Author Topic: Woodward's effect  (Read 285743 times)

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #260 on: 06/13/2013 07:50 AM »
Everything about it obviously breaks the fundamental laws of physics, starting with (local) conservation of momentum.
Are you even sure about that?  It really does not seem obvious to me.

I know this is going to sound very insulting ...

Edited.
« Last Edit: 06/13/2013 04:03 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #261 on: 06/13/2013 01:29 PM »
I have a different problem. If the inertia depends on the interaction with the rest of causally connected universe, shouldn't it change over time as far-off mass leaves the casually connected sphere? Especially, shouldn't it be dramatically different in the early universe?

The idea that it depends on how much mass is in the "causally connected universe" is nuts.

Well, that sounds like you too are "continuing to post logical responses in spite of the evidence that most of the other people posting here could not tell the difference between logic and illogic".

Quote from: Chris Wilson
The idea that an effect here and now on an object depends on whether a causal link could happen at any point in the future is crazy.  It's confusing instantaneous causality with future causality.

You're beginning to see some of the problem:

It is held by Mr. Woodward and the proponents of his theory that inertia, as they deduce from Sciama, is an instantaneous connection between local matter and the rest of the universe.

One cannot help but ask about other "instantaneous" connections.

In addition, the universe is said to be increasing its mass, yet the inertia of local objects does not seem to change.  Woodward's group claims to have evidence of mass fluctuations under certain laboratory conditions.

One cannot help but ask about how the changing mass of the universe affects their theory.

The vast majority of reputable physicists ignore Woodward. ... Don't you think that if there were anything to it by now at least one reputable physicist somewhere would have noticed? ...

At least one reputable physicist did carefully consider Woodward's theories and wrote up an analysis that said they were bogus.  Don't you think if the analysis itself was flawed some other reputable physicist would have noticed the analysis was flawed?

I have read most of the published material.  It is impenetrable.  The problem with those other "reputable physicists" is that the material is no mathematical walk in the park for them either.  Besides, who will fund their time to get up to speed?

Probably, they're waiting for Woodward's group to float one of the devices into a room.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline 93143

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #262 on: 06/13/2013 10:02 PM »
It is held by Mr. Woodward and the proponents of his theory that inertia, as they deduce from Sciama, is an instantaneous connection between local matter and the rest of the universe.

No, this is not true.

Inertial reaction is instantaneous, yes.  But this is purportedly due to Wheeler-Feynman-style transactional radiation, which travels at the speed of light forward and backward in time.  That is, part of the gravinertial radiation emitted by an accelerating object is supposedly reversed-time radiation from the distant universe being absorbed.

It is postulated that the total gravitational potential due to the observable universe is invariant and equal to c.  Currently available cosmological data seems to pretty much match this; not sure how this plays with the source of the reaction being in the future...

I'm still not totally sold on his theory; I haven't had the time or mental energy to really dig into his math.  But so far as I can tell from the available data, his devices do seem to work.

By "reputable physicist", are we referring to whoever did the Oak Ridge analysis?  Or has someone else addressed this?
« Last Edit: 07/12/2013 06:45 AM by 93143 »

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #263 on: 06/14/2013 05:20 AM »

The vast majority of reputable physicists ignore Woodward. ... Don't you think that if there were anything to it by now at least one reputable physicist somewhere would have noticed? ...

At least one reputable physicist did carefully consider Woodward's theories and wrote up an analysis that said they were bogus.  Don't you think if the analysis itself was flawed some other reputable physicist would have noticed the analysis was flawed?

I have read most of the published material.  It is impenetrable.  The problem with those other "reputable physicists" is that the material is no mathematical walk in the park for them either.  Besides, who will fund their time to get up to speed?

Probably, they're waiting for Woodward's group to float one of the devices into a room.

Fortunately, it's often not necessary to learn all the details of a theory in order to prove it is incorrect.

For example, suppose someone hands you a 5,000 page purported proof that pi is rational.  You needn't read and understand even a single page of this proof to correctly conclude it is wrong.  It is enough to know there is a valid proof of the contrary, that pi is irrational.

As another example, take the EmDrive.  It's inventor claims that bouncing microwaves around a closed container in a clever way leads to a net force on the container.  He claims to have worked out the math that shows this.  Do you need to follow through all his calculations to see if he is wrong?  No!  Because he states that the calculations are all based on commonly-accepted physics, and it has been mathematically proven that commonly-accepted physics always leads to conservation of momentum, so his calculations have to be in error, even if you don't bother to track down the error.

The Woodward Effect is a somewhat different case, since at least some proponents seem to acknowledge that it relies on new physics.  However, even without knowing any of the details of the theory, we can know for sure that if it is true, some very, very fundamental properties of all known physics are violated.  Instantaneously transferring inertia with the entire rest of the universe (or some large part of it) violates the second law of thermodynamics.  It also violates the principal that all exchanges of information can travel no faster than the speed of light.

Also, even without knowing any details of the mathematics of the theory, from its broad outlines we can know that it doesn't solve any discrepency between experimental results and known physics with the sole exception of claimed results by Woodward's circle.  Given the sweeping implications of the theory, it is beyond belief that it could have had no effect that was noticeable in the hundreds of thousands of physics experiments that have been done that have confirmed known physics but happen not to have been done by Woodward or his followers.

So, without a solid, reproducible experimental result that contradicts known physics, there's very little reason for an outside physicist to bother with the inscrutable math of Woodward's theory.

In other words, the reputable physicists have very good reason to wait for Woodward's group to float one of the devices into a room

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #264 on: 06/14/2013 05:26 AM »
I'm still not totally sold on his theory; I haven't had the time or mental energy to really dig into his math.  But so far as I can tell from the available data, his devices do seem to work.

There's a long history of devices of this sort seeming to work when the forces claimed are very small.  There are just all kinds of unintended interactions with the outside world that can lead to erroneous results.  Their proponents never get convinced the devices don't work, the mainstream physics community never gets convinced the devices do work, and their inventors never successfully scale them up to do anything of practical value.

Offline 93143

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #265 on: 06/14/2013 06:29 AM »
Given that you still seem to be under the impression that Woodward's theory requires instantaneous communication with distant matter, I don't see why I should accept your conclusions regarding it.

It's not new physics.  It's neglected physics.  The basics were worked out in the '50s and '60s, based solely on General Relativity, by Stephen Hawking's doctoral supervisor.  Whether it means what Woodward says it does - that's the part I haven't figured out yet.  But it is IMO pretty arrogant to claim that it can't before either studying the theory in detail or reading up on the experiments, when it isn't obvious that it violates any well-established physical principles.
« Last Edit: 06/14/2013 06:33 AM by 93143 »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #266 on: 06/14/2013 06:32 AM »
What I wanna know is what it has to do with spaceflight... other than grandiose claims about what it might mean for spaceflight if it works - in which case, we might as well talk about unicorns as I hear you can ride them to Mars without even a spacesuit.

Isn't there some nerdy physics forum that can host this conversation? Or are their standards too high?
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Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #267 on: 06/14/2013 06:54 AM »
Given that you still seem to be under the impression that Woodward's theory requires instantaneous communication with distant matter, I don't see why I should accept your conclusions regarding it.

It's not new physics.  It's neglected physics.  The basics were worked out in the '50s and '60s, based solely on General Relativity, by Stephen Hawking's doctoral supervisor.  Whether it means what Woodward says it does - that's the part I haven't figured out yet.  But it is IMO pretty arrogant to claim that it can't before either studying the theory in detail or reading up on the experiments, when it isn't obvious that it violates any well-established physical principles.

No, Sciama never claimed the Woodward Effect or anything like it was true.  Woodward and his circle simply claim they are basing their theory on his work, and Sciama is conveniently dead and unable to protest having his name be sullied by association with the Woodward Effect.

What Sciama actually worked out was another way of looking at exactly the same physical laws that were already accepted.  It's just another mathematical system for specifying exactly the same predicted results.

Woodward absolutely does propose new physics: a new field that supposedly transmits inertia between an object and the rest of the universe.  Nothing in commonly-accepted physics would have a mass vary as Woodward proposes it would.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #268 on: 06/14/2013 06:58 AM »
What I wanna know is what it has to do with spaceflight... other than grandiose claims about what it might mean for spaceflight if it works - in which case, we might as well talk about unicorns as I hear you can ride them to Mars without even a spacesuit.

I have a 30,000 page theory that says unicorns can fly us to Mars.  Unless you read all 30,000 pages and follow every detail in them, you're not qualified to even talk about space unicorns.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #269 on: 06/14/2013 07:02 AM »
What I wanna know is what it has to do with spaceflight... other than grandiose claims about what it might mean for spaceflight if it works - in which case, we might as well talk about unicorns as I hear you can ride them to Mars without even a spacesuit.

Well the shortest answer is that it would eliminate the #1 ending reason for ending the life of a communications satellite because they would never run out of fuel for station keeping.

That's worth $$$ to the operators of communications satellites would could lower the cost of your satellite TV subscription.  :)
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #270 on: 06/14/2013 07:14 AM »
What I wanna know is what it has to do with spaceflight... other than grandiose claims about what it might mean for spaceflight if it works - in which case, we might as well talk about unicorns as I hear you can ride them to Mars without even a spacesuit.

Well the shortest answer is that it would eliminate the #1 ending reason for ending the life of a communications satellite because they would never run out of fuel for station keeping.

That's worth $$$ to the operators of communications satellites would could lower the cost of your satellite TV subscription.  :)

Thanks for repeating my basic argument (which you seemed to miss).
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Offline 93143

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #271 on: 06/14/2013 07:32 AM »
What is the relevance of Skylon/SABRE, or reusable Falcon 9, to spaceflight, other than grandiose claims about what it means for spaceflight if it works?

You see the problem?  If a promising technology isn't developed and deployed already, it doesn't matter how high the TRL is; your question has no answer.

This is the advanced concepts section.  Mach effect is a proposed form of field propulsion based on general relativity that does not require new physics, is not demonstrably in conflict with known physical principles, has never been discredited in the peer-reviewed literature so far as I am aware, and is under ongoing investigation, having reportedly produced experimental results that match approximate theoretical predictions within an order of magnitude despite persistent attempts to eliminate sources of error.

The contempt of armchair physicists does not constitute a reason to ignore this topic, not while there's more to be learned.  Mere pessimism, even less so.
« Last Edit: 06/14/2013 07:55 AM by 93143 »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #272 on: 06/14/2013 08:03 AM »
What is the relevance of Skylon/SABRE, or reusable Falcon 9, to spaceflight, other than grandiose claims about what it means for spaceflight if it works?

That's why we talk about what they're actually doing and don't bother rambling about their grandiose claims.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline 93143

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #273 on: 06/14/2013 08:07 AM »
I don't know if you noticed, but the post that dredged this thread up from the depths was mostly composed of a lengthy writeup on the interpretation of experimental results in an attempt to falsify a theoretical conjecture.  No "grandiose claims", just a discussion of lab work.

Besides, people totally discuss SpaceX's grandiose claims on here, even making some of their own...

Discussing the possibilities stemming from a development is pretty standard on these forums, unless you're in L2 or an update thread.  As far as I recall, Mach effect actually sees surprisingly little of that; most of the discussion is about whether or not it can work at all, and its potential for revolutionizing spaceflight is mostly left to the imagination.
« Last Edit: 06/14/2013 09:20 AM by 93143 »

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #274 on: 06/14/2013 10:21 AM »
Discussing the possibilities stemming from a development is pretty standard on these forums, unless you're in L2 or an update thread.  As far as I recall, Mach effect actually sees surprisingly little of that; most of the discussion is about whether or not it can work at all, and its potential for revolutionizing spaceflight is mostly left to the imagination.

It shouldn't be surprising.  Nobody doubts the fundamental physics behind SLS or Falcon Heavy, so the discussion focuses on the execution details and engineering trade-offs.  Most people here likely consider the Woodward Effect to be pseudoscience.

Offline 93143

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #275 on: 06/14/2013 11:01 AM »
No, it's not really all that surprising; I guess I pretty much left that word in out of laziness.  Even if you don't consider it pseudoscience - even if you assume it will work, which to my knowledge no one here does - we simply don't know enough about the (hypothetical) practicalities to do more than wildly speculate, which can be fun for a bit but doesn't accomplish much.
« Last Edit: 06/14/2013 11:02 AM by 93143 »

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #276 on: 06/14/2013 12:18 PM »
For example, suppose someone hands you a 5,000 page purported proof that pi is rational.  You needn't read and understand even a single page of this proof to correctly conclude it is wrong.  It is enough to know there is a valid proof of the contrary, that pi is irrational.

Newton proved light is a wave.

Einstein won a Nobel for proving light is also a particle.

cheers, Martin

PS I'm neutral on Woodward effect.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #277 on: 06/14/2013 01:44 PM »
Quote from: jf
It is held by Mr. Woodward and the proponents of his theory that inertia, as they deduce from Sciama, is an instantaneous connection between local matter and the rest of the universe.

No, this is not true.

Inertial reaction is instantaneous, yes.

Ok.  Excellent nit on terminology.  Which doesn't explain a thing.

I'm fine with calling it an inertial reaction.  So let's rephrase my comment.

It is held by Mr. Woodward and the proponents of his theory that inertia, as they deduce from Sciama, is an instantaneous reaction between local matter and the rest of the universe.

Satisfied?  Explained?

What, pray tell, is the "connection" with the distant matter which effects this intantaneous "reaction"?

I just bought and read Woodward's book, where the notion of Wheeler Feynmen transactional radiation is discussed.  I had not heard of that theory until then.  In fact, this is relatively new to the oracle as well: 2005.

Anyhow, today, the oracle reports:

Quote
Indeed, there is no apparent reason for the time-reversal symmetry breaking which singles out a preferential time direction, that is which makes a distinction between past and future. A time-reversal invariant theory is more logical and elegant.

Without getting unnecessarily sidetracked into the obvious favoritism regarding the direction of time that most of us have experienced over our lives, "elegance" and "logic", should they not pertain to reality, have no basis in a theory.  IOW, Occam's razor applies only to reality.  Agreed?

There are problems with Wheeler and Feynman's theory.

Quote
The requirement of time reversal symmetry, in general, is difficult to conjugate with the principle of causality.

Why?  "The advanced solutions are usually discarded in the interpretation of electromagnetic waves" because they violate the causality principle: "advanced waves could be detected before their emission".

Then, unfortunately for me, the article goes all math.  Even so, by my read, the article also gets a mite too self-referential:

"The resulting wave appears to have a preferred time direction, because it respects causality", which seems to be explaining that causality causes the preferred time direction.  Which, while "elegant" does not really explain or prove Wheeler and Feynman's theory.

I definitely learned something from reading the oracle just now.  Problem is, I'm not sure what.  Time symmetry is still broken in the experimental world.  Just sayin'.

Quote from: 93143
It is postulated that GM/R, where M and R are the mass and radius of the observable universe, is invariant and equal to c.

I understand the principle of that constant.  But M and R are changing.  Over time, some of the M moves outside of our causality, yet still is apparently involved in the instantateous inertial reactions that we observe locally.  'Splain dat.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #278 on: 06/14/2013 01:56 PM »
As another example, take the EmDrive.  It's inventor claims that bouncing microwaves around a closed container in a clever way leads to a net force on the container.

Just a friendly reminder of the Law of Internets Posting History.  Just because you may not have read others' comments, doesn't mean that the others have not addressed an issue on the table at the current moment.

In the other thread, I followed the EmDrive logic to the same conclusion.  Moving right along:

Quote from: Chris Wilson
Instantaneously transferring inertia with the entire rest of the universe (or some large part of it) violates the second law of thermodynamics.

That's correct.  [Edit: That seems to be correct, but there also seems to be a theoretical loophole, the Mach interpretation on inertia, which may provide a "loophole",]  The instantaneous reaction of inertia that we observe locally, is said, first by Sciama, and then by Woodward, to be dependent upon an intantaneous "connection" with the rest of the universe.

Nobody on this thread, or the other one, can explain why Sciama is necessarily wrong.  Neither has anybody debunked Sciama in the general physicist community.  What I'm pointing out is that there is some theoretical basis upon which Woodward bases the initial part of his theory.  If Sciama is wrong, then probably Woodward is also.

Obviously, physicists need a day job.  Pragmatically speaking, it would probably cost less to investigate Sciama's theory first.  As it stands, inertia has not yet been explained, nor has Sciama been disproven.

In the meantime, I'm glad that you agree with me the necessity of providing the experimental proof of the floating device.
« Last Edit: 06/14/2013 07:39 PM by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Woodward's effect
« Reply #279 on: 06/14/2013 02:03 PM »
No, Sciama never claimed the Woodward Effect or anything like it was true.  Woodward and his circle simply claim they are basing their theory on his work, and Sciama is conveniently dead and unable to protest having his name be sullied by association with the Woodward Effect.

Nice ad hominem on Woodward, but you miss the point of Sciama's suggested explanation for inertia.  It is an explanation that is completely independent of his death, or of his known, somewhat shocking habits of writing about physics.

You have not explained Sciama's theory and why it is false.  You won't because you can't.

I know that I can't, therefore I won't.  But I still study Sciama.  I might learn something.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.