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No. 69: May-Jun 1990

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Gravity-defying gyros come down to earth

It didn't take long for physicsts to rush into their labs to repeat the Japanese gyroscope experiments. The thought that a spinning mass might lose weight was just too horible to contemplate. Two replications of the Japanese experiment have been reported so far.

"James E. Faller and his colleagues at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics in Boulder, Colo., repeated the Japanese experiment by looking for signs of weight loss in a spinning gyroscope consisting of a brass top about 2 inches in diameter sealed in a small plastic chamber. 'We conclude that within our experimental sensitivity, which is approximately 35 times larger than needed to see the effect reported...there is no weight change of the type...described.'"

(Anonymous; "An Absence of Antigravity," Science News, 137:127, 1990. Cr. F. Hanisch)

"Now T.J. Quinn and A. Picard of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sevres Cedex, France, have repeated the experiment. They find changes in the apparent mass of their gyroscope that depend on the speed and sense of rotation, but they amount to only about 5 per cent of the effect reported by Hayasaka and Takeuchi."

(Anonymous; "Experiments Weaken Japanese Gyro Claim," New Scientist, p. 32, March 3, 1990.)

The French scientists think that the Japanese results can be explained as functions of friction and temperature on the gyro. On the other hand, S.H. Salter makes a case for gyro vibrations compounded by nonlinearity in the weighing mechanisms being the culprits.

(Salter, S.H.; "Good Vibrations for Physics," Nature, 343:509, 1990.)

From Science Frontiers #69, MAY-JUN 1990. 1990-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987