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Ivor Catt (born 1935) is a British electronics engineer known principally for his alternative theories of electromagnetism. He received a B.A. degree from Cambridge University, and has won the Electronic Design magazine's "best product of the year" award on 26 October 1989, after £16 million funding.
Ivor Catt was born in England and grew up on an RAF airbase in Singapore. He left the country, along with his mother and sister, just before the Japanese invasion in 1942. He did his National Service stationed in Germany. He won a State Scholarship in mathematics and then studied engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Wafer scale integration
Catt developed and patented some ideas on Wafer scale integration (WSI) in 1972, and published his work in Wireless World in 1981, after his articles on the topic were rejected by academic journals. The technique, christened Catt Spiral, was designed to enable the use of partially faulty integrated chips (called partials), which were otherwise discarded by manufacturers.
In mid-1980s, a British company Anamartic, funded by Tandem Computers and Sir Clive Sinclair among others, announced plans to manufacture microchips ("superchips") based on Catt's technology. The approach was reported to be revolutionary at the time, with predictions that it would enable construction of powerful super-computers from cheap, mass-produced components, and cheaper and faster replacements for magnetic disk memories. Anamartic introduced a solid-state memory, called the Wafer Stack, based on the technology in 1989 and the device won Electronic Product's ‘Product of the Year Award’. However the company could not ensure a large enough supply of silicon wafers, which were crucial for its chip manufacturing, and folded in 1992.
Writings and opinions
On industrial management
Catt spent six years in the 1960s working in five different electronic companies in the USA. He was very disillusioned by his experience and wrote a harsh critique of American management practices in his book, The Catt Concept: The New Industrial Darwinism. Catt was critical of the hire and fire culture, which he labeled the New Social Darwinism, and accused American employers of stifling their workers' creativity. The book got largely negative reviews, with Kirkus Reviews describing it as a contrived and often muddled work that rested on "one man's bitter and limited experience." Published in six languages.
Catt also claimed disastrous consequences of what he calls censorship (by which he means, scientific journals declining to publish his papers) in an article in Electronics World September 2003 issue, 'EMC - A Fatally Flawed Discipline' pages 44–52:
... during the Falklands War, the British warship HMS Sheffield had to switch off its radar looking for incoming missiles ... This is why it did not see incoming Exocet missiles, and you know the rest. How was it that after decades of pouring money into the EMC community, this could happen ... that community has gone into limbo, sucking in money but evading the real problems, like watching for missiles while you talk to HQ.
His work has received coverage and debate in the magazines Wireless World and Electronics World from December 1978 to September 1988. The New Scientist on 19 February 1989 stated that Catt proposed an electronic internet to share ideas and circumvent bigoted censorship :
Catt argues that as bodies of knowledge grow, they become stronger in keeping out any new items of knowledge that appear to question the fundamental base of the established knowledge and its practitioners. To assist the propagation of new ideas, he proposes the creation of an electronic information-sharing network.
- The Catt Concept: The New Industrial Darwinism, Putnam, 1971, ISBN 0-906340-15-2
- Computer Worship, Pitman Publ., 1973 ISBN 0-273-00243-0
- Digital Hardware Design (with David Walton, Malcolm Davidson), Macmillan, 1979, ISBN 0-333-25981-5
- Electromagnetic Theory, C.A.M. Pub., 1983, ISBN 0-906340-03-9
- Death of Electric Current: Wireless World Articles and Letters, C.A.M. Pub., 1987, ISBN 0-906340-06-3
- The Catt Anomaly: Science Beyond the Crossroads, Westfields, 2001, ISBN 0-906340-15-2
- The Hook and the Sting: The Legal Mafia, Westfields, 1996, 1996, ISBN 0-906340-09-8
Articles by Ivor Catt
- Lynch, Arnold and Ivor Catt, "A Difficulty in Electromagnetic Theory," presented to and published by the Institution of Electrical Engineers, Professional Group D7 (History of Technology), 26th Weekend Meeting, 10–12 July 1998, University of East Anglia, publication HEE/26 
- Catt, I. The Two T.E.M. Signals, IEEE Computer Society, 1978, OCLC 35349268
- Catt, I. "The Rise and Fall of Bodies of Knowledge", The Information Scientist, 12 (4) December 1978, pp. 137–144 
- Catt, I., Davidson, M., Walton, D.S.,"The history of displacement current," Wireless World, March 1979
- Catt, I., Davidson, M., Walton, D.S., "Displacement current", Wireless World, December 1978
- Catt, I., 'Crosstalk (Noise) in Digital Systems,' IEEE Trans. on Elect. Comp., vol. EC-16 (December 1967) pp. 749–58 . 
- Catt, I. 'Death of Electric Current,' Wireless World, December 1980 
- Catt, I. 'The End of the Road,' Electronics World, April 2013 
Articles Referring to Ivor Catt
- Cook, Nigel, "Air traffic control: how many more air disasters?", Electronics World, January 2003, pp. 12–17   Video on YouTube
- Cook, Nigel, "An Electronic Universe", Electronics World, Part 1: August 2002 (4 pages), Part 2: April 2003 (6 pages) 
- "Depending on who[m] you talk to in the generally conservative semiconductor industry, Catt is either a crank or a visionary. For 20 years, he has been refining the theoretical foundations for a revolution in the semiconductor industry ...." - "On the importance of being creative; Innovative thinkers should be allowed to come to the fore", New Scientist, 12june86, p35
- Sinclair, Sir Clive, on YouTube
- ".... Ivor Catt, an innovative thinker whose own immense ability in electronics has all too often been too far ahead of conventional ideas to be appreciated: significantly, Catt is beginning to get some high-level backing from companies who see the possibility of major breakthroughs from his work ('Wafers herald new era in computing', New Scientist, 25 February 1989)." - New Scientist, 25nov89, p75.
- http://www.ivorcatt.com/2951.htm , accessed 1 August 2007
- Schofield, Jack (16 February 1989). "Computer Guardian (Microfile): Catt's back". The Guardian.
- Matthews, Robert (9 August 1988). "Breakthrough for British microchip; Anamartic; Wafer scale integration". The Times (London).
- Cook, Nigel (January 2003). "Air Traffic Control: How many more air disasters?". Electronics World. Retrieved 4 April 2008.
- BBC Micro Live News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 1985. Retrieved 4 April 2008.
- Matthews, Robert (9 February 1989). "A first for UK; Supercomputers; Technology". The Times (London).
- Morgan, Oliver; Day, Timon; Grant, Richard (8 October 1995). "Chip wars - Rival British world-beaters in battle for supremacy". Mail on Sunday, London.
- Catt, Ivor (1971). The Catt Concept: The New Industrial Darwinism. Putnam Publ.
- "Review - The Catt Concept: The New Industrial Darwinism". Kirkus Reviews. 1 October 1971.