Home Page Science Frontiers
ONLINE

No. 114: Nov-Dec 1997

Issue Contents





Other pages



 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

 

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