James F. Woodward

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James F. Woodward (born 1941) is a professor emeritus of history and an adjunct professor of physics at California State University, Fullerton. He is best known for a physics hypothesis that he proposed in 1990, later expanded, that predicts several physical effects that he refers to as 'Mach effects'. Woodward claims the effect could be used as a reactionless drive for space travel.

Education and professorships[edit]

Woodward is a professor emeritus of history and an adjunct professor of physics at California State University, Fullerton.[1]

Mach effects[edit]

Woodward claims that his hypothesis predicts physical forces that he calls Mach effects but are also referred to as the Woodward effect. He says that his hypothesis is based on Mach's principle that posits inertia, the resistance of mass to acceleration, is a result of the mutual gravitational attraction of all matter in the universe. Thus, if the mass of a given object can be varied while being oscillated in a linear or orbital path, such that the mass is high while the mass is moving in one direction and low while moving back, then the net effect should be acceleration in one direction as the inertial drag of the universe upon the object varies as its mass varies. If a spacecraft engine could be designed to exploit it then acceleration could be produced without using rocket propellants.[2] The effect is controversial because within mainstream physics the underlying model proposed for it appears to be faulty, resulting in violations of energy conservation as well as momentum conservation.[3] Woodward and his associates have claimed since the 1990s to have successfully measured forces at levels great enough for practical use and also claim to be working on the development of a practical prototype thruster. No practical working devices have been publicly demonstrated, and other experiments have failed to corroborate these claims.[4]

Speculation on space travel[edit]

He frequently contributes to articles on speculative space travel subjects,[5] especially wormholes.[6] In 2012, he published a book on the application of the physical effects predicted by his hypothesis to space travel.[7]


  1. ^ "Jim Woodward". Fullerton, department of physics. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  2. ^ Woodward, James F. (October 1990). "A new experimental approach to Mach's principle and relativistic gravitation" (PDF). Foundations of Physics Letters. 3 (5): 497–506. Bibcode:1990FoPhL...3..497W. doi:10.1007/bf00665932. S2CID 120603211. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-01-03. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
  3. ^ Whealton, J. H.; McKeever, J. W.; Akerman, M. A.; Andriulli, J. B. (4 September 2001). "Revised Theory of Transient Mass Fluctuations" (PDF). United States Department of Energy. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  4. ^ Marini, Ricardo L.; Galian, Eugenio S. (November–December 2010). "Torsion Pendulum Investigation of Electromagnetic Inertia Manipulation Thrusting". Journal of Propulsion and Power. 26 (6): 1283–1290. doi:10.2514/1.46541.
  5. ^ "The Space Show: Dr. James Woodward". The Space Show. Archived from the original on 2012-02-19.
  6. ^ Woodward, James F. (April 1997). "Twists of fate: Can we make traversable wormholes in spacetime?" (PDF). Foundations of Physics Letters. 10 (2): 153–181. Bibcode:1997FoPhL..10..153W. doi:10.1007/BF02764237. S2CID 121164043. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  7. ^ Woodward, James F. (2012). Making Starships and Stargates: The Science of Interstellar Transport and Absurdly Benign Wormholes. Springer Praxis Books. ISBN 978-1461456223.

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