to Lord Rees, Lord Martin Rees
copy sent 5 June 2006
copy sent 10 July 2006
copy sent 5 August 2006
copy sent 13 October 2006
copy sent 29nov06
copy sent slomail Recorded Delivery with **
.... ** added on 30 April 2007
Seventh copy sent 19
June 2007, with added note
copy sent 17 December 2008
The Master, Trinity College, Cambridge.
Dear Professor Martin Rees,
I had an interesting conversation with you when I sat next to you
at Trinity High Table a few months ago. We agreed that it was wonderful
to have been fortunate enough to go to Trinity College.
I request that you take action on The
Catt Question , an absolutely basic question in electromagnetic
theory. [Note 1] The problem now centres on diametrically opposed
comment by two Fellows of Trinity; both Professors at The Cavendish;
Nobel Prizewinner Brian Josephson ("westerner") and Sir
Michael Pepper FRS ("southerner"). They represent the
two conflicting answers which split academia down the middle. The
matter has to be resolved, or students must be warned that this
uncertainty lies at the heart of what they are being taught.
If this uncertainty remains unaddressed, we have no electromagnetic
theory, only confusion... .His
Ivor Catt 5june06
** Added 25 April 2007. Should Cambridge
Undergraduates on the relevant courses be informed that the fundamentals
of electromagnetic theory are unresolved; that it is not clear where
the negative charge on the bottom conductor comes from?... **
Note 1. The
book on the problem is in Trinity Library. When a car battery
lights the headlight, where does the negative charge come from to
terminate the electric flux lines from the now +12v positive connecting
wire to the now more negative wire? See
"The special theory of relativity owes its origin to Maxwell's
equations of the electromagnetic field." - Einstein. From ed.
P A Schilpp; "Albert Einstein, Philosopher-Scientist",
pub. Library of Living Philosophers, 1949, p62.
to Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society
to May Chiao, Associate Editor, Nature Physics
----- Original Message -----
From: <firstname.lastname@example.org>..... email@example.com
To: "ivor catt" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Sunday, August 06, 2006 12:40 PM
Subject: Re: Letter to Lord Rees
Dear Mr Catt,
I owe you an apology for not having responded earlier to your letter.
I shall however need to get 'up to speed' on the scientific question
you raise before being able to respond intelligently -- I doubt
that I can offer any input beyond what you can get from the better-qualified
Fellows of Trinity.
It was a great pleasure to meet you when you came to the College.
Dear Lord Rees,
I have not had the proper reply to my letter of 5 June 2006.
As to your reply of 6/8/06, "I shall however need to get 'up
to speed' on the scientific question", I replied to you that
I approached you in your administrative capacity. It was irrelevant
for you to study the subject, which would merely add you to one
camp or the other, but not resolve the confusion
My reply of August 6, 2006, is at http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/66e.htm
It outlines your options as I see them;
You have a number of alternatives. I shall deal with Trinity College
first, and then deal with The Royal Society.
Trinity College, of which you are Master.
1 Say that you have no relevant administrative duties or power
in Trinity College. In which case, please advise me as to who has
2 Say that you regard the matter as unimportant.
3 Say that the two parties, Josephson and Pepper, have told you
that either (a) they do not in fact disagree, or (b) the matter
4 See (4) below.
The Royal Society, of which you are President.
1 Say that you have no relevant administrative duties or power
in The Royal Society. In which case, please advise me as to who
has administrative responsibility.
2 Say that you regard the matter as unimportant
3 Say that the two parties, Howie and Pepper, have told you that
either (a) they do not in fact disagree, or (b) the matter is unimportant.
4 Say that a Conference is required.
Ivor Catt 17dec08
Quantum leap of a scientist facing the G-word
© The Australian
19 dec 05
[ .... Yet most of the key problems have not been
solved, he agrees. This is the subject of the book he is writing,
What We Still Don't Know, which looks at the key questions of the
21st century..... see below]
[Will Rees iinclude the fact that we don't know
the anwer to The
Catt Question? Or is our ignorance, like our knowledge, censored?
MARTIN REES is the astronomer who told us that the
answer to life, the universe and everything boils down
to six numbers. He has warned mankind has a 50-50
chance of suffering a catastrophic setback this
century. And intriguingly, he is a churchgoer who does
not believe in God.
It is his appointment as president of the Royal
Society, becoming Britain's official voice of science,
that brings me to Lord Rees's farmhouse on the
outskirts of Cambridge, where he remains master of
Trinity College. Well, that's the pretext, but I also
want to quiz him about the origins of life, his
"multiverse" theory and the G-word.
Rees's work in unravelling the mysteries of the cosmos
is acknowledged internationally, although we know him
best as the astronomer royal who shakes up our
preconceptions with provocative theories. One such was
the philosophical teaser that humans and their
imagined universe may be no more than a giant computer
simulation, reminiscent of the one dreamt up by
Douglas Adams in A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
He has always portrayed his job as astronomer royal as
something of a hologram, since the title is purely
honorary and lost its link to the Royal Observatory at
Greenwich in 1972. It allowed him to speak up for
astronomy, but now he is jettisoning the role to speak
up for science generally.
The Royal Society gives him a much bigger platform as
the world's oldest existing scientific academy, at the
forefront of inquiry and discovery since its
foundation in 1660. Its backbone is its fellowship of
1400 eminent scientists, increased each year by 44 --
an honour short only of a Nobel prize.
Here is one of the many pitfalls awaiting Rees: only
10 of his fellows are women. A running sore is that
for two years the elite academic club has snubbed Lady
Susan Greenfield, whose nomination was leaked amid
claims of a whispering campaign against her.
Unrepentant on the issue, Rees says: "It's
disappointing how low it is, but that is a symptom of
the low proportion of women in science generally." The
number of eligible women candidates is only eight, he
He acknowledges the raft of problems on which the
society is expected to advise the British Government,
including nuclear power (which he favours in an energy
mix), stem cell research, climate change and
nanotechnology. "I think the Royal Society as a body
has to be cautious about expressing collective views
on controversial issues," he says.
I succeed in transporting Rees back to the
revolutionary "big bang" moment that he witnessed. Of
course, this was not the actual micro-second of
creation 13.7 billion years ago (he is only 63), but
the ferment at Cambridge in the mid-1960s when young
radicals such as Rees and Stephen Hawking helped to
overturn the notion of a universe of infinite age.
"It was a time when young people could quickly make an
impact," he says modestly. "When the subject was
changing fast, the experience of older people was at a
The loser was Fred Hoyle, the pioneering astronomer
and science fiction author who clung to the theory of
a "steady state" universe and became regarded as a
crank. Hoyle had been supportive of Rees's early
Hoyle may have got the wrong answers but he asked the
right questions, which remain relevant. Famously, he
said the chance of the Earth being fine-tuned to life
was the same as a storm rushing through a scrapyard
and assembling an airliner. He side-stepped the
question of God by suggesting life began in space when
a dying alien species seeded the universe with the
building blocks of life. Rees broke down this
fine-tuning to six numbers governing the rules of
nature. For example, one number, N, reflects the
strength of gravity relative to the strength of
N is roughly 10^36, which means gravitational forces
are a million million million million million million
times weaker than electrical forces. If the force of
gravity had been stronger, stars would form -- and die
-- perhaps too quickly for life to evolve.
Again, this apparent tweaking implies an intelligent
creator. But Rees, too, side-steps the God question by
positing a "multiverse" of infinite universes, perhaps
with extra spatial dimensions and undetectable. This
clearly makes the statistical likelihood of life on
Earth more plausible. Rees admits it is "pure
speculation" -- to the layman it sounds as contrived
as Hoyle's explanation. Is Rees running away from the
"Let me say I don't see any conflict between science
and religion," he says. "I go to church as many other
scientists do. I share with most religious people a
sense of mystery and wonder at the universe, and I
want to participate in religious ritual and practices
because they're something all humans can share."
He is an Anglican for cultural, aesthetic and tribal
reasons, he says. But he disagrees that just because
we cannot understand something we should invest it
with religious significance.
Yet most of the key problems have not been solved, he
agrees. This is the subject of the book he is writing,
What We Still Don't Know, which looks at the key
questions of the 21st century.
The barrier we may have to confront is our stupidity,
he suggests. Computers may enable us to make a new
class of discoveries, but the limits of human
intelligence may prevent us grasping what they are.
"My dog can't understand quantum mechanics and there's
no guarantee that the laws of nature will match what
human brains can understand either."
The Sunday Times
© The Australian
Professor Martin Rees, Institute of Astronomy
Tel.: (0)1223 337520
Fax: (0)1223 337523
writes on "The Catt Question" in 1993
Pepper's letter published in "The
Catt Anomaly" , now called "The
to Bas Lago
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS
CAMBRIDGE CB3 0HE
From: Professor M. Pepper, FRS June
Ivor Catt, Esq., 121 Westfields,
St Albans, AL3 4JR
Dear Mr Catt,
As a Trinity physicist the Master suggested
that I might provide some comments on the questions raised in your
recent letter to him on aspects of electromagnetic theory. ....
[There followed what is called "The Southerner Argument"].
Pepper's statement above at the beginning
of his 1993 letter misrepresents the situation. The truth is in
Catt Anomaly" as follows;
"Trinity College, Cambridge, wrote
to past members of the college including myself asking for money
to finance their expansion programme. They argued that Trinity had
been in the forefront of academic advance, and my money would help
to keep them there.
"I replied that Trinity and Cambridge had for twenty-five
years refused to comment in any way on Catt's theories on electromagnetism,
and for ten years on the Catt Anomaly, a problem in classical electromagnetism,
of which I enclosed a copy (above). I suggested to Atiyah, Master
of Trinity, a mathematician, that he cause his leading expert to
comment. The result was the following letter from Pepper. ...."
Note that the then Master selected Pepper as the best
expert to speak for Trinity College. In due course, in view of Pepper's
failure to resolve his differences with McEwan (below) and now with
Josephson, I shall point out to the present Master that he may decide
to select a replacement represenatative who can speak for the whole
of Trinity, or assert that (1) the matter is important; (2) unimportant,
or (3) there is a fundamental problem flagged up by "The Catt
Question" which reqires that a
conference be held .
Two years later the Dean at Bradford
University selected Dr. Neil McEwan, Reader in Electromagnetism,
as his top expert to respond to "The
Catt Anomaly" . McEwan gave the conventional "Westerner
response totally contradicted Pepper's.
When informed, Pepper (and McEwan) went totally incomunicado for
It is possible to infer that Pepper
saw a Reader in Electromagnetism at Bradford University as beneath
However, twelve years later, Pepper's
closest colleague repeated the Westerner argument, totally contradicting
Note that initially the Master of Pepper's
(and Newton's) College instructed Pepper to write on behalf of his
college. Now his response was clearly unsatisfactory because it
was contradicted by a fellow- Fellow of the College, fellow Professor
at The Cavendish, and a Nobel Prizewinner.
There was now no doubt whatsoever that
Pepper had to respond to Nobel Prizewinner Josephson's contradictory
comment on what was now called "The Catt Question".
Sir Michael Pepper FRS was knighted
in the January Honours List "for services to Physics".
This increases his duty to his Discipline, Physics.
Pepper's continuing refusal to comment,
even by saying that the Catt Question is unimportant (or important),
is continuing Professional Misconduct.
We are not merely dealing with one
technically incompetent scientist. Initially, Professor Secker,
when selected and then instructed by the Chief Executive of the
IEE to comment, copied Pepper and used his "Southerner"
argument. So did Lago
of the IEE when he reviewed
Ivor Catt 29 May 2006.
versus Scholarship in Cambridge Atiyah, Master; "Yes. Colleges
like this are essentially conservative institutions. ...."
Rise and Fall of Bodies of Knowledge p31
Clever take the Brilliant
Wave; A Lost Concept
resonant frequency of a Capacitor
Betrayal of Science by 'Modern Physics'.
Dinner at High Table, Trinity College, Cambridge
May 16, 2006
It occurred to me that dinner at Trinity College might be an opportunity
to meet Brian Josephson, Professor of Physics, Fellow of Trinity
College, Nobel Laureate, Physics, and discoverer of the Josephson
Superconducting Junction. We have been exchanging email on "The
Catt Question" for several months. I emailed him and he replied
"I will meet you in the Parlour at 7:45- 7:50 PM", just
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Kurt Metzer is picked up by Ivor Catt, arrives at Ivor's house.
I am his guest at High Table this evening. We depart for Cambridge
about 11:30 AM. We stop at a pub near Cambridge. Kurt tells us stories
of his life and family history in India, Austria, Czechoslovakia,
etc. We arrive at Trinity College and park near the dining hall.
We have a picnic lunch on a park bench by the river Cam, in front
of the Wren Library on The Backs. Ivor takes me to the emergency
room to remove something in my eye.
We come back and walk through King's College, Queens' College, a
couple others, and then land in the Trinity Library. The electromagnetics
section is quite sparse; the dept Library at the Cavendish would
have a lot more. I quickly review a few books- these have the same
catechism as found in all the other Establishment texts. I point
out the problem of the TEM wave in the waveguide to Ivor. His books
are in the stacks downstairs, which he says have much more than
what I saw. Ivor then shows me the dining hall, Newton's room, Byron's
tower, and other historical features around the Great Court, which
is bordered by the dining hall. He takes me into the Parlour area
and describes the dining protocol. He leaves me.
Dinner at High Table
I arrive at the Parlour around 7:15 PM. Kurt Metzger is already
there, and one other gentleman. A portrait of Sir Isaac Newton graces
the mantle, other personages are on display about the room. Coffee
is on service. A dignified lady 'deputy manciple' stands outside,
I later learn from Brian that she is senior staff. The dinner list
is short, about twenty, with three guests including myself. High
Table seats about seventy at two long tables.
Brian Josephson arrives about 7:45 as he said he would. We make
introductions. Kurt immediately interjects with "so you are
here about the 'The Catt Question', eh?" (paraphrased). Prof.
Josephson appears to me to be uncomfortable. I hasten to defuse
this imagined situation by saying "we didn't come here to discuss
that over dinner". Now I have to stick to that. I didn't want
the occasion to become unpleasant. Brian then goes away for a few
minutes. I thought at the time he was considering whether to stay,
then I learn later he was simply fetching his gown. (Perhaps I've
been making too much of the fact that Modern Physics has no gown.)
He comes back and talks mostly to Kurt. The manciple calls us for
Dinner at High Table
The room is reminiscent of the nave of a cathedral, with stained
glass windows rising to a vaulted ceiling. High Table is a low platform
at one end, where the altar would be, the two long tables arranged
as in *The Last Supper*. The undergraduates are seated in the main
area, where the faithful might be found.
We are seated for a time, enjoying an excellent shrimp and oyster
soup, before Brian asks "Is Catt here? Could you point him
out?" I say "he is sitting with his back to us, second
in from the right." He is speaking with the man on his right.
Josephson says "I made Sir Michael Pepper aware that Ivor Catt
would be dining this evening. Pepper decided not to take advantage
of this opportunity to talk to Catt" (paraphrased)
As an important aside, Pepper is of the 'Southern' school of "The
Catt Question" respondents, claiming that, in effect, electrons
rise up from within the wire to help the TEM wave pass. This violates
Gauss's law. Prof. Pepper made this claim in June, 1993, and then
went silent until December, 2005. He then answered a query posed
to him by Josephson about "The Catt Question". His reply
was inchoate [Note
1]. Three weeks later he is knighted by the Queen "for
services to physics".
We then discuss matters other than "The Catt Question".
After Dinner Coffee avec Ordeal
Brian Josephson and myself retire to the Parlour for coffee, while
Kurt, Ivor, and a few others go upstairs to the "Sanctum"
for port, wine, cheeses, and fruit. I am helping myself to coffee
when I hear right behind me-
"I've just had the most awful ordeal. I didn't expect to come
to dinner for that sort of thing." Do you know this fellow
Ivor Catt? He wouldn't stop talking about some anomaly in physics!"
(paraphrased). It was the fellow that Ivor was talking to at dinner.
I later learn from Ivor that this gentleman appeared to be interested
in what Ivor had to say, even stating that he wanted to hear more.
Catt states later "he urged me to go on, saying it was very
interesting. It may have been necessary for him to want to hear
more because it consisted of allegations of professional misconduct
by his colleague, Sir [Michael] Pepper." (A new web page has
Brian then introduces me to his friend as "have you met Forrest
Bishop, a follower of Catt" (paraphrased). The topic immediately
shifts, his friend wanders off, and we go sit with our coffee. Brian
asks "what are the differential equations" for Theory
C? I reply they are the same equations, used in a different way.
(I was being agreeable, as this is not quite the case. Maxwell's
wave equations, as well as parts of the duplex equations, have been
shown to be trite, incorrect, and mathematically illegal, along
with other problems.)
I mentioned the idea that superfluid helium may be a frozen, monoatomic
powder, and cited some of the evidence. Brian did not appear to
be interested in this hypothesis, or may have been thinking of other
things. I said I would like to go upstairs to join Catt and my host.
We said good night.
The Inner Sanctum Sanctorum
The walls are decorated with illustrious Trinity men of the past.
The sterling is marked "Trin Coll xxxx 1914", which I
found interesting for the date. (This is an important year in the
ongoing decline of Western civilization.) The port is in a decanter,
the white wine is a '95. A nice selection of fruit and cheese is
put out. I don't the name of this room, but I'm sure that it has
one. (The Combination Room)
About ten gentlemen are in attendance, all but myself in black gowns
of various types to indicate their status. Ivor is engaged in a
lively monolog on suppression in general, "The Catt Question",
and other curiosities of Modern Physics. His audience of three across
the table is young professors or lecturers, I think. Two are biochemists,
who do not appear to be following along very well. The man in the
middle is an electrical engineer cum artificial intelligence researcher.
He says he works in a (Bill) Gates Building for computer science,
where everyone uses Linux. The rest of the party is not paying any
attention to Ivor.
I missed most of Ivor's discussion, as I am seated next to Kurt
who engages me in conversation. Ivor leaves the room for a moment,
asking me to explain what he was talking about to one of the three.
I ask the young professor what was it he wished to know; he replied
Forrest Bishop, of San Diego, California, has been
a student of electromagnetic theory for decades. Until last year,
he was cut off from Ivor Catt's contributions by comprehensive Establishment
obstruction and censorship.[Power
versus Scholarship in Cambridge.] However, since he stumbled
on Catt's material on the www last year he has put in a lot of work
on it, and gained a remarkably good grasp of it. He says that Catt's
writings resolved many of the unresolved problems and confusions
in electromagnetic theory that had frustrated him from his school
days onwards. He had always been confronted by gobbledeygook like
Ivor Catt 30 May 2006
of whether Duesberg is right about HIV , his case, like Fishbein’s,
lays bare the political machinery of American science, and reveals
its reflexive hostility to ideas that challenge the dominant paradigm.
suppression of inconvenient facts in physics
Politics of Knowledge ; The
Politics of Knowledge
Rise and Fall of Bodies of Knowledge
Clever take the Brilliant
End of Science
co-author, the late Dr. Arnold Lynch
Theory vol. 1 by Ivor Catt
I make the commitment that anyone wishing to counter any assertion
made on this site will be guaranteed a hyperlink to a website of
their choosing at the point where the disputed assertion is made.
(Possibly we need a standard word for this. I suggest "Riposte",
or the symbol [R] .) Ivor Catt. 24dec98.