The Podkletnov machine misses out
(October 2001)


In Antigravity and NASA, February 1999, we reported on an unusual attempt by NASA to test an antigravity effect. E. E. Podkletnov, a materials scientist at the Moscow chemical Scientific Research centre, had claimed that a spinning, superconducting disc lost some of its weight. Later, he added to this that the disc can lose as much as 2 per cent of its weight.

Well, something as odd as that seemed to be worth testing, but according to Robert L. Park, an incisive observer on the world of physics, NASA has now got itself into a bind. After four years of testing and spending US$1 million, NASA thought maybe they saw a weight change, of about 2 parts per million, but there was some doubt about this.

Eugene Podkletnov suggested that they needed to use larger discs, and this should have rung alarm bells, since most perpetual motion scams are described as almost complete, just needing better magnets, a larger widget or a more powerful spondulick-input system. This is not to suggest that podkletnov's disc is a scam, just that wise heads would look very closely at the theory behind the matter before going further.

NASA tried a larger disc, and according to Park," . . . NASA said that tests on the new shield were 'inconclusive.' That's NASA-talk for 'it didn't work,' but if NASA just said, 'it didn't work,' they would have to explain why they spent all that money on an idea that violates the First Law.'' This may be a little harsh, given that the analysis has been done in hindsight, but park has been poking fun at this line of research since 1990.

This latest story is in his October12 issue, and from there, you can follow the trail backwards. The archives at http://www.aps.org/WN/toc.html will give you access to the start of the trail, and a series of hot links will quickly give you the rest of the story. This is a resource no practising scientist should be without. and which every student of
science should be required to read.
Park's commentaries (What's New) are distributed with the following disclaimer: ''THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY and THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND. Opinions are the author's and are not necessarily shared by the American Physical Society or the University, but they should be.'' They can be found on the web at http://www.aps.org/WN/, and you can also have them e-mailed to you.

©WebsterWorld Pty Ltd/contributors 2002

See also: Anti gravity


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