The Incredible Genius
Of Eric Laithwaite

©2003 Richard Milton

The Royal Institution is Not Amused
Few people visit the Royal Institution, in London's Albemarle Street, for amusement. There are not many laughs at Britain's second oldest scientific institution, founded in 1799, where Sir Humphry Davy demonstrated his discovery of the elements sodium and potassium and where Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction. It's true there have been some lighter moments in the famous circular lecture theatre, especially since Sir William Bragg introduced Christmas Lectures for Children in the 1920s. But, on the whole, this is stuffed shirt territory.
One night in 1973 the stuffed shirts got a shock from which they have still not recovered. It was an experience at which, like Queen Victoria, they were not amused. Indeed it was so unamusing for them that it is the only occasion in the Royal Institution's two hundred year history that it has failed to publish a proceedings of a major lecture, or 'evening discourse'. The cause of this unique case of scientific censorship was the maverick professor of electrical engineering of Imperial College, London, Eric Laithwaite.
Laithwaite was no stranger to controversy even before his shadow fell across so distinguished an institutional threshold. In the 1960s, Laithwaite invented the linear electric motor, a device that can power a passenger train. In the 1970s, he and his colleagues combined the linear motor with the latest hovercraft technology to create a British experimental high speed train. This was a highly novel, but perfectly orthodox technology.
The advantages of such a tracked hovercraft are obvious to anyone who sees a hover-rail train running along,suspended in the air above the track -- it is quiet, has no moving parts to wear out and is practically maintenance-free. The significance of this last point quickly becomes clear when you learn that more than 80 per cent of the annual running costs of any railway system is spent on maintenance of track and rolling stock because of daily wear. The British government at first invested in the development of his device but later, after a series of budget cuts, pulled out pleading the need for economy. Laithwaite, a blunt-speaking Lancashire man who did not shrink from speaking unpopular truths, told the Government and its scientific bureaucrats the mistake they were making in no uncertain terms, but its decision to cancel was unchanged.
Laithwaite refused to be beaten and took his invention one step further. He designed an even better kind of hover train -- one in which his linear motor was levitated by electromagnetism giving a rapid transit system that not only provides quiet, efficient magnetic suspension over a maintenance-free track, but which generates the electricity to power the magnetic lift of the track from the movement of the train.
Speaking in the early 1970s, Laithwaite said of his new 'Maglev' system, 'We've designed a motor to propel [the train] that gives you the lift and guidance for nothing -- literally for nothing: for no additional equipment and no additional power input. This is beyond my wildest dreams -- that I should ever see that sort of thing.'
Laithwaite's Maglev design was not quite perpetual motion, but certainly sounded enough like something-for-nothing to make the scientific establishment turn its nose up in suspicion. But this project, too, was cancelled by the government and further development was halted. Today, Maglev trains are being built in Germany and Japan but Britain continues to spend 80 per cent of its railway budget on maintenance of conventional transport systems -- several hundred millions every year.
With the Maglev project cancelled, the technology Laithwaite had devoted the previous twenty years to developing was put in mothballs. The object of his entire career for decades disappeared overnight. By an extraordinary chance atjust the same time that the Maglev project was cancelled, Laithwaite received an intriguing telephone call out of the blue from an amateur inventor, Alex Jones.
Jones claimed to have a remarkable new invention to demonstrate which he had tried to interest scientists and engineers in, so far without success. Would Laitwaite like to take a look at it? While others had dismissed Jones as a crank, Laithwaite, now with time on his hands, invited him to come to Imperial College.
When Jones arrived in the laboratory he had a strange-looking contraption to show. It was a simple wooden frame on wheels that could be pushed backwards and forwards on the bench top, like a child's trolley. But suspended from the front of the frame was a heavy metal object that could swing from side to side like a pendulum. The metal object, Jones explained, was a gyroscope.
As Laithwaite looked on in puzzled amazement, Jones started the gyroscope spinning and then allowed it to swing from side to side. The wooden box moved along the bench top on its wheels although there was no drive to the wheels and no external thrust of any kind -- something that shouldn't happen according to the laws of physics.
'When Alex switched his machine on,' recalled Laithwaite, 'it was quite disturbing to one's upbringing. The gyroscope appeared to be producing a force without a reaction. I thought I'd seen something that was impossible.'
'Like everyone else I was brought up on Newton's laws of motion, and the third law says that for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction, therefore you cannot propel a body outside its own dimensions. This thing apparently did.'
Laithwaite started some gyroscope experiments of his own, making large spinning tops with most of the mass in the rim of the wheel, and he found that, 'these very definitely did something that seemed impossible.'
It was at this critical point in his career that he was invited by Sir George Porter, president of the august Royal Institution, to deliver a Friday Evening Discourse.
In retrospect it might seem to be rather risky for Sir George to have invited a blunt-speaking and controversial figure to address the Institution. But, until then, Laithwaite's clashes with the government and scientific bureaucrats over the development of his Maglev train had been a conflict over money and over innovation: not over scientific principles. He had fought the same kind of battle as most senior scientists in Britain for scarce resources. He may have been the sort of outspoken individualist who finds himself in the headlines, but he was still a distinguished professional scientist, still a member of the club.
It was against this background that the Royal Institution invited him to deliver the lecture. But the Friday Evening Discourse is no ordinary lecture. It is a black tie affair, preceded by dinner amidst the polished silver and mahogany of the Institution's elegant Georgian dining room, under the intimidating gaze of portraits of the giants of science from the eighteenth and nineteenth century, staring down from the panelled walls.
When you are invited to be thus feted by your fellow members of the Royal Institution and to deliver a Discourse from the spot where Faraday and Davy stood, it is usually the prelude to collecting the rewards of a lifetime of distinguished public service: Fellowship of the Royal Society; Gold Medals; perhaps even a Knighthood. In keeping with such a conservative occasion, those invited to speak generally choose some worthy topic on which to discourse -- the future of science, perhaps, or the glorious achievements of the past.
But Laithwaite chose not to discourse on some worthy, painless topic but instead to demonstrate to the assembled bigwigs that Newton's laws of motion -- the very cornerstone of physics and the primary article of faith of all the distinguished names gathered in that room -- were in doubt.
Standing in the circular well of the Institution's lecture theatre, Laithwaite showed his audience a large gyroscope he had constructed -- an apparatus resembling a motorcycle wheel on the end of a three foot pole (which, is precisely what it was). The wheel could be spun up to high speed on a low-friction bearing driven by a small but powerful electrical motor.
Laithwaite first demonstrated that the apparatus was very heavy -- in fact it weighed more than 50 pounds. It took all his strength and both hands to raise the pole with its wheel much above waist level. When he started to rotate the wheel at high speed, however, the apparatus suddenly became so light that he could raise it easily over his head with just one hand and with no obvious sign of effort.
What on earth was going on? Heavy objects cannot suddenly become lighter just because they are rotating, can they? Such a mass can only be propelled aloft if it is subjected to an external force or if it expels mass, in a rocket engine for example. Had Laithwaite taken to conjuring tricks? Were there concealed strings? Confederates in trapdoors?
If Laithwaite expected gasps of admiration or surprise, he was disappointed. The audience was stunned into silence by his demonstration. When he went on to explain that Newton's laws of motion were apparently being violated by this demonstration, the involuntary hush turned to frosty silence.
'I was very excited about it,' he recalled, 'because I knew I had something to show them that was startling. And I did it rather in the spirit of "come and see what I've discovered -- come and share this with me." It was only afterwards that I realised no-one wanted to share it with me. The reaction was "the man's obviously a lunatic". "There must be some trick" was what people said.'
'I was simply trying to tell them, "look, here's something very unusual that's worth investigating. I hope I've got sufficient reputation in electrical engineering not to be written off as a crank. So when I tell you this, I hope you'll listen." But they didn't want to.'
'After the Royal Institution lecture all hell broke loose, primarily as a result of an article in the New Scientist, followed up by articles in the daily press with headlines such as "Laithwaite defies Newton". The press is always excited by the possibility of an anti-gravity machine, because of space ships and science fiction, and the minute you say you can make something rise against gravity, then you've "made an antigravity machine". And then the flood gates are unleashed on you especially from the establishment. You've brought science into disrepute or you're apparently trying to because you've done something that is against the run of the tide.'
The resounding silence of his audience continued long after that fateful evening. There was to be no Fellowship of the Royal Society, no gold medal, no 'Arise, Sir Eric'. And, for the first time in two hundred years, there was to be no published 'proceedings' recording Laithwaite's astonishing lecture. In an unprecedented act of academic Stalinism, the Royal Institution simply banished the memory of Professor Laithwaite, his gyroscopes that became lighter, his lecture, even his existence.
Newton's Laws were restored to their sacrosanct position on the altar of science. Laithwaite was a non-person, and all was right with the world once more.
For the next twenty years, Laithwaite carried on investigating the anomalous behaviour of gyroscopes in the laboratory; at first in Imperial College and later, after his retirement, wherever he could find a sympathetic institution to provide bench space and laboratory apparatus.
By the mid-1980 -- what he called 'the most depressing time' -- Laithwaite had conducted enough empirical research to demonstrate that the skeptics were right when they said that there were no forces to be had from gyroscopes.
'The mathematics said there were no forces and that was correct', Laithwaite recalled. 'The thing that wouldn't go away was: can I lift a 50 pound weight with one hand or can't I? Of all the critics that I showed lifting the big wheel, none of them ever tried to explain it to me. So I decided I had to follow Faraday's example and do the experiments.'
After retiring from Imperial College, laithwaite began a long series of detailed experiments. Sussex University offered him a laboratory and he formed a partnership with fellow engineer and inventor, Bill Dawson, who also funded the research. Laithwaite and Dawson spent three years from 1991 to 1994, investigating in detail the strange phenomena that had unnerved the Royal Institution.
'The first thing I wanted to find out was how I could lift a 50 pound wheel in one hand. So we set out to try to reproduce this as a hands-off experiment. Then we tackled the problem of lack of centrifugal force and the experiments were telling us that there was less centrifugal force than there should be. Meanwhile I started to do the theory. We devised more and more sophisticated experiments until, not long ago, we cracked it.'
The real breakthrough came, said Laithwaite, when they realised that a precessing gyroscope could move mass through space. 'The spinning top showed us that all the time, but we couldn't see it. If the gyroscope does not produce the full amount of centrifugal force on its pivot in the centre then indeed you have produced mass transfer.'
'It became more exciting than ever now because I could explain the unexplainable. Gyroscopes became absolutely in accordance with Newton's laws. We were now not challenging any sacred laws at all. We were sticking strictly to the rules that everyone would approve of, but getting the same result -- a force through space without a rocket.'
The research of Laithwaite and Dawson has now borne practical fruit. Their commercial company, Gyron, filed a world patent for a reactionless drive -- a device that most orthodox scientists say is impossible.
Sadly Eric Laithwaite died in 1997. His device remains in prototype form, comparable perhaps to the Wright Brother's first aircraft or Gottlieb Daimler's first automobile.
Shortly before his death, Laithwaite spoke philosophically about the long experimental road he had trudged virtually alone.
Why should people reject the idea of something new?' he asked. 'Well, of course, they always have. If you go back to Galileo, they were going to put him to death for not saying the earth was the centre of the universe. I'm reminded of something that Mark Twain once said; 'a crank is a crank only until he's been proved correct.'
'So now I myself have demonstrated that I've been correct all along. Anyone seeing the experiments would know at once, if they knew their physics, that I've done what I said I could do, and that I'm no longer a heretic.'
Laithwaite's reactionless drive is an extraordinary machine; a machine that orthodox science said could never be built and would never work. But though it may well eventually prove of great value -- perhaps even providing an anti-gravity lifting device -- it is a net consumer of energy, just like Griggs's Hydrosonic pump. There is no evidence at present that it is an over-unity device -- merely a novel means of propulsion that proves there are more things in heaven and earth than are currently dreamed of by scientific rationalism.
But there are other Laithwaites, and there are other engines: some even more extraordinary than the reactionless drive.
Laithwaite's patent filed for his gyroscopic 'propulsion and positioning
system' for a vehicle.

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Townsend Brown And Gravity
From Hsing Lee
Over the last several years, I've made note of a number of claims in various periodicals relating to the 'discovery' of anti-gravitic principles using gyroscopes and high rpm devices, most of which are powered by electromagnets. I've noted that people in the UFO and Area 51 watch community have speculated that the government may already have developed propulsions systems based on these principles. I've also noted that very few of the people making these claims choose to reveal where the ideas for the various devices they've 'invented' originally came from.
And that pisses me off. So, I'm writing this blurb to set the record straight, and give credit where credit is due.
In the 1920's a young scientist named Townsend Brown became enamored with Electromagnetism. He spend the next 50 years doing this research, most of that time spent in obscurity, at the fringes of the mainstream scientific community. In the 1940's, the US government considered Mr. Brown an invaluable asset. But something happened. Conspiracy theories abound, most of them relating to the Philadelphia Experiment.
I'm not going to speculate on what happened, because I don't know, and until we can get some government documents declassified in the future, we'll probably never know. Besides, none of this is of importance.
What IS important is the work Townsend Brown did with electrogravitation - gravity and electromagnetism.
In 1929, Townsend Brown and his professor Dr. Biefield jointly published a paper on what came to be known as the Biefield-Brown effect. It was Brown who first observed the effect in 1923, and who continued the work in this field until his death in 1985.
Brown discovered an effect he called electrogravitation, which differs from electromagnetism. What he originally observed was that by placing a condenser between two magnetic poles and changing the polarity, he could make the condenser thrust up or down.
Over the years, he noted that he was able to change the mass of an object through these means, and that there appeared to be a direct correlation between RPMS and the change in mass. He did his first propulsion experiments on water, with great success.
Eventually, he moved on to using the Biefield-Brown effect to levitate objects. He even created his own electrogravitic discs, mini flying saucers, which can be seen here:
A wealth of information on Brown and his work can be found here:
The gyroscopic principals being utilized by inventors today are NOT the original work of these individuals. It all stems from the work done by Townsend Brown a generation prior to the work being done today.
The man was marginalized by the government and scientific community for most of his adult life. Now that he's dead, I see no reason why we should continue not to give credit where credit is due. I feel we should recognize THE pioneer in this field of research.
When one thinks about a gyroscope, the principals involved in mass reduction are identical to the principals observed by Brown and Biefield in the 1920's. The faster a gyroscope spins, the faster its 'polarity' shifts. There is no brilliance or genius at work here. It is simple extrapolation of scientific work done by other, truly brilliant minds.
My hope is that one day, when the American Military Industrial Complex and the greed of Wall Street's robber barons is naught but ash, mankind will come to recognize the significance of the work of Nicola Tesla, Wilhelm Reich, and Townsend Brown.
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again.




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