Gyroscope controversy[ edit ] Criticism has been made against this article for many years now. As others has pointed out, no attempt seems to be made in this article to explain the phenomena that puzzled Laithwaite. It is not very scientific to turn someone off as fools and do no attempt to show what was wrong about their ideas. If a layman were to have made the same claims as Laithwaite, he would have been laughed at, or ignored. The fact that Laithwaite possessed all of the trappings of academia might seem to argue that he should have been listened to.
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Gyroscope controversy[ edit ] Criticism has been made against this article for many years now. As others has pointed out, no attempt seems to be made in this article to explain the phenomena that puzzled Laithwaite. It is not very scientific to turn someone off as fools and do no attempt to show what was wrong about their ideas. If a layman were to have made the same claims as Laithwaite, he would have been laughed at, or ignored.
The fact that Laithwaite possessed all of the trappings of academia might seem to argue that he should have been listened to. However, the correct logical conclusion is that Laithwaite should never have held his position in the first place. I would suggest that the fact that he did can be traced to extraneous factors. Firstly, the shortage of manpower after WW2.
Secondly, his ability to con research funds out of businessmen. Thirdly, even his crackpot views did not dismay the syndics of Imperial College because - above a certain institutional level - the attitude is the familiar, but non-academic, one that, "there is no such thing as bad publicity". They will never produce reactionless propulsion. The only anomalous interaction of gyroscopes with gravity occurs at very high spin-rates; so high that any known material will fly apart.
A patent number for the patent would be a good start in remedying this. DFH , UTC The section which says "Rather than disproving his theories, the scientific establishment ridiculed and turned its back on him.
The fact of the matter is probably that no physicist wanted to be tainted by getting involved in an irrational debate, or seen to be wasting their time by refuting Laithwaite. This is a common occurrence, particularly with more complex bits of physics like in the case of "anti-relativity" theories. I guess I should ask -- does anyone who is currently helping with this article believe that Laithwaite was correct?
However the scientific establishment is worthy of some censure as rather than investigate and explain his results they said that they "could not be true". Perhaps they were "embarassed" but what has emotion to do with reason? Laithwaite was defeated by consensus rather than reason. I think that the tone of the article should be "Laithwaite was barking but the establishment fell short of its own standards of scientific method ".
I have watched the video of his lecture and there is nothing to see. It is just a man making a fool of himself through his lack of understanding of or intuition about how gyroscopes behave.
Embarrassing, yes. Not very technical at all. The point is really that there is nothing new to be explained, here. BTW, there is of course a reference about gyroscopes.
I did have an exchange with User:Cleon Teunissen who appeared to know more than me about gyroscopes but he admitted to not understanding the technical issues User talk:Cutler Laithwaite and gyroscopes. Seems like a good encyclopedia article here would be valuable. A graphic explanation showing addition of angular momentum bivectors pseudovectors might help people with their intuition. Incidentally, the only difference between "fast" and "slow" tops is how much of a change in the axis of rotation is needed to produce a certain rate of precession.
He seems to be unable to reason properly about how these constraints affect the system of forces when the gyroscope is allowed to precess. His simplest demonstration, of lifting a spinning gyroscope more easily than a stopped one, is just a question of precession removing the torque he would otherwise have to supply to support the moment of the gyroscope.
It would be good to go back to the more neutral language of an earlier version of the paragraph. Theoh , 15 March UTC "Website for kids" is from Cambridge Unversity: Does not explain the dissapearing torque: "There was a famous Professor Laithwaite who used to demonstrate this effect and claim that gyroscopes were anti-gravity devices because you could pick them up more easily when they were spinning.
Sadly, he died before he could make his first space ship propelled by his anti-gravity gyroscopes! In fact, of course, there is no "anti-gravity effect" due to gyroscopes. It sounds like you understand the issues but we could do with a careful explanation in this article. Cutler , 15 March UTC I came to this article looking for a modern explanation of the phenomenon Laithwaite demonstrated.
I saw him once do the 50lb bicycle wheel in person. Only among these comments does one find links to "websites for kids" that look promising. Was Laithwaite right or wrong? If wrong, what was his mistake? If the jury is out, to the extent that this is a debate between POVs, what are the cases to be made in either direction? It was a box containing two gyroscopes and a reciprocating mechanism that supposedly produced upward impulses that were stronger than the downward impulses.
He used a set of kitchen scales to demonstrate the apparent loss of weight. My reference is this page , which contains an interesting mixture of articles on the demonstration. I quote from the New Scientist article at the end: "his anti-gravity machine weighed to within half a pound of the upper limit of the scales where there was a mechanical stop ". You get the idea. However, I believe the only rigorous scientific way to do this is to explain the results each of his demonstrations there are several types with conventional mechanics.
This would be an interesting exercise for some physics or maths undergrad, but is surely beyond the scope of the article. It also skirts a bit close to "original research" -- although it would use only known classical mechanics, it would be an "original analysis" which I think is pushing it. David Colver -- "What was his mistake? His theory was incoherent, based on analogies and intuition, rather than rigorous empirical analysis.
The one word answer is "hubris". Theoh , 30 March UTC Could one at least explain why a rotating item is easier to lift than the same thing stationery? Just because a new torque occurs, the first one should not disappear they should add. However, I recall that when he made the announcement about gyroscopes being capable of providing a propulsion system, he claimed that there existed a simple experiment that could be performed in space to test whether he was right or wrong.
Does anyone have details of this experiment? Was it ever performed? Only it might go some way toward clearing some of the controversy here if  that footage is still in circulation, and  there exists a web site containing that footage that can be linked to in the article. Yet the acceptable theories of what gravity is are of no practical use to us. However, like several other contributors to this talk page above, it would be nice to have at least a link to an analysis of why Laithwaite was wrong.
There was a long correspondence conducted between Laithwaite and a critic in the letters pages of New Scientist. They argued each other to a standstill.
The "topology" theme may also explain why he seemed to take criticisms that his work "defied Newton" with some disdain. To a topologist, the way you check if a theory is consistent is by turning the problem inside out and back to front, and checking that you get the same predictions each way. If we had had an incomplete theory back then, it might have been salvageable or updatable So there was an impasse. His previous way of winning arguments with these sorts of people had been to forget about trying to argue with them, and to go out and build something that their treasured textbooks had said was impossible, and then shove it under their noses.
That worked very well for him in his "electric motor" work, but was obviously not so successful with his tinkering with gyros. Sussex in the early s and believe I can shed some light on his involvement with gyroscopes, but because this is anecdotal it is not suitable for the main page.
I hold a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge. EL continued to question the Newtonian analysis of gyroscopes, and his simplest demo was a gyroscope precessing with its axis describing an inverted cone; the apex of the cone was on a flat glass surface, and the end of the gyroscope axis that made contact with the glass had been sharpened to a very fine point.
EL asserted that friction should cause the point of contact to move on the glass surface. I did an analysis involving the coefficient of friction of the materials which showed that the effect was not greatly beyond what friction could account for, and suggested that the sharp point of the gyroscope axis, rotating as it was, bored a microscopic pit in the glass, in which it then rested stably.
EL did not accept this. I also asked him what was wrong with the theoretical Newtonian analysis and he questioned the principle of resolving vectors into their components along an orthogonal basis set of vectors. I had no taste for going down that road and our meetings and correspondence subsided.
Even NASA expressed interest in that. Shades of the Peter principle at work perchance? Calilasseia , 12 May UTC The standard gyroscope equations are derived by accounting for the translational motion of each particle of the body with respect to inertial space, hence any effects attributable to the spinning of individual particles is precluded from the anaysis from the outset.
It is not intrinsically absurd to speculate that spin itself might introduce an effect of some kind, but the waters appear a bit muddied when it comes to trying to find out whether any real effects have ever been reliably observed. The following finds may be of interest. The Maglifter Research Consortium site is still "under construction", though dated Did he express any theories about them?
Redding , 11 April UTC The deleted link had only a small ad banner but a lot of text, seems insufficient to call it a spam link? I would be happy to contribute to the wiki page if I can. Let me know how. I found it interesting and relevant. Are there some advertisements on it? Could we have a reference to the granted patent?
If a patent was actually granted, I suspect it was for something other than the linked applications. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template , you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.
Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template.
Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page. If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page.
He joined the Royal Air Force in On demobilization in , he attended the University of Manchester to study electrical engineering. His subsequent doctoral work started his interest in linear induction motors. He derived an equation for " goodness " which parametrically describes the efficiency of a motor in general terms, and showed that it tended to imply that large motors are more efficient. He was involved in creating a self-stable magnetic levitation system called Magnetic river which appeared in the film The Spy Who Loved Me where it levitated and propelled a tray along a table to decapitate a seated dummy.
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But, on the whole, this is stuffed shirt territory. One night in the stuffed shirts got a shock from which they have still not recovered. It was an experience at which, like Queen Victoria, they were not amused. The cause of this unique case of scientific censorship was the maverick professor of electrical engineering of Imperial College, London, Eric Laithwaite. Laithwaite was no stranger to controversy even before his shadow fell across so distinguished an institutional threshold. In the s, Laithwaite invented the linear electric motor, a device that can power a passenger train.