Electromagnetic Theory breaks down with Digital Hardware Design

The Transverse Electromagnetic Wave; a lost concept.

Analysis in 2011

After 30 years of insisting that Ivor Catt did not exist as a contributor to e-m theory, the IEE finally published a review by B Lago (who Lynch said today he thinks really does exist) lambasting my 1994 book "Electromagnetism 1", which is now at www.ivorcatt.com/em.htm

IEE Journal "Electronics & Communication Engineering" oct95, p218; ".... There are many items in this book which give cause for concern, for example the false statement that 'The Transverse Electromagnetic Wave has virtually disappeared from today's electromagnetic theory'." - B Lago

Scandals in Electromagnetic Theory  http://www.ivorcatt.com/28scan.htm

Ivor 24july01

British Library.  Recently, I went to the new British Library HQ in St. Pancras London and went through the 20 books on electromagnetism on their shelves - the most recent books, which are the ones they show (except mine has been banished to the dungeons in Yorkshire).

None of the books have a diagram of the Transverse Electromagnetic Wave - the E, H and c all at right angles. There was no discussion of the nature of the transverse electromagnetic wave in any of the books. They are definitely worse than the books published 20, 40 years ago. There is virtually no mention of Displacement Current in these 20 books. At most, two have discussion of Maxwell cutting the Gordian Knot over the capacitor, leading to displacement current. However, I should probably say with more accuracy that this is not mentioned in any of the 20 books.

Yesterday I went to the IEE, Savoy Place, London, library. I went through the 60 books on the shelves in the "electromagnetism" section. They included my book The Catt Anomaly, but my 1994 book Electromagnetism 1 has been condemned to the IEE dungeons. (I recently presented the two books to the IEE Library.) [Aug03. My A5 version of  Electromagnetism 1, presented by me more recently, a year ago, has been placed in the IEE Library. It has not been borrowed, neither has the book The Catt Anomaly. However, their inside covers show that no other book on electromagnetic theory has been borrowed from the IEE library either for some years.]

None of the 60 books contained a diagram showing the transverse electromagnetic wave. (Virtually no discussion of displacement current. What little there is, is as an added term in a formula; no discussion of its origins. Thus, today's young lecturer (let alone the young student) will not have access to Displacement Current, let alone the Transverse Electromagnetic Wave, which latter is the main thrust of this discourse.)

(Exceptions. One book had two sine waves, one at right angles to the other, representing the E and H fields. However, there was no velocity. Another book had two lines, one for E and the other for H, but they were not quite at right angles. Also, no velocity. Apart from those two, (Collin and Wolf), no book had diagrams.)

Also see more on IEE Library


In IEE Library. R E Collin,  (Prof. of Electrical Eng., Case Western Reserve Univ.,) "Field Theory of Guided Waves", pub. IEEE Press 1990;

Displacement current is not in its index, which however contains "Transverse Electromagnetic Waves, definition, p173". This turns out to be 20 pages of fancy maths with no diagram of a Transverse Electromagnetic Wave.

Back cover; "Long considered the most comprehensive account of electromagnetic theory... practical and comprehensive ...."


In IEE Library. David E De Wolf, (Prof. of Elect. Eng., Virginia Poly Inst. and State Univ.) "Essentials of Electromagnetics for Engineers", pub. Cambridge U.P. 2001.

Transverse Electromagnetic Waves, p390. No diagram. p409 No proper diagram. It appears that there is no diagram of the transverse electromagnetic wave in the book.


[Added aug2006] Nobel Prizewiiner Julian Schwinger et al., "Classical Electrodynamics", pub. Perseus 1998.

No Displacement Current. No TEM Wave.


In both the British Library and the IEE Library, old books are relegated to the dungeon. Thus, a lecturer who is assigned the task of lecturing on electromagnetic theory will have no access to information which will give him a grasp of the transverse electromagnetic wave. The Transverse Electromagnetic Wave has been lost to lecturers as well as to students. (The only place in the last 25 years where the Transverse Electromagnetic Wave is described is in my 1994/5 book Electromagnetism 1 (see library dungeon), and in The Catt Anomaly, p3.)

Ivor Catt 26july01



[From I Catt, Wireless World, feb84]

In his letter, published in Wireless World nov83, W M Dalton hit a nasty land-mine that I first noticed some years ago. Let me first quote the moment when he hits it.

"Let us start from known facts. (1) Light is an electromagnetic phenomenon: demonstrated by Faraday and Kerr. (2) Light is not a static problem: it is oscillatory (Hertz). (3) The electric and magnetic fields are at right angles and always 90 degrees out of phase. Some recent textbooks show these in-phase - an unpardonable error."

I am anxious that Mr Dalton expands on why this error is unpardonable, and what disasters this error might lead us into.

First let me list some non-recent textbooks which show these in-phase.

G. W. Carter, Professor of Electrical Engineering in the University of Leeds, in his book The Electromagnetic Field in its Engineering aspects, (Longman 1954) draws the B and E fields in-phase on page 271. Significantly, although he emphasises that E and B are at right angles (page 274) he never seems to say in the text that B and E are in phase.

F. Kip, Professor of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, in his book Fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism, (McGraw-Hill 1962) draws the H and E fields in-phase on page 322. On that same page the text says that the two fields are perpendicular to each other, but does not state that they are in-phase. Again, significantly, I cannot find mention in the text that they are in-phase.

O Heaviside F.R.S., in his book Electromagnetic Theory Vol 3, 1912, in art. 452, page 4, wrote

"The General Plane Wave … the slab may be of any depth and any strength, and there may be any number of slabs side by side behaving in the same way, all moving along independently and unchanged. So E = uvH expresses the general solitary wave, where, at a given moment, E may be an arbitrary function of x …" [Replace uv by sq.rt. u/e - I Catt]

Whereas some books (Carter and Kip) vaguely indicate that E and H are in-phase, other books seem to fail to discuss relative phase at all, see for example Cullwick 1959, Bewley 1933. The trap was nicely set for Dalton, and he has my sympathy.

Now let us turn to my article in Wireless World, July 1979, entitled The Heaviside Signal.

"We have shown that the passage of a Transverse Electromagnetic Wave and all the mathematics that has mushroomed around it does not rely on a causality relationship (or interchange) between the electric field and the magnetic field. Rather, they are co-existent, co-substantial, co-eternal."

In that article I compare and contrast two mutually contradictory versions of the transverse electromagnetic wave. I believe that the full realisation that E and H are in-phase deals a death-blow to one of those versions, the rolling wave, and leaves the other, the Heaviside Signal, the victor.

Because the differential of sin is cos and the differential of cos is minus sin, half-witted mathematicians have invaded the physics of the Transverse Electromagnetic Wave and imposed a spurious story that E causes H causes E. Since sin, cos and -sin are 90 degrees out of phase, part of their phoney baggage is to imply that E and H are 90 degrees out of phase. (See my article in Wireless World in March 1980.) Because the sin wave is amenable to mathematical high jinks, another part of their baggage is to imply that a Transverse Electromagnetic Wave is sinusoidal. It's time we cleaned the claptrap out of electromagnetic theory.

Ivor Catt, Wireless World, feb84.


I understand that Aristotelians believed that a force was necessary to keep bodies in motion and that, in the absence of a force, the motion would cease. This theory led them into certain difficulties. For instance a spear, once thrown, appeared to continue to move without a force being present. The philosophers rose to this challenge magnificently with a theory that air, displaced from ahead of the spear, rushed round to the rear and generated the requisite force - the theory was saved. Unfortunately they missed the simple point first noted by Newton, that it is in the nature of a moving body to continue to move.

In the same way I fear that Maxwell invented a complex explanation for a very simple phenomenon, i.e. that electromagnetic radiation, or energy current, moves at the speed of light - and that's all, because that is what energy current does. No mechanism invoking E producing H and H, in return, producing E is required…..

- Dr. D. S. Walton, Wireless World, nov1989.


When it is realised that in a TEM Wave, E and H are in phase, the ludicrous nature of the Rolling Wave ( www.ivorcatt.com/2604.htm ), where E causes H causes E, becomes obvious. It is as if, in the case of the arrow, the air pushed out of the way by the arrow then sucks the arrow forwards without even having to go round to the back. Lecture room control requires that unambiguous information about the relative phase of E and H have to be kept from the student. - Ivor Catt 3may02


Note by Nigel Cook.

This is very important. The fact is that IEE published B Lago claiming that the TEM wave exists in electromagnetism today, when it does not. I first heard about it from Ivor, it was not on either the syllabus or in the textbooks for GCSE, A-level, and undergraduate (Surrey University and Open University Physics Modules) physics.

Physics is the most pompous, pretentious, and fraudulent discipline (or rather, lack of discipline!) there is. The application of mathematics in physics is used as a front to block understanding which would lead to the exposure of the corruption. The textbooks on electromagnetism which Ivor refers to are the sort of trash which puts off every real scientist. The only people who get through the filters set up are crossword class mathematicians, who plod through the trash, then repeat it in exams, then repeat it again to their students, then repeat the same in their textbooks. It is a closed cycle.

Electromagnetism should be taught as the core of physics, the nature of all matter in the universe, even the vacuum itself being electromagnetic as Ivor says, since it has a specific impedance of 377 ohms, permittivity, and permability. Instead, the charlatans teach electromagnetism as a technical detail concerned with obscure mathematical physics. The problem is to break through the barrier, to discredit the Establishment without stooping to their level in the process. I am glad that Ivor had dug out his 1980s computer disc of visual explanation of the TEM wave. It should hopefully be exactly what is needed.

Nigel Cook 27july01


3may02. My co-author Malcolm Davidson and also someone else independently find that the key explanation is removed from later (recent) editions of a standard reference book. Thus, we see before us the forced decline in comprehension of the subject. www.ivorcatt.com/2607.htm