The International Incident.
The Josephs - Gossick - IEE clash.
by Dr. Arnold Lynch and Ivor Catt. 2feb97. Transcript of interview tape.
Arnold Lynch came to my house probably fifteen years ago. I think it was to do with the biography of Heaviside by Searle, but I haven't met him for a long time now except that he came to the house where I live now in St. Albans a week ago, and now he's come again, and he agreed to talk about - I've forgotten!
H. J. Josephs
About Josephs! The reason for this is I have a lot of material, a lot of information about the international incident which is late Josephs; that is, times like 1970, 1980, but Arnold Lynch knew Josephs at Dollis Hill, maybe in the '30s or '40s. So it is very important to get down from him about early Josephs if the international incident is important, as I believe. My position is that the international incident involving Gossick, the Burndy Library and the I.E.E. is significant way beyond electromagnetic theory and beyond those individuals, and tells us about the politics and the psychology of science. So today is the second of February in 1997 and here you have Arnold Lynch.
H J Josephs was born in 1900 and he got caught right at the end of the war in 1918 and was in the forces for about a year I believe, and was mixed up somehow in the field of telegraphy and with efforts to tap in on German communications and to know whether the British communications were being overhear. When I conversations I mean telegraphy. It was all Morse Code. I think there were complicated experiments done with wires connected to earth posts at places a few yards apart detecting earth currents passing between them. There were field galvanometers. Rather oddly, I have come across one of those galvanometers in another context, and I can give some more information about that if it is really needed. But Josephs was demobilised, I suppose, in 1919, and continued to be interested in this subject, and he spoke to somebody who said; "Oh, the man who really knows about this is Oliver Heaviside. You should go and see him. Josephs, according to his own story, went straight off to Paignton, and went and knocked on the door. He could hear footsteps in the house, but the door was never opened. He got as near as that to interviewing Oliver Heaviside when he was very young. Well, Josephs was employed by the Post Office Engineering Department as a draughtsman working, I think, in South London. Then a few years later he was transferred to the research station at Dollis Hill in the days before it had the permanent building. It was still a few huts. At that stage he was still a draughtsman, but he showed interest in field telegraphy and the like. I don't know who it was spotted that he had a genius for mathematics, but he found himself being used as a mathematical assistant to Dr. Radley, who afterwards became director of the research station, and then Engineer in Chief, and then the Director General for the whole Post Office. Radley was probably quite a good teacher. he was certainly a very effective Director of the Research Station. Josephs found himself being introduced to what I would call very difficult mathematics. The legend among the generation was that Josephs had started by learning about Bessel Functions, and was gradually working his way backwards until, by the time that we knew him, he was studying the theory of quadratic equations. [Note added 16.2.99: I now know more about Joseph's education. He learned electromagnetic theory at evening classes for City-&-Guilds certificates, up to their highest level, by which he qualified for I.E.E. membership. His knowledge of statistics, however, was probably based on unsystematic use of text-books to solve problems brought to him in his work at Dollis Hill. Education at evening classes was efficient for examination purposes but was confined to a syllabus. Contrast my experience as an undergraduate in physics, encouraged to read original papers and thus becoming familiar with conventions about providing references. I think this accounts for much of Joe's failure to explain the sources of his information.] What Josephs certainly did do was to pick up how to use the Heaviside operational Calculus, and he tried to get behind that and find out why it worked. he was genuinely interested. But he was a strange sort of character. He hadn't gone through the normal channels to get where he'd got, and didn't seem to understand how they worked. The story what I can entirely believe was that on one occasion Dr. Radley was having him go into Central London to meet the Assistant Engineer in Chief of the day to explain what they were doing about the picking up of dangerous earth currents on long distance trunk circuits. They were to meet over lunch, and then discuss. But Josephs didn't want go into lunch at a hotel. He would rather have lunch at home. So he was to have lunch, and then go down to join them at 2 O'clock. Well, he went down to the hotel at 2 O'clock, and at ten past two they hadn't turned up to meet him. So he went out to a cinema for the afternoon. But he survived all that sort of thing, and he and Radley did some very good work indeed, which was published with full acknowledgement to Josephs. Josephs went on doing mathematical work.
What year are you talking about now, published, approximately?
Published? Approximately 1931, 32. He went on with mathematical work for the rest of his official career. I don't think it involved Heaviside's work other than the use of the Operational Calculus. But when Josephs reached the age of sixty, he had the option of being kept on - they were quite prepared to keep him after the normal retirement age - but what he chose to do was to retire immediately and [tape count 120] work on the Heaviside papers - that is - we are talking now of 1960. He retired to work on the papers that had been left by Heaviside, and then the second crop of them that had been found under the floorboards of the house that he had lived in. He retired to Tankerton, outside Whitstable, and worked on them there. He worked on copies, but he never produced anything publishable from that. Part of the trouble was that he was a perfectionist. If he were writing out a manuscript and made a mistake somewhere half way down the page, he scrapped that page and began again from the top of the page. It may be that he had drawn conclusions, and we know that he wrote a number of unpublished papers in the period from 1960 onwards, and he may not have felt that he understood them well enough to let them go into print. I have actually go tone of these that he wrote in the very late 1980's. It's beautifully written. It's got very clear claims about Heaviside having anticipated a lot of work usually credited to other people; Einstein and Godel for example, but clearly it would never get past referees because he does not explain how he knows how he knows all these things. It is just his own say-so. I think that gives a good deal of his career, but I must go back now to approximately 1950 when the IEE was going to celebrate the Heaviside centenary. I think this came as a bit of a surprise to some people because not everybody thought that Heaviside was one of the greets. Though possibly we do believe that a bit more nowadays. There were several groups of people working almost independently to prepare papers on Heaviside's life and his work. Radley and Josephs were collaborating to provide a sort of appraisement on just how valuable the Heaviside calculus was, and in what circumstances it could be used. I think the paper that resulted was mainly Joseph's work. Josephs and his assistant; her name was Beryl Turner, went down to Paignton and Torquay to meet members of the Heaviside family/. It's amazing how much they managed to find out about Heaviside that we don't know from other sources. The found out, for example, about his education, which was a good deal better than Oliver Heaviside himself had made it out to be. At quite a late stage, apparently, they discovered the existence of G. F. C. Searle. I could have told them about Searle, of only I had known that Josephs was collecting information about Heaviside. But at that stage I didn't know. Josephs went to visit Searle in Cambridge. I have heard a little about what an odd person Josephs found Searle to be; an anecdote or two about walking with Searle along one of the main streets in Cambridge and, seeing a crowd of people gathered round a bus stop. Searle looking and saying; "That's not the way to wait for a bus! Form a queue! You; were you here first? You stand there. Now, others get in line behind."
IC But you were taught by Searle?
AL I was taught by Searle, yes.
IC So you have other sources for Searle's behaviour.
AL Oh, this doesn't surprise me in the least. There are plenty of anecdotes about Searle. I have had that. And there was another one from Josephs; I don't remember exactly, but I know the point was that they were walking past a house and Searle saw a painter working, painting one of the windows, and disapproved, and told the painter so. No, I think that ... Is that enough to give the flavour for the sort of chap Josephs was?
IC Well, one thing I would like to interpolate is, Josephs investigated Heaviside's operational calculus, and I think I have a little book published by Josephs; what's called a micrograph.
AL That's right, one of the Methuen monographs. Yes. I think he wrote that in the early 1930's.
IC Josephs did?
AL Yes. I'm told by mathematicians that the operational calculus is really obsolete these days. You use Fast Fourier Transforms instead. I wish I understood either of them. Josephs became interested in other mathematical subjects, like the theory of statistics. He came to that quite fresh. I don't know whether he developed anything brilliantly new, but he was genuinely interested. He wrote papers for internal circulation at the research station at Dollis Hill.
That was a pause.
AL There were known to be a lot of Heaviside papers in the archives of the I.E.E., and I think the librarian was a little reluctant top have people examining them, because of their value.
IC Was that Wright? [Note added 16.2.99: Probably Wright, I.E.E. librarian 1948-1971 approx. At that time the I.E.E. did not have a specialist Archivist.]
AL So Josephs decided to write an account of the information that could be found in them. The result was in fact a biography of Heaviside, and that biography exists in the I.E.E. as a typescript. It's all that it ever was. It's never been published. It seems to be pretty good, but unfortunately it has again the Josephs characteristic of giving all the information, but not saying where he got it from. So although it's got up like a smallish book, it is almost devoid of references to his sources. It does take away a lot of the value. But [for] anybody who wants to get a view of Heaviside other than that in the biography that came out about six or seven years ago, that biography, or introduction to Heaviside's work is pretty good.
IC I believe I have a copy of it.
AL Have you! I mentioned Josephs' assistant Beryl Turner; still alive. I tried to get in touch with her about four or five years ago with a view to tape recording what she might remember about the Heaviside enquiries, but at the time she was just widowed, and very unhappy about meeting anybody associated with Dollis Hill. Her husband had been a senior man at Dollis Hill. Somehow, she didn't like top be talking about what she had done in those days. But it's just possible that she'ld be willing to talk now. The embarrassing is that nobody seems to know what became of the notes that she typed up concerning those investigations. So...
IC When she and Josephs went down to Torquay in 1950?
AL Yes. So anybody who did try to interview her now would have to be very circumspect about what had happened to the notes.
AL I try to sum up Josephs in this way. He was a natural, gifted mathematician, but with some rather odd characteristics in the way he got on with the rest of the world around him. It's difficult to account for. I know he was brought up in a pretty rough area in South London, and all his life, when I knew him, he had a squint, which was due to having been hit by a half brick thrown at him in the street when he was about fourteen. So you would think he would know how to get on with other people, and yet, somehow, he was unusual in his relations to others. He was drawn in on himself. Though I believe he was brought up in a very normal family; one with no particular mathematical interests. His son, I think, works for the Marylebone Cricket Club. Josephs was more or less on my level in the grades in which we were employed, although he was fourteen years older than I am. We move up side by side, and from about 1939 onwards, if I ran into mathematical problems, I could, quite officially, go to Josephs to get help with them. Though it was notorious that if you did go to him, if your interest happened to chime with his current interest, that was fine. But if not, you would come back with something quite irrelevant. I remember going to him with some other problem altogether, and coming back with a copy of somebody's patent on negative feedback. That was quite typical. But he was a good mathematician. He was helpful to other people if they came along with a problem that he liked the look of. But from about 1947 or 48 onwards he began to have assistants who were much more helpful to other people. We usually went to the assistants rather than to Josephs from then onwards.
IC But that was psychological, not competence?
AL Oh, indeed, it was much more a question of his being primarily interested in one thing at a time, and regarding it as a bit of a waste of time to talk about some that he had disposed of years before, and he thought you would be able to find his account of it somewhere. Well, very often you couldn't.
IC Now, the period of years where you overlapped him in Dollis Hill is about how many?
AL 1936 to 1960.
IC You would say that during that period you actually talked with him for roughly how many hours altogether, would you say?
AL Oh, hours altogether; only two or three. But we were a crowd who talked a lot between ourselves at Dollis Hill; in those days, particularly.
IC How often were you in a group where he was speaking?
AL I don't remember being in larger groups where he was speaking, but he did occasionally give technical lectures. There were two or three of them.
IC And you went to them.
AL Oh, yes.
IC And were they all on maths?
AL Oh, yes.
IC How can we diversify across to deciding about his competence in electromagnetism?
AL Well, partly from what he published.
You've got to be competent in electromagnetism to write as he did about Heaviside's calculus. But I also know that he came under a
new boss in about 1951 or 2;
R. F. J. Jarvis. The name is probably not well known, but it was he who developed a theory of coaxial cables in the mid-1930's, and was responsible for all the theoretical work which led to the laying of the first British cable between London and Birmingham in 1938. This was one that was capable of carrying television signals; the first of its kind. Josephs worked very happily under Jarvis. [Note added 16.2.99: Jarvis published his work in P.O.E.E.J. I will check whether Joe was a joint author.] [tape 300] They did a number of things together., including an attempt to predict what was going to happen if the United States people let off a nuclear bomb in the upper atmosphere, as I believe they did in the 1950's. It was feared that it was going to cause a complete blackout of communications; possibly worse than that. They did work on that.
AL What Jarvis had thought of was probably the electromagnetic pulse at a time when it wasn't being mentioned in public. I suppose it may have been appreciated at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment. The rest of us hadn't heard of it then.
IC What year approximately?
AL Very early 1950's, I think.
IC I thought of entering into a dialogue with Arnold Lynch about Josephs; that maybe we would get more down onto the tape about Josephs. You see, quite clearly Arnold is saying that Josephs was brilliant, or very, very good, in mathematics. He comes from a nothing educational background, bit finally achieved great things in mathematics. I, Ivor Catt, went into research into electromagnetic theory, and after twelve years in that I stumbled on Heaviside, who had disappeared from the record for the purpose of electromagnetic theory. I then started reading Heaviside, and discovered that he twice mentioned Energy Current, as opposed to Electric Current. So I was walking on air that night, because that meant I had pedigree. Admittedly i wasn't the first there, which is very nice; to be the first. But also, if there is someone there before you, you are not out in the cold so much. So then, when I found about the massive contributions to electromagnetic theory by Heaviside, I had to find out the totality of what Heaviside knew, and also of what his followers knew. That is why I went after the two Heaviside gurus, which were Josephs in England, and Gossick in the U.S.A. It was particularly important to find out whether either of them had noticed Energy Current. Neither of them had. I spent time with both of them.
AL It surprises me a little.
IC You won't find anything mention of Energy Current in anything written by Josephs or Gossick.
AL No, I think Josephs would have credited it to Poynting.
IC No, we're not talking Poynting Vector. You've got to distinguish between Heaviside-Poynting Vector and Energy Current because Poynting - my studies - and this was some years ago - did not know that it travelled at the speed of light - the Poynting Vector. So you've got to be careful. Poynting was, as I remember, was drifting around in that area, but had not mastered it. Now Heaviside; if it's that signed and sealed, why did Heaviside never mention it after the first two times? So it is a bit esoteric, and it maps directly onto my work in high speed logic in Motorola in around 1965. I had to reinvent, or rediscover Energy Current. Long before I had to do that, I knew Poynting Vector. So they are not the same thing, I am now asserting to Arnold Lynch. The thing is that we were making very significant advances; myself and my two co-researchers who became co-authors, and we needed to know whether anybody had been there before. I only cited Energy Current as an example. The other one, of course, was, how much did Heaviside think about Displacement Current? Did he know it, and so on? So in that process we put in significant time on Josephs and Gossick - who died later on. The big question was, what is the level of competence of Josephs? One story is that Josephs was the accredited expert on Heaviside, so every few years he would have to produce another thing that Heaviside knew before Einstein or Dirac or something, like a rabbit out of the hat, in order to still be in the limelight.
AL You are speaking now of the time when Josephs had retired. He was under no compulsion to produce anything about Heaviside as long as he was working at Dollis Hill. As far as I know, he didn't, after about 1935. I don't think he worked on Heaviside's electromagnetism after that, except, of course, for working with Jarvis on the question of whether there was going to be an electromagnetic pulse. Josephs was not a man who would have worried in the least about publishing. From 1960 onwards he just made no effort to publish anything.
IC You see, that contrasts quite dramatically with the image, or the reputation of Josephs as inventing discoveries about what Heaviside had written. The story is that he was gradually building up Heaviside as the da Vinci of the twentieth century, and in fact he was there before anybody on Relativity, Quantum Electrodynamics and all the rest. [Tape 367.]
AL Yes. Josephs honestly believed that, I think.
IC Right. So you're saying; You, Arnold Lynch are saying, Josephs believed that, but did not assert it.
AL Did not assert it publicly. He wrote it down. These manuscripts exist. I don't know who's got them.
IC Why did he not assert it publicly?
He didn't seem to be interested in publication.
IC Now, that conflicts with my recollection, which is that Josephs has published that article saying in Heaviside's fourth volume there was this, and that, and the other. I think you're somewhat wrong on that.
AL Josephs certainly believed that. It would be interesting to find out how much of that sort of thing he said. I think it would turn out to be a very small fraction of all that he credited to Heaviside. Yes, he certainly believed that Heaviside had done all these wonderful things.
IC Are we alright to go into what I know about it? It was intended as your tape.
AL You go on.
IC If you've run out of items; blocks of information, then I'll go on to what I know. I'll do a very quick summary of the International Incident. I don't need all of it. I know, because Gossick told me, that Gossick was a Professor of Music. He then transferred to Professor of Physics. So when I went to see him - the one time - he had a violin with wires hanging on it going into an oscilloscope. Publish or Perish, he conceived the idea of going after Heaviside. But he regarded himself as not able in electromagnetism. So he would do the biographical side, and Josephs, who was very kindly towards him, would do the technical side of Heaviside's electromagnetism. He came over a few times and stayed with Josephs, who was very, very welcoming.
AL We need a date on this. Roughly.
IC 1970. But maybe this is wrong. [More like 1974.]
AL After Josephs was retired.
IC After Josephs was retired. So now he had his opportunity for his next career advancement; that is, Gossick, by doing the less technical side - which he could do - in a biographical. Josephs would supply the technical. So Gossick says they actually completed the book in two parts, and then it went to the referees of the University of Kentucky. That is, the University of Kentucky Publishing House. Like Cambridge University Press. And the referees started asking questions, which Josephs did not answer.
AL No. I can believe that.
IC So now you have this problem of Gossick thinking that he has deferred to Josephs as the technical expert, but now find he has latched onto someone who's phoney. So the book was never published. I won't talk about the Burndy Library, and the sheet of paper, and so on, because I don't think that's important at this point. But what is important is that Gossick gets on board with a man with a very big reputation, who agrees to jointly do a book, and then is in trouble. He had noticed that Josephs' half wasn't referenced. But the referees demanded the references, and Josephs would not deliver.
AL That's right. That's the Josephs attitude.
IC Now I love the idea that last week, when you, Arnold Lynch, said you were giving the keynote lecture on J J Thomson's discovery of the electron one hundred years ago, because a hundred years ago J J Thomson discovered the electron; this, by the way is on the twelfth of March.
AL He gave a lecture to the Royal Institution, but nobody; well, almost nobody, took him seriously.
IC But your lecture is on the twelfth of March.
AL Oh, mine is, yes.
IC And I said to you, Arnold Lynch; "Why are you giving the lecture?" And your reply was; "Because J J Thomson told me about it." Now let's go over to Josephs. When the referees of the University of Kentucky Publishing House said; "What right does Josephs have to assert that Heaviside knew this, Heaviside said this;" he said, "Because Searle told me that Heaviside said and knew that, and also because of Heaviside's unpublished papers and letters." Gossick was in a corner, and decided Josephs was fantasising, and part of Gossick's article which says, at the end, you must take what Josephs says 'cum grano salis', says he doubts whether these unpublished letters exist. Years later, I stumbled on a mass of Heaviside's unpublished letters, which were given to me by a relative who said the I.E.E. and Cambridge University and all the rest couldn't care two hoots about these letters. He said he was about to destroy then next winter. So I have independent evidence that these unpublished letters in large quantities exist.
AL They exist, all right.
IC It is unreasonable to expect Josephs to keep exact records of which letters, when he is with Searle, who claims he was Heaviside's best friend. And he was with him [Searle] in the 1950's business. He says; "Searle told me loads of things about Heaviside." Admittedly Josephs never met [Heaviside]. You have this problem. You see, we can to after Arnold Lynch; that's you, opposite me, after the twelfth of March, and say; "What is your evidence for J J Thomson on this, that and the other;" and you say; "J J Thomson told me." And we will then say.
AL No, I shan't say that. I shall say I am taking this out of J J Thomson's published lectures of 1904.
IC But I'm telling you the concept that you are not entitled to deliver to us information which you derived directly from J J Thomson because he told you, raises the question; Why are you the man who are lecturing on the twelfth of March? Because you're the only scientist surviving to whom J J Thomson talked about it. So we actually want the direct contact with J J Thomson through you, and yet, if you give us that direct contact, you'll be discredited as a scientist, because you don't have the references. That's the point I wanted to get over to you.
AL Well, fortunately I do have the references. The oddity is...
IC No, but my point stands, ....
AL The point stands, but it doesn't catch me out I think.
IC Not you. I'm merely using you as an illustration.
AL Yes. It's a risk I would have been taking if I hadn't got J J Thomson's own lectures.
IC Look. Who cared about Heaviside this century? Josephs. Searle. Gossick. Who else?
IC No. If you go back to what we are talking about when Gossick was going to do that book with Josephs, I had researched electromagnetic theory for twelve years. I was in a very good employment. I was looking at the subject. I was publishing; mad I drew nothing from Heaviside because I had no access to Heaviside. That was the reality at that time. So here; and we haven't mentioned that when Heaviside's letters [actually 'fourth volume' etc.] from the I.E.E. were left under a leaky tap in Wales throughout the second world war, who was it who got labour in from elsewhere; into the I.E.E., to repair those papers? It was Josephs. Right? I have photographs.
AL I don't know that one.
IC Right. The point is; what Josephs and Gossick, and Catt, and Searle were dealing with; they were in a desert. They were the only people there. And now, years later.... And so what's Josephs to draw on? Josephs bothered to get information in from Searle, about what his best friend knew and said did. And later on, people can come and say; "He has no references. So he's fantasising." So we end up with this thesis, that the closer you are to a man, the less you are able to talk about him.
AL That is true. Yes.
IC Which is very interesting, for the record. That is why the International Incident, which I've only partly mentioned, goes way beyond Gossick and Josephs and the rest. And remember, Gossick is dead; Josephs is very old. So there is no libel... and the President of the I.E.E. got drawn into it. There's no libel problem. We really can analyse this thing quite freely now. I have enormous sympathy for every individual drawn into a tragic situation. It is true. I said dialogue, and it wasn't; it was monologue; I'm sorry.
AL Well, I have been able to check one or two points. I think this picture of Josephs is building up, and is consistent.
IC That is, your story of Josephs, although we haven't discussed it for practical purposes, ever, significantly, matches very well my analysis of Josephs, and his dilemma, and his problems.
AL Yes, I think so.
IC Right. And we come from very different territory, probably, don't we. I came in because I am after electromagnetic theory via Heaviside.
AL I just knew him as a colleague.
IC Decades before. One of the points that arise out of this is that the precepts of scholarship - college, and referencing and so on - actually break down.
AL Yes. For the interesting reason that you have just been giving, that you don't keep an original record of all that your friends tell you.
IC I have the analogy of the man who said; "Well, of course what Jesus meant about the parable of the sower was so-and-so and so-and so." And you say, "Well, grounds do you have for that?" And you say, "Well, Jesus told me about it." So you say, "Well, that's not scholarly at all." So you say; "No. But what am I supposed to do?" And Josephs put so much work into it, didn't he.
AL Oh, yes. It was his life from 1960 till 1985 anyway, and perhaps a few years after that even.
IC And now he gets nobbled by the referees for a book to be published by the university of Kentucky, if you please.
AL Well, the same trouble with the one that he has done for the I.E.E., and which is in their archives. Again, it's without references. But it's a very consistent story, and where the story can be checked, it's true.
IC Now, the other dimension I'ld like to add to this is; my position is that most of twentieth century science is essentially bogus. Josephs, certainly for a long while, would not know that; would not appreciate that, because if you come in from a working class background with no education, you have this ivory tower concept.
AL Yes. I was thinking that last time I met him he was very interested in philosophy of David Bohm. He must have developed that interest in philosophy some time during his retirement, but whether it was in the early days of it, or only after he had almost given up the mathematical work, I don't know.
IC Now that gives me the hint that I haven's made my point clear. I have just read Karl Popper, 1982, Quantum Electrodynamics and the Schism in Physics. He talks about the insanity of the kind of thing put over by people like Heisenberg, and the terrible muddle got worse, and so on. Now Josephs, early on, most of the time, would not have had access to these enormous gulfs within Modern Physics.
AL I don't think he would have been interested in that sort of gulf, anyway.
IC So he would come in like a babe in the wood.
IC And get conned by the prestige of science.
AL Josephs was not a man to be conned. No, I think he would just have ignored it.
IC I have to also mention that he could be cynical, with the rest of us. For instance, the way great men used him to write the mathematical part of their articles. He told me about that.
IC And that if you look through all these articles by the great men, that he actually was the hod-carrying technocrat who wrote the maths. You are confirming that?
IC So, all the same, I assert that, when come to looking for gravity waves, - he [Josephs] was going to do that at the end of his garden, when I met him in Whitstable, he would be taking on trust a great deal of garbage from Modern Physics; a great deal of what I now know is garbage.
AL Yes, though that is not Quantum Electrodynamics by a long way. It's something that could have been connected with electromagnetism. Einstein was always looking for a connection between electromagnetism and gravitation, and Josephs may have thought that Heaviside had been over the same ground, and might have found something. But Josephs never wrote down where, or what papers he had got, that showed that Heaviside was working on gravitation. But, nevertheless, he credited him with having discovered Relativity theory before Einstein.
IC Yes. And of course problem with that is it's also attributed to Poincare and so on. And also I personally am thoroughly dissatisfied with all of that scene; as of course was Einstein. Einstein was not comfortable along with all those guys, and he said so. Einstein is the one you have to respect, among all those guys; Bohr, Heisenberg, and all the rest. Popper is interesting. I've only just read Popper 1982. I read two books on philosophy by Heisenberg, and I was appalled. The stuff was really juvenile. I thought, "What's going on here?" Then, years after that, I read Popper 1982, saying the same thing. He says these great scientists are incompetent when it comes to philosophy. That's Popper.
AL That's been said a good many times, of course.
IC Well, not to my knowledge.
AL Oh, yes. This goes back to the 1930's, for example, when people like Jeans were claiming to be stating philosophical ideas, and the professional philosophers came down on them. [tape 505. End first side. 45 mins. There are two sides. Transcribed by Ivor Catt, 2feb99.]
IC Second of February '97. I quote Jeans on pitchforking the square root of minus one into the relationship between space and time. It's appalling stuff. Well, of course, the other thing is Minkowski plot, and you're not allowed to talk about the sign of time, because it's quite clear to me that if you walk across town for one hour and you gain four miles, you lose the hour. There's a minus sign there. You're not allowed to put that into Maxwell's Equations you see, because that gets rid of - the whole thing's a mess. [If you put the minus sign in, the equations become trivial tautologies.] If you try to push too hard at the kind of great big ivory towers that have been created in twentieth century science. Now go back to Josephs, you see, who comes from a small background, and is gradually making his way, and he begins to be respected in maths. Now he's broadening across to electromagnetic theory, and he realised that Heaviside was Number One when other people didn't; which was a great achievement. But then ....
AL You say "When other people didn't." There were other people. There's a man I share an office with in University College, and it's Cullen. As an undergraduate he discovered Heaviside. He bought copies of the Heaviside books when he could find them on secondhand bookstores, and he regards Heaviside as having been an important pioneer. But he's one of the people who say that.."Well, it's out of date now, because we can use other methods which are easier to justify theoretically."
IC Now you're talking Operational Calculus. Right.
AL No, I'm talking electromagnetic theory. Cullen's a great Electromagnetic Theory man.
IC And Cullen can say that Heaviside's out of date, which to me is a disaster.
AL Heaviside's mathematical techniques are out of date, but his ideas and the theory that he developed of electromagnetic fields, as far as he did develop it, were sound.
IC So, I think the picture of how Josephs got drawn into a quagmire; do you think it becomes clear from what's gone onto this tape?
AL It's possible, yes.
IC And what led to the conflict between Gossick and Josephs, and neither was to blame?
AL Yes. I do see the point; where the trouble was between Gossick and Josephs. I hadn't heard of this before.
IC You hadn't heard of the International Incident?
AL Oh, I've heard of the International Incident.
IC Well, that's what it is.
AL All right, it's one aspect of it.
IC Oh, you'd heard about the Burndy Library
AL I didn't know that there had been a joint endeavour between Gossick and Josephs, and that Josephs had let the side down by not having references available.
IC There is an unpublished book.
AL Now, that I didn't know.
IC And, I told you a week ago when you were here, that I'm in the room with my then wife, Josephs and his second wife, and my wife says to Josephs; "Well, you can refute these charges; the charges that you invented this stuff that Heaviside - that you didn't find it in Heaviside's lost fourth volume. You must refute this." And Josephs said; "Why?" And my wife said; "Well, your reputation." He said, "Well.... "
AL He wouldn't mind.
IC So here you have a seventy or eighty year old man. He's not fixated on his image in thirty years' time. Which totally contradicts the whole genetic thing, that we're all aiming at immortality, doesn't it.
AL It does rather; yes.
IC Because he doesn't care; and that was magnificent. Absolutely. And I have it on tape somewhere. That is absolutely magnificent. That man challenging the whole business of - your reputation lives after you. I have to mention in that context that Gossick later wrote, and I think published, but I have letters from Gossick to Josephs saying "I now realise that some of the claims you made for Heaviside were valid; the ones which I earlier believed were invalid. So there is some backing away by Gossick on some of it. I have lots of Gossick letters.
AL What I said, and would say again, was that where you can check the Josephs biography of Heaviside, it's right. But there is a whole lot of it that isn't attributable, and we don't know where it came from.
IC But you see the trouble for me is that Josephs keeps sending me the same thing again and again, beautifully written, about Godel's theorem, and that, for instance, Heaviside pre-empted Godel. My position is, I go into science, and I find it's a gimcrack array of bits and pieces, including Godel's theorem and Uncertainty Principle and a bit of statistics and a bit of electromagnetism, sort of glued together, and then intoned into a liturgy. And I say, Well, so what if - 'cause you can never find out exactly what Godel's theorem is anyway - so what if Heaviside was there before Godel, do I respect Heaviside more or less? 'Cause Godel is one of those guys, like you talk on TV about you've suddenly discovered this brilliant scientist from Sidi Birani from 1570 or something which had this profound insight. And somehow it's glued onto me, trying to build high speed computers. The trouble with Josephs; he associates Godel's stuff with Ivor Catt's stuff. Now I know enough of Godel to say, "Hey, don't write a page which has Catt in it and Godel." Somehow Catt confirms Godel or Godel confirms Catt. You see, Godel is a theory is incomplete, or it is internally inconsistent.
AL I've come to accept that sort of thing. I suppose it's probably to do with the fact that I've been working as an experimenter now for about now for about sixty years, and I've come to believe that the whole thing is, as you say, a bit shaky. It's nice to be able to put some things together and find that they do make sense. But it's all like working on an infinite jigsaw puzzle, and I don't expect to see the truth in my time. I might see a little more truth than I saw sixty years ago. [tape count 114]
IC Yes, but does Josephs realise the political significance of Godel? Heisenberg comes in, and I've studied how Heisenberg got away with it - an irrational science. That was a reaction, because the Germans suddenly found they had lost the war, and they reacted against rationality and science. So Heisenberg had to invent a new kind of science which was irrational, uncertain and so on. And Godel is ... it doesn't matter whether Godel's right or wrong. What matters is whether true science is going to survive. If you let Uncertainty, Wave-particle dualism, Godel's Theorem go washing about in there, you can then say that science is merely a religion. You know there's a collapse in the number of people taking A level Physics? And there's a collapse in the people taking degrees. Theocharis said, if we go on like this, with all this nonsense - he said it in Nature ten years ago - there'll be a collapse in funding for science, so that's the role I see for Godel.;
AL I'm as worried as anybody about the poor teaching of Physics in schools, and about the restriction of the A level syllabus, which is getting less and less.
IC But also the introduction of mysticism into the centre of Modern Physics, which is commented on by Popper, for instance, in 1982, and by Shirley Williams. Shirley Williams said the writing's on the wall if you carry on like this.
AL Well, I'm more of an engineer than I am a physicist these days, and engineering is not suffering from mysticism, is it.
IC Yes, it is. Take Scarrott, who's just recently died, and for this purpose he's Establishment. We had the electron. You reduce the power of the bistable of the memory element in a chip, and you reduce it so that in the end you find there's one electron popping through every five minutes. How the hell's the thing going to remember from one electron to the next? I said to Scarrott; "Does it concern you that you're only being pumped up once every so often?" "No." The point is, wave-particle dualism is of no relevance when you're doing something real. But it does get in the way.
AL I can't agree to that, because there are experiments which you can actually carry out which demonstrate the electron [acts] as a wave. And it can also exist as a particle.
IC Not [a particle] in my experience. Remember that we have never, either of us, shaken hands with an electron in our lives, or introduced one to a friend.
AL It's no use trying to think what one looks like.
IC But I'm telling you that if you're in what's supposed to be a practical science, and you have a bistable which exists because there's current flowing, and as the current gets less and less, you're not allowed to say that that proves the particles, if they exist, are smaller you thought they were. That's not a healthy technology, let alone a science.
AL I would think of it as something that should be overtaken by noise.
IC The other thing, you see, when you went into alpha particles, going and knocking out the memory bit; we've got to have rational science behind our engineering. Otherwise people like me are trying to engineer, [and] just get trampled on by people who are talking nonsense. I don't think you should hold onto the idea that these guys aren't a menace; these guys who come up with these weird, muddled notions, as Popper says they have. He says that Heisenberg's muddle - if you can't measure a thing, it doesn't exist; the concept that science is about things that are measurable. Therefore in Heisenberg, so long as you can gather it, you get on the right the kilogram, the gram, the microgram, the picogram; but the femtogram is over on the left along with emotion; because you can't measure it. The answer is; Science is not about things that can be measured; it's about the class of things that can be measured. An absolutely elementary error which is wreaking havoc.
AL My work is about things that can be measured, subject to an uncertainty. It's good practice nowadays to try to state the uncertainty of any measurement you make.
IC The heresy that they got away with early this century in a very muddled way was that if you can't measure it, it doesn't exist.
AL Oh, I'm not going to say that.
IC Well, you don't even know what they say. For forty years I've failed to find out what they say. Now I believe I've got down to it. Popper said he discussed it with Einstein and with the rest of them. To the extent that we can get anything....
AL But Einstein was no philosopher.
IC The other point was the idea that you can have a science about things that are intrinsically un-understandable. That's what Popper jumped on. I'm building high speed computers which are going to cost millions, for customers. I must have a barrier between people who are carrying on like that.
IC In fact. I can't even publish, because they control my journal.
AL Well, I reckon that I could publish on that. I do have views on that, as it happens. I was taught - you might be surprised to know who taught me - it was C. E. M. Joad -
IC In philosophy?
IC Was he the man who was caught on the train not paying his fare?
AL That's right.
IC And was he minister of the church?
IC Oh, that's somebody else.
AL I was taught about the English empiricists, and I recognised the philosophy of Locke has been the philosophy of the working physicist. I don't know whether that means anything to you.
AL Well, Joad used to say that Locke was undoubtedly wrong. But Locke believed that all that we know about the outside world is what comes to us through our senses and through the instruments that we can make, which receive something from the outside world; turn it into sense data which we can understand. Locke believed that the real world, which we couldn't know, was in a one to one correspondence with what we knew about through our sense data. That is, I believe, working philosophy of every scientists if he examines what he is doing. The real world's is something utterly different what our senses tell us. It consists chiefly of empty space with little points in it supported stably in it by electromagnetic forces. But what se don't know is whether there are other characteristics of that real world which are not responded to by our senses. That is something which I feel I've got to leave open. The philosophers can't do anything much with it. They've got no more access to that world than I have. But I can't rule it out.
IC So if I could just finish by saying Josephs is a martyr to confusion at quite a deep level, of other people; of the community; and so was Gossick. It's a great tragedy that he put in all that effort, and ended up with a tainted reputation. he was a victim of circumstance.
IC This is Ivor Catt. 5pm. Arnold Lynch has just left. he arrived at 2.30, so he's been here two and a half hours. I think that was a very useful talk, because we got something on the early Josephs, and also I am very relieved to have got down my analysis about how Josephs and Gossick, and everybody else; the President of the I.E.E., and everybody, were trapped in what is actually a dislocation within the structure of scientific ethos about publication; referencing and so on. I have never read anything on those lines. Of particular interest [tape count 230] is the idea that those who put the greatest effort into the Heaviside saga ended up with their reputations most damaged; that is, Josephs and Gossick, whereas the President of the I.E.E., who did very little, was hardly damaged; and neither was the I.E.E. This tape does not include what Arnold Lynch thought was the International Incident, which was the allegation that a document had been stolen, and then presented to the Burndy Library [Norwalk], which is quite a straightforward story. I can tell it another time.
Arnold Lynch left at around 4.30 on 2 feb 1997. Perhaps I should mention that he is in his eighties. It is now 11.30 p.m., and I will tell you the story of the International Incident which Arnold Lynch, apparently, knows about. However, I haven't discussed it with him.
I think it's on tape that Gossick was a Music Professor and transferred across to Physics, but regarded himself as not expert in high mathematics, electromagnetic theory, and so on. So, because of Publish or Perish, or for other reasons, he needed to publish. He happened upon Oliver Heaviside. In pursuing Oliver Heaviside, he got photocopies of all the documents, or a lot of the documents, from the I.E.E. in Britain, and proceeded to study. Then he heard that the English expert on Heaviside was H. J. Josephs. So in due course he came to England and visited Josephs in Kent. Josephs was very hospitable. They got on well. The idea of a joint book arose. The division of labour would be that Josephs would do the technical part, and Gossick would do the biographical part. So Gossick went back home and proceeded to write the biographical part. In due course, the book went to the referees of the publishing house of the University of Kentucky, which was Gossick's university. The referees came back with questions about the technical half of the book, asking about references. So this went to Josephs, and Josephs would not supply the references. [Note by Ivor Catt on 18mar2007. Catt never met Searle, but heard (and tape recorded) Josephs talking about his work with Searle. There seems to be confusion here in what follows in the transcript taken directly from the tape recording, from the section made by me after Lynch had left my home. I suggest that this is a quote from Josephs, which is a repeat from the same statement earlier in this document. Ivor Catt 18mar07] I know this because Searle told me; that Searle's best friend Heaviside had said this, that and the other. Josephs also said that he had read great numbers of very long letters written by Heaviside which were in private collections. While Gossick was visiting Josephs, Josephs gave him a single sheet of calculations written by Oliver Heaviside. So Gossick went back to the New World with this highly prized document. Some time later, Gossick presented this one page to the Burndy Library, Norwalk Connecticut, which is the high prestige library of scientific memorabilia. It was published in their annual report, that Professor Gossick had presented them this sheet written by Heaviside, and it was illustrated in the Burndy Report, which I have never seen, by the way. The I.E.E. read the report, and wrote to the Burndy Library saying this sheet had been stolen from the Heaviside Collection in the I.E.E. Library. There were two sides to this International Incident. One was the part which Arnold Lynch did not know until today, which was the project of a joint book, which was completely written. It was damaging to Gossick's career, that as a result of the discord over sources for the technical side, the book could never be published. There is also [tape count 291] the half which presumably Arnold Lynch does know, although we haven's discussed it, which was the alleged theft of one sheet of paper written by Heaviside, presented to Gossick by Josephs, who then presented it to the Burndy Library, who then published in their Annual Report with an illustration, leading to a letter from the I.E.E. in England saying it was stolen. So Gossick was in trouble from two things; one is the doubtful book, and the other is that he had handled stolen property. So he, or the University, brought in their legal advisers. This led to a meeting in the I.E.E. where Gossick was interviewed, and separately, in a different room, Josephs was interviewed. The President of the I.E.E. was involved. But the substance of the interview, as I recall it, as it was recounted to me by Josephs, was the book with the doubtful sources. That is, was Josephs fabricating material, or inventing things about Heaviside, or were they true? First of all, I went and interviewed Josephs and put him on tape. So did my co-author Malcolm Davidson. We went to him in Whitstable, and maybe recorded him for five hours or so, for other reasons. He never said an ill word about Gossick, although the International Incident had already occurred. He did tell me that when the cache of documents was discovered under the floorboards in Heaviside's house after his death, some time after, and then were put on a train up to London, he and Wright, the librarian of the I.E.E. in Savoy Place, London, went down to the station and got these documents, and Wright, who was an appointee by - I think - Rayleigh [AL says definitely not Rayleigh], or the man that Arnlod Lynch mentions earlier in this tape - Wright was not a librarian, and was put into the I.E.E. from Dollis Hill. When Wright saw these documents, he was appalled that they were dirty, and he wanted to destroy them; that is, documents found under Heaviside's floorboards. But Josephs countered that, and insisted that they be retained. The other point about Josephs is that, during the second world war, all the Heaviside material in the I.E.E. Savoy Place was sent off for safe keeping to Wales. It was left under a leaky tap. When it came back, the person who bothered to try to retrieve these documents was Josephs. He told me that he brought in worker[s] from Dollis Hill staff, down to the I.E.E., to go through the painstaking work of separating these damp sheets and trying to recover what they contained. I have photographs of that process in my house here. So it really happened. So, on the one hand, you have the Chief Librarian in the I.E.E. wanting to destroy masses of Heaviside documents, and Josephs working with non-I.E.E. money to restore documents that have been damaged by the I.E.E.'s negligence; and on the other hand you have the I.E.E. writing to the Burndy Library to say that one sheet had been stolen from the I.E.E., and the implication is that it taken by Josephs and then given to Gossick. I think if you want to understand what's going on here, it's useful to think of everybody being totally indifferent to electromagnetic theory, to Heaviside, except for Josephs, Gossick, and those indifferent people have the gall to muscle in and claim that somebody stole a document. [tape count 346]. I went to see Josephs, maybe twice at Whitstable, also went to see him perhaps twice in Sussex after he had moved. he told me some interesting things. He said that after Heaviside's death, Heaviside's brother proceeded to sell sheets of paper with Heaviside's calculations on them. Further, when Charles, I think it was, ran out of these sheets, he then concocted some sheets. Further, when Heavside decided a lot of calculations were wrong, he would draw a vertical line through the middle of the sheet. The sheet of paper he gave to Gossick, because he said he did give a sheet of paper to Gossick, had the vertical line through; meaning that if it was written by Heaviside, that Heaviside had decided that all the calculations were incorrect. My position is that I believe that nobody except Heaviside and Gossick cared, because I know that Heaviside disappeared from the record. When I stumbled on Heaviside, it was only after I had been researching electromagnetic theory for twelve years, and I had no evidence that Heaviside had made any contribution. He had disappeared from the record, as did O'Rahilley; 1935, 1938, who is the other one of the four greatest contributors to electromagnetic theory. If you look up the index of books on electromagnetic theory you will find Heaviside is only mentioned in one during a period of fifty years. I phoned the author of that book, who is, I think, Cullwick; he was then living down near Dover. I said, "Have you read Heaviside?" He said; "No. I only read sections of Heaviside in Whitakers's "History of the Aether and Electricity" [pub. Nelson 1910 and again 1951]. So even the man who mentions Heaviside had not read Heaviside. That is the context in which you have to get yourself when you are thinking about the devotion of Josephs to Heaviside's electromagnetic theory, and of Gossick to Heaviside's electromagnetic theory. At this same period, Heaviside's Operational Calculus survived. There is a book, or there are books published with dates like 1935 on Heaviside's Operational Calculus. But the neglect was Heaviside's electromagnetic theory, which was essentially total. I am very willing to believe that Josephs was the man who made the effort to try to save Heaviside's materials. I also know that when he told me to look at Josephs' biography of Heaviside - not the same one as the University of Kentucky one - in the I.E.E. Library, I found it had gone. I phoned him up, and he said, "Yes, they're always throwing that out. I keep putting in a copy and then they throw that out." That's the I.E.E.; the I.E.E. that told Burndy that one sheet of paper had been stolen [from them]. Josephs then gave me, as I believe, a copy of that biography. I believe in my extensive files there is a copy of Josephs' brief biography of Heaviside. Now as to Josephs' failure to provide references to his claims about what Heaviside knew and what Heaviside discovered. Josephs continually said that there was a fourth volume of Heaviside's "Electromagnetic Theory " which was never published. Heaviside wrote about writing a fourth volume, which was not published. Josephs would periodically publish - say in 1970 - that looking in these unpublished papers he had found further material like Heaviside had pre-empted Godel for Godel's Theorem, or foresaw Quantum Electrodynamics, or all the various things; the high points of this century. I am not sure that those are the ones. Certainly you can read that Heaviside was a forgotten genius, and the person who has researched it is Josephs, and he has discovered this, that and the other. When I took Gratten-Guinness down, who's a History of Science man, to look at this assortment of sheets which is supposed to be the fourth volume, but I took him down in 1980, or maybe in 1985, Gratten-Guinness very rapidly went through them and said they were documents about, for instance, the third volume on electromagnetic theory [which is published]. But when Josephs was challenged to produce references and sources for the Gossick-Josephs book, he said that it's the fourth volume that he is drawing on; also what Searle told him - and Searle was Heaviside's best friend - and also extensive private collections of letters written by Heaviside. Josephs did not comprehend that the scientific procedure in research is to be meticulous about your sources. However, the scientific procedure about research may include the concept that when you're listening to Jesus, you should not report what he said, because then you have no source; you have no record. The same with Heaviside. So Searle, having had extensive times with Heaviside, as everyone has to agree, would have gained a lot of information about Heaviside's ideas on everything, and when he worked with Josephs to produce the centenary volume in 1950, he would have told Josephs an enormous amount. Now during a series of vicissitudes, I ended up in possession of the letters Heaviside wrote to Searle. So I do have those. But they are late. Then again, Searle's friendship with Heaviside was late. If these letters do not contain the kind of stuff Josephs is talking about, you have to bear in mind that Heaviside did not think highly of Searle as a scientist. There are various sources for that. It is argued that - and I forget who told me this - [actually my co-author Mike Gibson] - the crunch material would be in Heaviside's letters to Bjerknes in Scandinavia. It would not be in his letters to Searle, and certainly in what I have read, in the dialogue between Heaviside and Searle, I see Heaviside thinking of Searle as rather junior. So it is quite possible that Heaviside would not have bothered with crucial new ideas in his letters to Searle. Also, confirming what Gossick first doubted; Josephs' claim that there were extensive collections of letters privately held which Josephs had seen, but that he doesn't now have access to, when he was asked to show sources for the joint book; I later came into possession of a large amount of Heaviside memorabilia which was in the hands of the Reverend Timmins, Searle's final surviving descendent [something like a nephew; Searle had no surviving children], who said that he had phoned Cambridge University Library, and phoned the I.E.E., and they did not want to have any truck with what Timmins said was two cubic feet of Searle's documentation relating to Heaviside; that is, the tie that E squared gave to Heaviside and that he painted these little whatevers on - the white dots - and post cards from Fitzgerald and people to Searle about how to deal with Heaviside's financial problems, and also one hundred, two hundred letters by Heaviside sent to Searle, which I received. So I have clear evidence that the powers that be made essentially no effort to get hold of, or to save, or to look after carefully, Heaviside's memorabilia; the same I.E.E. which wrote to the Burndy Library to say that one sheet of paper had been stolen. [tape count 436.] Now, the question arises; Why should Josephs know that when you write scientific material, you should have all this cross-referencing and sourcing. He had left school at the age of fourteen or whatever, and he finally rose to a high position, as Arnold Lynch is confirming. But who told him how you proceed? Of course, against that, you could, Who told Ivor Catt the procedures, because I am sure it wasn't in my degree course. But then again, if Josephs, off his own bat, goes off and becomes obsessed with a man that everybody's forgotten, where is he to put his effort? If all the evidence is that scientists don't want to know about Heaviside, he himself will gather as much information on Heaviside as he can for posterity, and in doing it, maybe he things that the information about what Heaviside knew and thought is more important than the proof that that was what Heaviside knew and thought. I do know that whereas Gossick wrote; "You must take what Josephs says about what Heaviside knew; Godel's Theorem or Quantum Electrodynamics or Relativity; the Heaviside knew all these before anybody else did - with a pinch of salt," on the other hand, I do have a letter from Gossick to Josephs, saying [something like]; "I now realise that some of what I believe you invented, in fact you did not invent, because I have now seen documentation proving it," because Josephs also gave me a great deal of paperwork on one of my visits to him. So I have evidence that Gossick backed away from discrediting Josephs. The moral from the point of view of History of Science is that those who put the most effort, as true scientists, into saving the record, saving documentation, saving materials, understanding, were the ones whose reputations were damaged, whereas officials in the I.E.E. who said a sheet of paper had been stolen are essentially nameless and blameless. They were the ones who did not put in the effort, and you notice their reputations are unsullied. That is a very interesting conclusion from the case of what Josephs called "The International Incident". I went to St. Louis; I was flown to St. Louis for a conference on what is called "The Glitch", and decided on the way back to stop off at the university of Kentucky, or Lexington, or somewhere. Gossick was at the airport to meet me. he took me to some institution, where he proceeded to recount this appalling story of the International Incident; the claim of theft, and so on, which I had heard nothing of from Josephs. So Josephs was totally loyal to Gossick. Gossick told me about how damaging it had been for his career, and how difficult. The date of this is before the date when Gossick wrote to Josephs saying he now realised he had gone too far in discrediting Josephs. Then, some years after that, Gossick died. So I am in pole position on this, because I had, let's say three hours, four hours with Gossick in his home town, where he went through the scandal from his point of view. I have also had interview with Josephs on it on at least two occasions. Of course, the dramatic event was when there were four of us in the room; Josephs' second wife - his first wife had already died when I first met him - I met the second wife before they married, and then they moved to Sussex, when my wife said to Josephs, "Well, you must refute these claims that you had done it wrong if you have the evidence." There were four of us in the room and Josephs said; "Why?" She said "Well, your reputation, for posterity," and it was quite clear he was not concerned about his reputation for posterity. That's a very important factor to hold against the concept that in order to gain fame Josephs persisted in wanting to be the man who discovered even more hidden depths on Heaviside's later writings. The other factor is, according to Josephs, Heaviside was ahead of the pack on Relativity and whatever - discovering all these things; and most of these things I have no respect for anyway because they are part of the nonsense that masqueraded as the latest science in the first half of this century, and then caused so much trouble; that is, Modern Physics. So Josephs probably didn't realise that the twentieth century botched its science, whereas of course Heaviside is nineteenth century science which I have the highest regard for. [tape count 487] Then we have this problem; why should Josephs have had such a high regard for the great man, and not questioned the idiocies within, say, Heisenberg and other great names. Why should he respect them so much, and yet say, as he said to me, that he was the man who did the maths at Dollis Hill, and the great men would come to him to get him to do the maths for their papers, which then would be credited to them? So there are paradoxes about Josephs, but so there should be in someone in that position. He was in a paradoxical situation from about three points of view. That's midnight on the second of February 1997, and I'm very relieved to have this down, because I am the only person with this information, and it was most important to have it on record. So I do intend to distribute this a bit. I think it's a very important element in the History of Science. That is, the tragedy of how the leading players in this were sullied through no fault of their own. [tape count 498.] Transcribed from the audio tape by Ivor Catt on 5feb99.
Audio tapes held by Lynch, Catt, Lenore Simon, Chief Archivist of the I.E.E.
Lenore Simon said it should be transcribed, which it now is, two years later. Written version held on Ivor Catt's website,
Written on 12 April 2011.
Dear Paul Nahin,
The reason why I sent you an email yesterday was to ask you to somment on my recent article. http://www.ivorcatt.co.uk/x111.htm . Please don't let what follows deflect you from commenting on my article.
I touched briefly on finding you referred to me and to Dr. Arnold Lynch in your book. You mention that I underestimated Gossick's ability in electromagnetic theory. I now remember what happened, which will explain why you concluded that I was wrong in my appraisal of Gossick, in view of what you know about his technical expertise. I have now searched for "An International Incident", http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/z010.htm , which I transcribed a long time ago and which is very lengthy. I hope you don't mind if I write to you from memory without first reading that lengthy document. You will of course be able to compare what I remember with the content of that document, which I hardly remember at all.
I had travelled to St. Louis to attend the one and only conference on "The Glitch", a suppressed problem with digital computers. I was invited, and my fare was paid for by the Pentagon, because I was the onl;y one who had succeeded in publishing on it, http://www.ivorcatt.co.uk/97sglit5.htm , because I gave it a misleading title. On the way back to England I diverted to Kentucky to visit the other expert on Heaviside, Gossick. He met me at the airport, and, surprisingly, took me to his university, which I think was deserted. There he told me the extraordinary Gossick-Josephs story. Although I had previously spent a great deal of time with Josephs (in part of our study of Heaviside), Josephs had never mentioned it.
Gossick said he looked into Heaviside, and found that Josephs was his expert. He visited Josephs in England, and proposed a joint book, where he would do the biographical part and Josephs would do the technical part. Gossick said this was because he, Gossick, was not the technical expert. (This compares with your detailing his technical expertise. My source was otherwise, straight from the horse's mouth. My only information as to Gossick's technical expertise was from Gossick himself. I never checked on this.) Gossick said that the book was completed and was with the referees for the university publishers, where it went through siomething like Peer Review. The reviewers asked for sources for Josephs' various assertions as to Heaviside having been the first in various later scientific breakthroughs. Josephs refused to give sources, saying he got the information from various letters he had seen written by Heaviside to others. He said there were many such letters. (My later coming across 100 unknown letters from Heaviside to Searle tends to support this idea.) Gossick said this created a big professional problem for him, because he was caught as co-author of a book where the other half had been written by someone without meeting the usual academic requirements as to sources cited. I vaguely remember the Burndy Library part of the "incident", which is also in http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/z010.htm .
The Gossick-Josephs clash was the result of Professional (Gossick) meeting Amateur (Josephs) who left school very young, but made it up along with academic experts, but lacking some of their rudimentary principles, like giving proper sources. However, he was drawn in because the Professionals were indifferent to the case of Heaviside, and he found himself shouldering the burden without their help - until Gossick came along. I also know about the indifference of the "Professionals" to Heaviside sionce the IEE did niot care about getting Heaviside's 100 letters to his friend Searle. The IEE also twice detroyed a book by Josephs about Heaviside which he filed in their library. When I told him it was missing, he refused to send them a third copy.
Ivor Catt 12 April 2011.