Gyroscopic Antigravity? - 09/22/97

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 22:53:12 -0500
From: Barbara Flick
To: Jerry Decker
Subject: Fwd: Scientists 'beat gravity' using a gyroscope

The Electronic Telegraph
Sunday 21 September 1997

Scientists 'beat gravity' using a gyroscope
By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent

A TEAM of scientists backed by a leading Japanese multi-national company claims to have found a way of generating "anti-gravity" using nothing more than a spinning gyroscope.

Although the claimed effect is extremely feeble - amounting to a loss in weight of just one part in 7,000 - the team insists that it cannot be explained away as experimental error.

Such claims have been circulating for at least a decade and have always been surrounded by controversy. According to conventional physics, it is impossible for any object to generate anti-gravity, or even to screen out its effects.

Devices that reduce the force of gravity would effectively give everyone exceptional strength, able to take on lifting tasks previously unimaginable. They would also revolutionise transportation, where huge amounts of fuel and pollution are used to overcome gravity and so-called rolling friction caused by weight.

The biggest impact, however, would be on space exploration. By eliminating the expense and danger of powerful rocket engines currently needed to escape from the gravitational field of the Earth, space travel would become routine.

These prospects seemed set to come a little closer to reality last year, following the work of a Russian scientist, Eugene Podkletnov, who was about to publish a paper on an anti-gravity machine in a prestigious British physics journal.

Yet just days before the paper was due to appear, Dr Podkletnov withdrew it, citing concern over patent applications. Nothing has been heard of it since, although Nasa, the America space agency, is reported to be trying to repeat the experiments in its own laboratories.

Now new fuel has been added to the antigravity controversy by Hideo Hayasaka and colleagues at the Faculty of Engineering, Tohoku University, Japan, together with Matsushita, the Japanese multinational. The team has carried out a new set of experiments aimed at detecting anti-gravity generated by a small gyroscope.

The principle behind the experiment is very simple. After spinning up the gyroscope to 18,000 revolutions per minute, it is put inside an airtight container and allowed to fall between two laser beams. These record how long the gyroscope takes to fall nearly 6ft between the two beams. Any reduction in the strength of gravity reveals itself in a slight increase in the time it takes to fall the 6ft.

In a series of 10 runs, the team found that the gyroscope took about 1/25,000 of a second longer to fall when it was spinning than when it was stationary - equivalent to an anti-gravity effect of just one part in 7,000.

And in a curious twist, the anti-gravity only appeared when the gyroscope was spinning anticlockwise. The team members claim that both this, and the size of the effect, are in line with earlier findings published by them in 1989.

Reporting their latest results in the journal Speculations in Science and Technology, they say: "We conclude that our previous result concerning weight- change measurements are substantiated."

Other scientists are far less convinced. "I didn't believe those earlier results were worth the paper they were written on," said one leading physicist.

According to Professor Eric Laithwaite of Imperial College, London, an authority on gyroscopes, the idea that the anti-gravity effect appears only when the gyroscope is spinning in one direction is suspicious.

"It goes against one's natural feeling about how the laws of nature work."