E.T.Whittaker and EM theory

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There are hundreds if not thousands of web citations (mostly attempts to connect to Tesla's "scalar waves" - much of it nonsense as is most of the web) about Tom Bearden's interpretation of E. T. Whittaker's century-old potential theory of the electromagnetic fields based on quaternions. Has anyone come across any objective discussions of ETW's work or any published followup in widely read texts or monographs?

Two Whittaker papers are (1) "On the partial differential equations of mathematical physics," Mathematische Annalen, Vol. 57, 1903, p. 333-355; and (2) "On an expression of the electromagnetic field due to electrons by means of two scalar potential functions," Proc. Lond. Math. Soc., Series 2, Vol. 1, 1904, p. 367-372.

-- Lou Puls (lpuls@earthlink.net), July 17, 2004


Hello Lou:

I did look into his work myself a while ago. I asked someone to send me the his 1903 paper, instead of repeat the interpretation that keeps getting repeated. One critical problem is that it was not formulated in a way that respects special relativity, several of the important variables being only 3 not 4 dimensional (he deals with space, not spacetime). This is not so bad, considering that it was 1903, and special relativity was not developed until 1905. By today's standards in physics, it must be rejected for this reason alone. That's one of the really fun harsh realities of physics. An idea that is off by only one principle must be rejected. Ouch!

I know of no professional physicists that talk about Whittaker. I have looked into Tom Bearden's work, To be honest, I find Mr. Bearden's work vacuous, as in devoid of information content. There are many exciting claims, but please, show me the math. As you can tell from a scan of my site, quaternions.com, for me, it is all in the details of the equations. I just conducted a survey of Bearden's site, looking for equations. That's where the beef is in physics.

You can make any claim you like, but the validity of equations can be tested. I scanned all the papers (except those in MS work format) at http://www.cheniere.org/techpapers/index.html and those in http://www.cheniere.org/misc/oulist.htm (technical papers and free energy). One paper had a few equations: Extracting and Using Electromagnetic Energy from the Active Vacuum The first 10 were a demonstration of gauge invariance. That is simple standard stuff found in undergraduate EM books (ie nothing new). Then the math went to nonsense (m->mt->m->mt???). I did not see any explicit equation to calculate how much energy is available from the vacuum. That presumably is a very important equation. Oh well. No equation to calculate the energy, no beef.

Except where someone like Bearden is quoting someone else, it is nonsense.


-- Douglas Sweetser (sweetser@alum.mit.edu), September 09, 2004.

In reply to Mr. Sweetser's post, I think the theory is available (it just isn't Bearden's theory or Whittaker's theory). For instance, Equation 390 of the following web page:


Seems to define longitudinal waves in a curl-free magnetic vector potential that appear to be very similar to the non-Hertzian waves that Tesla describes. I can't give you all the details yet because I am still working on them, but I have been convinced.

-- Thornton Green (viridian1138@earthlink.net), September 26, 2004.

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