Close, but No Coconut

379(4): Simple Example of a Resonance Condition

June 6, 2017

In this simple first theory, if a mass m is held one metre above the surface of the earth there should be counter gravitation if an electromagnetic irradiation is used at 4.709 ten power eight radians per second. This is not observed experimentally, or seems not to have been observed, so this theory is too simple minded.”

It is one of the many tragedies of the lunatic fringe that crackpots are so obsessed with pursuing long-debunked ideas that they often miss novel phenomena that might lead somewhere. Crookes is the classic example. He was an amateur scientist who made some real money-making discoveries in chemistry. But he also believed in alchemy and the paranormal. ‘Everybody’ assumes that he set out to build his famous radiometer to demonstrate a physical phenomenon. Quite the opposite: he thought that it was a ghost-detector, and took it to seances. There is still a lot of nonsense written in textbooks about how it actually works: “driven like a windmill by the Sun’s rays?”. Nah, we can make one run backwards in sunlight.  Edison made the same mistake: he observed an interesting phenomenon, but ascribed it to the paranormal. Laithwaite rediscovered something interesting concerning rotations. No, not levitation; gyroscopic levitation is nonsense. That effect is now named after a contemporary physicist, even though it was common knowledge in the 19th-century and people back then claimed that Aristotle had first reported it (but we cannot find it in Aristotle). It was even rediscovered by the medical profession … and they have their own name for it. And now here is Ron, prattling about levitation by resonance. Being a bit (ha!) thick when it comes to physics, he does not know that it is routinely used in industry for moving things uphill. He does not know that a ‘poured chain’ can levitate out of a container (but, hey, that’s not a resonance effect). It is also possible to increase the diameter of an orbit by using resonance: i.e. to move a satellite further from the Earth without using rockets or Lorentz forces or solar sail. Many a schoolteacher will scoff at that claim, as it appears to contradict Newton’s third law. But then, many a schoolteacher should be sacked, given the parlous state of physics education.  A propos, have you ever seen this:

and that was many (educational) generations ago. Nothing has changed since then! This is why there is such a good fan base for the lunatic fringe.

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