Displacement Current



. .A Difficulty in Electromagnetic Theory. .

Catt Anomaly


The Diagonal.

This is an apocryphal story. The Pythagorean School held that the basis of all was Number; integers (whole numbers) and ratios of integers. A superstructure of philosophy was built on this basis.

Hippasus noticed that therefore the ratio of the side of a square to its diagonal must be the ratio of two integers. His proof that the square root of two was not rational would destroy the Pythagorean School of Philosophy from the ground up.

He was taken out in a boat and drowned.

The Catt Anomaly plays the same role in electromagnetic theory. [Note 1] As Dr. Lucia Turin of U.C.L. says, it should be dealt with on page one of a text book.

Instead of drowning, Catt is totally ignored, and his Anomaly is ignored, by professionals whose primary responsibility is to deal with such a problem. These include;

Alec Broers, Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University (past Professor of Electrical Engineering);

Professor Archie Howie F.R.S., Head of the Cavendish;

Atiyah, then President of the Royal Society, Master of Trinity Cambridge (my College) who made his reputation in String Theory, which is based on Electromagnetic Theory;

Professor Pepper F.R.S. of the Cavendish, Fellow of Trinity College, designated by Atiyah to pontificate on the Catt Anomaly, see www.ivorcatt.com/2812.htm ;

McEwan, Reader in Electromagnetism at Bradford University, designated by the Professor of Electrical Engineering to pontificate on the Catt Anomaly, see www.ivorcatt.com/2813.htm;

Professor Secker, the expert in the I.E.E. (Institution of Electrical Engineers) designated to comment on the Catt Anomaly.

The Question posed by the Catt Anomaly is this. Where does the negative charge come from in the lower conductor, to terminate the electric field which appears between the conductors as a TEM wave travels from west to east guided by two conductors?

Some of the listed Punkah-Wallahs state in writing that they are Westerners; the charge comes from the west, down the conductor, and does not have to travel at the speed of light in order to do its job; to terminate the electric field appearing between the wires. Other of the listed Punkah-Wallahs are Southerners, stating in writing that since the charge cannot get there in time from the west, it comes from the south, rising up from inside the conductor to terminate the electric field (flux) which appears between the wires. Others, like Alec Broers, Vice Chancellor, and Atyiah, Master of Trinity and President of the Royal Society, comment not at all, and do nothing whatsoever administratively to deal with the problem, presumably thinking that their role and duties have nothing to do with the pursuit of learning.

Broers was Master of Churchill College, past Professor of Electrical Engineering, did nothing when I wrote to him asking him to instruct Howie, who reported to him at the time, to resolve his difference with Pepper, who reported to Howie. Howie had stated in writing that he was a Westerner. Pepper had stated in writing that he was a Southerner. Atiyah did nothing beyond his first instruction to Pepper to pontificate on the Catt Anomaly, when Pepper stated in writing that he was a Southerner, and has ever since remained incommunicado.

Here is a list of attributions; which Punkah-Wallahs are Southerners, and which are Westerners.

Broers. Fifth Amendment.

Atiyah. Fifth Amendment.

Howie F.R.S.. Westerner.

Pepper F.R.S. Southerner.

McEwan. Westerner.

Secker. Southerner, then seven weeks later a Westerner, then self-disqualifying {claiming incompetence. The IEE refuses to replace him with another (hopefully competent) spokesman}.

Professor Pat Brown, Head of Electrical Engineering at Imperial College and then (1975) adjudged a leading expert in electromagnetic theory, has to be dismissed since he is in writing as being both a Southerner and a Westerner. (Called "the Polonius Effect", it took Secker to the top of the I.E.E. and "stinking fish" Brown to the top of Imperial College and GEC. However, like serial monogamy, these gents only cleave to one theory at any one time.)

It is worth repeating that these gents, bereft as they are of expertise in electromagnetic theory, have only to convene a properly announced meeting and properly publish the resulting discussion. I am not demanding technical competence from them. I am only asking them to enable, rather than obstruct, scientific advance. They have the power to do so, and that is what they are there for. However, they insist in being obstructive. In the nineteenth century, it was understood that it was necessary to find someone who would defend the reigning theory. Otherwise it would be discredited. These punkah-wallahs don't have to have a clue themselves. They only have to put out feelers to find someone willing to defend the theory they continue to teach, or else to publish that such a man does not exist.

Note 1. 14apr00. More accurately, an earlier discovery predates the Catt Anomaly, and is a closer parallel to the effect of the diagonal on Pythagorean Theory. This is the realisation that a capacitor is a transmission line, and that classical theory treats the capacitor and the transmission line in ways that are incompatible. In the capacitor we must have displacement current, "a leap of genius" when Maxwell put it there (- The Electromagnetic Field …. By G. W. Carter, pub. Longmans 1954, p262) while in the two wire transmission line, supporting the TEM wave, we must not have displacement current, although the situation is identical. The information was rejected for publication by all learned journals in the world, and was finally published in Wireless World in dec78, in the article entitled "Displacement Current". This information has to be withheld from all students of electromagnetism, and ignored by lecturers and text book writers. Otherwise, the whole structure of classical electromagnetism collapses. - Ivor Catt, 14apr00

What is Cambridge University for? I must say, I love dining at Trinity High Table. They live very well indeed. Afterwards, upstairs, nightly, when the special Trinity Madeira, the Port and the Claret go round and round, one feels well satisfied with life, and electromagnetism seems far away on alien shore. (The protocol for ordering a second flagon is a fascinating part of Trinity's ancient traditions; well worth preserving and celebrating.) I am only allowed four free visits a year, whereas the Punkah-Wallahs listed above can dine and drink every night. (Trinity is the richest college in Britain, and recently bailed out the University when it hit hard times. You need good trenchermen who can hold their liquor to maintain Trinity's traditions and keep its financial assets down to manageable proportions; less than the Queen's but more than the Church of England's. Last year, at least one of the Fellows failed, and drank himself to death.)

What are the Royal Society and the I.E.E. for? Again, the dinner at the I.E.E., when I was guest, was finest cuisine. I sat opposite Professor Secker, which did not help his digestion. We talked platitudes. After all, the poor man, designated e-m expert by the I.E.E., had then already in writing on 26oct95 asserted his incompetence.

 Ivor Catt. 24may99




Hippasus, credited as the discoverer of the irrationals, or perhaps another Pythagorean, threatened to reveal the “great secret” to the world. According to Calkins, “His associates, alarmed by this potential breach, conspired to throw him overboard the ship they were sailing.”



Perhaps his name was Hippasus of Metapontum. Perhaps the sect had sworn an oath to divulge nothing. Well, Hippasus of Metapontum spoke. Perhaps he was expelled. In any case, it seems certain that he died in a shipwreck. The anonymous scholiast continues: "The authors of this legend wanted to speak through allegory. Everything that is irrational and deprived of form must remain hidden, that is what they were trying to say. That if any soul wishes to penetrate this secret region and leave it open, then it will be engulfed in the sea of becoming, it will drown in its restless currents."



Robert Matthews, Sunday Telegraph, 12nov02, p37

Legend has it that around 500BC the Greek mathematician Hippasus of Metapontum proved that the length of the diagonal of a square with integer sides cannot be expressed as a ratio of two whole numbers. In other words, he had found an entirely new kind of number, the "irrationals", such as the square root of 2. …. They drowned him on the Mediterranean ….


…. The maxim of Max Planck, the father of quantum physics: "Science advances - funeral by funeral."


We have to wait for Huxley, Secker, Howie FRS, McEwan, Mink, Pepper FRS and a few more to die. Then we might be able to begin to say that a capacitor is a transmission line. However, won't we first have to wait for their students to die?


Big clods have little clods

Upon their backs to bite 'em.

And these clods have lesser clods,

And so ad infinitum.


Ivor Catt  10nov02