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No. 68: Mar-Apr 1990

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Science waits for - almost begs for - refutation

Two Japanese scientists, H. Hayasaka and S. Takeuchi, have spun up some gyroscopes, weighed them and - Horrors! - found that they weighed less when spinning in one direction than the other. They admit the heresy of their results: "The experimental result cannot be explained by the usual theories."

The gyroscopes employed are small, weighing about 175 grams when not spinning. When spun clockwise, as viewed from above, no weight changes were observed. But rotating at 13,000 rpm counterclockwise, the 175-gram gyroscope lost about 10 milligrams. The balance's sensitivity was 0.3 milligram. This is a very large effect; and the weight loss increased linearly with increased speed of rotation. Obviously, the physicists are most perplexed by this "antigravity" effect.

Perplexity has been accompanied by outright disbelief. R.L. Park, a physics professor at Maryland, remarked: "It would be revolutionary if true. But it is almost certainly wrong. Almost all extraordinary claims are wrong." R.L. Forward, an Air Force consultant, con-curs: "It's a careful experiment. But I doubt it's real, primarily because I've seen so many of these things fall apart."

(Anonymous; "Anti-Gravity Effect Claim by Japanese," San Francisco Chronicle, December 28, 1989. Cr. J. Covey. Also: Anonymous; "A Gyroscope's Gravity-Defying Feat," Science News, 137:15, 1990.)

Comment. The amazing thing - the anomaly - is that such "misguided" research got funded at all and the results published. But then, maybe Japanese research proposals do not have to get by 7 (that's seven) reviewers, as required by the U.S. National Science Foundation!

From Science Frontiers #68, MAR-APR 1990. 1990-2000 William R. Corliss