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No. 114: Nov-Dec 1997

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A RECIPE FOR WEIGHTLESSNESS?

  1. Take fifty rings of a superconducting ceramic, 27.5 centimeters in diameter, and stack them one above the other.
  2. Chill rings to -334F.
  3. Spin rings at 3,000 rpm.

You now have an antigravity machine; any object positioned above or below the rings will be weightless!

This recipe is based on a claim by Finnish scientist E.E. Podkletnov at the Tampere University of Technology. Podkletnov discovered this amazing effect when researching superconducting materials, However, he used only a single ring, which resulted in a 2% weight reduction. Since antigravity effects are probably additive, it seems reasonable that fifty rings will create a 100% weight reduction. Obviously, more than fifty rings will be required to launch spacecraft from earth!

Sure, it's a wild claim, but NASA is checking it out at the University of Alabama in a project headed by N. Li.

(Holden, Constance; "NASA's Fling with Antigravity," Science, 274:183, 1996. Also: Port, Otis; "Take That, Isaac Newton," Business Week, p. 42, September 30, 1996. Cr. E. Murphy.)

Comment. Facetiousness aside, it is pertinent to add here that physicist P.M.S. Blackett once seriously hypothesized that a magnetic field is generated by a rotating mass, such as the sun.

From Science Frontiers #114, NOV-DEC 1997. 1997-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "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