Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Yevgeny Podkletnov and his "Gravitational Impulse Generator" (Anti-Gravity)

Yevgeny (Eugene) Podkletnov is a Russian scientist who emigrated to Tampere, Finland and became famous when he asserted that he had found a way to block gravity. He claimed that a spinning, superconducting disc with which he was working lost as much as 2% of its weight. When his theories first came to light in 1996, the scientific community either treated him with skepticism or with scorn. He withdrew his paper, was abandoned by many of his colleagues and found that he had very little credibility in the scientific world.
Born in Russia in the mid-1950s, Podkletnov graduated with a master's degree from the University of Chemical Technology, Mendeleyev Institute, in Moscow; he then spent 15 years at the Institute for High Temperatures in the Russian Academy of Sciences. Later he received a doctorate in materials science fromTampere University's Institute of Technology, and worked at the institute, on superconductors, until 1996, when the furor over his experiments resulted in his being asked to leave.
In 2002, Boeing, the world's largest aircraft manufacturer, approached Podkletnov to work with them on further research into blocking gravity.

Dr Yevgeny Podkletnov[1] (Russian: Евгений Подклетнов) is a Russian engineer, formerly affiliated with the Materials Science Department at the Tampere University of Technology, Finland, who is best known for his controversial work on a so-called gravity shielding device. Born in Russia in the mid-1950s, Podkletnov graduated with a master's degree from the University of Chemical Technology, Mendeleyev Institute, in Moscow; he then spent 15 years at the Institute for High Temperatures in the Russian Academy of Sciences. Later he received a doctorate in materials science from Tampere University of Technology, and worked at the university, on superconductors, until 1996.[citation needed]

Podkletnov's gravity shielding experiments

According to the account Podkletnov gave to reporter Charles Platt in a 1996 phone interview, during a 1992 experiment with a rotating superconducting disk,
Someone in the laboratory was smoking a pipe, and the pipe smoke rose in a column above the superconducting disc. So we placed a ball-shaped magnet above the disc, attached to a balance. The balance behaved strangely. We substituted a nonmagnetic material, silicon, and still the balance was very strange. We found that any object above the disc lost some of its weight, and we found that if we rotated the disc, the effect was increased.[citation needed]
Podkletnov wrote a paper reporting that the gravitational force directly above the disk was about 0.3% less than normal. He concluded that the superconducting disk was altering the Earth's gravitational force above it. (Since this initial experiment, Podkletnov claims, he has improved his technique, allegedly obtaining as much as a 2% decrease in the gravitational force.)

Public controversy

Podkletnov's first peer-reviewed paper on the apparent gravity-modification effect, published in 1992, attracted little notice. In 1996, he submitted a longer paper, in which he claimed to have observed a larger effect (2% weight reduction as opposed to 0.3% in the 1992 paper) to the prestigious Journal of Physics D. According to science reporter Charles Platt, a member of the editorial staff, Ian Sample, leaked the submitted paper to Robert Matthews, the science correspondent for the British newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph.[citation needed]
On September 1, 1996, Matthews's story broke, leading with the startling statement: Scientists in Finland are about to reveal details of the world's first antigravity device.[1] In the ensuing furor, the director of the laboratory where Podkletnov was working issued a defensive statement that Podkletnov was working entirely on his own.[citation needed] In a bizarre twist, Podkletnov's supposed coauthor disavowed prior knowledge of the paper[citation needed], but some have found this disingenuous. Podkletnov himself complained that he had never claimed to block gravity, only to reduce its effect.
By 1997, Podkletnov had withdrawn his second paper (after it had been initially accepted - see page proof here [2]), was no longer allowed into his former lab in Tampere and had returned to Moscow, where he quietly took an engineering job. (In 1998 he was however reported to be working on superconductors at Tamglass engineering Oy in Tampere. [3])

Podkletnov's gravity reflection beam

In a second interview (1997) by Wired magazine reporter Charles Platt, Podkletnov told Platt that he was continuing to work on gravitation, claiming that with new collaborators at an un-named "chemical research center" in Moscow he has built a new device. He said:
Normally there are two spheres, and a spark jumps between them. Now imagine the spheres are flat surfaces, superconductors, one of them a coil or O-ring. Under specific conditions, applying resonating fields and composite superconducting coatings, we can organize the energy discharge in such a way that it goes through the center of the electrode, accompanied by gravitation phenomena - reflecting gravitational waves that spread through the walls and hit objects on the floors below, knocking them over...The second generation of flying machines will reflect gravity waves and will be small, light, and fast, like UFOs. I have achieved impulse reflection; now the task is to make it work continuously.[citation needed][2]
More recently, in collaboration with Italian physicist Giovanni Modanese, Podkletnov has reported on a similar device which he claims generates a coherent gravity repulsion beam. (See the citation below.) Supporters claim it has been seen to move a pendulum located 150 meters away in another building.[citation needed] Allegedly, Podkletnov has observed that the "backside" of this second device emits "radiation" (not otherwise specified) which seems to be dangerous to biological tissues.[citation needed]

Related work

Back in 1990, two physicists at the University of Alabama, Douglas Torr and Ning Li, had predicted that superconducting magnets might reduce the effect of gravity. Elated by Podkletnov's apparent confirmation of this prediction, Torr persuaded David Noever, a colleague at the nearby Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to attempt to reproduce the gravity shielding experiment.
Torr soon moved to the University of South Carolina and commenced work on a most unusual device. According to Platt, Torr describes this device as a "gravity generator" that can create a force beam in any desired direction. Officials of the University of South Carolina, however, apparently disavowed association with this work (in an interview by reporter Charles Platt[citation needed]), and it seems that Torr is seeking private funding to continue his research.
James Woodward, an adjunct professor of physics at Cal State in Fullerton, CA, claims to have constructed a device which achieves time varied changes in mass using rather ordinary capacitors.[citation needed]
Marcus Hollingshead, a British inventor, claimed in 2002 to have invented a device with similar gravity-modifying effects, though more related to the non-superconducting spinning S.E.G. configuration proposed by John Searl.
In 2006, Martin Tajmar and several coworkers at the Austrian Research Center (ARC) Seibersdorf announced their claim to have measured the gravitomagnetic London moment of Cooper pairs in a superconducting ring spinning at 6500 rpm[3]. Despite the similarity to the apparatus used by Podkletnov, the authors carefully state in their eprint (see citation below) that their claimed result should not be confused with the claims of Podkletnov; specifically, they measured a tangential gravitomagnetic force created by Type I superconductors, (Elemental Lead and Niobium rings at liquid helium temperatures) but failed to measure an axial force from Type II superconductors (YBCO and BSSCO ceramics at liquid nitrogen temperatures) as described by Podkletnov. Thus, their results suggest a magnified form of 'frame dragging' rather than gravity reflection. However, there are major differences between the experiments, such as the method of driving the ring. (In the ARC experiments, the ring was physically driven by a motor, while Podkletnov's experiment levitated and spun the ring using magnetic fields.)

Attempted verification

In his 1997 interview by Charles Platt, Podkletnov insisted that his gravity-shielding work has been reproduced[citation needed] by researchers at universities in Toronto and Sheffield, but none have come forward to acknowledge this. The Sheffield work, for one, is now known to have only been intended as partial replication, aimed at observing any unusual effects which might present themselves, as the team involved lacked access to the necessary facilities for producing a large enough disk and the ability to duplicate the means by which the original disk was rotated. Podkletnov counters that the researchers in question have kept quiet "lest they be criticized by the mainstream scientific community".[citation needed] Podkletnov, in fact, visited the Sheffield team in 2000 and advised them on the conditions necessary to achieve his effect - conditions that they never got close to matching[citation needed].
The group at NASA in Huntsville did not finish their attempts to verify Podkletnov's original gravity shielding experiment. Although, two attempts were made to repeat the superconductor rotation experiment, one in house and one through a SBIR. In both cases, large superconductor disks were fabricated. However, in both cases, the funding did not allow for the development of the rotation system needed for the completion of the test. No attempt has been made by NASA to repeat the second impulse experiment.
In a BBC news item, it was alleged that researchers at Boeing were funding a project called GRASP (Gravity Research for Advanced Space Propulsion) which would attempt to construct a gravity shielding device,[4] but a subsequent Popular Mechanics news item stated that Boeing had denied funding GRASP with company money, although Boeing acknowledged that it could not comment on "black projects".[5] A possible solution of this contradiction has been suggested: it is alleged that the GRASP proposal was presented to Boeing, but that Boeing chose not to fund it[6].
  1. ^ A literal transliteration of Podkletnov's first name would be "Evgeny", but in English language publications he has used the Anglophone equivalent, "Eugene", and we follow that practice here.
  2. ^ Feature
  3. ^ Tajmar, M.; Plesescu, F.; Marhold, K.; and de Matos, C.J. (2006). "Experimental Detection of the Gravitomagnetic London Moment". arΧiv: gr-qc/0603033v1. 
  4. ^ BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Boeing tries to defy gravity
  5. ^ Science Does The Impossible: February 2003 Cover Story - Popular Mechanics
  6. ^ Gravity Shielding Still Science Fiction, Boeing Says


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