Electronics World

Letter to the Editor,

Electronics World,

February 2004,

p46 by Ivor Catt

Throwing glasses at stone houses

Has slight alterations to add hyperlinks.

[Another version for printing, more like the original]

I feel sad that my adversaries persistently lead with their chins. However, this one also keeps his eyes tight shut. A turkey shoot is cruel, and I do not feel proud of myself.

In his letter of December 2003, Kevin Aylward wrote; “…. There are also those that are prone to use such terms as  …. intermixed with various …. technical terms in an effort to mislead or obscure the real issues, or because they do not actually understand the real significance of these terms …. …. those with only a passing acquaintance often misunderstand the finer and more subtle points being presented by individuals who do have such experience.”

In his letter of January 2004, Kevin continued; “…. the best current and accepted theory of EM is Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) for which Richard Feynmann [sp?] got the Nobel Prize. The theory explains EM …. …. Maxwell’s equations are simply wrong. They cannot be used to explain all the results of EM. This was decisively proved in the early 1900s ….”

What a pity Kevin did not avoid this gaffe by actually reading Feynemann [sp?]; “From a long view of the history of mankind – seen from, say, ten thousand years from now – there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell’s discovery of the laws of electrodynamics. The American Civil War will pale into provincial insignificance in comparison with this important scientific event of the same decade.” – R. P. Feynman, R. B. Leighton, and M. Sands, Feynman Lectures on Physics, vol. 2, Addison-Wesley, London, 1964, c. 1, p. 11 (but see The Hidden Message in Maxwell’s Equations )

It gets worse; “The special theory of relativity owes its origin to Maxwell’s equations of the electromagnetic field,” - Einstein quoted in ed. Schilpp, P.A., “Albert Einstein, Philosopher – Scientist,” Library of Living Philosophers, 1949, p62. (Perhaps Kevin should look for some different people to drool over.)

What a pity Kevin did not read anything about The Catt Anomaly either, but again relied on guesswork, guessing that there was a link between The Catt Anomaly and Maxwell’s Equations, which there is not. “ …. the so-called ‘Catt anomaly’, this whole subject matter is really a bit of a red herring. Maxwell’s equations are simply wrong. They cannot be used to explain all the results of EM.” – Kevin, letters, EW January. Here Kevin is in good company. The only previous attempt to link The Catt Anomaly with Maxwell’s Equations was by Howie , Head of the Cavendish.

See Howie’s letter ;

“’The central issue as to whether there is anything wrong with Maxwell’s equations is not I believe best resolved by a vote following some kind of public debate which might degenerate into a kind of Punch and Judy show.’ – Howie. This clearly misrepresents my October 2001 letter …. Also note that the definitive statement on p3 of the book The Catt Anomaly , which Howie says he received by recorded delivery, does not mention Maxwell’s Equations. – (I. Catt, 30th Oct 2001)”

As to Nobel Prizewinners, two so far have made fools of themselves over the Catt Anomaly; Salam in Wireless World, December 1982, and more recently Huxley, see The Catt Anomaly p67;

“Dear Mr. Catt, I much enjoyed our conversation at dessert in Trinity a week ago …. I confess that I find it unsatisfactory that you dismiss Pepper’s discussion as “drivel” (p. 5, bottom) and make no attempt to explain what you think is wrong with it. An analogous situation exists in nerve conduction, the field in which I worked for many years with Alan Hodgkin. The best-understood nerve fibre ….  Yours sincerely, Andrew Huxley.”

I know from personal experience that old boy Huxley was not gaga at the time. All the same, extraordinarily, in the middle of writing (incompetently) about The Catt Anomaly, he drifted off into discussing how a squid shakes a leg.

All other Nobel Prizewinners have wisely, and frustratingly, held their peace. At the next level, “Pepper FRS” (worth doing a Google search for) fell disastrously at the Catt Anomaly fence, as did Howie FRS. However, as Nigel Cook pointed out in the Aug 2003 EW Editorial, “The Catt Anomaly” is actually a question, and the problem arises from total contradiction between professors and text book writers when answering this elementary question. Catt is not involved, except as an anxious student of these luminaries.

As a Drivelmaster, or in electrical terms a noise generator, I think Kevin could well merge unnoticed among Nobel Prizewinners. Unfortunately he lacks the dynastic or patronage background. Trinity High Table is full of them. A Nobel Prize has to be proposed by an existing Nobel Prizewinner or some such. For some reason, despite all his social graces, they don’t hand one to their buddy Ivor.

Ivor Catt, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, UK

“Other Nobel Prizewinners have wisely,

and frustratingly, held their peace.”

Copy previously sent to Huxley.

Slomail copy sent on 26mar04 to

Nobel Prizewinner Prof. Brian Josephson,

Fellow, Trinity College,



“ …. one should examine carefully the alleged

grounds for such opinions and judge how

well these stand up to detailed scrutiny.” - BJ

OK, Brian. Now let’s have it!

Or do we have another hypocrite here?


D. Dutch Accuses  Nobel  Fellow 

 Nigel Cook’s letter followed;

Throwing stones in glass houses II


Finally, the Chairman of the Nobel Prize is not God, but more like a sports referee: prizes are generally awarded for acknowledged races. In the absence of any intelligent competition, Ivor Catt has no motivation to use QED. Mendel’s genetics were ignored during his lifetime, whereas Darwin had instant fame (too much for his linking!) because his work had a ready-made competitor (the Church). Success of IC’s work after 30 years of being neglected thus relies on an urgent run-in with today’s science bigots.

Nigel Cook, By email

The New Scholasticism

Nigel Cook;


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