequently imputed to this experiment by the writers on Relativity."
Miller then discusses the original M-M data and shows that there is a systematic effect indicating a speed of the Earth relative to the Ether of 8.8 km/s for the noon observations and 8.0 km/s for the evening observations.
Relativity skeptics like Miller believed that the ether may be entrained ("dragged along") by the earth. To test that hypothesis, Miller endeavored to replicate the M-M experiment (which had been performed in a basement in Cleveland) at greater altitude on Mount Wilson, where presumably there would be a stronger ether drift.
After years of careful experimentation, Miller indeed found a systematic deviation from the null result predicted by SR which greatly embarrassed Einstein and his followers. Einstein tried to explain it away as an artifact of temperature variation, but Miller had taken great care to avoid precisely that kind of error. Miller told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on January 27, 1926,
"The trouble with Professor Einstein is that he knows nothing about my results. ... He ought to give me credit for knowing that temperature differences would affect the results. He wrote to me in November suggesting this. I am not so simple as to make no allowance for temperature."
But the tide of scientific opinion had turned against the ether and in favor of Einstein. The 1919 solar eclipse observations led by Sir Arthur Eddington that allegedly confirmed general relativity's prediction of the deflection of starlight by a gravitational field was so ambivalent and poorly performed that it was scientifically worthless, but thanks to Eddington's authority, it was accepted as a resounding confirmation. Some of the stars had moved in the direction predicted by Einstein, but not as much, or too much, others had even moved in the opposite direction. Confirmation was obtained by the "scientific" device of discarding the data that didn't fit the prediction, and retaining the data that did. The "confirmation" was triumphantly announced by Eddington at a joint meeting of the Royal Society and the Royal Astronomical Society to an audience that had not actually seen the data first hand. In the judgement of an eye witness, the meeting resembled a coronation ceremony rather than a scientific conference.
Because of this scientific fraud, Einstein became a world celebrity overnight, surrounded by an aura of scientific infallibility. Miller's results, which suggested that in order to detect anisotropies in the speed of light, the interferometer needed to be surrounded by as little matter as possible, and located at a high altitude, were ignored in subsequent tests of the isotropy of the speed of light, such as the Brillet-Hall experiment, and recently, the Müller experiment.
After Miller's death, one of his students, Robert S. Shankland, gave the physics establishment the final excuse it needed to forget Miller's work for good. Shankland simply revived the old criticism of temperature variations, against which Miller had always successfully defended himself during his lifetime, to reach the conclusion that Miller's results must be invalid. Some relativity skeptics believe that that conclusion was preordained by Shankland's manifest devotion to Einstein which is evident in his writing[38,39].
One of these, James DeMeo, Ph.D., has undertaken a detailed review of Miller's work and Shankland's critique that comes to the conclusion that the Shankland team
"with some degree of consultation with Einstein, decided that 'Miller must be wrong' and then set about to see what they could find in his archive that would support that conclusion."
It must be noted, however, that Miller's determination of the velocity of the Earth relative to the ether is incompatible with modern observations. Miller found that the solar system is moving at a speed of 208 kilometers per second towards a point in the Great Magellanic Cloud in the constellation Doradus, in contradiction to modern measurements discussed below.
Even if the alleged null result of the M-M experiment is accepted, the isotropy of the speed of light does not necessarily follow. M. Psimopoulos and T. Theocharis, two physicists at Imperial College, London, point out in a letter to Nature that the M-M experiment has only been performed in terrestrial laboratories, where the gravitational field and the magnetosphere of the Earth and other ambient factors are always present, and must therefore be repeated in space before its conclusions can be accepted as universal. They note that
"all sorts of experiments have already been conducted in space. But the few experiments which might have truly tested the perhaps most fundamental and controversial hypotheses in twentieth century physics- Einstein's postulates - have curiously not been done."
In a 1986 letter to Nature Ernest W. Silvertooth reported that he constructed an interferometer capable of detecting the absolute motion of the Earth with respect to the ether. In Experimental detection of the ether and Motion through the Ether, Silvertooth reported that on the particular day of his measurements, the Earth moved at 378 km/s towards the constellation Leo. If relativity is correct, than this result should be complete garbage.
Silvertooth published his findings before NASA launched COBE, the first satellite to accurately measure the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Due to Doppler shift, there is a slight anisotropy in the spectrum of the CMB. Based on precise measurements of this anisotropy, it was determined that, relative to the CMB, the heliocentric frame moves at 390 km/s towards Leo. Given the earth's orbital speed of 30 km/s, this is a very good agreement with Silvertooth's measurement. In a refined experiment, Silvertooth and Whitney confirmed the earlier result and found a speed of v = 378 km/s.
A citation search through ISI Web of Science reveals no references to any of Silvertooth's papers in the mainstream scientific literature. An online document briefly mentions and dismisses it on the grounds that both the experiment and the theoretical analysis are flawed, but given how well Silvertooth's result agrees with the independently determined motion of the Earth through the CMB, error seems to be an insufficient explanation. Unless Silvertooth committed outright fraud by simply making a lucky guess as to the Earth's velocity relative to the CMB and then ascribing this guess to an imaginary experiment, the inescapable conclusion would be that translation can be measured by purely electromagnetic means and that Einstein's theory of special relativity is falsified.
The late physicist Bryan G. Wallace discovered in 1961 that radar distance measurements of the surface of the planet Venus did not confirm the constancy of the speed of light. There were systematic variations in the radar data containing diurnal, lunar and synodic components. Attempting to get his results published in Physical Review Letters, he encountered great resistance from referees, and eventually settled for a lesser journal.
In a letter to Physics Today Wallace summarizes his findings as follows:
"The 1961 interplanetary radar contact with Venus presented the first opportunity to overcome technological limitations and perform direct experiments of Einstein's second postulate of a constant light speed of c in space. When the radar calculations were based on the postulate, the observed-computed residuals ranged to over 3 milliseconds of the expected error of 10 microseconds from the best [general relativity] fit the Lincoln Lab could generate, a variation range of over 30,000%. An analysis of the data showed a component that was relativistic in a c+v Galilean sense. "
Let's do a quick reality check here. If the speed of light in interplanetary space is non constant, how could NASA not have noticed in its robotic exploration of the solar system? Wallace makes the scandalous claim that NASA has noticed, and has been using equations with non-relativistic components to calculate signal transit times in the solar system all along:
"At the December 1974 AAS Dynamical Astronomy Meeting, E. M. Standish Jr of JPL reported that significant unexplained systematic variations existed in all the interplanetary data, and that they are forced to use empirical correction factors that have no theoretical foundation."
In a 1973 paper, Wallace describes how the Lincoln Lab introduced averaging to suppress the anomalous radar results and refused to release the raw data to him, stonewalling his investigation.
"The apparent improvement in the residuals for later years was due to the fact that the Lab interpolated the 1964 [Venus] data to 12:00 UT and the 1967 data to one observation a day from 2:12 UT to 2:21 UT. The observing time for the 1961 data ranged from 00:33 UT to 23:40 UT. The involved radar astronomers are publicly claiming nearly complete agreement between their recent radar analysis and general relativity, but my investigation reveals otherwise. At the Fourth Texas Symposium of Relativistic Astrophysics, I.I. Shapiro of the Lincoln Lab promised to send me any data I wanted. I read in an article published by the lab that they had data for the same observing dates covering a wide range of daily observing times from both the MIT and USSR radar stations. I wrote Shapiro requesting this data 2/13/69; his letters of 2/28/69 and 3/12/69 ignored my request. I made an issue of this in my letter to him of 3/20/69, and in his reply of 3/27/69 he stated, 'Unfortunately the data do not exist in the form in which you wanted them and hence, I cannot honor your request.'
Shapiro later sent me data that were completely worthless for making an objective test of the relative velocity of light in space. The data were from two MIT radar stations in Massachusetts. The separation between them was only 0.2' of longitude and 20.6" of latitude and the observations had been interpolated to 2:12 UT to 2:21 UT with only one observation per day. It seems obvious that the Lab eliminated the variations by interpolating the data for each day to the one observing time for that day that agreed with the general relativity prediction. One could use the same method to prove that a stopped clock keeps perfect time."
A subsequent letter submitted to Physics Today on July 9, 1984 was denied publication. Wallace reproduced this letter in the chapter Publication Politics of his online book The Farce of Physics. In it, he wrote
"The speed of light is c+v
During a current literature search, I requested and received a reprint of a paper [T. D. Moyer, Celes. Mech., 23, 33(1981)] published by Theodore D. Moyer of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The paper reports the methods used to obtain accurate values of range observables for radio and radar signals in the solar system. The paper's (A6) equation and the accompanying information that calls for evaluating the position vectors at the signal reception time is nearly equivalent to the Galilean c+v equation (2) in my paper RADAR TESTING OF THE RELATIVE VELOCITY OF LIGHT IN SPACE. [B. G. Wallace, Spectros. Lett., 2, 361(1969)] The additional terms in the (A6) equation correct for the effects of the troposphere and charged particles, as well as the general relativity effects of gravity and velocity time dilation.
The fact that the radio astronomers have been reluctant to acknowledge the full theoretical implications of their work is probably related to the unfortunate things that tend to happen to physicists that are rash enough to challenge Einstein's sacred second postulate. Over twenty-three years have gone by since the original Venus radar experiments clearly showed that the speed of light in space was not constant, and still the average scientist is not aware of this fact! This demonstrates why it is important for the APS to bring true scientific freedom to the PR journal's editorial policy."
Supporting evidence comes from Ronald Hatch who finds that the NASA equations for interplanetary navigation follow his MLET theory rather than special relativity:
"The experimental evidence is almost overwhelming in support of the MLET view. There is a large disjoint between the SRT theorists and the experimentalists. The SRT theorists continue to claim that the speed of light is automatically the velocity c and isotropic with respect to the moving observer or experiment. But the SRT experimentalists do what is necessary to explain and make sense of the measurements. The equations for tracking and navigating the interplanetary probes developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory(JPL) for NASA clearly follow the MLET template."
Mr. Wallace died on April 19, 1997, his findings ignored and thus neither confirmed nor refuted by the physics establishment. The question remains: Is the speed of light in interplanetary space subject to systematic variations in time?
It is therefore imperative that systematic, high precision speed of light experiments be performed in earth orbit and interplanetary space. No such experiments have been carried out yet - why test a theory that you already know is correct? - but majority opinion has been changing lately. Attempts to reconcile general relativity with quantum theory have been a notable failure, and physicists have come to suspect that a unified field theory must involve "small" violations of special and general relativity. Müller et al. state
"Special relativity (SR) underlies all accepted theories of nature at the fundamental level. Therefore, it has been and must be tested with ever increasing precision to provide a firm basis for its future application. Such tests are also motivated by the efforts to unify gravity with the other forces of nature, one of the outstanding open challenges in modern science. In fact, many currently discussed models of quantum gravity do violate the principles of SR."
This has finally created a renewed interest in testing both relativity theories experimentally to high precision. German physicists are currently designing the OPTIS mission, a satellite carrying ultra-high precision experiments to test key assumptions and predictions of relativity; among them, the isotropy and constancy of the speed of light. As expected, the OPTIS mission objective is to confirm special and general relativity, or at most to find weak violations:
"New unifying theories (e.g. the String-Theory) predict small deviations from the Special and General Relativity. If such deviations could be found (e.g. an unisotropy of the speed of light) the way to a new understanding of the time and space structure of the universe would be open."
The motivation to conduct such experiments in Earth orbit is solely due to technological considerations and has nothing to do with the dissident argument that space-based tests of special relativity might produce radically different results than ground-based ones. But if Miller and other relativity critics are right, OPTIS may find much more than small deviations. The mission is still in the planning stages and no launch date has been set, but results could be available between 2005 and 2007.
There is some evidence for the existence of superluminal signals in nature, which contradicts the special relativistic idea that such signals violate causality and are therefore impossible.
W. A. Rodrigues, Jr. and others have constructed formal solutions of the main relativistic wave equations traveling at arbitrary speeds 0 £ v < ¥. They call these solutions undistorted progressive waves (UPWs). These formal solutions have infinite energy and can therefore not exist in reality; however; numerical simulations and experiments with sound waves suggest that so-called finite aperture approximations to these waves can be generated. Such has been done; however, in all the finite aperture approximations experimentally produced, only the peaks move superluminally; the wave fronts move at c, excluding the possibility of superluminal signaling. In Finite energy superluminal solutions of Maxwell equations, de Oliveira and Rodrigues show that genuinely superluminal, finite-energy vacuum solutions of Maxwell's equations exist, which, unfortunately, cannot be produced by a finite antenna. The authors state, however, that
"even if the new superluminal solutions cannot be produced by physical devices, the only possible reason for their non existence in our universe is that of a possible violation of the principle of relativity."
Von Flandern has shown in a series of papers that the force of gravity must act in exactly the same fashion it is calculated by astronomers, that is, near-instantaneously. Otherwise, angular momentum would no longer be conserved and planetary orbits would be unstable. In The Speed of Gravity - What the Experiments Say he writes
"Standard experimental techniques exist to determine the propagation speed of forces. When we apply these techniques to gravity, they all yield propagation speeds too great to measure, substantially faster than lightspeed. This is because gravity, in contrast to light, has no detectable aberration or propagation delay for its action, even for cases (such as binary pulsars) where sources of gravity accelerate significantly during the light time from source to target By contrast, the finite propagation speed of light causes radiation pressure forces to have a non-radial component causing orbits to decay (the "Poynting-Robertson effect"); but gravity has no counterpart force proportional to v/c to first order.
General relativity (GR) explains these features by suggesting that gravitation (unlike electromagnetic forces) is a pure geometric effect of curved space-time, not a force of nature that propagates. Gravitational radiation, which surely does propagate at lightspeed but is a fifth order effect in v/c, is too small to play a role in explaining this difference in behavior between gravity and ordinary forces of nature. Problems with the causality principle also exist for GR in this connection, such as explaining how the external fields between binary black holes manage to continually update without benefit of communication with the masses hidden behind event horizons. These causality problems would be solved without any change to the mathematical formalism of GR, but only to its interpretation, if gravity is once again taken to be a propagating force of nature in flat spacetime with the propagation speed indicated by observational evidence and experiments: not less than 2 ·1010 c.
Such a change of perspective requires no change in the assumed character of gravitational radiation or its lightspeed propagation. Although faster-than-light force propagation speeds do violate Einstein special relativity (SR), they are in accord with Lorentzian relativity, which has never been experimentally distinguished from SR-at least, not if favor of SR. Indeed, far from upsetting much of current physics, the main changes induced by this new perspective are beneficial to areas where physics has been struggling, such as explaining experimental evidence for non-locality in quantum physics, the dark matter issue in cosmology, and the possible unification of forces. Recognition of a faster-than-lightspeed propagation of gravity, as indicated by all existing experimental evidence, may be the key to taking conventional physics to the next plateau."
In a 2002 paper Van Flandern and Vigier extend these results and conclude that the alleged Einstein "general speed limit" of c must be invalid.
It must be understood that if the existence of instantaneous signals (rather than "just" superluminal ones) were confirmed, this would instantly invalidate special relativity, which is founded on the impossibility of synchronizing two distant clocks by means of an instantaneous signal.
D.L. Hotson shares the following suppression story in Dirac's Equation and the Sea of Negative Energy (talking about himself in the third person):
"(..) Unfortunately, he could not resist asking awkward questions. His professors taught that conservation of mass-energy is the never-violated, rock-solid foundation of all physics. In 'pair-production', a photon of at least 1.022 MeV 'creates' an electron-positron pair, each with 0.511 MeV of rest energy, with any excess being the momentum of the 'created' pair. So supposedly the conservation books balance.
But the 'created' electron and positron both have spin (angular momentum) energy of h/4p. By any assumption as to the size of electron or positron, this is far more energy than that supplied by the photon at 'creation'.
'Isn't angular momentum energy?' he asked a professor.
'Of course it is. This half-integer spin angular momentum is the energy needed by the electron to set up a stable standing wave around the proton. Thus it is responsible for the Pauli exclusion principle, hence for the extension and stability of all matter. You could say it is the sole cause of the periodic table of elements.'
'Then where does all this energy come from? How can the 'created' electron have something like sixteen times more energy than the photon that supposedly 'created' it? Isn't this a huge violation of your never-violated rock-solid foundation of physics?'
'We regard spin angular momentum as an 'inherent property' of electron and positron, not as a violation of conservation.'
'But if it's real energy, where does it come from?' (..)
'Inherent property' means we don't talk about it, and you won't either if you want to pass this course.'
Later, Mr. Hotson was taken aside and told that his 'attitude' was disrupting the class, and that further, with his 'attitude', there was no chance in hell of his completing a graduate program in physics, so 'save your money'. He ended up at the Sorbonne studying French literature and later became a professional land surveyor."
Big Bang Cosmology, which is built on general relativity theory, is forced to use a number of adjustable parameters and ad-hoc assumptions to agree with observation, such as inflation, the assumption that most of the mass of the universe must consist of 'dark matter', a kind of matter that cannot be detected, but nevertheless must exist, for the sole reason that big bang theory requires it, and now the latest fad, "dark energy".
Two of the three vaunted "predictions" of big bang theory - the light element abundances and the temperature of the microwave background are actually retrodictions meaning that big bang theory failed to predict them quantitatively correctly and was then adjusted after the data came in to fit the observational evidence.
The third, the Hubble expansion, is entirely a figment of the imagination, as veteran astronomer Halton Arp has pointed out for decades. There are ample examples of high-redshift quasars that are physically connected to low-redshift galaxies, and there is evidence that red shift is quantized. But astronomy has failed to self-correct, and the only acknowledgement Arp received from the scientific establishment was to be largely (though not completely) banned from publication in scientific journals or from speaking at conferences, and to be denied telescope time. He gives details in Quasars, Redshifts, and Controversies
"[Around 1980] I had tried to make a customary tennis date with an old and valued Caltech friend who had been a longtime opponent on the subject of Quasars. He was embarrassed and evasive. On the following day, the six-person allocation committee, of which he was a member, sent me an unsigned letter stating that my research was judged to be without value and that they intended to refuse allocation of further observing time. (..) A number of directors of other observatories as well as other well-known astronomers communicated to the director of my observatory strongly supporting my research and opposing the action of the allocation committee. I challenged members of the committee to debate the actual scientific facts. But none of this prevented the inevitable last act. My observations on the 200-inch telescope at Palomar terminated in 1983, and at Las Campanas in 1984. "
Arp found scientific asylum at the Max Planck Institut für Astrophysik in Munich, Germany, where he was allowed to continue his work. But the suppression continued. In Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science, Arp relates the following story:
"'Just another isolated case'. Your eye slid over that phrase because you wanted to see whether the referee was going to recommend publication. The answer was: not for the Astrophysical Journal Letters. The message behind the smooth, assured phrase was clear: 'No matter how conclusive the evidence, we have the power to minimize and suppress it.' What was the observation this time? Just two X-ray sources unmistakably paired across a galaxy well known for its eruptive activity. The paper reported that these compact sources of high-energy emission were both quasars, stellar-appearing objects of much higher redshift than the central galaxy, NGC4258. Obviously, they had originated from the galaxy, in contradiction to all official rules. Slyly, the referee remarked that 'because there was no known cause for such intrinsic, excessive redshifts the author should include a brief outline of a theory to explain them.'
My mind flashed back through 30 years of evidence, ignored by people who were sure of their theoretical assumptions. Anger was my only honest option- but stronger than that provoked by worse 'peer reviews' because this was not even my paper. I did not have to stop and worry that my response was ruled by wounded personal ego. How did this latest skirmish begin? Several years earlier an X-ray astronomer had come into my office with a map of the field around NGC4258. There were two conspicuous X-ray sources paired across the nucleus of the galaxy. He asked if I knew where he could get a good photograph of the field, so he could check whether there were any optical objects that could be identified with the X-ray sources. I was very pleased to be able to swivel my chair around to the bookshelves in back of me and pull out one of the best prints in existence of that particular field. I had taken it with the Kitt Peak National Observatory, 4-meter telescope about a dozen years previously. (..)
Wolfgang Pietsch quickly found a small pointing correction to the satellite positions and established that his X-ray pair coincided with blue stellar objects at about 20th apparent magnitude. At that instant I knew that the objects were almost certainly quasars, and once again experienced that euphoria that comes at the moment when you see a long way into a different future. In view of the obvious nature of these objects I felt Pietsch showed courage and scientific integrity in publishing the comment: 'If the connection of these sources with the galaxy is real, they may be bipolar ejecta from the nucleus.'
Arp then describes how establishment obstruction delayed the necessary confirmatory observation for two years.
"Then the dance of evasion began. It was necessary to obtain optical spectra of the blue stellar candidates to confirm that they were quasars and ascertain their redshifts. A small amount of time was requested on the appropriate European telescope. It was turned down. Pietsch's eyes avoided mine when he said 'I guess I did not explain it clearly enough'. The Director of the world's largest telescope in the US requested a brief observation to get the redshifts. It was not done. The Director of the X-ray Institute requested confirmation. It was not done. Finally, after nearly two years, E. Margaret Burbidge with the relatively small 3-meter reflector on Mount Hamilton, on a winter night, against the night sky glow from San Jose, recorded the spectra of both quasars. It was fortunate that mandatory retirement had been abolished in the US, because by this time, Margaret had over 50 years of observing experience. Of course, the referee report from which I quoted was directed against her paper, which reported this important new observation. In her firm, but lady-like English way, Margaret withdrew her paper from the Astrophysical Journal Letters and submitted it to the European journal Astronomy and Astrophysics Letters".
Arp concludes and generalizes,
"What was particularly appalling about this series of events was that Margaret Burbidge was someone who had given long and distinguished service to the scientific community. Professor at the University of California, Director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory and President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science among other contributions. It seems it was permissible to let her fly anywhere in the world doing onerous administrative tasks, but her scientific accomplishments were not to be accorded elementary scientific respect and fair treatment.
Some would argue that this is a special case, owing to the climate of opinion where the offices of the Astrophysical Journal Letters are located. But, as events in the following chapters make clear, the problem is pervasive throughout astronomy, and, contrary to its projected image, endemic throughout most of current science. Scientists, particularly at the most prestigious institutions, regularly suppress and ridicule findings which contradict their current theories and assumptions."
G. Burbidge gives the following devastating summary of the anti-scientific conduct of the astrophysical establishment:
"The existence of a class of objects which have redshifts not largely due to the cosmic expansion was not predicted either in the hot big bang cosmology or in QSSC. How is this phenomenon dealt with in each hypothesis? As far as that big bang model is concerned its supporters are in complete denial. They never mention the observational evidence, do not allow observers who would like to report such evidence any opportunity to do this in cosmology conferences, argue against its publication, and if forced to comment on the data, simply argue that they are wrong."
Thomas Van Flandern's recent paper The Top 30 Problems with the Big Bang gives an overview of problems with Big Bang cosmology and concludes,
"The Big Bang (..) no longer makes testable predictions wherein proponents agree that a failure would falsify the hypothesis. Instead, the theory is continually amended to account for all new, unexpected discoveries. Indeed, many young scientists now think of this as a normal process in science! They forget, or were never taught, that a model has value only when it can predict new things that differentiate the model from chance and from other models before the new things are discovered. Explanations of new things are supposed to flow from the basic theory itself with, at most, an adjustable parameter or two, and not from add-on bits of new theory. (..) Perhaps never in the history of science has so much quality evidence accumulated against a model so widely accepted within a field. Even the most basic elements of the theory, the expansion of the universe and the fireball remnant radiation, remain interpretations with credible alternative explanations. One must wonder why, in this circumstance, four good alternative models are not even being comparatively discussed by most astronomers."
In 1992, Russian scientist Eugene Podkletnov published claims to have observed partial gravitational shielding above a rotating superconductor. The scientific establishment reacted with scorn and dismissed the claims on a-priori grounds:
"Most physicists laughed at Podkletnov's report. Riley Newman, a professor of physics at UC Irvine who has been involved in gravity research for 20 years, typified the reaction when he commented, 'I think it's safe to say gravity shielding is not conceivable.' Like many scientists, he felt that Podkletnov must have made a mistake, measuring magnetic fields or air currents instead of genuine weight reduction.
And yet, few of Podkletnov's critics actually bothered to read his description of his work. Their reaction was so dismissive, it almost sounded like prejudice. From their perspective he was an outsider, a nonmember of the 'gravity establishment.' They couldn't believe that a major discovery in physics had been made by such a no-status dilettante fooling around at some obscure lab in Finland."
Podkletnov's claims received major publicity in 1996, when a British newspaper reported that a followup paper was about to be published in the British Journal of Physics D. Podkletnov later withdrew the paper under curious circumstances:
"But Podkletnov has now withdrawn the paper, just weeks before it was due to appear. His decision follows a bizarre series of developments triggered by media interest in the device. Earlier this month Tampere University issued a carefully worded statement denying all knowledge of the antigravity research. While admitting that it had been involved in some preliminary experiments done by Podkletnov in the early 1990s, the university said he was no longer on the staff.
Suspicions deepened when Vuorinen, the supposed coauthor of the paper, issued a statement denying that he had ever worked on antigravity with Podkletnov.
The furore appears to have surprised Podkletnov, who insists that the claims made in the paper are genuine. But he says the university is correct in denying the existence of any recent research, as the paper centers on experiments carried out in 1992.
On the key issue of Vuorinen's denial of involvement in the work, Podkletnov says that there must have been some confusion over names, and that another Petri Vuorinen was the true coauthor. Podkletnov does have an unpaid affiliation with Tampere's Institute of Material Science. However, inquiries have failed to uncover anyone with a similar name at the university who admits to working on the antigravity research.
The controversy also appears to have shocked the Institute of Physics, which publishes the Journal of Physics D. Three referees failed to find any major flaw in the paper's claims, which if confirmed would rate as one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in history.
Gravity is the most ubiquitous force in the Universe, and no one has ever found any way of shielding matter from its effects. The discovery of a shielding effect would have huge theoretical and commercial implications.
Faced with Tampere University's statement, and Vuorinen's denial that he was involved, Richard Palmer, managing editor of the journal, decided to put the paper on hold pending further inquiries. Three days later, on 9 September, Podkletnov solved the institute's dilemma by withdrawing his paper. He gave no reason. But he stands by his claims: 'This is an important discovery and I don't want it to disappear,' he told New Scientist.
The paper may now never appear in any physics journal: Podkletnov is said to have been put under pressure from unknown 'funding agencies' not to reveal any more, pending patent applications.
Even so, the mystery of the antigravity machine lingers. What is known is that the paper had passed scrutiny by independent experts in superconductivity, and had been accepted by a reputable journal. Tampere University itself concedes that Podkletnov has a good reputation for research, and refuses to pass judgment on whether the antigravity machine actually works."
Podkletnov was subsequently thrown out of the university. But despite the controversy, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama decided to investigate his claims. The first attempt at replication failed, but it had been conducted without sufficient knowledge of the original experiment. As of 2002, NASA was still working on a second attempt.
Podkletnov now says that he can generate repulsive force beams. According to Nick Cook,
"Meanwhile, Mr Podkletnov, now based at the Moscow Chemical Scientific Research Center, has taken his ideas further. Last year he published another paper - backed by Giovanni Modanese, an Italian physicist, detailing work on an 'impulse gravity generator' that is capable of exerting a repulsive force on all matter.
Using a strong electrical discharge source and a superconducting 'emitter', the equipment has produced a 'gravity impulse', Mr Podkletnov says, "that is very short in time and propagates with great speed (practically instantaneously) along the line of discharge, passing through different objects without any observable loss of energy".
The result, he maintains, is a repulsive action on any object the beam hits, that is proportional to its mass. When fitted to a laser pointing device, Mr Podkletnov says, his laboratory installation has already demonstrated its ability to knock over objects more than a kilometer away. The same installation, he maintains, could hit objects up to 200km away with the same power."
These claims caught the attention of aerospace company Boeing which has been reported to be researching antigravity.
Whether antigravity will ultimately be proven to exist or not, one thing is already clear: mainstream physics is unwilling to investigate antigravity claims in good faith. Robert L. Park, the spokesman of the American Physical Society made a typical comment in his What's New column in 2002 that illustrates the unscientific "theory overrides evidence" modus operandi of the physics establishment:
"Why would Boeing choose to spend millions to test a ridiculous claim by an obscure Russian physicist that has failed every test and is a physical impossibility to begin with?"
The second law of thermodynamics, in simple language, says that in a closed physical system, useful energy decays into waste heat, and you can't win it back. A machine that produces, say, electrical energy from ambient heat is impossible according to the second law, and termed a "perpetuum mobile of the second kind".
But the second law is under siege, and it may turn out that this alleged rock-solid law of nature is only a reflection of the limitations of 19th and 20th century engineering.
In a paper titled A Solid-State Maxwell Demon D.P. Sheehan and A.R. Putnam of the departments of Physics and J.H. Wright of the department of Mathematics and Computer science of the University of San Diego propose a semiconductor device that would generate useful energy from the thermal noise of an electronic circuit. The authors successfully tested their model on a commercial semiconductor simulator and estimate that the technology necessary to construct a laboratory model will be available by 2007. In their introduction, they write:
"Over the last ten years, an unprecedented number of challenges have been leveled against the absolute status of the second law of thermodynamics. During this period, roughly 40 papers have appeared in the general literature, representing more than a dozen distinct challenges; the publication rate is increasing. Recently, for the first time, a major scientific press has commissioned a monograph on the subject and a first international conference has been convened to examine these challenges."
One would think that given the implications (defeating the second "law" means nothing less than solving the human energy crisis permanently), governments, corporations and the scientific establishment would be interested. But there is very little interest. The prevailing (circular) reasoning remains that machines that violate the second law are impossible because they would contradict the second law.
There is widespread belief among physicists and non-physicists alike that physics has essentially "figured out" the universe. According to this "end of science" argument, all that remains to the great enterprise of science is to connect a few dots and do some fine-tuning. But the evidence discussed in this article suggests that this satisfactory state of affairs is a mere illusion created by the scientific establishment's habit of suppressing or ignoring disconfirming evidence, and that some of the most basic tenets of physics are in need of major revision.
© Rochus Boerner 2003 This article may be freely distributed as long as it is unchanged and this notice remains.