The Creative Science
Investigating Achillean Relativity - more details (ca. 1997)
Note: for the latest work by Neill Jones download his PDF article: more details
Soon after I first meet Neill Jones he enthused about a project he had been
working on in his own time based on Relativity Theory. He had spent many
months (years) developing his own ideas and had written up the core of his findings
in manuscript form. The theory was quite advanced and so he knew that he
needed help and advice from other experts in the field. He sent copies of
his manuscript to over ten reserchers/professors in the field of relativity
throughout the UK and Europe. As far as I am aware he only had one reply
from all this work. The reply was from a researcher who appologised that he
did not have the time to comment on Neill's letter or manuscript.
Both Neill and I studied physics at university and both of us were
particularly interested in
relativity. As often happens in science (or in fact in any detailed study
made over a long time) its hard for someone to take in months, or perhaps
years, of work in a few days. Also on a technical matter my own learning of
relativity theory, at Surrey University, was based mainly on 'four vectors'
while Neill used a 'tensor notation' throughout his theory. Consiquently I
must say that I found it hard to feel familiar and confident with many of
the details of the mathematics and arguments that Neill explained to me in
his theory. Although my understanding of Neills theory was sparse I did
however understand the consiquences of the predictions of his theory. From
this we based an experiment to test his theory.
NEILL JONES ACHILLEAN RELATIVITY - A PREDICTION:
I will try to explain a prediction of Neills theory from the following example:
From fundemental physics we know that if an electron moves into a region of
an electric field it will experience a force that will accelerate it. The
electric field (ie. volts per meter) is given as the rate of change of the
potential (volts) with respect to distance. Whether the potential is
changing from 1000 to 1001 volts or from 0 to 1 volt, over the region of the
field, is not important because it is the change in potential that
consitutes the electric field and in this case the change is the same value.
In Neills theory however his calculations suggested that there would be a
second force on the electron additional to that of the electric field and
that this would be significant only for very high potentials (ie.
V~1,000,000 volts which is why he thought it had not been detected before).
Neill predicted that there should be a very small but perhaps detectible
effect for potentals of around 1000V, perhaps a change in force of 0.01 %.
Standard theory: |
(Force proportional to electric feild)
| F ~ A(dV/dx)
Achillean Relativity: |
(Force proportional to electric field
and proportional to magnitude of potential)
|F ~ A(dV/dx) + B.V
(where A and B are constants, dV/dx is the electric field and V the potential)
OTHER WORK IN THIS AREA:
Those that are interested might like to look at the following paper written way back in 1959,
Significance of Electromagnetic Potentials in the Quantum Theory
Y. Aharonov and D. Bohm, The Physical Review, August 1959, Vol. 115, No.3, p.485-491.
PHILOSOPHICAL BASIS FOR THE EXPERIMENT:
A current is a flow of electrons. If an electron feels a force due in an
electric feild then it is resonable to assume that a current will also be
affected because it is made up of electrons. According to Neills theory, an
electron will feel a force due to the electric fieid and also an additional
force due to the value of the potential. If we assume for the basis of this
argument that there might be a linear relationship between the overall
effect on a single electron and the overall effect on a group of electrons
(ie. a current) then it is reasonable to assume that a current might be
effected to the same degree as a free electron - at least to 'first order'.
I was interested in helping Neill develop an experiment to test his theory
as this is where my skills and interests are. As a result I was more
interested in thinking about the experimental problems rather than the
deeper aspects of the theory but I was worried a bit about the idea of a
potential having some absolute meaning (rather than just with respect to
some arbitary value - say Earth potental) which his theory seemed to
suggest. Anyway I was delighted that the CSC could help in this rather
THE BASIS OF THE EXPERIMENT:
If an electron feels an additional force due to the magnitude of the
potental then a current should also be effected and we should be able to
measure this effect using sensitive electronics. According to his theory we
devised a simple, but very sensitive piece of appartus to test the
prediction. The experiment consisted of measuring very presisely the current
flowing within a simple circuit 'immersed' within
i) a high voltage
ii) 'zero' potential and comparing the two results.
The experiment consisted of the following :
1) we set up a simple current loop consisting of a battery, resistor and LED
in series (9V PP3 Duracell). This simple circuit was mounted in a metal cylinder to screen it
from outside electric fields. The light from the LED was passed out of the
cylinder by an optical fibre (wires were not used as they might introduce
electric fields from outside).
The light o/p from the LED gives an indication of the current flowing in the
2) the other end of the fibre was fed into a sensitive light detector that
would convert the light into a voltage. This voltage was then amplified and
compared to a precision reference and any changes in voltage (ie. LED light
o/p from the screened circuit) could be measured with precsion and great
3) with the appartus set up and running we would calibrate to see if it was
sensitive enough to detect Neills predicted current change.
4) run the apparatus with a) the screened cylinder at Earth potential and
then at b) 1000 V wrt Earth.
Neill predicted that there should be a very small but detectible effect
according to his theory for this potenial (1000V) - perhaps a change of 0.01
% in the LED current
5) a chart recorder was used to measure voltages through out the experiment.
Before running the experiment the appartus was calibrated. Two main
calibrations were needed
i) the current v light o/p from the LED was established
ii) the appartus was tested to see if it was sensitive and
stable enough to measure the 0.01 % effect predicted.
The first test was done by measuring the LED current with a digital meter
and the light o/p was measured using the detector (which used a photo diode
as transducer and was basicaly linear). Doing this we were able to find a
range of currents were the light o/p was proprtional to current (ie. the
linear part of the current v light o/p curve). A suitable resistor was
chosen so that the LED worked within this range. This was important if we
were to extrapolate information from the LED o/p. On the basis of these
measurements a resistor value of 1500 ohms was chosen (for 9V PP3 Duracell).
The second calibration was acheived as follows:
The LED circuit was set up un-screened and the detector adjusted (set so
that the o/p was about half way between zero and maximum voltage o/p - a few
volts) so that any changes occured in a region within the maximum dynamic
range of the electronics). Neill had calculated that the effect on the LED
current would be very small, perhaps a change of 0.01 % in the LED current.
The LED circuit consisted of a 1500 ohm resistor in series with a 9V battery
and an ultra-bright LED. To simulate this sort of change in LED current a
15M ohm resistor was placed across the 1500 ohm resistor (ie. in parellel)
to a give a 0.01 % change in curent:
change in current through 1500 ohm resistor by placing 15,000,000 ohm in
1500/15000000 x 100/1 = 0.01 % change in current (ie 1 part in 10,000)
To our great surprise and delight the chart recorder clearly showed the
desired change (a change of about 1mV on a 1V o/p). The appartus appeared to
be working very well and quite capable of measuring tiny changes in the LED
current via the optical fibre. (Note: the short term (~1 sec) stability
which was neeeded for this experiment, was very good but the long term
stability was probably quite poor).
FIRST TEST RUNS:
The appartus was then set up and allowed to settle down for several hours
(electronics often takes this time to attain thermal stability - a point
that is well worth noting when building sensitive intruments). The light o/p
from the LED was observed to fall very slowly as one might expect due to the
slight running down of the battery. The screened cylider was earthed and the
detector o/p set up as before. The cylinder was then connected to 1000V from
an HT generator. The cylinder was alternatly connected to 0 (Earth) then
1000V every couple of seconds, so that a change in the o/p (if any) could be
easly noted against the slow drift of the battery running down and also to
give the cylinder adiquate time to charge and discharge.
No observable change in LED (brightness) current was observed for potentail
changes of 0V to 1000V or from 1000V to 0V.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN ?
At first glance it appears that the experiment has proven Neills theory was
wrong. But one has to go into the theory a little deeper in order to show
that this is actually so. It is extremly easy to miss out constants and
factors in these sort of calculations and these can change the predicted
values of effects by any number of 10's, 100's or 1000's if not accounted
for. It is easy to make mistakes in course work where all the formulas have
been derived before, but when creating ones own ideas one is 'out on your
own' - mistakes are inevitable. So we need to go back and check the
calculations and ensure that no factors have been ignored or overlooked.
After the simple LED current loop experiment had been made we thought about
a number of other ideas that might be worth trying. Neill was worried that
his theory might not apply to electrons within a material and that some
solid state effect might be coming into play. To takle this problem we
experimented for a little while with using a thermionic valve. In this type
of device the electrons travel through a vacuum, their path and density
being determined and modified by voltages on grids and electrodes within the
triode. We felt that as the electrons within this device were 'free' rather
than in the solid state (as in a wire or LED etc.) it might be a better
place in wich to look for his predicted effect. Although we made a prototype
experiment we unfortunatly could not make the electron emisson very stable
- the results however appeared to be the same as with the simple LED, resistor
and battery circuit.
Although the experiment showed that we could not detect the predicted
effect, the experiment was by no means a failure. Before the experiment
Neill had had very little help from researchers in the field and joining up
with The Creative Science Centre allowed him to think about ways of really
testing his theory. Also because of the Centre's connections Neill was able
to talk in detail to Prof. William McCrea (these have been recorded and are
in the CSC audio tape archives) and Prof. Danko Bosanac, both internationaly
recognised experts in the field who actively encouraged Neill and inspired
him. I would like to thank Neill for letting me get involved in his theory
and for the great time we both had working together with this common cause.
There was a real sense of excitment when the calibration was completed (one
midnight in the lab !) and nail bitting times during the first test runs. We
would also like to thank Dr Bernd Eggen who was computer-on-line live from
Exeter university during the experiments and for his usual good nature and
inspiration throughout the experiments.
To Neill: dont give up - keep on with it !!
The pictures show Neill Jones working on the cylindrical Faraday screen
needed for the experiment.
Also shown is the calibration chart recorder trace which clearly shows the
change in o/p for a change
in current of about 1 part in 10,000 (see text).
Page last update: 21st. April 1999
Contents are copyright Creative Science Centre, University of Sussex.
THE CREATIVE SCIENCE CENTRE
Dr Jonathan Hare, The University of Sussex
Brighton, East Sussex. BN1 9QJ
home | diary | whats on | CSC summary | latest news