Addendum to


The Catt Question – EW Challenge


Political Analysis




Electromagnetic Theory Politics.

Ivor Catt, 16 July 2004


Catt’s major Published paper was “Crosstalk (Noise) in Digital Systems”, pub. IEEE Trans. Com. Dec 1967. It is now summarised on the www at two locations. Catt continued to publish everything he wanted to for twelve years, until the moment when he ceased to be a full time professional electronic engineer and started to teach Remedial English. At that point, his success rate in getting published in the learned journals fell from 100% to 0%. He continued to be unable to publish for many years.


Many years later, Wireless World began to publish Catt’s material and that of his co-researchers Walton and Davidson. Later, the then editor, the late Tom Ivall, told Catt that he welcomed controversial material, leading to his publishing, after some hiccoughs, the article entitled “Displacement Current” in Wireless World, December 1978 (now on my website).


Copies were distributed around The Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) Culham, and a meeting of UKAEA scientists was called. They delegated to Dr. B.G. Burrows the task of telling Ivall that if Wireless World published anything more by Catt, it would be boycotted by the scientific community. However, Tom Ivall had met me, and he says that he found my expertise to be equal to that of Burrows. However, the core reason why he continued to publish Catt, in virtually every issue for ten years, was that he had independent means. This was the launch-pad for scientific advance in the twentieth century, the first century when science was controlled by professionals, a century deeply opposed to scientific advance. With the retirement of Ivall on medical grounds, Wireless World went back to “normal”. Also, Catt was trying (successfully) to get an airing for his new computer invention, Kernel, which had also been suppressed, so that the later investment of 12 million pounds sterling was delayed for more than fifteen years. Because of the struggle to publish on Kernel, attempts to publish on electromagnetic theory lost top priority. Anyway, it would have been difficult to get material past the new editor, Ogden, who preferred to publish bizarre material on electromagnetic theory.


The important next stage was the appointment of Eccles, a self-styled disciple of Ivall. He banned Catt from the journal for seven years. The next editor, Reed, reacted negatively to this, and proceeded to publish Catt material in every issue. However, for the purpose of this article, another aspect of the subject will be pointed out. Reed, who had never edited anything before, was invited to take on the job of editor on top of his traditional role of designing packages of electronic systems for customers like the BBC. The editor’s job was now to become part time, so he could afford to take risks, like publishing Catt.


The amount that each editor published on or by Catt is closely related to the degree that the editor is committed to a career as editor. The two cases when the journal opened up fully were when Ivall had independent means and was about to retire on grounds of ill health, and today’s editor Phil Reed, who has never before been an editor, and is the first part time editor, with his previous career continuing and giving him secutiry. He is extremely busy with his non-editorial duties, which predate his taking up editing.


The very banality of Catt’s letter in Electronics World, August 2004, p57, may indicate its significance. This was heralded to some degree when previously Catt said to the Editor; “I don’t think you have to take a position on the matter. In a way it would be better if you took an impartial positon.“


Following Whiston’s suggestion, Catt had forwarded the suggestion to the Editor, that he do an editorial about “The Catt Question”. Catt was disappointed when all that appeared in the resulting August Editorial was a passing remark. However, should Whiston’s suggestion have been fully carried out, the Editor would have been tightly linked with “The Catt Question”, and would have become merely another campaigner, like Nigel Cook, who wrote a signed Editorial on “The Catt Question” six months before. Nigel’s Editorial seemed cut no ice, perhaps because he was seen to be pro-Catt.


We are dealing with powerful, probably controlling, subconscious, social, psychological and political forces. In contrast to Nigel Cook’s impatience, it is possible that the only way to save our culture, or even merely to discuss its decline, is by this leisurely, ponderous approach.


Perhaps culture successfully pioneering terminal decline develops complex, sophisticated ways to defend its decline against attempts to save it. These would include early mechanisms to detect and rebuff any lifeline being handed to it. Every reformer will be in a hurry, so anyone who appears to be in a hurry must be blocked if the decline is to be secure. The idea that any such activist is either an egoist, egotist, paranoid, exhibitionist, or ignorant etc. are more obvious. By now, all of them should have been applied to Catt, because we are possibly entering the Home Strait. Catt’s brutal, sustained attacks on Pepper, McEwan, Aylward and many more can be classified as the typical behaviour of a crank or other type of unworthy who sublimates his irrelevance by attacking innocent professional bystanders. However, if he attacks too many such too persistently, such analysis begins to weaken. This is particularly true if entrenched professionals show crass incompetence when it comes to defending themselves, as every one of them has done. A Google search for “Proper FRS”, for instance, will illustrate this point. Then, pure urge for self-preservation will cause third parties to distance themselves ever so little from Pepper and the other unfortunates representing the ruling dogma, or religion, controlling science. In any case, three decades ago, the strategy of co-authors Catt, Walton, Davidson, when such an analysis arose, was to accept and confirm that Catt was impossible, followed by the suggestion that the observer ignore Catt and deal only with his ideas, and discuss them only with Walton, or perhaps Davidson. The classic defence put forward by an entrenched professional, which was applied against Oliver Heaviside, does not embrace the idea of three paranoids working together. The idea of extending pre-existing Establishment rationalisation to meet this new challenge posed by a triumverate of clones could not be promoted, because there is no mechanism for doing so. Since it is necessarily unconscious, the defences to protect the decline of a culture from lifelines probably have to be more or less completely in place before the decline is fully under way. Extension of such defences can only be built slowly, for instance against the unprecedented threat posed by three identikit would-be reformers. (The theoretical and practical position taken by Catt, Walton and Davidson in the matter of electromagnetic theory and practical digital system design is identical. This creates a new, major hurdle for the evolved blocking mechanism against scientific and technical advance, which is to make it a personal matter, or a matter of personalities.)


Of course, the analysis just completed self-destructs because one who bothers to make the analysis is ipso facto paranoid, or deranged, by the use of the benchmark that the very idea that our culture is in terminal decline (except through fashionable mechanisms such as World Capitalism or Global Warming etc .) is absurd, and he who studies it should only study and analyse such ideas briefly. To do more indicates unhealthy fixation.




Decades have been spent trying to articulate advances in electromagnetic theory onto the theory which has remained in fashion for a century. Nigel Cook has made major efforts over a decade to do so. He has argued forcefully that Catt should study “Modern Physics“ and then show how Catt’s advances contribute to Modern Physics. Catt has steadfastly resisted such ideas, and it now seems that he had good reason. The reason is that Catt has now proved that “Modern Physics“ rests on a foundation of ignorance of the fundamentals of electromagnetic theory. This is in spite of the fact that “Modern Physics“ apologists tend to assert that the core of “Modern Physics” is electromagnetic theory. During the last few years, Catt has comprehensively proved that worldwide, competence and grasp of electromagnetic theory is minimal. This will be proved again by the response, or lack of response, to the challenge in .


Two conclusions result from .

One is that traditional, fashionable electromagnetic theory is bankrupt. Worldwide, its text book writers and lecturers have no competence. The second conclusion is that the new theory of electromagnetism will replace, rather than articulate onto, the mess that today passes for electromagnetic theory.


In discussion with Nigel Cook recently, we came to an important conclusion as to what may actually happen next. The following possible outcome represents a very real danger.


The threat builds on knowledge of arguments previously developed by Catt, as follows.


Forman, later opposed by Hendry, claimed that the Germans linked the first world war with technology, for instance the machine gun. Their sudden realisation, late in 1918, that they had lost the war, cause a revulsion against science and technology. Heisenberg moved into the vacuum with a new kind of science, later called “Modern Physics“. This placed Mystery at its centre. Thus, according to the classifications given by Frazer in his 1890 book “The Golden Bough”, “Modern Physics” should be classed as Religion, and not as Science. The new religion-cum-science could receive funding much more easily than the discredited science and technology which had caused the Germans to lose the war.


Catt and Cook agree that the danger posed by “The Catt Question” is that, far from causing rational reappraisal of core electromagnetic theory, it will merely extend the grey, religious area which has replaced science, to include the fundamentals of electromagnetic theory, for instance the TEM Wave. The way in which the negative charge gets to where it is needed in the lower conductor in “The Catt Question” will be called a further mystery which reinforces the claim of mystery-ridden “Modern Physics” to be true science, which it is not.

Ivor Catt July 2004


Discussion in March 2004


Letter to those responsible for electromagnetic theory.



Mavericks get cold shoulder from British scientisits


Scientists in Britain tend to exclude controversial "maverick" colleagues from their community to ensure they do not gain scientific legitimacy, new research has shown.

A Cardiff University study has found that British scientists’ attitudes differ considerably from those of their counterparts in Sweden, when managing dissent.

The research, by Lena Eriksson, a Swedish researcher in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, has shown that British scientists operated with firm boundaries between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ and believed that controversial scientists needed to be placed outside the community so as to not gain scientific legitimacy.

Swedish scientists were more inclined to ensure that all members ‘have their say’. They were more likely to be inclusive, so as not to create adversaries who would threaten the scientific community.

"A good example of this is with new technologies such as Genetically Modified foods," said Dr Eriksson. "The media are often blamed for presenting a misleading image of science, but to some extent, public perception of such scientifically and politically charged issues turns on the way scientists present themselves to the outside world.

"The image of a scientific establishment attacking and punishing individual researchers with contentious results — such as the MMR vaccine controversy - has done little to inspire public trust in science."

Her research centred on a year-long qualitative study, interviewing some 30 scientists in Britain and Sweden, all working with issues regarding genetic modification. The results of the study can be summarised as follows:

* British scientists viewed controversies as events, caused by pre-existing dissenters within the community. The Swedish scientists tended to think of controversies as a process, and of fully-fledged ‘mavericks’ as the dangerous result of a gradual positioning of disenchanted scientists who ended up attacking a community to which they no longer belonged.

* British scientists felt it was crucial to avoid giving scientific legitimacy to scientists that they described as ‘mavericks’ and that their distancing from the scientific community was therefore necessary. Swedish scientists thought that ousting of dissenting scientists only served to exacerbate problems.

* With the exception of university research, mechanisms for control of outgoing material tended to be more elaborate and more strictly followed in Britain, than in Sweden. British scientists also felt that a breach of procedures would have graver consequences, than did their Swedish peers.

* British scientists viewed surveying of outgoing material and communication of research as safety mechanisms in place for their own protection, whereas Swedish interviewees to perceive such procedures as a sign of increasing bureaucracy. British scientists felt a greater need for claims to be ‘watertight’, imagining a potentially hostile response.



Cardiff University

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