ASL: Electromagnetism Seminar with Ivor Catt and David Walton 9th October 2013

Electromagnetism is the study of the electromagnetic field. It explores physical phenomena taking place under the effect of the electromagnetic force, sometimes called Lorentz force, which includes both electricity and magnetism in one phenomenon. Electromagnetism together with its physical and mathematical descriptions, provide fundamental knowledge and essential underpinning to the design and test of all electrical and electronic devices, circuits and systems. While electromagnetism has been in the centre of research and teaching of such disciplines as electric machines, drives, wired and wireless communications, analogue electronics, in the area of digital computational systems the place of electromagnetism has for many years been, quite undeservedly, peripheral.

Today, when computing comes back to and becomes heavily dependent on the study of physical properties of signal propagation, energy consumption, thermal radiation, to name but a few, we are witnessing a revived interest to the fundamentals of the electromagnetism studies.

This seminar will comprise lectures on an unconventional electromagnetic theory (based on Oliver Heaviside's notion of energy current) and experiments, highlighting problems, paradoxes and anomalies, provoking audience for subsequent discussions. We will also seek to find interpretations of the presented theory in relation to how electromagnetic energy drives computation and communication in modern and future microelectronic systems.

Our two distinguished speakers are Mr Ivor Catt and Dr David Walton, who have been working together on this unconventional theory (called Theory C) for 40 years, its notions of Transverse Electromagnetic Wave (TEM), displacement current, and unconventional models of capacitor and transmission line.

Some background reading on this subject can be found here:

Abstract of David Walton's lecture:
It is normally recognised that the postulation of Displacement current by James Clerk Maxwell was a vital step which led to the understanding that light was an electromagnetic wave. I will examine the origins of displacement current by consideration of the behaviour of the dielectric in a lumped capacitor and will show that it has no physical reality. In the absence of an ether there is no rationale for displacement current. We are then left with a theory which works mathematically but has no basis in physical reality. I will discuss the remarkable property of empty space in that it has the ability to accommodate energy.

In the next section I will show that Faraday's law and conservation of charge lead to the existence of electromagnetic energy which travels at a single fixed velocity and has a determined relationship between the electric and magnetic fields. Because this mathematics is reversible it follows that these two physical laws can be considered to be consequences of the nature of electromagnetic energy rather than the reverse.

I will go on to consider the anomalies, including the Catt Anomaly, which result when we try to apply classical electrodynamics to step propagation in a transmission line.

Finally I will introduce models of L and C which are based on the transmission line model.

Ivor Catt's bio:
I did a first degree in engineering in Cambridge. In 1964 Motorola made the fastest (1 nsec) logic, ECL. I was brought in to research the interconnection of this logic. I discovered that a logic signal travelling along the surface of a printed circuit board above a ground plane in the presence of another parallel conductor travelled at two velocities, and the crosstalk could be 50% however widely the conductors were separated. During the next 50 years my interest has centred on electromagnetic theory.

David Walton's bio:
I received my first degree in Physics from the University of Newcastle and subsequently stayed to carry out research in experimental Atomic Physics leading to a PhD. My first teaching post was as a Lecturer in Physics at Trinity College Dublin where I worked under Nobel Prize winner ETS Walton (not a relative). While in Trinity College I carried out research in electron time-of-flight spectroscopy and anthracene scintillators.
I left the academic life to set up an electronics company where I researched and published articles and a book on signal transmission and design issues in fast digital systems. This led to further work on the foundational concepts off electromagnetic theory. I subsequently worked for a multinational company and a number of smaller companies, eventually running my own consultancy business in information technology. From 1999 to 2002 I was contracted to companies in Utrecht and Brussels to provide consultancy support for the management of their IT infrastructure.
In 2003 my lack of job satisfaction led me to make a complete career change and I took up a Physics teaching post at Emmanuel College, Gateshead, where I formally qualified as a teacher under the Graduate Teacher Programme. I taught at Emmanuel College for a total of eight years before being appointed to the Head of Physics post at Barnard Castle School in 2011.

Edited version

There is an edited version of Ivor Catt's talk covering just the 'The Wakefield Experiment' and 'The Catt Question' which is 20 minutes long available here.

The full unedited versions are below

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Ivor Catt's talk - recorded from video camera - 1 hour 51 minutes.

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Ivor Catt's talk - recorded Screen and audio - 1 hour 49 minutes.

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David Walton's talk - recorded from video camera - 1 hour 02 minutes.

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David Walton's talk - recorded Screen and audio - 1 hour 01 minute.

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Ivor Catt's discussions - recorded from video camera - 52 minutes.

Last modified 14/10/2013 by IGC