Burkhard Heim

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Burkhard Heim
Born9 February 1925
Died14 January 2001 (2001-01-15) (aged 75)
Known forHeim theory
Scientific career

Burkhard Heim (German: [haɪm]; 9 February 1925 – 14 January 2001) was a German theoretical physicist known for the creation of a unified field theory called Heim theory.[1] He was particularly interested in the application of his theory to the development of hyperspace travel.

Academic and work history[edit]


In 1943, Heim met Heisenberg, a German physicist involved in atom bomb research, and told him of his plan to use chemical implosion to facilitate an atomic explosion. This design was based on an idea he developed for a 'clean' hydrogen bomb when he was 18. Heisenberg was impressed by Heim's knowledge, but thought the approach would be impractical.[1]

At the start of World War II, Heim avoided conscription into the German Air Force by working in a chemical laboratory as an explosives technician. An explosion in the laboratory caused by the mishandling of unstable compounds left him without hands and mostly deaf and blind when he was 19. Heim underwent the Krukenberg Procedure after the accident.

In 1946, Heim registered to study physics at the University of Göttingen.


In 1952, during the third congressional session of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in Stuttgart, Germany, Heim presented his theory for interplanetary propulsion under the title of "Die dynamische Kontrabarie als Lösung des astronomischen Problems" (The Dynamic Kontrabarie as Solution of the Astronautical Problem).[2] It was the first time the idea of gravitational, electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces were treated as distortions of their proper Euclidean metrics in a higher-dimensional space.[3] A brief description of Heim's lecture was recorded in the proceedings of the Society for Space Research.[4][5]

In 1954, he began to study under Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker in Göttingen.[1] He wrote his diploma thesis on physical processes in the Crab Nebula Supernova. After this, he began to work at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Göttingen. However, he soon found it extremely difficult to work in a team due to his disabilities.

In 1955, Heim contracted with the Glenn L. Martin Company to assist them with a gravity control propulsion project.[6][7] The news about Heim's contract was among several revelations that had been published during the period of intensified United States gravity control propulsion research (1955 - 1974).[6]

In 1956, Heim completed a 27-page progress report that summarized his philosophy (syntrometry) and his theory (Principle of Dynamic Contrabarie) for coupling general relativity with quantum dynamics for propulsion applications.[8] Sample calculations for an expedition from the surface of the Earth to the surface of the planet Mars appeared at the end of Heim's progress report.

In November 1957, Heim delivered a lecture about his propulsion theory to the Deutschen Gesellschaft für Raketentechnik und Raumfahrt (German Society for Rocket Technology and Space Travel), Frankfurt.[1] Subsequently, Wernher von Braun sought his comments on various aerospace projects.[9] According to von Ludwiger, an audiotape of Heim's presentation had been prepared for shipment to America.[1]

In 1959, Heim completed his first publication in the German journal Zeitschrift für Flugkörper (Magazine for Missiles),[10] [11][12][13][14] Heim discussed "the principle of the dynamic Kontrabarie" in which he examined how a field drive would be more effective than the best chemical drive for rockets. These papers remained ambiguous on the fundamental concepts underlying his theory of the field drive, likely due to the necessity to complete the calculations on the extra fields of his field theory. These calculations were not performed until a few years later.[11]

Heim stopped work on the propulsion aspect of his theory in 1959. Subsequently, the remainder of his life was devoted to refining the unified field attributes of his theory.[9]


In the late 1950s and early 1960s there were a number of reports on Heim in magazines and tabloids such as Le Figaro, Bunte Illustrierte, Quick and Stern. The magazine le Figaro remarked, on 15 January 1969, that he was an "inhuman robot".[1] The German television station ARD ran reports and interviews with Heim. It was speculated that Heim was likely to make a breakthrough, either in fundamental physics or propulsion theory.

On 17 November 1969 Heim reported the progress he had made towards developing his unified field theory to Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB). Pascual Jordan and Gebhard Lyra were among the small body of scientists who attended that colloquium. Jordan wrote Heim a letter on 22 December 1969 encouraging him to publish his theory.[1]


Ludwig Bölkow encouraged Heim to enhance his theory.[9] On 25 November 1976 Heim publicly introduced, for the first time, his completed unified field theory in a presentation to MBB engineers.[15] It included the methodology for calculating the mass spectrum of elementary particles. Pursuant to recommendations by Werner Heisenberg's successor, Hans-Peter Dürr, Heim published his unified field theory summary, the following year, in an article entitled Recommendations of a Way to a Unified Description of Elementary Particles in the Max Planck Institute journal Zeitschrift für Naturforschung.[16] This was the first publication of his theory in a peer reviewed scientific journal.


In 1982 Heim's mass formula was programmed on a computer at the German Electron Synchrotron DESY in Hamburg with the assistance of some resident scientists.[9] Up to that point, Heim had not yet confided in other theoretical physicists on the details of the mass formula derivation. Hence, the DESY results were not widely published and disseminated for academic scrutiny. That year Walter Dröscher, a theorist at the Vienna Patent Office, began to work with Heim. The first result of their collaboration cumulated in the second volume of Heim's major work, appearing in 1984.[9]


Heim died in Northeim in 2001 at age 75.

In 2004, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) awarded the winning paper in the nuclear and future flight field to a retired Austrian patent officer named Walter Dröscher and Jochem Häuser, a physicist and professor of computer science at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzgitter, Germany. They turned the theoretical framework of Burkhard Heim into a proposal for an experimental test for a propulsion device that is thought to theoretically be able to travel at rates faster than the speed of light. Hans Theodor Auerbach, a theoretical physicist and colleague of Heim has stated that, "As far as I understand it, Heim theory is ingenious," and, "I think that physics will take this direction in the future".[9][17]

In 2008, the AIAA Nuclear and Future Flight Propulsion Technical Committee published the following statement:

Much research was conducted this year on the investigation of the experimental basis of the existence of gravity-like fields that cannot be described by conventional gravitation; that is, by the accumulation of mass. Investigations emphasized a geometrized approach termed Extended Heim Theory, which extends Einstein's idea of geometrization of physics by employing the additional concepts of Heim.[18]

Life and health[edit]

Heim had to undergo a series of at least 50 operations after a laboratory explosion that resulted in the loss of both of his hands.[19] He had found that intense concentration on the study of Einstein's relativity theory had helped him control the pain in his arms mentally and physically.

The loss of his hands and serious diminution of his eyesight apparently resulted in Heim acquiring an eidetic, acoustic memory. He was claimed to rarely forget a formula if he heard it recited, and was said to be able to learn a language in a matter of days. He married a former concert singer from Prague in 1950 named Gerda.

Heim theory and the physics community[edit]

Heim achieved some media renown in the 1950s and 1960s, but his ideas have never been well-accepted in the physics community. A significant portion of Heim's work has not been published in rigorously peer reviewed journals. Heim's theory also predicts the existence of two hypothetical neutrinos, which have been shown not to exist by experiments at the Large Electron–Positron Collider.[20][21]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g von Ludwiger, Illobrand (28 January 2001). "Zum Tode des Physikers Burkhard Heim" (in German). Feldkirchen-Westerham.
  2. ^ Weyl, A. R. (October 1957). "Anti-gravity". Aeronautics. British Aviation Publications. 37 (2): 80–86.
  3. ^ Dröscher, W.; Häuser, J. (July 2002). Physical principles of advanced space propulsion based on Heim's field theory (PDF). 38th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit. Indianapolis, Indiana: AIAA. 2002-4094. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  4. ^ Weyl, A. R. (January 1959) [1958]. "Knowledge and possibilities of gravity research". Weltraumfahrt; Zeitschrift für Rakententechnik (in German). Vol. 9. Translated by W. R. Eichler. pp. 100–106. DTIC No. AD-0830247.
  5. ^ Weyl, A. R (February 1959). "Gravity and the prospects for astronautics". Aeronautics. British Aviation Publications. 59 (6): 16–22.
  6. ^ a b Talbert, A. E. (30 November 1955). "Conquest of gravity aim of top scientists in U.S.". New York Herald-Tribune. pp. 1, 36.
  7. ^ Talbert, A. E. (30 November 1955). "Scientists taking first steps in assault on gravity barrier". The Miami Herald. pp. 1, 2–A.
  8. ^ Watson, J. T. (February 1961). Gravitational control research (Master's). DTIC No. AD-0253588.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Lietz, Haiko (5 January 2006). "Take a leap into hyperspace". New Scientist. Vol. 189, no. 2533.
  10. ^ Robertson, G. A.; Murad, P. A.; Davis, E. (2008). "New frontiers in space propulsion sciences". Energy Conversion and Management. 49 (3): 436–452. doi:10.1016/j.enconman.2007.10.013.
  11. ^ a b Heim, B. (1959). "Das Prinzip der dynamischen Kontrabarie". Zeitschrift für Flugkörper (in German). 1 (4): 100–02.
  12. ^ Heim, B. (1959). "Das Prinzip der dynamischen Kontrabarie (II)". Zeitschrift für Flugkörper (in German). 1 (6): 164–66.
  13. ^ Heim, B. (1959). "Das Prinzip der dynamischen Kontrabarie (III)". Zeitschrift für Flugkörper (in German). 1 (7): 219–21.
  14. ^ Heim, B. (1959). "Das Prinzip der dynamischen Kontrabarie (IV)". Zeitschrift für Flugkörper (in German). 1 (8): 244–48.
  15. ^ Heim, Burkhard (2008) [1976]. Basic Thoughts on a unified field theory of matter and gravity (Version 1.2) (PDF) (Speech). MBB presentation. Translated by Jim Graham; John Reed. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  16. ^ Heim, B. (1977). "Vorschlag eines Weges einer einheitlichen Beschreibung der Elementarteilchen". Zeitschrift für Naturforschung (in German). 23a: 233–243. doi:10.1515/zna-1977-3-404. S2CID 100902276.
  17. ^ "Guidelines For A Space Propulsion Device Based On Heim's Quantum Theory" (PDF). HPCC-Space GmbH.
  18. ^ Donahue, B.; Moton-Nkhata, T.; the AIAA Nuclear & Future Flight Propulsion Committee (December 2008). "Nuclear and future flight propulsion" (PDF). Aerospace America: 57–59.
  19. ^ "CHERCHEURS, THEORICIENS H-P". QUANT'HOMME (in French). 12 March 2009. Retrieved 21 March 2022. Victim of a laboratory accident during the Second World War, Burkhard Heim had both hands amputated. He was also suffering from advanced deafness and almost total blindness. It took more than 50 operations to restore some of his abilities.
  20. ^ Posdzech, Olaf. "Burkhard Heim, a biography".
  21. ^ L3 Collaboration (1992). "Determination of the Number of Light Neutrino Species". Physics Letters B. 292 (3–4): 463–471. Bibcode:1992PhLB..292..463A. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(92)91204-M. hdl:2066/26827.

External links[edit]


Magazine articles[edit]

Blog articles[edit]

Institutions researching fields in which Heim had an interest[edit]