Theory C.

This website contains a copy of the historic first article on e-m published by Catt, Davidson and Walton in dec78; "Displacement Current". Its content is still unknown to every lecturer in electromagnetism in the world. Try getting one to admit in writing (preferably by email to me) that he knows it! In another place in my website I offer £50 to the first student who prevails on his accredited (having established expertise in e-mail) lecturer to put down written comment on The Catt Anomaly. The amount on offer will increase yearly.

My book "Electromagnetic Theory vol. 2" , pub. C.A.M. Publishing oct80, contains a description of the key events leading up to the discovery of Theory C on 27 May 1976. (Theory C was withheld for four years to establish that we were not in a race. How wrong I was! Today, 20 years later, every accredited expert in electromagnetic theory in the world will assert that he has never heard of Theory C! So much for my fear of a race, or of plagiarism! Rejected for publishing by all learned journals in the world, it was finally published in Wireless World in dec1980.) Here is a copy of the notes I made, signed and dated 27may76 which were countersigned and dated 28may76 by my co-researcher Malcolm Davidson.

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[Start of 27may76 notes]

Electromagnetic Theory.

First, a brief, hurried summary of the latest developments in the subject. Details will be filled in later.

Whereas usually the electric current is said to cause the fields within a (two wire) transmission line, Oliver Heaviside says "We reverse this"; the field (flux) travels down between the wires and causes an electric current in the wires.

We shall call the normal theory, the conventional theory, that current flows down the wires and causes the E-M field the Normal Theory, or Theory N. Heaviside's theory, that the field flows down between the wires and causes current in the wires we shall call Theory H.

The third, most recent theory is a step beyond Theory H and is called the Catt Theory, Theory C. In this theory, the field (flux) flows down between the wires and there is no electric current. Heaviside probably never got this far, although it will be necessary to research his latest writings to confirm this. [oct98. This has now been done. Heaviside did not have Theory C. Mike Gibson, who co-published with me, is the expert on Heaviside's writings. I later met both Gossick and Josephs, both of whom are now dead.] It is noticeable that Gossick (and I think also Josephs) says that Heaviside went senile, and Gossick says that his later writings should be dismissed. Gossick has dismissed the concept of Energy Current (the essence of Theory C) and so can safely be classified as holding on to Theory N.

To a Theory N man, the assertion that there was no electric current would lead to the conclusion that the speaker or writer was senile.

In general, what follows will be aspects of Theory C.

There is no electric current.
A capacitor is a transmission line.
An inductor is a transmission line.
A transformer is a transmission line.
The velocity of an energy current in a perfect conductor is zero. That is, energy current cannot enter a perfect conductor. (Velocity for a perfect conductor is zero and permittivity is infinite.)


All capacitors behave as transmission lines in the manner described for parallel voltage planes in my paper, IEEE Trans. On Electronic Computers, Dec1967, page 744. Because dielectric constant is very high, the outwards velocity of propagation is very slow.

ESR is the initial characteristic impedance of the transmission line.

[End of 27may76 notes.

Here is a summary of Theory taken from my 1995 book "Electromagnetics 1", the whole of which is available elsewhere on this website. [ Better version is at http://www.ivorcatt.com/em.htm ]

Theory C.

Theory C asserts that if a battery is connected via two wires to a lamp, there is no electric current in the wires. However, energy current travels from battery to lamp in the dielectric between the wires.

[End of quote from
Electromagnetics 1.
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nov98. Heaviside mentions Energy Current only twice, in his early writings. [Recently, I have been told that this assertion is wrong. I think it was Forrest Bishop who corrected me. Ivor Catt. 21 March 2006] Since he was suppressed, I had no access to him. (My co-author Mike Gibson {who has a website full of holiday photos} is the top expert on Heaviside's five volumes of writings.) I had to reinvent the concept when I worked on high speed logic interconnection at Motorola Phoenix Ariz. in the 1960's. It then took me ten years to discover Theory C, which has, in its turn, been suppressed since then for twenty years [nOW 30 YEARS. ic. 2006]. You will not get written comment on Theory C from anyone employed and salaried to research or teach electromagnetic theory. Note that the retrieval of Heaviside's concept of Energy Current, necessary for his work on undersea Morse signalling and again needed a century later for my very similar work on high speed logic interconnection, has been blocked for thirty years. No student of Electromagnetic Theory will hear of Heaviside's Energy Current (Electrical Papers Vol 2 pub. 1892, p91. First published 14jan1887. Revived by Catt in Wireless World July 1979. Since forgotten again.). It follows that this century, since it suppresses major advances for most of the duration of the century, is not a scientific century. It cannot be. By definition, for an era to be scientific, scientific communication must be possible. We cannot communicate on science in the twentieth century. Delays in the publication of major scientific advances and delays in any other mode of communication have made up a large fraction of the present [20th] century.

Ivor Catt nov98

[Added 27nov98. At last, an IEE journal contains discussion of the Catt Anomaly. Maybe in another decade or two, the IEE will dare to publish some of my own theories, not merely my question about classical theory. Publication of The Catt Anomaly by the IEE (first mentioned in a letter in Wireless World in August 1981) required both a 15 year struggle, and also that Dr. Arnold Lynch, doyen of the IEE, betray the forces of darkness. However, even after all that, it was published in an inappropriate section of the IEE, http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/y7aiee.htm thus enabling any "experts" in the IEE or in academia to ignore it, as they will. [2006. When Dr Lynch died a year or so ago, perhaps is was a vindictive reaction in the IEE that caused the IEE to totally ignore the death of one who previous to his association with Catt had one of the biggest reputations in the IEE. Lynch did have an obituary in The Times, but nothing in the IEE, although he was the last surviving man who helped the design of Colossus, which cracked the German codes. Ivor Catt 21 March 2006.] My friend Robert Whiston says that the explanation of why, after the IEE blocked its publication for decades, the Catt Anomaly should finally be published in an inappropriate IEE journal, is all in Machiavelli. Lynch continues to try to get the IEE to publish it in an appropriate journal.] [ 21 March 2006. The Catt Anomaly is now called "The Catt Question". http://www.ivorcatt.com/28anom.htm ]


[Some of what follows is at http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/yatguide.htm ]

in my [Ivor Catt's] book. Below are further extracts.

Electromagnetic Theory Volume 2

by Ivor Catt, pub. C.A.M. Publishing 1980.

History of the Development of Theory H and beyond.

I entered the computer industry when I jointed Ferranti (now I.C.L.) in West Gorton, Manchester, in 1959. I worked on the Sirius computer. When the memory was increased from 1,000 words to a maximum of 10,000 words in increments of 3,000 by the addition of up to three free-standing cabinets, there was trouble when the logic signals from central processor were all crowded together in a cableform 3 yards long. The logic signal current pulses - each down a single sire with common return via a shield (through one or two pins on each plug and socket) were NEURON logic signals, 1 microsecond wide current pulses driven by 9 volts.

The crosstalk was regarded by everyone as caused by mutual capacitance. However, Gordon Scarrott [oct98 who died recently] suggested mutual inductance as the cause. This was the first time I had heard the suggestion of mutual inductance as a mechanism of interference. Sirius was the first transistorised machine, and mutual inductance would not have been significant in previous thermionic valve machines with high voltages (300v) and low currents (ma).

In 1964 I went to Motorola to research into the problem of interconnecting very fast (1nsec) logic gates. I solved all the problems, and we delivered a working partially populated prototype high speed memory of 64 words, 8 bits/word, 20nsec access time, 20nsec cycle time. (See article in Fall Joint Computer Conference 1966.) We won the follow-on contract against competition from Texas Instruments, and later delivered a fully populated memory.

I developed theories to use in this work, which are outlined in my IEEE Dec. 1967 article (EC-16, no. 6).

One of the problems to be solved was the question of what was the nature of the voltage decoupling given by two parallel voltage planes. I told Bill Herndon about the problem, and he gave me the answer: "It's a transmission line." (See my book Digital Electronic Design vol 2 p211.) I said, "Is that your idea?" He said, "No, I wish it was. It's Stopper's idea." Stopper, a German, had previously worked with Bill at G.E. Phoenix. Later he returned to Germany. I never met Stopper. [oct98. In the '80's he was with Burroughs (now Unisys) in the U.S.A.]

The fact that two voltage planes when used as voltage decoupling at a point look like a transmission line was for me an important breakthrough. (N.B. There is an important arithmetic error in my treatment of the subject in my Dec. 1967 paper.)

So we see Stopper and W. Herndon as being part of the history of the development of Theory H and beyond. Stopper came up with the idea, and Herndon had the ability to transmit it. Herndon later went to Fairchild in Silicon Valley.

The idea that parallel voltage planes, when entered at a point, behave like a transmission line, was the beginning of the end of Maxwell's "Displacement Current".

I never (as far as I can remember) translated this concept into the insides of a component sold (and described as) a capacitor - at least not for many years.

In late 1975, Dr. David Walton became acquainted with me and the idea of a co-operative business activity arose. However, electromagnetic theory seemed to be the main, overriding common interest.

Among other things, Walton read my article asserting that, contrary to the popular view, the high frequency performance as voltage decoupling capacitors of 10 microfarad electrolytics was no worse than that of 20,000 pF mica and other types. Walton showed that my experiment to prove the point had a flaw because the circuit was heavily damped, far more than critically. [nov98. Goodness knows what this means!]

Walton kept hammering away at trying to understand the performance of capacitors - both Walton and I asserted that there was no mechanism to make capacitors inductive.

I said that a high capacitance capacitor was merely a low capacitance capacitor with more added.

Walton then suggested a capacitor was a transmission line. I grabbed this idea - which was of course a reappearance of the Stopper idea in another form.

Then one night, as he was wont to, Walton phoned me up and talked about a number of things - how he knew he should get sine waves out of his thinking but how difficult it was to do so; how he wondered how the particle came in to Faraday's Law of Induction; that perhaps the law was only an approximation and did not hold exactly at the atomic level. I for my part wanted no particles introduced into the argument. Then Walton raised the point about a "Faraday's Law" loop with a capacitor as part of the loop. [nov98. There is a diagram of a loop of wire with the amount of magnetic flux threading the loop changing. A capacitor is part of the wire loop.]

I said that if instead of a C you had the end of a very long transmission line, it would look just like a resistor: a wave started out down the transmission line. [nov98. The diagram looks like a balloon with a neck sticking out]

Walton said: "So that gets rid of displacement current."

That statement was enormously important. Maxwell's displacement current was gone, after more than 100 years.

Walton and I promptly agreed that a capacitor was a transmission line. Because of the high permittivity, the wave travelled outwards very slowly.

Walton said, "If the capacitor is a transmission line, what about the inductor?"

(Walton said later that for some time he had thought that everything should be a transmission line.)

I refused to talk any more, saying it was enough for one evening to get rid of displacement current.

Next day, I was talking to Malcolm Davidson (at work at G.E.C.) about it, and told him that a capacitor was a transmission line and displacement current was no more. (Davidson and I had been discussing electromagnetic theory quite a lot.)

Then with Davidson sitting by me, I told him that I had refused to consider the inductor the night before over the long distance telephone with Walton. I then tried it out, and the answer was there within five minutes. (Meanwhile Walton was working to the same conclusion with the inductor and the transformer.)

The resulting transmission line models for reactive components are discussed in the next chapter.

Then, while talking to Malcolm Davidson, the realization hit Catt, and he said, "The electric current goes!" This was shattering. No electric current! What was the point of electric current? What did it do? Who had ever seen one? Then Ivor showed Malcolm that if permittivity in a conductor was approaching infinity, the velocity of an energy current would approach 0. A perfect conductor was a brick wall to an energy current!

Whereas in Theory N, electricity was the cause and E-M field the effect; for (Theory H) Heaviside, E-M field (energy current) was the cause and electric current the effect; for Theory C, now developing, Energy Current (E-M field) was the cause and there was no effect. When water flowed down inside a pipe, the pipe experienced no effect. Nothing flowed inside the metal piping! Energy Current flowed where it was allowed to flow, and that was all.

Earlier in the same conversation, Malcolm Davidson had said that an RC waveform should be able to be built up from little steps, illustrating the validity of the transmission line model for a C. Catt had been thinking that loss, or distortion, was necessary for a capacitor to behave well, that otherwise reflections from the edges would upset performance. Davidson had thought that a perfect transmission line would be fine, and Catt changed to the same view. (The model was later published in Wireless World in December 1978. [nov98. Previously rejected for publishing by all learned journals in the world.]).


What follows is the first upload to http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/

since a dreadful hiatus of more than a year during which I lost the uploading capability to this website, and most of the time to my other websites.



It is worth emhphasising that this occurred in two distinct steps during May 1976. First "Displacement Current" went. Then "Electric Current"" went. Displacement current - that shadowy, strange "fudge factor" in the equations, had always been the Achilles Heel of Electric Current, and in the end was instrumental in the downfall of Electric Current. The demise of Electric Current, which suddenly came to Catt while he was talking to Davidson, was completely unexpected, and a great shock. It was unexpected because, whichever side of the Theory N - Theory H [divide] one stood on (there being no Theory C yet), the Electric Current - Energy Current dual looked symmetrical. The only point at issue was which caused which.


It is believed that (Theory N) voltage causes current causes field.

Heaviside says (Theory H) that voltage causes [energy current/field] causes current.

Theory C says that to keep within the principle of conservation of energy, the ruling principle, the cause-effect sequence need only go as far as energy goes. So (Theory C);

[energy current/field/Heaviside signal] causes NOTHING.


There have been major advances in electromagnetic theory. The first, the transition from Theory N to Theory H, was made by Oliver Heaviside a century ago. The second, from Theory H to Theory C, is here disclosed [in 1980]. It is to be hoped that the response to Theory C will be more perceptive than the general response to Theory H a century ago, as typified by Sprague and quoted in these volumes (see index). [Sprague, J. T., Electricity; Its Theory Sources and Applications, 1892, p239] [Quoted in http://www.ivorcatt.com/em.htm ].

Until it was revived recently by the author,


Theory H had been ignored and then suppressed for a century. It was revived because of its great value in digital electronic design.

Theory C, here disclosed, had major implications across a whole spectrum of subjects. Unless it is ignored [as it has been - IC 2006], like Theory H, it will trigger an exciting renaissance in many fields of endeavour.

Two conductors guide the energy current from battery to resistor. It enters the resistor sideways. [Kip says this in his text book. Fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism, Arthur Kip, McGraw-Hill.] 'Electric current' is merely the edge of a wave of energy current. It the energy current has a sharp edge, the 'electric current' has infinite density in the outside surface of the 'electric conductor', which Heaviside called an obstructor.

Energy current penetrates an imperfect conductor in the same way as it enters a resistor. In this case, the region containing 'electric current' widens and penetrates into the conductor; skin depth is no longer zero.

Nothing exists behind a mirror; nothing happens there, The velocity of the 'things' behind a mirror does not depend on the medium, or material, behind the mirror. All the same, complex 'theories' and predictions can be constructed about the comings and goings of the mirages behind a mirror.

As Maxwell's Equations show, 'electric current' is always derivable as a gradient on the side of a wave of energy current. Unlike energy current, electric current contains no energy, it has no function, and it explains nothing. Electric current does not exist.

In the following analogies, the sheep represent energy, the dogs electricity.

THEORY N. The sheep are forced out of the pen by the sheep-dogs. The dogs then run alongside the sheep. There can only be forward flow if sheepdogs first advance on both sides of the flow of sheep, which the dogs direct and cause.

THEORY H. The sheep rush out of the pen into the great open spaces. They will go forward regardless, but their direction is guided by the sheep-dogs running alongside, the front of the line of dogs always keeping level with the foremost sheep.

THEORY C. There are no sheep-dogs. The sheep leave the pen [battery] and flow out into the open spaces. Some of the space is rougher. (This rough space was previously thought to be the terrain preferred by the dogs.) Here less sheep go, and their rate of advance is slower. Some ground is very obstructive; nearly impassable for sheep. Although it might appear that the sheep are guided by the rough terrain towards the smooth terrain, this is not so. Neither does a grease mark on blotting paper guide the ink towards the ungreasy areas. There is no guidance mechanism; greasy paper is merely bad blotting paper with poor capillary action.

The excision of sheep-dogs from the theory is a giant simplification.

Nothing flows in the conductor; nothing happens therein, Heaviside was right to call it an obstructor.

Although a house cannot exist if it does not have sides, the sides of a house do not exist. They have no width, volume or materiality. However, the sides of a house can be drawn; their shapes can be manipulated graphically and mathematically. The same is true of so-called 'electric current'.

.... .... [more will be typed in later. - I C. 21mar06.]

[Ivor Catt writing in March 2006. Does every mathematically derived function from something real also exist? My illustration (not example) was 'Circularity', whose definition I developed by mathematical manipulation of a circle's area, diameter, circumference etc. It had an obscure, impressive formula in terms of those real functions. It was totally spurious. Electromagnetic theory is dogged by mathematical artifacts. Worldwide, "experts" in electromagnetic theory are only expert in manipulating those mathematical artifacts. They have no grasp of the physics; the real substance. Following the ruling 20th century ideology created by the religion called "Modern Physics", they believe that grasp of the physics is not longer necessary. .... http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/y45mredh.htm .... http://www.ivorcatt.com/444.htm .... ]