Talk:Ivor Catt

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Sir Clive Sinclair's filmed interview about Ivor Catt's invention of practical WSI[edit]

Sir Clive Sinclair: "Sir Clive Sinclair talks on wafer-scale integration 1987", YouTube [1]. Does anyone have the exact date of transmission of this film? 82.21.58.162 (talk) 18:26, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Isn't it about time that opinion-based references more than twenty years old were deleted? How do we know that the distinguished entrepreneur Sir Clive Sinclair has not altered his views on this subject in the last 28 years? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Historikeren (talkcontribs) 08:23, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

Health scare[edit]

I have just been notified by a kind email from Liba (Ivor's partner) that Ivor is in Watford general hospital. She did not give details, but it is a serious problem, so if anyone wants to send a "get well soon" card, that would be a nice idea. I will hopefully be able to visit Ivor later today (will not get into physics arguments!). - Nigel Cook, 14 Nov. 07 172.143.140.135 11:30, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Update: I took time off and visited at the hospital from 3-4.15 pm today, although I had to wait until 3.30pm to see Ivor Catt. Liba was there and gave some details. Ivor was admitted as an emergency case on 6 October and has been in intensive care at the hospital for about 6 weeks. He was in a coma for the first 3 days after breathing difficulties. He suffered pneumonia and has had a tracheometry so he cannot speak; he is currently on a ventilator and being fed fluids via intravenous drip. Apart from that, and some other infections he has picked up in hospital (which seems inevitable these days), he seemed fine, although was clearly in some discomfort from the need for the ventilator. He slept but had brief conscious spells with eyes open and alert. Liba told me that Ivor is more fully awake in the evenings. The staff at the intensive care unit were excellent, although apparently they cannot make a full diagnosis or give a prognosis yet (despite the 6 weeks of tests so far). Liba said that Ivor seems to have improved slightly, and so hopefully he will make a full recovery although at the present time his condition is still extremely serious although stable. From these few details it looks to me as if a full recovery will probably take several months, not just a few more weeks. - Nigel Cook 172.201.255.208 19:19, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Vandalism[edit]

Bm gub: You have vandalised the page by replacing facts from peer-reviewed publications with half-baked opinions, which don't reflect the facts. For example, you have falsely asserted that Ivor Catt grew in in Singapore, when he actually moved around the world as his father was transferred between RAF airbases, and this falsehood has been inserted because you haven't even bothered to check the facts.

Everything you write is ignorant lies or "errors". You're not revising the article, you're deleting all the referenced facts and replacing them with false drivel and personal insults, which are banned under Wiki rules anyway. Any changes you insert need references, and if you aren't expert in the subject of Catt (sadly cross-talk stuff is probably a long way from your PhD in electronic circuits), it isn't a good idea to delete the material you haven't heard of and replace it with personal insults and sneers about the person.

All the insults in your comment after the revert of your vandalism ignore the facts there on the page which you tried to delete. For example, key ideas you criticise were actually developed by Dr David Walton and Malcolm Davidson, and Catt was the activist trying to get discussion going inside the IEE and IEEE. Sometimes one of the censors of Catt pops up writing a letter to Electronics World or here on this Wiki page about Catt, claims he or she is a PhD expert or whatever, and then insists that Catt is self-praising himself and an egotist. That's no admissible really, it's contentless drivel which can claimed about many people. This is why the facts are more important than such opinions and insults, such as the fact that a lot of the work is not Catt's, and that his successful inventions built on the discoveries of others such as Heaviside, Dr Walton, Davidson, Mike S. Gibson, and several others.

The Wiki page is about the facts concerning Ivor Catt, not about your personal opinions or the fact - stressed in the original article - that his work is not mainstream. Your attacks on his work as being self publication are false since the science is actually the work of many others. If you have opinions, you are welcome to try to publish them somewhere more appropriate, such as in a journal if you can survive peer-rview. Then we can cite your wisdom here on Wikipedia!

Photocopier Photocopier 18:34, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Photocopier, your comments above are objectively in violation of WP:CIVIL. Please read Behavior that is unacceptable carefully and please pay particular attention to No personal attacks. Also, please carefully read What vandalism is not. Regards: Alfred Centauri 20:50, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Alfred: I'm making a response to vandalism, not an attack: many people's editing and referenced, carefully researched and checked information was deleted and replaced with some ill-informed opinions and insulting claims (with no supporting evidence whatsoever) about a "mainstream consensus" of authorities on Catt, which doesn't exist. There is no consensus because the only people in authority who comment on Catt make contradictory remarks: this is the opposite of a consensus. I was perfectly civil, I didn't call anybody a liar for making what are evidently hostile, personally insulting, misleading and possibly libellous false claims and unfounded assertions. However, the scale of the vandalism of the article was such that a civil, yet unequivocally worded, response seemed needed on this discussion page to explain that simply deleting a whole article and replacing it with some obvious fantasy based entirely on misunderstandings and complete ignorance (if not deliberate vandalism), was somewhat unhelpful. Photocopier 15:23, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Wow. Photocopier, no offense meant. I thought the Singapore thing was implied in the previous version, and I meant to just reword it into standard encyclopedia bio style ("John Doe was born in X on Jan 1 1901, and grew up in Y" rather than launching straight into childhood anecdotes. Thank you for correcting the facts. How is "Ivor Catt was born in XXX but grew up on RAF airbases around the world; he and his mother narrowly escaped the invasion of Singapore in 1942."? Please reword it to your satisfaction rather than reverting and accusing me of bad faith.

Next, after taking a deep breath: I know that the following is not your preferred version of the article, but please tell me which point is factually wrong in this shortened account:

Catt's views on electromagnetism

Catt argues that much of mainstream electromagnetism is wrong: Catt does not admit the existence of electric charge as a fundamental entity and he claims that all charge is composed of trapped Heaviside energy current. [citation needed] He argues that capacitance and inductance are fictional, being artifacts of transmission-line effects in the devices; that displacement current is not needed to explain capacitor operation (a non-controversial statement). As opposed to normal current (flow of charge), Catt uses energy current to describe most effects.[citation needed] Catt illustrates this with the Catt anomaly. When a step electromagnetic wave travels from left to right in a parallel twin-conductor transmission line, he asks, "Where does the charge on the bottom (return) conductor come from?" He does not answer that question, but states that simply asking the question proves that conventional electrodynamics must be false. The subtext of his argument here seems to be that charge from the conductors is not necessary for the transmission of EM waves in transmission lines. The electric field carrying the energy precedes and causes subsequent electron drift current, but the field is not itself charge, but rather Heaviside "energy current", light speed electromagnetic energy.

The main problem with Catt's views on electromagetism is that after exposing a few (real or imagined) faults of electromagnetic theory as generally understood, he has no convincing explanation for the whole of electrical science that exists without Catt apparently ever having noticed it. How would he explain radio waves? How would he design power lines to transmit power to his house and everyone else's? How would he design an electric generator? These are are all massive questions that still await an answer. Instead, Catt prefers to raise hypothetical questions about transmission lines, a well understood subject, without suggesting how the ideas could be tested experimentally; therefore he is ingored. The Poynting vector is of little significance: what we know about the Poynting vector comes through Poynting's theorem, a theorem involving scalars only. No scientific analysis can be done with Poynting vectors because the PV obeys no differential equation or boundary conditions that would allow a solution to be found. So anyone with serious intentions of achieving something of significance in electric science has no option but to use solutions of Maxwell's equations, because Catt's hypotheses are untested. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Historikeren (talkcontribs) 22:58, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Catt's views on digital logic

Catt has a long-standing dispute about "exclusive-or" in Boolean algebra. He has noted that "and", "or", "exclusive-or" (and their inverses) are the six functions out of the 16 possible functions of two Boolean inputs for which A op B is the same as B op A. Catt calls this "symmetric", and complains that Boolean algebra deals with "and" and "or" and ignores "ex-or". He appears to have been arguing this since his IC design days, when he apparently failed to convince his boss of the business case for having an EXOR function in the product range. (De Morgan's Laws state that a "positive-logic AND" is a "negative-logic OR" and vice versa.)

Seriously, what part of this is misrepresenting Catt's views? Most of it is verbatim from your preferred edit. Next, for the criticism section, please give some detail on my revision:

Current status of Catt's ideas

The view of Catt's ideas by mainstream physicists is that his earlier work on digital logic circuits is of value, but his later ideas about electromagnetism are incorrect.

Because Catt's views have been expressed mainly in popular-press articles, self-published books, and on informal Internet forums, mainstream physicists view Catt's ideas, to the extent that they have heard of them, as pseudophysics. In particular, the fact that Catt's views are not expressed in compact mathematical form (Catt's view is that the use of mathematics in physics is "skillful manipulation of meaningless symbols") means that, in the conventional view, his work is out of the scope of conventional physics and cannot make reliable predictions to compare to experiments.

Catt claims that there are some workers who are beginning to re-evaluate his ideas on the transmission-line representation of the capacitor in order to achieve better modelling of these components.

That looks pretty reality-based to me, Photocopier. It is a fact that Catt's views are expressed mainly on his webpages; that Electronics World and Wireless World were both an edited popular-electronics magazines, not peer-reviewed journals. It is a fact that Catt's views on the nature of electromagnetism are mostly ignored and rejected by the mainstream; Catt himself seems to complain about this, which seems to confirm it as a fact (even if it's a fact he doesn't like ... but "facts you don't like" are not to be excluded from Wikipedia; wikipedia is not advertising, is not a personal homepage.) Note, also, that the paragraph above does not disparage anything Catt may or may not say about circuit design, practical aspects of crosstalk, etc.. It simply reports the plain and simple fact that Catt is an outsider and that essentially all mainstream physicists disagree with him. Bm gub 14:23, 26 July 2007 (UTC)


Bm gub: you say "please tell me which point is factually wrong in this shortened account: ... Catt does not admit the existence of electric charge as a fundamental entity and he claims that all charge is composed of trapped Heaviside energy current. He argues that capacitance and inductance are fictional, being artifacts of transmission-line effects in the devices; that displacement current is not needed to explain capacitor operation. As opposed to normal current (flow of charge), Catt uses energy current to describe most effects. Catt illustrates this with the Catt anomaly. When a step electromagnetic wave travels from left to right in a parallel twin-conductor transmission line, he asks, "Where does the charge on the bottom (return) conductor come from?" He does not answer that question, but states that simply asking the question proves that conventional electrodynamics must be false. The subtext of his argument here seems to be that charge from the conductors is not necessary for the transmission of EM waves in transmission lines. The electric field carrying the energy precedes and causes subsequent electron drift current, but the field is not itself charge, but rather Heaviside "energy current", light speed electromagnetic energy."

It's completely unsubstantiated opinion, similar to your false deduction that because Catt was in Singapore when the Japanese invaded, he must have been brought up in Singapore.

Sorry about the Singapore thing. That's the most easily fixed error in the world. Thank you for fixing it. Bm gub 17:31, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

You take lots of little bits out of context to make up a personal insult by misrepresenting the facts. First, look at Catt's page (taken from his major 1994 book, http://www.ivorcatt.com/1_3.htm and you will see the section "the electron" at the end concerning Catt's construction of an electron from energy current. Your claim that "Catt does not admit the existence of electric charge as a fundamental entity and he claims that all charge is composed of trapped Heaviside energy current" is false since charge is a property measurable only as fields. Nobody has collided electrons harder than 90 GeV or so, nobody knows what "charge" is (Planck scale string or whatever), except for it's definition which is a "static electric field". Catt shows how a static electric field arises from energy current, and on the same page (higher up), he explains:

"a) Energy current can only enter a capacitor at the speed of light. b) Once inside, there is no mechanism for the energy current to slow down below the speed of light. c) The steady electrostatically charged capacitor is indistinguishable from the reciprocating, dynamic model. d) The dynamic model is necessary to explain the new feature to be explained, the charging and discharging of a capacitor, and serves all the purposes previously served by the steady, static model."

"All charge is composed of trapped Heaviside " etc. is in the version you just reverted to. I didn't write it. Look. Bm gub 17:31, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

You then say "He argues that capacitance and inductance are fictional, being artifacts..." which is another nonsensical contradiction, because artifacts are real, they are not fictional! Catt shows that a mechanism exists for charge, for capacitance and inductance. He doesn't show these things are "fictional".

That's a semantic dispute. It's perfectly valid to say "Lomonsov showed that phlogiston was fictional, being an artifact of the exchange of mass with the atmosphere during burning" or "the pentaquark turned out to be fictional; the observed bump was an artifact introduced during data analysis." OK, reword it however you like. At some point he has to be saying that some mainstream concept isn't really there, but is thought to be there due to the misintepretation of Catt's real concepts. Which concept is this? Charge current? Can we say, "catt argues that charge-current is fictional, and that the mainstream belief in is is due to XXXX"? Bm gub 17:31, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Next, you claim that Catt shows "that displacement current is not needed to explain capacitor operation". Again, this is not a contradiction of mainstream theoretical physics, where Maxwell's physical displacement current went out with the aether and in its place there is a mathematical law associated with the Yang-Mills theory whereby all operations in spacetime in fields that are too weak to cause pair-production (below Schwinger's E=10^18 v/m threshold for pair production) involve gauge bosons exchange, not an aetherial "displacement current". Since Catt's replacement for aetherial "displacement current" is light speed radiation, it's consistent with quantum field theory, unlike the old nonsense of "displacement current".

So why is it such an exciting claim? Catt's claim to fame is that he doesn't disagree with the mainstream model of current, charge, and energy stored in the static field? Delete as non-notable, then. You may notice that this claim wasn't put there by me but by previous editors; I just shortened it. You may notice that my longer version of the "criticism" section---the one you initially reacted to---said basically what you are saying now: "displacement current isn't real and everyone knows this; it is not clear why Catt labels this as an important claim." You deleted this bit with extreme prejudice, but now you're restating it. (I stand by my version: displacement current is a silly artifact which arises when you want to use Kirchoff's Laws instead of Maxwell's Equations. The correct description can come straight from Maxwell without invoking quantum field theory. But this is beside the point.)Bm gub 17:31, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Then you claim: "As opposed to normal current (flow of charge), Catt uses energy current to describe most effects. Catt illustrates this with the Catt anomaly." This is completely false, because flow of charge has never been equivalent to flow of energy: they are two different things because charge carries negligible kinetic energy, and the energy is carried by gauge bosons (as I've just explained, the gauge bosons are same thing as the TEM wave or Heaviside energy current, they mediate the field). Consider the mass of the conduction in typical transmission lines, they are on the order of about 1 part in 2000 of the mass, and their drift velocity even in a 1 amp current is typically on the order 1 mm/s. So the energy carried and delivered (1/2)mv^2 is trivial. This has nothing to do with electron current. You are confusing the two things, and then claiming that Catt is replacing electric current with energy current. Catt has electrons in his theory, and obviously they will be moved where there is a gradient in the electric potential, so you're making up nonsense.

Dude, I left that line in 'verbatim' from the previous version of the page. You reverted to this version yourself. If you like I can accuse you of vandalism for saying such utter nonsense .... just kidding.  :) If this is wrong, it was wrong in your long version and wrong in my short version. What's right? Why don't you put that into the article? Bm gub 17:31, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Finally, you say: "He does not answer that question, but states that simply asking the question proves that conventional electrodynamics must be false. The subtext of his argument here seems to be that ..."

Catt doesn't state that "asking the question proves that conventional electrodynamics must be false", the question is an assessment of the degree of consensus and scientific discussion possible in electromagnetism between experts, and it is the answer he gets from experts which decides whether or not conventional ideology is helpful to a student who asks questions and hopes to get a similar answer from each expert. Professors asked by Catt, who he names and publishes, give different answers.

"The subtext of his argument here seems to be that ..."

You write this after making a false summary of Catt's question. So you make your own false conclusion, and then you write about the "subtext" to your own false conclusion. You are writing about your own personal ideas. This is your own opinion, which must be published in a peer reviewed journal before it can be mentioned here in a Wiki article about a living person. Thank you.

Again, that's all verbatim from the 'previous version' that 'you have reverted to twice'. You're quoting yourself and arguing with it. Please read the old edit (the one before I ever showed up) more carefully. Figure out who wrote that and go yell at them instead of at me. Bm gub 17:31, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Further on, after more of this sort of personal insulting drivel based on your own opinions rather than on referenced facts, you write:

"Most of it is verbatim from your preferred edit. Next, for the criticism section, please give some detail on my revision: Current status of Catt's ideas. The view of Catt's ideas by mainstream physicists ..."

Here, you are giving your views and claiming to be giving a consensus by "mainstream physicists". You don't quite seem to be aware that mainstream physicists have contradictory views. If you read Catt's book "Catt Question", you will notice that there are two different views on a simple question. There is no consensus whatsoever. So all your writing on this page is insulting self-opinions, unsubstantiated by even a grain of evidence. It's rubbish, it's offensive, ... Photocopier 16:00, 27 July 2007 (UTC)


Photocopier said:
"Further on, after more of this sort of personal insulting drivel based on your own opinions rather than on referenced facts..."
"So all your writing on this page is insulting self-opinions, unsubstantiated by even a grain of evidence. It's rubbish, it's offensive..."
Photocopier, your comments to User:Bm gub (a sample of which are quoted above) are objectively not civil. This is your 2nd warning. Alfred Centauri 16:47, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
First of all: legal threats are inappropriate per WP:NLT; please read the policy page on this issue. Seriously. I'm more amused than annoyed by your personal insults, but legal threats will be reported to the admins.
Mainstream physicists have contradictory views about many things, but whether or not a charge-current flows in a DC transmission line is not one of them. Show me one refereed publication where a mainstream physicist 'uses' Catt's ideas about the electron, current, etc. (Again: I'm not saying a word against wafer-scale integration, etc.) Show me where these "different views" are being debated in the literature. They're not; they controversy consists of "Catt emailed so-and-so and he disagreed", and "there are two blog commenters arguing about Y". That's not my opinion, that is a fact. (Citebase hits for Catt: zero. ArXiv hits for Catt: zero. Scholar.google.com hits for Catt: several, almost all on wafer-scale integration. His book on electromagnetism has been cited by one book and one article.) I can open up every E&M book on my shelf and show you where it explains current as the ordinary flow of charge ... shall I begin? Liboff, chapter 8.4, 11.14, and 12.9. Pantell & Puthoff, chapter 8. Callister, Materials science, chapter 19. Eisberg & Resnick, ch 13. Halliday, Resnick & Walker, ch 26 and ch 42-5. Griffiths E&M, the whole book; J. D. Jackson ditto. Sorry, Photocopier, Catt and his ideas are not in there. Is it in Horowitz and Hill? Do I have to hit the library?
In any case: in science and engineering, last I heard, saying that someone's ideas are incorrect is not "insulting". It's how you separate right ideas from wrong ideas. I did not say "Catt is an X" nor "Only a great fool could possibly think Y", I said, "Catt says X, but most physicists disagree with him." Bm gub 17:31, 27 July 2007 (UTC)


Alfred Centauri: Bm gub ignores the facts and writes rpeatedly things which are untrue. I've explained this twice and it is ignored. See also the discussion and edits of the Jeremy Webb page for vandalism by Bm gub who is a sock puppet for New Scientist, who has been sending out abusive insults (lacking science and ignoring the facts entirely!) about Ivor Catt for years [[2]].
Also notice the highlighted banner at the very top of this page which states: "Controversial material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous." Photocopier 13:43, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Bm gub: you say "in science and engineering, last I heard, saying that someone's ideas are incorrect is not "insulting"." I've explained to you repeatedly why you have written falsehoods and you claim that this is an insult. You keep writing contradictions. Look up the definition of the word rubbish before you take it to be an insult, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you very much for doing me this little favor!!!!!!!!!
Please also note that everything you claim about me making "threats" about legal action is PERSONALLY INSULTING TO ME, IT IS ALSO RUBBISH, AND IT IS A LIE: see the banner at the top of this page: "Controversial material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous."
Your vandalism of other pages like the Jeremy Webb page is similar in the sense that your claims for doing so are false, as can easily be seen by anyone who checks what you are doing. For example, you claim to remove references to three comments, when they are to published articles and blog posts by a professor in mathematical physics (John Baez), which has numerous comments below it. You are doing all the insulting, not me. I'm pointing out the precise reasons why everything you are writing is personally insulting rubbish and the fact you ignore the disproof show that you did not make a mere mistake or error, but that you are deliberately inserting falsehoods. This is defined as telling lies, which is a fact, not me insulting you. If anyone is insulting, it is you. Photocopier 13:28, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Photocopier, you seem not to appreciate that my edit, though shorter, consisted almost entirely of verbatim extracts from your preferred edit. Please rethink your position in light of this. I am not a sock puppet for New Scientist, I am a WP editor of some standing whose main focuses are contemporary sculpture, experimental particle physics, and pseudoscience; I followed your edit history back to Jeremy Webb; my corrections there are in the same spirit as those here; my edit history will attest that I'd never touched Webb, New Scientist, etc. prior to this. Also, please address the very serious issue, which I raise above, that Catt's ideas do not appear anywhere in a dozen major textbooks' treatments of electric current. Bm gub 00:49, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Bm gug, I fear that you're wasting your time arguing with Photocopier. If you've not already noticed, while your statement that Catt "grew up in Singapore" is an overstatement (given that Catt was barely 7 years old when he was evacuated ahead of the Japanese invasion), Photocopier's assertion that Catt "travelled the world" with his father's postings is distinctly wrong, as the Singapore posting was the only time Sidney Catt's family accompanied him abroad, and his post-war service was at RAF Valley in Anglesey (North Wales).
Between you, you are drifting off into irrelevancies, which has been the trouble with the debate on Catt's ideas ever since the beginning. The problem is really in Photocopier's reference to "peer-reviewed publications" because (with the possible exception of the "inductor-as-transmission-line" IEEE article) Catt's writing is not peer-reviewed. In fact, understanding why he can't get his papers into peer-reviewed journals goes a long way to explaining what is wrong with Catt's theories.
Consider his December 1978 Wireless World article ("Displacement Current",) which repackages the analysis of a voltage step in a transmission line, and demonstrates that it behaves like a capacitor. The analysis is perfectly sound; however, it is also perfectly consistent with the "mainstream consensus" based on the concept of charge. Where Catt's theory diverges is the penultimate sentence that states "This model does not require use of the concept of charge." This, from the point of view of the "mainstream", is sheer nonsense. Catt's analysis is expressed in terms of voltage and impedance. Even if the relationship between voltage, charge and capacitance is ignored, impedance is, by definition, an extension of the the concept of resistance, and is therefore an expression of the relationship between voltage and current, and thus is fundamentally dependent on the concept of charge! In order to eliminate the concept of charge, Catt would need to find a new way of defining impedance. This he has not done, and in consequence the whole of his theorising is entirely invalid.
This is largely where Catt (and his supporters) have got things backwards. It is not the job of the "mainstream" to show where Catt is wrong; it is Catt's job to show that the mainstream is wrong, and that he simply has not done. What he has done is to describe how his theory explains observed facts. What he has never done is to demonstrate a situation where his theory comes up with a different answer to the mainstream one, and to devise an experiment to determine what the correct answer is, thus proving which theory works better. That is how science works - Catt seems not to understand this. -- Kevin Brunt 20:01, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

The Catt Question, yet again[edit]

I, Ivor Catt, here point out that the versions of "The Catt Question" which Pepper and McEwan replied to were identical. - Ivor Catt, 23 October 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.43.106.70 (talk) 17:26, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I see that Photocopier has brought us back to the Catt Question/Anomaly, and the supposed disagreement between Professor Pepper of Cambridge and Doctor McEwen of Bradford. If you look at it properly, the answers they provided to Catt's Question are very clearly not in conflict with each other. What the two academics do not agree on is what the question meant. And the reason for that is entirely due to Catt's Question in the first place.

The Question starts

          .... when a TEM step ....

(see The Catt Anomaly) Two paragraphs before this, Catt presents a paraphrase of the question

          When a battery is connected to a resistor ....

Now the whole point is that Catt thinks that a flow of current is a TEM something. In this he is in disagreement with mainstream physics on two counts. Catt thinks that there is no flow of charge distinct from the flow of energy; physicists (including Heaviside) think that there is a flow of charge and a flow of current. Secondly, Catt uses "TEM" to refer to anything where the electric and magnetic fields and the motion are mutually perpendicular; physicists use the phrase "transverse electromagnetic wave" specifically to refer to a transverse wave (ie a wave that is oscillating in a direction perpendicular to the direction of motion) where the thing that is oscillating is a combination of the electromagnetic field.

The upshot of this is that whereas Catt thinks that the two versions of his question have the same meaning, they are entirely distinct questions when read by a physicist who applies the consensual meanings of the terminology.

Once you realise that there is a serious ambiguity in Catt's Question, it is perfectly clear that Prof Pepper (who was unaware of Catt's non-standard position) was trying to answer ".... when a TEM step ....", while Dr McEwen (undoubtedly a Wireless World reader) was answering "When a battery is connected to a resistor ....".

This is not a problem with the physics, but rather with Catt's Question. See Minor_characters_from_The_Hitchhiker's_Guide_to_the_Galaxy#Majikthise_and_Vroomfondel Vroomfondel and Forty-two. -- Kevin Brunt 20:11, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Kevin, Catt asks "where does the charge come from?" If those experts did not understand what this question means, they could have asked for confirmation from Catt. Neither did so. Hence they were both confused by the question, which resulted in their differing answers to it. Your claim that the answers were not in conflict because the answers were answers to different interpretations of the question "where does the charge come from?" is really in self-contradiction. If two kids are asked what is 2 + 2, and one gives the answer 3 while the other gives the answer 6, it might well be the case that they both misunderstood the question (poor hearing, frequency distortion, causes misunderstandings). But that doesn't disprove the fact that the answers are different, and if you have different answers, then the answers are in disagreement, regardless of the cause. You seem to be assuming that because the experts possibly didn't understand the simple written question, their differing answers are not evidence of a conflict. However, the answers are in conflict, regardless of the underlying cause behind the differences of opinion they express concerning where the charge comes from. The fact remains, the responses are different by 90 degrees. That's a contradiction, whatever is the cause.
You claim: "Catt thinks that there is no flow of charge distinct from the flow of energy; physicists (including Heaviside) think that there is a flow of charge and a flow of current." This claim by you is your assertion of Catt's thoughts. You start by ignoring Catt's discussion of the electron, which moves in response to the field. You then claim that because Catt's model is such and such, he thinks there is no flow of charge. Catt actually deals with facts, and you are muddling up models and claiming they are someone else's thought processes, which is insulting and in error. The fact which Catt makes clear is that the field causes effects like electron drift. Catt doesn't in any place ever disprove electrons or electron drift, he simply deals with the TEM wave, the field. Please see [[3]].

172.143.107.132 15:47, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

The experts are in perfect agreement about where the charge comes from - it is already in the conductor. It has been known since the start of the 20th Century that an "uncharged" mass actually contains vast (but equal) quantities of positive and negative charge, in the form of sub-atomic particles, and that the phenomenon of "charge" in the 19th Century sense is a statistical statement about the displacement of the particles from their equilibrium state.

In the absence of any additional context, Catt's Question appears to be about an electromagentic wave impinging on a conductor, which is quite clearly what Pepper's answer is about. McEwen, on the other hand, has not tried to answer the Question (and it is perfectly clear from what he wrote that it was not his intention to answer the Question.) Instead, (being very obviously aware of Catt's theories) McEwen has set out to explain how the "mainstream" consensus can accommodate the idea of near-light-speed propagation of a wavefront in a conductor with the millimetre-per-second drift velocity of the electron mass. Your "2 + 2" example is not helpful, or representative. A better one might be "What is the difference between an Apricot and a Tangerine?" which has different answers depending on whether you are referring to fruit or to obsolete British microcomputers.

RE: energy current... Let's start by noting that you mentioned the electron first. It is the discovery of the electron in 1897 and the evolution of the Drude model of conduction (and its quantum mechanical successors) that solves the dicotomy between "charge current" and "energy current". Catt's theories derive from Heaviside's 1888 publication (ie before the electron!) and it is clear that Catt does not really want to extend his theorising. Note particularly that Catt's Question only tangentially approaches the concept of the electron with the mention of the "drift velocity of the electric current".

I hold by my statement as to Catt's position, for which see The Death of Electric Current. Catt distinguished between "Theory N" - flow of charge + flow of energy (no attempt to explain why); "Theory H" (Heaviside) flow of charge + flow of energy (defined by Poynting Vector E x H) and "Theory C" (Catt) flow of energy.

Theories N, H and C appeared originally in Digital Hardware Design Chapter 10 and it is clear exactly where Catt's theories diverge from Heaviside's conception. At the bottom of page 65 (first page of the chapter) appears the quote from Heaviside that ends "We reverse this....." Now what Heaviside is reversing is not, as the following text would suggest, Theory N, but rather a suggestion by Maxwell that the flow of energy is the sum of the energies held in the electric and magnetic fields as they are carried through the conductor by the flow of charge. Maxwell is thus suggesting that there is no flow of energy distinct from the flow of charge.

Heaviside's "reversal" is a repudiation of Maxwell's suggestion. Heaviside requires both a flow of energy and a flow of charge. By invoking the Poynting Vector Heaviside automatically gets the magnitude of the flow of energy to be related to the vector product of the electric and magnetic fields, and thus proportional to the product of the voltage and current (which Maxwell's sum of energies simply cannot be made to do.)

When you look at Catt's detailed working of his theory, in Electromagnetism 1, chapter 1, you see that his energy current, like Maxwell's, is the sum of the separate energies held in the electric and magnetic fields. Catt's conception is the counterpart of Maxwell's; where Maxwell's energy flow is "in phase" with the current, Catt's energy flow is in phase with the voltage. Catt's version has the same problems as Maxwell's, and Heaviside would have dismissed as comprehensively. -- Kevin Brunt 19:59, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Hello[edit]

Hello, I stumbled across this page. Having never heard of Ivor Catt, I have done a bit of reading and I'm inclined to make a major revision. Seeing that he has some fans here I would like to preempt an edit war. My credentials, in case they matter, are as a physics postdoc with experience with circuits, electron beams, ion beams, electron traps, etc. Here goes:

  • What's the point of Catt's argument that "displacement current" doesn't exist? Of course it doesn't "exist". It's an artifact which shows up if you try (incorrectly) to use Kirchoff's current law in a circuit where there is a variable charge density. It's convenient in circuit design when you want to write equations strictly in terms of I and V, without having also a Q term. But of course it's not a real thing; the real things are electrons and electromagnetic fields. If you work through the behavior of a capacitor using charge currents, charge densities, and fields, it gives you an exact physical description---including the electric fields in the capacitor gap, the attraction/repulsion of electrons on the other side of the gap, and the appearance of a current on the other side. If you work through a capacitor using Kirchoff's Law, you have to invent the "displacement current" to rescue the conservation law when you analyze the gap itself. Does Catt's entire argument spring from "There is no displacement current; therefore the mainstream professors, who taught me that there is, are wrong"?
  • Does Catt have a theory of electrostatic force? Isn't that an important detail---more important than some disagreement between Spice and reality in some random transient circuit---of the claim that electrons do not carry charge? (Do protons and nuclei carry charge, then?)
  • Almost all of the "physics" references are to Ivor Catt's own articles and Web pages. By Wikipedia's NOR standards, this is unacceptable; if Catt can write "copper is an dielectric with blah blah", put it on his Web page, and point Wikipedia to it, than any crackpot can come along and do the same with their pet theory of how the ether is made up of leprechauns. This whole page reads like the front page of Catt's personal website.
  • Catt is thoroughly outside of the mainstream of E&M theory. This needs to be made absolutely clear on every point of disagreement. I know that Catt wants to be in the mainstream, and has been arguing for his theories for a long time, but the fact remains (and Catt surely knows it) that he's not there yet. Wikipedia is a terrible place to try to jump-start or popularize his theories; that's the strategy of crackpots. Popularize elsewhere, report the popularity here.
  • I see that the talk page below is going back and forth about the details of E&M and QED's validity. This is interesting and should continue, but---well, I haven't read the talk archives, but I hope you're aware that anything you logically hash-out on this page is not relevant to the validity of statements on the article. If you think that you've found a flaw in QED, take it over to the Quantum Electrodynamics talk page---if that flaw isn't borne out by the mainstream QED literature, it's not a valid basis for this article, except to say that "Catt believes he has found flaws in QED" or whatever. Is this approach hidebound and anti-progress? Well, Wikipedia talk pages are a bad place to make scientific progress. If your arguments actually do turn up a flaw in QED, take it to Phys Rev Letters and come back to WP to report the contents of your article.
  • Things I want to delete: about 2/3rds of "Catt's Views on Electromagnetism", which, at the level they're supported elsewhere, merit about two paragraphs. Public Arguments, Support From ... , War of Words, Quotes On, Associates/Supporters: these should be deleted entirely. It reads like a blogger summing up his favorite flamewars. Unlike Galileo, Catt has not won this fight, making the details are pretty non-notable. (If he wins and is vindicated in a big way, come back and write about his struggles on the way up.) All of the non-bibliography quality references should go, along with about half of the external links. Bm gub 21:39, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

"Hello, I stumbled across this page. Having never heard of Ivor Catt, I have done a bit of reading and I'm inclined to make a major revision." - Bm gub.

So why has the revision not been made yet? removing the tittle-tattle would be a good start. Removing all the text which has no references would be a useful second phase. Removing all the text which has no independent references would also be a most valuable final stage. But would there be anything left? is there anyone interested in maintaining standards on here? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Historikeren (talkcontribs) 16:29, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

Welcome to the fray[edit]

Ivor Catt comments. http://www.ivorcatt.co.uk/x46.htm — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.132.43.94 (talk) 20:08, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

Hi. It's nice to have someone else here!

I've archived all the old discussion here as it really was irrelevant! To make sense of it you need to know that (towards the end at least) there were 3 participants in the discussion:

  • "Light current", who originally created the page and whose position on Catt's ideas I never did quite work out, as he (LC) tended to put forward a contrary argument to everything. He appears to have been indefinitely banned from Wikipedia after getting into a messy argument with the Administration.
  • Nigel (Cook) who published a pair of articles, "An Electronic Universe", in Electronics World in 2002/3, which used Catt's "trapped Heaviside current" as a jumping-off point. Nigel was in correspondence with Catt, but this seems to have ceased because Nigel wants to take Catt's ideas beyond where Catt wants to go....
  • Myself - I'm a computer programmer who is thoroughly irritated by the imprecisions in Catt's writings. I've also debated Nigel at his blog, until he prevented commenting....

I doubt that I'm in serious disagreement with you about the overall value of Catt's writing. However, given that Catt's choice of venues for presenting his argument have largely prevented an accurate rebuttal being presented, there is a case for doing that here. The issue with the page as it currently stands is that it could do with vigorous sub-editing. There is excessive repetition and it does not adequately distance itself from Catt's POV. I would have said that the "Original Research" issue is something of a red herring, as the page is presenting Catt's opinions and conclusions; where it fails is in pointing out where Catt's opinions diverge from observed fact!

[Ivor Catt, 23 October 2009. Note the remark which occurs throughout my websites; "Riposte I make the commitment that anyone wishing to counter any assertion made on this site will be guaranteed a hyperlink to a website of their choosing at the point where the disputed assertion is made." - IC] —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.43.106.70 (talk) 17:36, 23 October 2009 (UTC)


The problem really starts in his book "Digital Hardware Design", where the "stepwise" charging of a capacitor is first presented. This is done using the concepts of the characteristic impedance of a transmission line, and the velocity of propagation along it. There is no problem with the analysis; rather it is in the presentation of the formulae deployed as being somehow "fundamental", rather than deriving from the solution of the Telegrapher's Equations for an applied step waveform. Indeed, on page 14 of the book, Catt (et al) deny the derivation of the Tel. Eqns as the application of calculus to the delta V and delta I of the series L/shunt C representation of a finite length of a TL.

In fact, Catt argues that because he shows that "a capacitor is a transmission line", that it is "absurd" to assert the converse, that "a transmission line is a capacitor". I think that this is at the heart of the whole thing. Catt elsewhere talks about "causality". He appears to want to read the equation "A = B" as "A is caused by B", rather than the more neutral "where there is B there must also be A". Consequentally, by arguing that the current is "caused" by the magnetic field, he thinks that he is disproving the Ampere-Maxwell equation. -- Kevin Brunt 20:57, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

[Ivor Catt. 23 October 2009. See above, Kevin Brunt; "In fact, Catt argues that because he shows that "a capacitor is a transmission line", that it is "absurd" to assert the converse, that "a transmission line is a capacitor"." Catt never argued this, and in fact thinks the statement "a transmission line is a capacitor" is an equally valid statement. In fact, I told MayChiao, who said she was editor of Nature Physics, that the latter statement could be published, but the former could not. - IC]

In fact, the claimed equivalence between transmission lines and capacitors is spurious. They are different components with quite different behaviour in principle. One has two terminals, the other has four; but if one end of a transmission-line is unconnected, the other pair of terminals exhibits a pure capacitance only at zero frequency. The behaviour of the impedance of the transmission line with frequency is quite different at all other frequencies. This exposes the fallacy of the approach described in "The End of the Road", Electronics World April 2013. The behaviour of a capacitor is studied by making dynamic measurements on a section of transmission-line, following an assertion that the two are the same thing. The logical approach can be summarised thus: "Lemons and oranges are the same. My experiments on lemons lead me to believe that all lemons are yellow: therefore, all oranges are yellow". Capacitors are explained perfectly well in the real world by the concepts of charge and current, concepts which have changed history, but perhaps not within the small world of transmission-line theory. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Historikeren (talkcontribs) 10:38, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

Question #2[edit]

OK, there's the rewrite. Here's question number 2: if Catt is notable in the Wikipedia sense, why can I find no information about him other than his own Web pages? A Google search for "Ivor Catt" turns up page after page of links to ivorcatt.com and www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk, but virtually nothing---not even Usenet arguments---beyond that. Rather than saying Catt is "well known for his controversial approach", perhaps the article should say, in its entirety, "Catt was a circuit engineer of some repute in the 1970s. Today, he has a voluminous output of alternative electromagnetic theories, published via his own Web pages, where he reports on his arguments with mainstream engineers and physicists. " I see no evidence that he's even famous by crank standards in the manner of Tom Bearden, nor controversial by the standards of ... oh, I dunno, process physics. Can anyone turn up an article somewhere (other than crank.net or keelynet) actually about Ivor Catt, even for the purpose of saying "I got into an argument with Catt"? If not, I'm in favor of nominating this for deletion. Bm gub 18:19, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Edit War?[edit]

There seems to be a reversion war going on between Photocopier and Bm gub.

Photocopier had reverted Bm gub's edits because Photocopier claimed they were "vandalism". This statement is incorrect; although Bm gub did rewrite the article, the rewriting is not explicit vandalism.

Here is Wikipedia's definition of vandalism (from Wikipedia:Vandalism): "Vandalism is any addition, removal, or change of content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia.... Any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia, even if misguided or ill-considered, is not vandalism." The edits that Bm gub made, as far as I could tell, were good-faith edits. Therefore, I reverted to Bm gub's text, since Photocopier's rationale for making reversion was incorrect.

Photocopier claims that "Vandalism included the false unreferenced claim Catt grew up in Singapore". It's hard to see how this statement can be called "vandalism", however, I added a fact tag to this statement. Photocopier claims that bm gub removed "factual referenced material". The references for this material is primarily Catt's various websites and Catt's writings about his many theories; it is not material for an encyclopedia, and it's available in the external links for those interested. Finally, Photocopier claims "addition of insults contrary to Wiki rules". These putative insults appear to be the statement "mainstream physicists view Catt's ideas, to the extent that they have heard of them, as pseudophysics." This statement is correct, and in fact Catt quotes many times the fact that mainstream physicists dismiss his ideas.

Overall, Bm gub's rewrite makes the article concise; this seem to be the preferred text to me over the previous version, which had been an unsorted collection of unrelated claims Geoffrey.landis 14:19, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Hi. Thanks for injecting some sense here, though I doubt it will last....
Frankly, the issue about Catt growing up in Singapore is irrelevant. The accurate statement, based on Catt's father's autobiography is that Catt was born in England in December 1935, and travelled to Singapore (where his father - an RAF wireless technician - has been posted) before the outbreak of war in September 1939 (there does not appear to be a precise date in the source). Bm gub's elision, although inaccurate, is trivial - about on the same level as the statement in the very first paragraph that Catt has a "B.Eng". Cambridge did not, (and does not,) award such a new-fangled thing - Catt got a BA (in Engineering), which he (like all Cambridge graduates) upgraded to an MA by filling the appropriate form about 3 years after graduating. -- Kevin Brunt 19:50, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
OK, I made the change to state that Catt was born in England, citing the source you note, and made the change of B.Eng. to BA. per your comment. Geoffrey.landis 20:52, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

March 08 revisions[edit]

Hello anon@92.2.217.251,

Please keep in mind, when editing the article:

1) Catt himself may not be the most reliable source about his own accomplishments. Please find reliable independent sources. New Scientist is more or less OK; ivorcatt.com is not. Please read WP:RS.
2) "Wireless World" and "Electronics World" are not peer-reviewed journals; they are popular-press magazines.
3) Catt's ideas about electromagnetism are fringe ideas and were never accepted by the mainstream. Catt himself would presumably admit this (though complaining about it). Indeed, I can find very little evidence that Catt's ideas were even widely noticed by someone other than himself. Please read WP:FRINGE which is a guideline for how to include such material in the article. My rule of thumb is: it doesn't matter how important the author thinks his work is, or how widely known he/she thinks it should be; all authors think their work is important. It matters how widely known, discussed, or applied their work actually is.


I understand that there is a dearth of reliable sources: see, for example, [4] a google search which excludes all of Catt's personal web pages. It gets us to an extremely slim set of hits, ranging from parenting-forum posts to spam, with a bare smattering of comments from his supporters.

I am reverting your last slate of edits; please consider WP:RS and WP:FRINGE before restoring any of this material. Cheers, Bm gub (talk) 22:41, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7JYZviFH54 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.132.43.94 (talk)

Views on digital logic[edit]

I have come to the article from the Fringe Theories Noticeboard. I am going to take as neutral a stand as I possibly can in relation to Catt's theories, which I don't understand anyway, not having sufficient scientific knowledge. I have a question about the Views on digital logic section, though, arising from my high-school level of maths. How can Boolean Algebra "ignore" XOR, when it is Boolean algebra that defines this operation? Isn't it like saying that Arithmetic ignores division? Perhaps schoolteachers do not pay enough attention to teaching division, but that is a very different statement. Stating that systems engineers do not use XOR gates when they would be useful is a very different kind of statement from saying that Boolean Algebra ignores XOR. I am not sure which kind of statement Catt is making in the source that I found, as he assumes familiarity on the part of his readers. Could someone clarify? Thanks. Itsmejudith (talk) 09:00, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

The section doesn't make any sense to me too and the cited source doesn't seem to support its content either. So for now I am moving it here, till we can appropriately phrase and reference it. Abecedare (talk) 01:57, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Catt's views on digital logic

Catt has a long-standing dispute about "exclusive or" in Boolean algebra. He has noted that "and", "or", "exclusive-or" (and their inverses) are the six functions out of the 16 possible functions of two Boolean inputs for which A op B is the same as B op A. Catt calls this "symmetric", and complains that Boolean algebra deals with "and" and "or" and ignores "ex-or". He appears to have been arguing this since his IC design days, when he apparently failed to convince his boss of the business case for having an XOR function in the product range. (De Morgan's laws state that a "positive-logic AND" is a "negative-logic OR" and vice versa.)[1]

[1] Unpublished letter to Electronics World, available on Catt's website [5]
Mr. Ivor Catt is a nutter. If the section on his views on digital logic doesn't make any sense, right, so? There's no reason to think that his views make any sense either. Did you read his quote about radar and the Sheffield?

Hi. The section on "Catt's view on digital logic" is, technically, my text. Light current lifted it from the discussion pages and dumped it onto the article. The main sources for it are his 1968 article in (IIRC) "Computer Design" (which was at www.ivorcatt.org, which seems to be offline) and his 2004 article "Boolean Castles in the Air" in Electronics World. Basically, in 1964 Catt lost the argument about adding an XOR IC to the Motorola ECL product line. This appears to have rankled and since then Catt has tried to prove his point. Put simply, although he claims to be a "logic designer" he seems not to understand the use of De Morgan's laws to "optimise" the equations that describe a combinatorial logic circuit. In particular, he seems not to understand that in order to apply the princples of optimisation, XORs have to be expanded into their AND-OR-NOT equivalent, as otherwise they become irreducible "knots" in the arrangement.

The final irony is that complex logic implementations are nowadays done in "programmable logic devices" which implement the AND-OR-NOT networks that Catt decries. To cap it all, the PLDs typically use an XOR gate at the "tail" of the network as a way of providing a programmable NOT.... -- Kevin Brunt (talk) 18:08, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for that background. The problem I have with the text above is that it contains many gross technical errors, for example:
  • AND, OR, XOR, NAND, NOR, XNOR, are 6 out of 8 (rather than 16) symmetric Boolean functions of two variables.
  • "Boolean algebra deals with "and" and "or" and ignores "ex-or". is simply nonsensical. On the other hand the proposal to use XOR gates as a basic unit in an IC, may turn out to be inadvisable (in terms of the number of transistors, required silcon area, or other design constraints), but is not inherently absurd.
The problem is that without a specific citation, it is difficult to decide whether the above errors were made by Catt himeslf, or somehow we have mistranslated his views. It would be really helpful if we could locate the exact reference for publications in which Catt talks about this, and hopefully also find some articles where others have commented on his work/errors. Abecedare (talk) 18:35, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Incidentally, Catt's page seems to have moved to this new website. Kevin, can you please check if the references you mentioned are available on this website ? Thanks. Abecedare (talk) 18:38, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Catt's webpages are somewhat entangled. ivorcatt.org had a selection of Catt's articles, which do not appear to be on the other websites. I suspect that with Catt's illness, the registration of his domain has lapsed.
On the subject of the Boolean functions. There are 16 possible truth tables for f(A,B). Of the 16, two are constants and four are the single variable functions A, NOT A, B, NOT B. Of the remaining 10, 6 are the functions that Catt labels as 'symmetric' (and which mathematicians would call "commutative".) The symmetry in question is a line of symmetry along the diagonal A=B. What Catt ignores is that the remaining four "unsymmetric" functions have a line of symmetry along the opposing diagonal (A<>B) and that significantly the exclusive-OR pair are in fact symmetric along both lines. In addition, the four "unsymmetic" functions are mirror images of the AND/OR/NAND/NOR group.
This is an important point, which appears to have completely passed Catt by. Inverting one of the inputs to the function forms the mirror image of the truth table. Inverting both inputs is effectively two reflections "at right angles", which is a 180 degree rotation. If Catt had pursued this, he would have found a way to visualise De Morgan's laws. However, it would also have exposed the weakness of his main argument, as it would show that starting from AND (or OR if it comes to that) and inverting any or all of the two inputs and the output, you end up with a set of 8 distinct functions. Doing the same to EX-OR yields only two distinct truth tables for the 8 possibilities - a direct result of the additional symmetry of the EX-OR truth table. Because EX-OR has two lines of symmetry it also has an axis of rotational symmetry, so inverting one input yields an EX-NOR truth table; inverting both inputs effectively does nothing. -- Kevin Brunt (talk) 21:34, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree with your analysis of cummutative boolean functions; I reach the same end result based on a counting argument (it would be a surprise if we didn't reach the same conclusions!).
What we need though, is a specific reference for Catt's version of the analysis. Did he ever publish it in some magazine article, or in one of the many letters-to-the-editor that he seems to have written ? Abecedare (talk) 22:06, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Y'know, if the only reference for "Catt's important digital logic debate" is an unpublished letter-to-the editor, then Catt's digital logic debate is not important. Google for "ivor catt xor" gets seven hits: ivorcatt.com (1), wikipedia and its mirrors (4), and what appears to be a random-link generator at CERN (2). Zero hits on Google Books or Google Scholar. Bm gub (talk) 19:42, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I've found www.ivorcatt.org on the "Wayback Machine" at www.ivorcatt.org at the Wayback The main "logic" article is Computer Design Feb 1968 It basically purports to show thar Ex-OR is one of the "three primary logic functions." Catt obviously didn't think that "NOT" was a function...
The other related article is the much more recent "Boolean Castles in the Air" Electronics World July 2004, which takes the claim of the earlier article as definitive "truth", and proceeds to castigate the academic teaching of Logic. It is ironic that he does so partly by quoting an example from an introductory Logic text (to do with purple oranges) as he clearly hadn't read the associated text. The "absurd" example is, in fact, an illustration of the "excluded middle" fallacy - the irony is that Catt's 1968 article constructs the syllogism
All primary Boolean functions are symmetric
Exclusive-OR is symmetric
Therefore Exclusive-OR is a primary Boolean function
which is, of course, an excluded middle argument! -- Kevin Brunt (talk) 21:30, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

<deindent>
Thanks for the links, Kevin! My 2 cents on the two pieces

  • I don't find anything truly problematic with his '68 article, in which (as per my reading) he seems to be arguing for recognizing XOR as a "fundamental" logic element and making it available in semiconductor hardware (Recall that he wrote the article in the days when the 7400 series and 4000 series, with discrete logic elements, were being introduced). Also, he repeated mentions the Inverter (NOT gate), so I am not sure why you think he is ignoring it. His conclusion is:

Although one unbalanced function plus the Inverter make up a complete set, a Balanced function (Exclusive OR) plus the Inverter do not. That is, some logic functions cannot be implemented using only Exclusive OR's and Inverters. So if a family of logic elements is being designed using only one type, then the NOR or the NAND, which em-braces both the unbalanced function and the Inverter, is the proper choice to make, and the Balanced function (Exclusive-OR) rightly will not appear in the family. If a family of logic elements is being designed using more than one type, it looks as though the Balanced function (Exclusive-OR), as one of the three primary logic functions, has a strong claim to be included.

While one may find this argument for introducing (say) a Quad XOR chip (which indeed the 7400 and 4000 families lack) unconvincing, the argument is not fundamentally flawed.
  • The 2004 article is more intriguing, and Catt seems to have written it with a chip over his shoulder (haha), railing against
    1. Oxford logic (which I think is referring to formal or mathematical logic) as being useless to true computer builders such as himself;
    2. George Boole for failing to recognize the importance of XOR (I am not sure if this is factual), as Catt did;
    3. The mathematicians at Bletchley Park, including (the gay) Alan Turing, for doing inconsequential work while hoarding the credit;
    4. Politically correct historians of the era for trying to, "erase any achievements by white heterosexual males from history"

While these opinions are now verifiable, I am not sure if they are really notable (in the sense, that nobody has even bothered to notice or rebut them) or worth discussing in the wikipedia article. What do others think ? Abecedare (talk) 22:39, 8 April 2008 (UTC)


The chip on Catt's shoulder relates specifically to the Motorola Emitter Coupled Logic range. Catt worked on it, and his Ex-OR writings relate to an episode where he lost an argument about adapting an existing bistable chip design (changing one of the fabrication steps would have produced an Ex-OR gate.) It would appear that a point made against Catt was that the formal design methods (based on the work of Claude_Shannon) don't tend produce designs which use many Ex-OR gates; rather they produce AND-OR-INVERT networks.
This is hinted at in the '68 article in the very first paragraph.

It was probably difficult to implement the Exclusive-OR with relays.

This statement is wrong. The relay Ex-OR isn't difficult; in fact it is closely related to the wiring arrangement that allows the light on a staircase be controlled from both landings. What, however, is clear is that while the relay "AND" is implemented by connecting subcircuits in series and "OR" by a corresponding parallel arrangement (and are therefore primitive,) the relay "Ex-OR" is a composite series-parallel arrangement, and therefore cannot be regarded in the same way as AND and OR.
Catt's quarrel is really with Shannon, who made the equivalence between Boolean algebra and relay control circuits, not with Boole directly. It is notable that Catt doesn't even mention Shannon.
Catt's further quarrel with Turing relates to Catt's ideas on computer design, and particularly on memory technology. (These relate to the two articles with "Dinosaur" in the title on the www.ivorcatt.org page.) (Though I won't argue against part of Catt's animosity to Turing being a product of Catt's total lack of recognition.) The problems with Catt's computer ideas are
    1. a total lack of knowledge of what has actually been done
    2. a complete failure to work out how his ideas would actually work
One of the main planks of his "thesis" is that mainstream computing design has completely ignored the concept of Content_addressable_memory. If he'd done his research, he would have found that even at the time of the his 1969 article that CAM was already in use, notably in the CDC_6600, which used a CAM in its "instruction stack", which was an early form of cache memory. -- Kevin Brunt (talk) 12:47, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Books[edit]

I moved the four books that were self-published by Catt to a separate subheading, in that Wikipedia:Fringe theories suggests that self-published works should be given somewhat lesser consideration. Can anybody find a reference to the work by Catt, listed as "The Two T.E.M. Signals", IEEE Computer Society, 1978, OCLC 35349268 ? I couldn't find any good reference to this, and the library search page of the IEEE Computer Society didn't have any listing for it. I moved it to the "articles" section, but I'm not sure whether it actually exists at all. 99.161.135.173 (talk) 22:28, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

World Cat has a listing for the, TEM book but no details, and apparently no US library even holds it. Don't know if that helps. Abecedare (talk) 23:37, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
It's not held by any British university libraries, either: http://copac.ac.uk/ Actually, I only see three or four cases of *any* Catt book being held by a non-national-repository library. Bm gub (talk) 00:36, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not at all surprised at the absence of Catt's books from libraries; they simply were not very good. The real question about "The Two T.E.M. Signals" is why it was published by the IEEE Computer Society, since the subject of the book is only tangentially relevant to computers. What I have found is that a search for the book title throws up an article in IEEE Computer Transactions, November 1978, with the title 'Correction of "Maxwell's Displacement Current"'. I suspect that the article is largely based on text from the book (much of Catt's writing repeats earlier text) and that the later book is referenced as to be published. I would not be at all surprised if what happened was that when the article appeared somebody sufficiently senior in the IEEE (and sufficiently competent to understand where Catt was wrong) started asking awkward questions, with the result that the book was never actually published. Equally, Catt may have signed a contract to write the book, but it was spiked when the editors actually got to see the completed text.) -- Kevin Brunt (talk) 17:57, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
If the book hasn't actually been published, it shouldn't be in the references at all: is there any way to find out whether it was ever published? It's hard to see why it wouldn't be found on the search page of the IEEE Computer Society, if the IEEE Computer society did publish it. In any case, however, it doesn't make sense for it to be listed under "articles". Geoffrey.landis (talk) 21:10, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps there should be a section for "unobserved articles". (It would go well with Catt's science, most of which is based on unobserved factoids....) The Wireless World March 1979 article "The History of Displacement Current" would sort of belong here - it was originally going to appear in the Institute of Physics' periodical "Physics Education", and is so referenced in the preceeding December 1978 article. However, although Catt obviously thought that the IoP had accepted the article, they undoubtedly were of the view that they had agreed the article title. When Catt came to submit the paper, it was so bad that it was rejected outright. (And bad it was - there was no way that the IoP were going to publish, in a journal aimed at physics teachers, an article purporting to review the history of displacement current that does not even mention the connection with the electric field.)
Somewhere on Catt's websites he tells how (in 1969) he "tricked" New Scientist into accepting an article about his ideas on computer memory, by misleading them as to the content of the article and springing it on them close to deadline. (Exactly how much NS were deceived is unclear, but Catt clearly thought that he got one over on them.) I suspect that Catt tried to pull the same trick on Physics Education, and found that serious academic publications have different priorities to the more "populist" science journalism. -- Kevin Brunt (talk) 19:43, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
See [6] which now contains details as follows: The two T.E.M. signals. Author: Ivor Catt Publisher: Long Beach, Calif.: IEEE Computer Society, 1978. Series: IEEE Computer Society.; R (the "R" series is Repository). Catt's paper is in IEEE Computer Series Repository, Vol. 11, No. 11 [7]. See [8]. Photocopier (talk) 14:32, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ Unpublished letter to Electronics World, available on Catt's website [9]