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No. 105: May-Jun 1996

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Real perpetual motion?

Physicist R.A. Webb and coworkers magnetically induce electrical currents in tiny gold rings at the University of Maryland. The ring temperatures are low but not in the superconducting range. Magnetic induction of electricity is of course perfectly allowable in physics. What is not theoretically permitted is for tiny currents to persist long after the magnetic field has been turned off. The currents are small, only 10-6 of an ampere; but, they are there, and they shouldn't be.

(Lipkin, Richard, and Travis, John; "Electric Currents That Merely Flow," Science News, 149:126, 1996)

Comment. If you conceive of electrical currents as mists of palpable electrons circulating around inside those gold rings, the situation does resemble perpetual motion. The referenced item is brief and not forthcoming on such mat ters. Do the currents eventually die out? Will any metal work? Does the phenomenon appear at room temperature?

From Science Frontiers #105, MAY-JUN 1996. 1996-2000 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