Anti-gravity is one of the holy grails of technology -- a thing at once supremely desirable yet also hugely improbable, at least by conventional standards. Without doubt, well funded research on anti-gravity technology was undertaken in the United States, Great Britain and perhaps other nations from the early 1950s onward. No definite results were ever announced, yet rumors of breakthroughs have circulated for years, sometimes associated with claims that our government has created genuine flying saucers -- or perhaps learned the lessons of anti-gravity from recovered alien technology.
On September 1, the British Electronic Telegraph ran a story announcing that scientists in Finland had accidentally discovered a means of producing anti-gravity. According to reporters Robert Matthews and Ian Sample, NASA and other interested parties were lining up for a close look, and the research was to be formally presented in the October edition of the prestigious Journal of Physics-D: Applied Physics, published by Britain's Institute of Physics.
However, Robert Sample subsequently learned that some of the scientists allegedly involved with the anti-gravity breakthrough were disavowing any knowledge of it. Though the Journal of Physics-D maintained the appearance of confidence in the research paper, by September 9 the head of the project, Dr. Eugene Podkletnov, had withdrawn the paper from publication.
According to the September 1 story by Matthews and Sample:
"Scientists in Finland are about to reveal details of the world's first anti-gravity device. Measuring about 12 inches across, the device is said to reduce significantly the weight of anything suspended over it. The claim -- which has been rigorously examined by scientists, and is due to appear in a physics journal next month -- could spark a technological revolution. By combating gravity, the most ubiquitous force in the universe, everything from transport to power generation could be transformed.
"The Sunday Telegraph has learned that NASA, the American space agency, is taking the claims seriously, and is funding research into how the anti-gravity effect could be turned into a means of flight.
"According to Dr. Eugene Podkletnov, who led the research [at the Tampere University of Technology in Finland], the discovery was accidental. It emerged during routine work on so-called "superconductivity," the ability of some materials to lose their electrical resistance at very low temperatures. The team was carrying out tests on a rapidly spinning disc of superconducting ceramic suspended in the magnetic field of three electric coils, all enclosed in a low-temperature vessel called a cryostat.
"'One of my friends came in and he was smoking his pipe,' Dr. Podkletnov said. 'He put some smoke over the cryostat and we saw that the smoke was going to the ceiling all the time. It was amazing. We couldn't explain it.'
"Tests showed a small drop in the weight of objects placed over the device, as if it were shielding the object from the effects of gravity -- an effect deemed impossible by most scientists.
"The team found that even the air pressure vertically above the device dropped slightly, with the effect detectable directly above the device on every floor of the laboratory.
"This claim has survived intense scrutiny by sceptical, independent experts, and has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Physics-D: Applied Physics, published by Britain's Institute of Physics."
However, Robert Matthews subsequently learned that Professor Tuomo Tiainen of Tampere University Institute of Materials Science had disclaimed any knowledge of the alleged anti-gravity research. Similarly, Petri Vuorinen, whose name appears on the research paper as co-author, disclaimed any involvement.
Contacted for an explanation, project leader Eugene Podkletnov defended the research. Professor Tiainen told Matthews that Podkletnov had formerly done good work at Tampere in superconductivity, and that he (Tiainen) was not in a position to judge whether or not Podkletnov's anti-gravity claims had merit. However, inconsistencies in the story and the alleged cast of characters continued to emerge.
As of September 8, Matthews said, the British Institute of Physics was still acting as if they intended to publish the paper. However, by September 9, Podkletnov had requested that the paper be withdrawn from publication, and the Institute of Physics had agreed.
As of this writing, it remains unclear whether or not the original claims of Podkletnov had any merit.
Original file name: .CNI - Antigravity Withdrawn
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