Talk:Ivor Catt/Archive 4

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More comments on Catt

However, Catt's inability to take on board legitimate criticism of his work is a large part of the whole story. The Dec 78 "capacitor-as-transmission-line" article is a case in point. The result that a transmission line fed via a very large impedance charges in a stepwise fashion that approximates to the charging curve of a capacitor is interesting, but does not challenge the "standard view." Catt et al failed to see that the equations they are using are derived from a model of the transmission line that includes capacitance in the first place.

The reason that they don't need to mention charge explicitly is that their equations describe the TL in terms of the impedances at its ends, and the propagation of voltage along it. Since the impedance is "resistive", there is no need to deal with the current flow at the ends, because it is entirely determined by Ohm's Law, and the article doesn't look at what's happening as the "voltage step travels along the TL to need to analyse the current.) Likewise, since the article is dealing with the consequence of the capacitance of the TL, rather than at the capacitance itself, it is not dealing at a level where the physics of the displacement current is relevant.

Thus the two tendentious points are not supported by the work presented in the article.

Are you talking about Catts article or our article on WP?--Light current 14:58, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Further, the article is trying to use the TL to approximate a sector of a circular parallel-plate capacitor. There is a problem here, because the TL model does not include the obvious fact that the "unit capacitance" of an arc on the sector varies with increasing radius. The article of open to serious adverse criticism, not because of the non-constant unit capacitance itself, but because the article has completely failed to address the issue. If it had done so, it would have opened a very large can of worms to do with the propagation of voltage/charge/energy over a 2-D surface, rather that along a 1-D line.

The article would never have been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal precisely because of these problem. Shorn of the problems, it probably would not have contained enough "meat" to make a worthwhile journal article, but would still have been an interesting article in Wireless World.

The questions I've raised are soluble, (or at least open to further work,) but Catt&Co have not done so. Instead, Catt treats the article as a finished work that contains absolute proof of an "error" in physics and trots it out in support of his further arguments.

The boot of Catt's "heresy" argument is actually on the other foot, since his position is rather like that of the Church in the "Pope v Gallileo,etc" arguments, where the Church has got into a mess by saddling up the writings of Aristotle, etc, with theology to get "Absolute Truth", which led to serious problems when "real science" can along and started to find out that some of the "facts" handed down by the ancients were merely speculation.

Catt seems to think that the sort of demonstration of "how the equations work" that you find in a school science text book constitute a proof that the theory is "correct". He misses the fact that the presentation of the results is preceded by a lot of careful experimental work designed both to prove the correctness of the theory, and to eliminate alternative theories. Catt has done none of this experimental work, and he is not coming up with anything that contradicts the "standard theory". -- Kevin Brunt 13:55, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

How much experimental work did Albert Einstein do before proposing his theories of special and general relativity?--Light current 14:50, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

The difference is that Einstein was pushing forward into an area where theory was lacking. Special relativity in particular gets described in terms of how "Einsteinian mechanics" differs from "Newtonian mechanics". The first part of Einstein's paper, however, starts off with Maxwell's equations. If I understand what I've been reading on the Web correctly, SR is a way of dealing with a serious contradiction between Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's equations. Einstein's achievement was less about the "new" ideas (which were, in fact, already floating around) and more about be willing to stick everything together in one paper and send off to be published. Einstein was adding mathematics to existing experimental observations.

Catt on the other hand is trying to supplant an existing theory. For all his fuss about Occam's Razor, it is he who is trying to adduce an unnecessary entity, namely his "em wave". He has posited that this wave exists, and come up with a description of how it behaves. However, his theory yields results that are identical to the existing theory; in order for Catt's theory to prevail he would need to demonstrate that it is superior. This would entail demonstrating that it works in circumstances that the existing theory does not, or that it gives better results, or that it is easier to use. Catt has not tried to do this; he has, in fact, not even devised any experiments to demonstrate the existence of the "em wave". Furthermore, his theory tends to avoid the resistance of the conductor, which puts it at a disadvantage to the electron drift/mean free path description, which can come up with sensible predictions for the conductance of metals. -- Kevin Brunt 22:29, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

If you feel a need to edit the page to reflect more accurately the true events, please feel free to do so. We here are not trying to convince readers one way or the other about Catts ideas!

--Light current 15:04, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Charge movement or electromagnetic waves propagation

The "Catt Anomaly" is a case in point. If you wade through all the obfuscation (and the libellous comments) in his "book" on the subject, you will find that it all boils down to the difference between what he says that his Question says ("...when a battery...") and what he actually wrote ("...when a TEM step ... guided ...".) The former is about current flow in a conductor, the latter is about waveguides. Catt thinks they are the same thing, real physicsts know that there are important distinctions. In the absence of sufficient context, Catt's question is ambiguous, and it is not surprising that it elicits contradictory answers. The responses from McEwan and Pepper clearly show this and if Catt had bothered to read them properly he would have see this. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that Catt is simply not interested in resolving the question. -- Kevin Brunt 15:15, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

If you think there are important distictions between current flow and em propagation, would you care to explain them? If you think Catts question is ampbiguous, why not try to formulate what you think the question should be rather than just engage in critisism of Catt?--Light current 01:54, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Current flow is the motion of charge. Everything that predates the discovery of the electron will use the concept of "conventional current", which is, of course, merely an arbitrary convention that makes it easier for physicists to discuss what they're doing. When convention current flows, the charge that moves is itself also "conventional." At this level we dispense with Nigel Cook's mutterings about "mechanism"; conventional charge moves around as necessary to match the observed behaviour, and that's all we need to know in order to understand electricity and magnetism, up to and including Maxwell's Equations.

I'm afraid the actual mechanism of current is important. This is because charge carriers cannot move at the speed of em radiation. This fact is accepted by conventional physicists. Brearing this fact in mind, how would you now explain em radiation and the fact it travels at light speed?--Light current 23:33, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Of course, since scientists always want to know "why", they were pleased when the electron was discovered, because they were able to construct a explanation for the observed behaviour in terms of the motion of the electrons in the (metallic) conductor. What was even nicer is that the explanation forms part of a "supertheory" that answers the big "why" of chemistry as well. In particular, it can explain the "why" of how a battery works.

Catt, in discarding charge, discards all the rest of it as well. He has no way of explaining how the "chemistry" in the battery creates the voltage step that is somehow a "TEM" step travelling down the transmission line. Furthermore, he has never produced an experiment that demonstrates that his TEM step exists with the properties required to fit the observed behaviour.

Catts explanation of a battery is that it consists of two counter propagting em waves that sum to dc, just like the charged transmission line case.--Light current 23:33, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

This just begs the question as to how the battery has a suitable "em wave" to hand. At some point the "em wave" has to be brought into existence by extracting extracting energy from the chemical reactions going on the battery. Catt has no explanation for this. Equally he has no real explanation for how the energy of the "em wave" is eventually extracted and delivered into the load. Equally his theory ducks the issue of the resistance of the conductor. It is clear that when you have a pulse travelling along a conductor, energy is being lost into the resistance irrespective of the direction of the pulse. Catt's argument requires that when two such pulses cross that the energy loss somehow cancels out; actually, it is necessary that the waves cancel because that's what fits the observed facts. The physicists don't have this problem; their pulses are moving charges; the opposing velocities sum to zero, leaving an instantaneous state where the whole of the energy is held in the capacitance before the charge starts to flow again. In each case the "standard" explanation yields the same observed result, but without the "magic" that Catt's theory requires. -- Kevin Brunt 20:42, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Basically, the Catt Anomaly is this:-

Catt says that when you apply a voltage step to a conductor, some sort of a "TEM step" comes into existence and travels along the conductor, outside the conductor. He has all sorts of loose ends, including a lack of an explanation for the observed current flow, and a reason why the "TEM" thing propagates at the TL characteristic velocity (which is influenced by the conductor spacing), and not at the speed of light of the medium that surrounds the conductors. There are a whole host of other difficulties.

The observed current flow is simply V/Z where Z is the surge impedance of the line(=sqrt(L/C). This can easily be demonstrated with a sq wave gen and a piece of coax. Velocity is sqrt(LC)--Light current 23:33, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

"Standard physics" says that a current flows in the conductor. There are electromagnetic effects around the conductors, but these are a "side effect" of the current flow not the flow itself.

Ahh but we are dealing here with field theory and not with circuit theory. Cct theory does not work at high freqencies, short timescales. Field theory says that energy flows in th edielectric not in the conductors.--Light current 23:33, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

If you read the responses by McEwan and Pepper, it is perfectly clear that McEwan is a reader of Wireless/Electronics World and is aware of Catt's "heresies". McEwan's answer discusses the reasons why physicists are perfectly happy with the standard explanation. (They don't need an alternative, and for all his obfuscation, Catt has not done the work needed to demonstrate that he has anything important to say.)

I think McEwans answer is a fudge because he says that you can get light speed velocities by electrons (all going much slower) bumping into each other! This is plainly nonsense!--Light current 23:33, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

[The "electron drift velocity" is an average. The explanation of resistance in terms of the "mean free path" clearly shows that the actual motion of the electrons is episodic. You have no information as to what fraction of the time the electrons are in motion, or what their velocity is when they are in motion. Given how large the repulsive forces between electrons are relative to their mass, it is entirely reasonable that individual electrons can accelerate to close to light speed in a distance that is very short compared to the distance to the next "bounce".] -- Kevin Brunt 19:42, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

On the other hand, Pepper (Professor Sir Michael Pepper, as of the New Year's Honours list) had obviously never heard of Catt. He was presented with the problem of extracting some meaning, without the assistance of any additional context, from Catt's Question, which is a masterpiece of muddled thinking. (Frankly, Catt couldn't have achieved a more confusing text if he had deliberately thought it out with both hands for a fortnight.)

I think youll find that Pepper has certainly heard of Catt (especially as Catt wrote to him a number of times)!!

[Please note my use of the past tense "had". I was considering the situation at the time that Pepper wrote his response. Pepper is a nanotechnologist; Hawking is the time travel specialist.] -- Kevin Brunt 19:27, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Pepper clearly read the question as being about the impingement on the circuit of an electromagnetic wave generated externally, such having the circuit close to the antenna of a radio transmitter.

In fact, the combination of Catt's incompetent Question and his failure to try to understand the responses he got, does rather lead to the suspicion that there was malice aforethought..... -- Kevin Brunt 21:54, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

You really need to read Catts websites carefully to see what has happened over the past 20 years or so. Im sure youll find it interesting.

--Light current 23:33, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

I have. It's really rather sad. It just shows how out of date Catt is. He's not progressed beyond the misconceptions and limitations of his transmission line "EM Theory". He seems still to think that hardware "content-addressable memory" is the technology of the future, even though it has been relegated to niche applications (such as internet routers) by the effective software technologies that were being developed even as he was first writing on the subject in the late 1960's. He inevitably supports Duisberg's quarrel with the "Establishment" on the origin of AIDS. One of his latest forays merely demonstrates his ignorance of the physics that dictated NASA's choice of the East Florida coast for launching rockets, together a hilariously impractical proposal for improving the "efficiency" of the launch by pushing the rocket down something very like a ski jump. (And Catt is an engineer?!) -- Kevin Brunt 21:09, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Many 'crackpot' ideas have, in the end, been proven to be correct. You think that Catt is a crackpot. You have every right to that opinion. I think some of his ideas happen to be interesting (some others are doubtful)--Light current 23:20, 8 January 2006 (UTC).

Note from Nigel Cook:

I've just seen this dialogue from "Kevin Brunt", who entered into lengthy dialogue over Catt with me on my blog a couple of months back[1]. "Kevin Brunt" seems to be a close relative (clone?) of "Sir Kevin Aylward" (Warden of the Kings Ale, not a very important post when there not a King!), a physics-trained electronics engineer and musician, see [2] Sir Kevin Aylward wrote a couple of letters about Catt's "ignorance" to Electronics World. After the first letter, Catt and myself both had letters in the next issue pointing out Aylward's errors. I had emailed Catt and asked Catt to write about the science and experimental validation.

However, Catt wrote instead a long masterpiece of character assassination about Sir Kevin, first ridiculing his spelling of Feynman as Feynmann, then saying that Sir Kevin was technically at fault. My letter followed, tied down to the facts: Sir Kevin claimed that QED (quantum field theory of electromagnetism, quantum electrodynamics) renormalised equations explained the Catt anomaly to 15 decimal places so Catt was just ignorant. I pointed out the problems in QED, and that the predictions Feynman makes are trivial corrections, not a prediction of Coulomb's law, because you have to "by hand" put the 1/137 coupling factor for electromagnetic force strength into QED to make it work. All it does is to make trivial perturbative corrections to electromagnetism (a 0.116% increase in the magnetic moment of the electron, for example).

Catt is certainly paranoid and ignorant, but "string theorists" are even more so. Sir Kevin's second letter to Electronics World, according to the editor, had to be censored because it was just rude. Ultimately that seems to be Catt's aim, to anger people and get rude, unpublishable letters which lead to the subject being dropped and ignored by the media as some kind of tornado in a tea cup. Personally, I think every bigwig is crackpot in some way, including Sir Kevin, so just throwing around "crackpot" or "****er" does not convey any useful information. Since Jesus only had 10 true followers (forget the doubter and the betrayer), the crackpot-labellers of 30 AD would surely have listed him in first place. But what does that tell you? Hitler, by contrast, was praised widely and had millions of supporters, but that did not ensure he was right. I agree that most of Catt's drivel is worthless, but that does not mean his early work is crazy. Nigel 22:53, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Strangely (?)enough, I tend to find myself agreeing with the above sentiments (generally). Everone you dont agree with is a crank or crackpot!--Light current 02:52, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

If someone vaguely says the experimentally proved fact are false or wrong, they are asserting ignorance. The problem with Catt is that he does not know, nor want to learn, Maxwell's equations (the full equations, not just the bits used for mere transmission lines), or modern physics, but nevertheless asserts (without knowledge of them), that they have no content or are drivel. I can state correctly that string theory is not based on observables and does not predict anything potentially measurable, without reading all the maths speculations on the subject. This is not crackpot or "opinion" because it is based on unobserved extra dimensions and has no predictions that are testable. These are facts, and anyone can verify them. But it is false to do the same for modern physics (QFT, general relativity) because it us based on observables, even though the facts are usually embedded in maths. Wave-particle duality is observational fact to the extent that the maths for waves and particles can be applied usefully to the model different observations of the same thing (say, an electron or photon). Gravitation similarly is empirical, it is simply: (experimentally substantiated Newton's law, the low-energy, low-speed limit put into general relativity) + (light speed field spacetime) + (experimentally observed conservation of gravitational potential energy, expressed by the contraction term of Einstein's field equation). All this is both empirically defendable in construction, and also predicts other things that can be tested by measurement. Catt's confusion over what is right and what is wrong is due to a lack of physical understanding. 15:37, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Letter to Catt

I'm making a last attempt to get Catt to correct the "Catt Anomaly" diagram:

From: Nigel Cook To: Brian Josephson ; jonathan post ; Forrest Bishop ; George Hockney Cc: Ivor Catt ; Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:21 AM Subject: Errors of the Catt Anomaly

Errors in Catt Anomaly

1. The Catt anomaly diagram shows a true step, which can't occur in reality. There is always a rise-time, albeit a short one. During the rise time T, voltage and current varies gradually from 0 to the peak current i, so the current variation is on the order di/dT, which is a charge acceleration that causes radio emission with frequency f ~ 1/T. (The Catt anomaly diagram shows 0 rise time, so di/dT would be INFINITE, resulting in an infinitely powerful burst of radio energy of infinitely high frequency, which is absurd.)

2. When you correct the Catt anomaly diagram, you realise that there is radio emission in the direction of traditional displacement current, which Catt fails to show.

3. You also notice that the radio energy emission depends on di/dt, which only occurs while the logic step voltage and current are varying, like displacement current.

4. Catt's diagram of the Catt anomaly is totally wrong for a completely different reason: it shows displacement current continuing after the logic step has passed, in other words, in the part of the step to the left, where Catt shows the voltage is steady.

This is a LIE, because displacement current i = [permittivity].dE/dt = [permittivity].dv/(dt.dx). This shows that displacement current ONLY flows if voltage varies with distance along the transmission line (x) or time (t).

Catt should delete all the displacement current arrows (labelled D) which point downwards in the second diagram, and only show it as occurring where the step rise occurs! Catt will then notice that he has discovered the correct disproof of Maxwell's radio theory. While Maxwell had displacement current at 90 degrees to radio propagation, the two actually are the same thing, so Maxwell's theory of radio is false. Will Catt publish this?

Nigel Cook 10:56, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Interesting that Maxwell's theory of radio waves continues to agree with physical measurements while Catt and others who maintain it is wrong have yet to make a single measurement that validates or invalidates their ramblings . . We continue to recover radio signals from spacecraft beyond the orbit of Neptune with equipment that was entirely designed using a proper theory, while we happily ignore Catt who tells us the theory is wrong . . how strange.