Subject: Fwd: AW: Bessler Wheel
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 14:06:39 EDT
Good point, I will look into this.
The question which perhaps can be answered without detailed calculation is whether the free-falling part of mass motion in the Bessler Wheel is part of the system or not, i.e. if we have a closed (conservative) system or not.”
“The project of perpetual motion is normally pushed back to the very edge of traditional history of science. It allegedly defines the bounds of human credulity and vain ambition and marks, with the Philosopher’s Stone and stock-market Bubbles, the painful transition to rational understanding of the capacities of nature and art. It seems self-evident that neither nature nor technique can generate endless profit, so faith in perpetual motion is seen as a parable about the fallibilities of the human mind rather than about the capacities of technique.”
Simon Schaffer. The British Journal for the History of Science, 1995 28 157 89
Bessler’s maid, Anne Mauersbergerin ran away from his house and revealed that the wheels had always been turned from a neighbouring room. Sometimes she turned, sometimes Bessler’s wife or his brother Gottfried. Even Bessler did some of the turning. She made a sworn statement to the effect that Bessler had threatened her, under pain of damnation, not to reveal what she knew of the scam. It was later found that Bessler’s wife had already informed a government official of her husband’s fraud, but had been warned to keep quiet.
So what sort of person would perpetrate such a scam, and what sort of person would still be suggesting, that the wheel was genuine, in the early 21st century? A single description seems to fit both:
His early life suggested a burning ambition to rise from his humble origins, coupled with genuine skills. However, there were also grave flaws in his character and intellectual training. It is probable that his pursuit of ‘energy from nowhere’ began in good faith and that he first turned to deceit in an attempt to gain the time and money that he thought he needed to perfect the real thing. He had been described as a “madman”, and even his closest friends spoke of him as a “desperate man who cared about nothing”. His erratic and irascible behavior was attributed to a need to drive away inconvenient examinations of his work, as well as to the psychological strain of sustaining a career that had come to depend upon a lie.