Norman L. DEAN
Analog 64(4): 83-106 (June 1960)
The Space Drive Problem
John W. Campbell, Jr
The problem of Space ---- as any daily newspaper will clearly demonstrate --- is not simply a technical problem. Itís violently charged with emotional and political tensions.
It may seem, at first thought, that the problem of a space drive is a purely technical problem. It seems clear enough that if we want a mechanism, or principle, by which a vehicle can be propelled in free space --- a device not a rocket, but something acting on the level of force fields, that does not have to carry reaction mass to throw away --- this is a pure, physical science problem.
It isnít. Itís a violent emotional problem, first, a red-hot political problem second, and only incidentally a technical problem. Basically, the technical problem is the easiest of the three.
The reasoning behind that statement is quite simple; Nature invariably gives an exact and truthful answer to a properly phrased question, always without fear, prejudice, or dishonesty. The technical problem is simply that of asking Nature the right question.
The other two aspects of the problem do not have the same clear-cut simplicity. Both involve human emotions --- which, as various philosophers have reported over the last six millennia of recorded history, are anything but clear-cut or simple.
In the first palce, the most honorable and ethical of men can be a bald-faced liar, if heís misinformed himself. Even a man so inhumanly honest as to be able to overcome completely any personal emotional bias can still be misinformed.
If you think that there is no emotional problem entailed in the space-drive problemÖ please thing again, including more the relevant facts. Is it an unemotional problem to a man who has devoted 15 years to rocket-engine research and development? To an executive who has been responsible for authorizing the expenditure of hundreds of millions of the national wealth on the development of launch-pad facilities? Take a careful look at the ads in any this-yearís issues of such a magazine as Scientific AmericanÖ with the thought in mind, ĎThese men donít know it yet, but a true space drive has already been developed. All this research, all these proposals, are meaningless nowí.
Please note carefully: it is not necessary that a space drive has been developed for you to try that little test. Just assume that you did know that one had; the point of that suggested test is to appreciate that the introduction of any true space drive is a red-hot emotional problem.
The buggy-whip manufacturers didnít believe, when the Model T Ford appeared, that their industry was finished. The fact dawned on them only slowly. But gradually they did come to realize that there was no possible improvement in buggy-whip design that could, by brilliant superiority, regain the dwindling market. It wasnít a matter of competition with their product; it was the horse --- without which the buggy-whips had no meaning --- that was innately incompetent to compete.
There is no possible brilliant improvement in rocket design that can make it competitive with a true space drive. The fact is perfectly, and unarguably clear to any rocket engineer. Unlike the buggy-whip manufacturer, who only slowly came to realize that his industry no longer existed, the rocket engineer can see at once that rockets are reduced to a very small-time, hobby or specialized business. If you want to drill a hole a few inches in diameter through 100 feet of hard rock, a rocket --- double-ended type --- is far and away the simplest, cheapest, most portable and quickest technique.
But the space rockets are out completely, if a space drive of any kind is invented.
Of course rocket engineers donít constitute a very great faction in the population --- even in the population of Science. Now I have been told, many times, by many people, frequently with considerable heat, that there is no such thing as Science; there are only human scientists. I donít entirely agree, but we can all agree that there are human scientists. With the specific recognition that there may be Martian scientists, Rigellian scientists, for all we know --- but the only kind of scientists so far encountered are human scientists. They start out as men, not computing machines, and they remain men with a scientific training.
They, too, have emotional problems, biases, prejudices, and powerful desires.
I was asked, recently, to talk to one session of a seminar series at one of the major technical schools. The series was held at night; itís for professionally employed scientists and engineers who are working toward higher degrees. The group is made up largely of chemical engineers; the overall theme is an effort to study the technique of solving problems, rather than education in any specific field.
I was to send in two question-problems for the men to work on; their answers were sent to me to be graded and returned the evening I participated.
The second of the two questions was:
An inventor has patented a device that converts rotary motion to unidirectional motion. And he means just that: unidirectional motion. If driven by a motor, this device produces one-way thrust. It is a bootstrapsí lifter. A sky hook with elevator attachment. It makes a monkeyís uncle out of Newtonís Law of action and reaction.
Now: assume for discussion that the device actually does work (Laws of science have been overthrown before --- even old, established ones!). Many other fundamental principles of modern theory would necessarily change with the fall of the law of action and reaction. What other consequences to fundamental scientific theory would be implied?
One of the answers came from a chemical engineer working in one of the major oil refineries in the New York Metropolitan area. His reaction was:
ĎThe most bitter consequence, if this invention was possible and did work, is this would be a hell of a place to live. The basic laws of centrifugal and centripetal action would not hold. There would be no method of predicting the path of planets through the universe, or of a rocket ship. The laws of fluid flow or mechanical work would not hold. In essence, this is the reason why I do not read science fiction. Scientific curiosity and fantastic experimentation should be encouraged, but pure fictionÖ This statement was probably made about the work of Leonardo daVinci and Jules Verne, who were forward-looking men of high caliber, but they stayed within the limits of reason. This problem exceeds reasoní.
So far as he knew, the question was purely hypothetical; that I had in mind a specific invention he did not know. His reaction was, clearly, emotional, not technical. The emotion stems from the fact that the proposed device attacks on of the fundamental tenets of his world-picture.
Who wants a true space drive, then? Not the rocket engineers! And not the scientists in general, not when it means the destruction of the foundations of their science. If one canít rely on the eternal validity of Newtonís Laws of MotionÖ what stability is there in the world of Science? Itís not just a space drive; itís a thing that casts doubt on the validity of the laws of fluid flow, the conservation of energy, the laws of thermodynamics, on everything!
ĎBetter the Devil we know, than the Devil we know not of!í
The space drive is an emotional problem of the highest order, to anyone who has a major emotional investment in any field of science.
Because to be a space drive --- not antigravity, which isnít a drive, but simply something that takes off the parking brake, so to speak --- the device must, in some fashion, negate the Newtonian Laws of motion. It canít drive in space without drastically rearranging the Law of Conservation of Momentum, and the law of action and reaction. And anything that leaks through the Law of Conservation of Momentum automatically challenges the Law of Conservation of Energy. The laws of thermodynamics are based solidly on those; invalidate, or even seriously challenge them, and thermodynamics is a structure without a foundation.
Relativity is based solidly on the conservation of momentum, mass-energy, and electric charge. Any true space drive throws two of the three into doubt.
This is something to make a scientist feel happy and contented?
ĎLook, who the hell wants that damn space drive, anyway?!í
The political aspects of the problem are more readily stated and accepted as realities. Itís not easy for the intellectual man, who believes very sincerely, that his life is entirely rational, to accept or appreciate that he remains a human scientists, and that his reactions are emotional. The politician is different; is business, like that of the dramatist, is largely emotional. He knows he has emotional problems and that only a part of those emotional problems are his own. It perfectly true that schools that flunk out the incompetent, and give special encouragement to the unusually able, are going to do a better job for the nation, but any politician knows the emotional dynamite lying inside that proposition. It isnít his emotion, but itís his to deal with, whether he likes it or not.
A true space drive, just at this point in history, is international political dynamite. Several nations, now, have weapons too powerful for use on Earth; if one of those nations, and only one, also had a drive that gave them free, full, economically practical access to the entire Solar System, the concept of Ďmassive retaliationí would be invalidated. If nation Alpha has a true space drive, one that can move 10,000 ton space-liners from Earth to mars in three days --- five days if Mars is on the far side of the Sun, or reach the Asteroids in five days, while nation Beta canít get so much as one man-carrying vehicle into orbitÖ Beta canít talk about Ďmassive retaliationí as a deterrent any more.
Do you think any sane politician would want a true space drive developed in the laboratories of his country? If the scientists if Alpha develop it, itís practically certain that before a full-scale use of it could be begun, the intelligence agents of Beta would know about it, even if security were so tight that couldnít know it.
And quite clearly no sane politician would dare suggest that the Great Secret was too hot to keep a secret --- suggest that it be freely shared with Beta.
ĎLook, dammitall, who wants this space drive now, of all times?í
Itís fairly probable that, if Beta found that Alpha had a true space drive, the Betans would figure their only remaining hope was to force Alpha to her knees before the space drive was developed into use.
Sometimes, somehow, a magnificent ineptitude can solve problems that no wisdom could touch.
I believe the true space drive has been discovered, tested in models, and patented. Itís the most colossal breach of national security I can imagine, just offhand; a true space drive is the well-oiled key to the entire Solar System --- cheap, quick, and practical. If Fermi and Company had, in 1941, gotten a US patent detailing precisely how to purify U-235, how to manufacture Plutonium, and how to make an atomic bomb, it wouldnít have been a security breach of the same order. After all, as the Air Force pointed out in 1946, the fire raids on Tokyo did more actual damage than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. Nuclear power is still more expensive than coal. The atomic devices didnít actually do anything we couldnít achieve, although in a harder way, without them.
A space drive does things we canít achieve at all any other way. No rocket can carry enough reaction-mass to maintain a one-G acceleration all the way from here to Mars, or from here to Neptune. Lack of reaction-mass makes it effectively impossible for a rocket to do more than the minutest maneuvers in space. A rocketís course is about as flexible as a glass rod; it can be bent a little, of course.
Under the concept of national security, publication of the detailed mechanism of a true space drive constitutes an absolutely intolerable breach of secrecy.
Fortunately, magnificent bumbling, combined with emotional rejection of the ideas, have led to the publication and open distribution of the principle.
Frankly, I think that we are most incredibly fortunate; it would have been suicidal for anyone to suggest releasing such a discovery if it had ever gotten under Security --- and almost equally suicidal, I suspect, to try to keep it secret.
Can you imagine anyone proposing to give away the Solar System --- a usable Solar System, when there is a true space drive? --- if it were clear that the invention was precisely that; the key to the full utilization, to the ownership-in-fee-simple, of the Solar System?
Now, itís happened by bumbling and resistance, of course, there can be screaming, wailing, and explosive accusationsÖ but the critical danger point is passed; it isnít a secret.
It wasnít, however, by wise intent that it was released; it was not high-order statesmanship that saved the situation.
The story, in essence, is this:
In the summer of 1956 --- over a year before Sputnik I took off --- Mr Norman L. Dean, of Washington DC, applied for a patent on a device for converting rotary motion to unidirectional motion.
He tried, naturally enough, to interest various government agencies in his discovery. He was still trying in July, 1959, when the patent was finally granted, and the USGPO made it available to everyone for 25 cents and a desire to see it. Dean had also, naturally, applied for British and German patents by that time.
To get from almost any Government building to Mr Deanís residence is s 50 cent taxi ride. Mr Dean has a working demonstrator model at his home; itís been there while various and sundry government agencies didnít look at it.
I drove down from the New York area to take a look; the accompanying photographs show what I saw.
Please consider carefully the following point; itís crucially important, and anyone seeking to evaluate the point of this article misses the thing entirely if he does not bear this in mind:
(1) The foregoing statements about the emotional and political consequences of a space drive are valid, whether Deanís device is such a drive or not.
(2) The failure of any government agent, of any bureau, to inspect the working model, or allow a demonstration of the model, remains a violation of the fundamental doctrine of Science, whether the device works or not.
It is my present belief that Norman Dean has made a major breakthrough discovery; thatís a personal opinion, based on observational data, which is more than the government scientists have to back their contrary opinion, but remains an opinion of one individual.
But that no government agency either accepted a demonstration, or bothered to inspect the device, until after the patent was published, and it had been discussed in the December 1959 editorial, is not opinion. Itís checkable fact.
The thing Galileo fought for --- the thing for which Science has honored him, classified him as a martyr of Science --- was the fundamental proposition that demonstration must be accepted; that observational date must never be suppressed for the sake of Authority and Theory.
The scientists of NASA specifically violated that fundamental for wich Galileo fought. They wouldnít look.
Neither would the Office of Naval Research.
Neither did anyone from the Senate Space Commmittee. Which is perhaps more remarkable; a Senate Committee that rejected an opportunity to investigate something!
Who is Norman Dean?
Well, the really important thing is that heís a Mr, not a Dr; he doesnít even have a bachelorís degree in science. Obviously incapable of doing any useful scientific thinking. No need to investigate his ideas.
The fact is that he is, professionally, a major executive in the Federal Housing Administration, specializing in mortgage appraisal, indicates that he can, however, do some very cogent thinking indeed.
But in his machine, he is a hobbyist at work --- an amateur. Heís so much an amateur that, unlike the professional, he could, and did, challenge the fundamental assumptions of physics. Being an amateur, he does not have any appreciable emotional investment in the validity of Newtonís Laws; he had no block against challenging them.
His device --- the patent number is 2,886,976 --- will, when driven by a rotating shaft, produce a thrust without an equal and opposite reaction.
His demonstration model is specifically designed to be just that --- a demonstration model. Itís not made for maximum efficiency, lightness, compactness, or beauty; itís designed to be a completely open-work unit, in which every component and operation is clearly visible.
It does not lift itself; it isnít intended to.
At this time, he has no operable models that do lift themselves; he has photographs of models that did. In measuring engineering performance factors, to get necessary engineering data, these models had to be tested to destruction --- and were.
Mr Deanís primary education and experience have been in business; he, with that orientation, is not particularly in the space drive feature. A device capable of producing force without reaction has several million workaday, down-to-Earth uses; the heavy-industry use of the Dean drive will be on Earth. Space applications will be, so far as the economics of the matter go, a minor sideline.
X-rays, electronics, cyclotrons and electron microscopy all stemmed from Faradayís development of the generator, the transformer, and the motor. They have been the great new-fields applications of electric power.
Radio, television and radar --- these are new and wonderful things. But what keeps the powerhouse generators spinning is the heavy horsepower demands of industrial applications like electric heating, driving machine tools, and doing similar jobs that fire or steam power could doÖ but not as well or as conveniently. Itís not the new-and-glamorous that uses the megawatt hours; the biggest broadcasting station throws out only as much power as us used in a domestic electric system. 50 kw sounds big; my home draws 125 amperes at 230 volts on occasion, and thatís 28,750 watts.
The heavy-duty use of the Dean drive, as Dean is businessman enough to recognize, is not in glamorous space-exploration --- however important that may be in human history --- but in the slugging, heavy, hard work of the world; simply lifting things that have to be moves; for industrial material-handling devices.
The gadget that can drive a space-drive will be more often needed to lift a massive steel girder into place. With a Dean drive unit on the end of a fishpole-like control rod, a man could lead a 100-ton girder into place.
If youíve used an ordinary one-quarter inch drill at all, you have probably run into the problem that the drill was willing to work --- but you couldnít, because of the location, put enough pressure on the bit to make it cut. Itís easy enough to make a motor and chuck capable of turning a 2-inch drill bit... but how, with a portable unit, can you apply the sort of pressure it takes to make such a device bite into a steel girder?
The Dean drive is simply a device that generates a one-way force; it lifts if you point up, but it pushes in any desired direction, without need of something to take the reaction force. There isnít any.
Deanís engineering data indicated that, neglecting friction losses --- which are simply a matter of design, not principle, and therefore highly variable --- a 150 hp engine could develop 6000 pound thrust.
My automobile has approximately 400 horsepower, and weighs approximately 5800 pounds. Allowing a 50 percent loss due to mechanical friction, that means that the car could be equipped with a Dean drive, and come up with an acceleration of one G. The passengers would not need seat belts. But rather a strapped-in cocoon. The one-G acceleration would mean going from rest to about 65 mph in 3 seconds flatÖ and it would, of course, mean braking action that would stop the car, on the slickest of glare ice, in the same 3 seconds, in a distance of about 150 feet. If the passengers werenít cocooned into palce, theyíd need hospitalization, however.
By comparison, the maximum possible acceleration with rubber tires on dry concrete is about 0.2 G; the maximum braking is about 0.4 G. Thatís simply the coefficient of friction of rubber on concrete.
Obviously, the device would also allow airplanes to leave their wings behind; a true hovering machine capable of mach 10 is perfectly feasible.
These, not the space applications, will be the really major applications of the device. Weíve been needing a portable sky-hook for centuries; it looks like Dean has one.
Deanís demonstration model is intended to show the principle; that a pair of counter-rotating eccentric masses can, in his system, generate a non-reactive force. The simplest way of demonstrating it is to show that some of the weight of his machine goesÖ somewhereÖ when itís turned on. The simplest device for showing that is an ordinary bathroom scale. Thereís no pretense that this is an accurate measuring device; itís intended to establish merely that some considerable force is being generated.
The photographs show that what I saw was not an illusion.
The principle of operation is, of course, whatís in dispute. Science holds the device to be a not-member of a non-existent class --- a non-existent class of devices that donít conform to the Law of Conservation of Momentum.
I do not understand Mr Deanís theory very clearly; my personal impression is that he doesnít understand the thing in a theoretical sense, himself. But then --- the Roman engineers never did understand the physical chemistry underlying the setting of mortar (and for that matter, modern physical chemistry doesnít either!). Dean doesnít have to understand it; he can make it work. As a businessman, he has every reason to sell an immensely useful, workable device, whether itís understandable or not --- whether itís rational, or not. That chemical engineering student may be right; perhaps it is beyond reason. A thing doesnít have to be reasonable to be useful.
I believe, however, that a very broad, general explanation of the direction to look for an explanation is possible.
Essentially, the device consists of two counter-rotating masses, on shafts rotating in a light frame. Now such a gimmick has been used to generate a powerful oscillating force in one plane; the horizontal vectors of centrifugal force generated by the two eccentric masses will always be equal and opposite, so that there is no net horizontal force. But the vertical vectors add; with this mechanism alone, Dean would get a powerful up-and-down oscillation, the upward force being equal to the downward force at a later instant. Useful for driving shaker tables for vibration tables, but not for getting anywhere.
Now the great trouble with efforts to make centrifugal force yield a net resultant is that it insists on adding up, through a full 360 degrees, to exactly zero. If you try accelerating the weights at some particular part of their rotation, thus changing the centrifugal force, the force used in accelerating and decelerating them then proves to balance out, very neatly if sadly, the added centrifugal force.
Oh, the centrifugal force is great enough! Centrifugal force can, without any trouble at all, tear a high tensile steel wheel into shreds. In the super-centrifuges, they develop accelerations of 2 million G and more.
The trouble is to make it not add up to zero. What we need is something like a rectifier for alternating electric current; ordinary AC adds up to exactly zero, too, through a full 360 degrees --- but without a rectifier, you canít get DC output.
Deanís device is quite simple; you simply cannot push those weights around to make the centrifugal force come out unbalanced, without using a force equal to and opposite from the added centrifugal force.
ButÖwhat happens if, instead of moving the masses, you move the center of rotation?
The center of rotation has no mass; itís a geometrical concept, not a material entity. Pushing it around doesnít require force.
In the rotation of those counter-rotating masses, there is a particular phase angle such that the horizontal vectors are cancelled, and the vertical vector is upward, and exactly equal to the weight of the two masses. At that instant, the light framework can be moved upward without exerting any force on the masses.
In the demonstration model, a small solenoid, activated by a commutator, moves the frame carrying the two masses, at the required instant. It does not have to exert any force whatever on the masses; it does not move them. It moves their centers of rotation.
And what the effect of that is, no modern mathematical analysis is competent to determine. Reason: Deanís converted the problem into a 3-body problem, and thatís one that mathematical techniques have never been able to handle.
The two masses, in Deanís machine, are forced to rotate about two different centers of rotation simultaneously.
When Newton did his work, he had, buried in it all, an unstated, and unanalyzed assumption; that there was, of course, one, and only one possible frame of reference.
The whole of Newtonian and Classical physics rests on that assumption; it worked fine until toward the end of the 19th century; in the beginning of the 20th century it was really in trouble.
Einstein correctly spotted, and challenged the assumption, and showed how to handle many unresolvable problems, in terms of multiple frames-of-reference. ButÖ with one underlying catch. Einstein had no mathematical tools competent to analyze more than one relationship at a time; therefore he was forced to simplify the problem of reality by saying Ďthere is no simultaneityí.
The three-body problem canít be solved, because we have no techniques to handle the simultaneous interactions of A, B, and C. Thatís why astronomers, trying to compute planetary orbits, have to do it by successive approximations. First figure the orbit of Venus as though only Venus and Sol existed. Then compute the effects of earth-Moon on that orbit. Then correct the assumed earth-Moon orbit for the effects of Venus on it, and then recorrect the orbit of Venus for the perturbed orbit of Earth. Then compute the effect of Mercury, and ---
Our mathematics can handle any two bodies at a time --- any one double-ended relationship.
But it cannot handle simultaneous multiple relationships.
So Einstein said, ĎThere arenít anyí. It was a simplifying assumption which made the problems manageable, and was justified by the great advantage gained thereby.
But Einstein never did like statistical mechanics; the nuclear physicists did, however. In nucleonics, and in solid-state physics, you canít consider one thing at a time; you are forced to consider multiple-simultaneous relationships, the general n-body problem. It can be done if the numbers are large enough, by handling it statistically.
Two counter-rotating brass weights arenít numerous enough for statistical analysis, however.
Actually, our whole present system of physics is, without Deanís help, rapidly approaching a situation where it must acknowledge gross defects. It has, to date, sort of sidled around them, without looking directly at them --- but the situation remains.
It is impossible to express the horsepower output of any reaction engine, either rocket or jet, but letís stick to the pure rocket.
The trouble is, horsepower is defined as work per time-unit. Work, however, is defined as force-through-distance: W = FS. Now consider a rocket delivering a thrust of 1000 units, on a trip from Earth to mars. Its velocity is one mile per second relative to Earth, and ten miles per second relative to mars. What horsepower is the rocket delivering?
Well, of course --- if you consider two different frames of reference, youíre bound to get different answers! Einstein showed thatÖ
Yes, but Einstein said you werenít allowed to consider both simultaneously; the real-universe fact is that the rocket does have a relationship to both earth and mars at all times. Just because you donít know enough to be able to comprehend the interaction doesnít make that interaction cease to exist!
Letís go from the matter of horsepower --- which is, after all, a mice, simple, linear function to the matter of kinetic energy. Since kinetic energy is a quadratic function --- KE = 1/2 MV^2 --- that Earth-Mars rocket has another peculiarity. For a given change in velocity, the kinetic energy changes by two very different amounts. If kinetic energy is energy, and energy is conservedÖ which kinetic energy do we have to be conservative about?
Note that while the greater added kinetic energy appears with respect to the Mars frame of reference, no momentum or energy is being transferred between the ship and Mars at the time. The ship is reacting against its exhaust gases, not Mars. But, if that ship is going to land on Mars, that kinetic energy change must be accounted for at that time.
Which kinetic energy value is conservative: the ship-Earth value, or the ship-Mars value?
Einsteinís entire theoretical structure breaks down if simultaneity is imposed as a requirement, just as Newtonís broke down under the requirement of more than one frame of reference.
What happens to centrifugal force, when, in one cycle, a pair of brass weights is forced to rotate about two non-identical centers of rotation? What amount of force is required to displace a geometrical concept?
When Mr Dean submitted his proposals, a physicist of NASA reported that his mathematics was unsound.
You know, personally Iím inclined to agree with that physicist on one thing; I, too, think Deanís mathematics is unsound. The point of disagreement is that Iím darned sure the physicistís mathematics is incompetent; all mathematics is! I have lots of positive evidence that no one can solve a 3-body problem a bit better than Mr Dean. What Dean has done is present the physicists with a device that imposes a 3-body problem. Their mathematics is just as incompetent to handle it as Deanís --- but Dean isnít trying to solve it mathematically. Heís applying it engineeringly, which is somewhat different. His machine solves the problem perfectly --- and the answer is rectified centrifugal force.
Understandably, the emotional impact of the concept that such a device actually exists is one that leads to powerful rejection on the part of any human being with a heavy emotional investment in Ďknown laws of physicsí. It always appears, when one first encounters such a thing, that all the old values have been crushed --- destroyed --- swept away.
They havenít, of course --- except for those who have pinned their entire value system to pure theory. Electronic engineers, computing transit time in ordinary vacuum tubes, donít use Einsteinian concepts; Newtonian work fine, just as they always did, within their proper range.
Weíve known for a century or more that our mathematics wasnít able to solve the three-body problem; itís perfectly obvious that sooner or later weíre going to have to develop a technique of analysis that can handle such problems. And equally clear, that that new technique will, applied to old problems, yield totally new and far more general understandings.
It just happens that, apparently, an amateur experimenter has come up with a device that belongs in the set of devices that would be normal consequences of a multiple-simultaneous-relationship mathematics, before we achieved such an analytical technique.
The theoretical physicists couldnít solve the problems of neutron behavior in a thermal-energy-level moderated nuclear reactor mathematically. That is, obviously, a multiple-simultaneous-relationship problem. To handle the problem, they used what amounts to a rule-of-thumb engineering-style technique; they called it the ĎMonte Carlo Systemí. A roulette wheel proved to be a fine analog computer for the problem.
I think Deanís device is a true space drive; that it does work.
But I know no modern physicist is competent to make a theoretical analysis of any system involving multiple-simultaneous interactions --- and that there are, in the universe, precisely such systems. The number of binary stars is very, very large; there are, also, many trinary star-systems. Can such systems have stable planetary systems?
Since no serious effort has been made to crack the problem, we do not know, actually, whether the energy-interchange relationships in the Solar System are progressive, cyclic, or what. We simply cannot compute the positions of the Solar System either 10 million years ago, or 10 million years hence, by that laborious system of successive approximation.
And even so --- they do those calculations on the assumption that momentum and energy must be conserved. ButÖ which kinetic energy of that Earth-Mars rocket is to be conserved?
The essence of the situation is --- whether modern orthodox physics likes it or not --- that our laws of Conservation of Energy and Momentum are, in fact, very special cases of much more general realities. Newton we already know was fundamentally in error; it is essential, in cosmological physics, to consider more than one frame of reference. Einstein demonstrated that.
But since our laws of conservation stem from Newtonian concepts --- they are suspect anyway, and were before Deanís device came along.
It is already a known fact that our mathematics is incapable of handling the theee-body problem --- or, in general the problem of n simultaneous relationships, where n is greater than one. We canít actually, handle true simultaneous equations; we can Ďsolveí simultaneous equations only for those points at which they are not simultaneous, but identical --- i.e., the points of intersection.
While I was in Washington taking a careful look at Deanís gadget, I went around to the Senate Space Committee, and to the Office of Naval Research. Both agencies had a file on Mr Dean and his efforts to get some attention paid to his device.
Again I emphasize; it is not important whether Dean is right or wrong; what is important is that the agencies did not find out.
The Space Committeeís file apparently shows that the idea was referred to a NASA scientist. His report was that Deanís mathematics was unsound; in other words, Deanís proposal was rejected on the grounds of pure theoretical consideration. Thatís the same grounds on which the Church Fathers rejected Galileoís proposals, and refused to look through his telescope.
At the Office of naval Research, it was first suggested that I see the national Inventorís Council. This is a government agency set up for the primary purpose of serving as an alley into which to divert screwballs, crackpots, and assorted nuisances. Itís very effective; psychologically speaking, it has the stopping power of warm tar. Itís too soft to break, and too viscous to move. Remember the famous La Brea tar pits stopped mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and practically everything else that lived a the time, You can still find embalmed there to this day.
Instead, I went to the ONR department dedicated to evaluation of proposed inventions.
I ran an editorial here recently about an ONR research report, pointing out that the fundamental attitude of the ONR was that theoretical understanding is absolutely necessary before any invention can be made. On direct contact with the ONR inventions evaluations department I found that philosophy dominates their evaluations. If the device or principle cannot be explained in full, clear, acceptable theoretical terms, why, under that philosophy, it doesnít exist as an invention.
A dog canít explain the theoretical enzyme chemistry of digestion; therefore, clearly, a dog canít digest anything.
From the ONR representative to whom I spoke, I gathered that Mr Dean, when he had been told --- by letter --- in a kind but firm manner that his device was mathematically impossible, and that his explanations were unsound, had reacted somewhat irritatedly. This, of course, immediately prejudiced the ONR scientists against him. Clearly, if you tell a man he is wrong, and explain carefully the theoretical facts that prove his invention canít exist, and he gets annoyed --- he having the working model sitting beside him at the time --- this proves that he really is wrong.
There is a widely believed legend --- however it got started Iím sure I donít know --- that only crackpots and fanatics get angry when theyíre told they are wrong.
It might be helpful if all science students were required to study, as part of their college indoctrination, the papers of Galileo and the Church Fathers who were kindly, but firmly correcting him. Also some of the choicer bits of Newtonís and Hookeís remarks concerning the mental competence of their opposers.
As I say, no one from either NASA, or ONR, or the Senate Space Committee bothered to look at the device. It was explained to me that they were all much too busy.
Perhaps it is, actually, fortunate; a true space drive, as a national monopoly, might have precipitated the nuclear war. But if dean is right, the ONR, NASA, and the Senate Space Committee just cooperated in giving away the key to the Solar SystemÖIf not to the stars (Einsteinís work accepted the laws of conservation; if they are not valid, then perhaps the speed-of-light limitation isnít either).
The important point right now is this: No government agency knows anything at all about whether Deanís device works. They think they do, on the basis of theory --- but there is plenty of reason to suspect that theory is as airtight as a slice of Swiss cheese. That it fits Reality the way plane geometry fits the earthís surface --- only in local areas.
Washington is a fascinating state of mind; it operates purely on the pain-avoidance principle. Animals operate on two fundamental drives --- pain-avoidance and pleasure-seeking. Each tempers the other; itís a sort of two-party system. Thus a lion will attack a water buffalo, seeking the pleasure of a full meal, despite the fact that the buffalo is an enormously powerful and dangerous animal. The pain-avoidance drive is, in that situation, overcome, or at least greatly modified, by the pleasure-seeking drive, so that the lion will take the risk.
In Washington, there is only the pain-avoidance drive. A bureaucrat who does exactly what his directives specifically require, and absolutely nothing else --- neither more nor less --- avoids the pain of being fired. You canít fire him for failure to accomplish what might have been done; you can fire him only for not doing what his orders require.
Since nobody in any government agency, had specific instructions ĎInvestigate and evaluate the Dean driveí, no one can be fired for not doing what he was not specifically told to do. That means not-investigating it fulfills, 100 percent, the requirement of pain-avoidance.
Itís very rarely indeed that someone in government can stick his neck out, and achieve something over and above his assignment. The last notable instance was Admiral Rickoverís remarkable achievement of forcing the navy into nuclear propulsion. As is now well known, he very nearly had his career crushed by the high-brass opposition; Congress saves his bacon, not a Ďgratefulí Navy.
The best-known previous instance, of course, is that of Billy Mitchell --- who was court-martialled for proving he was right, against the orders of his superior officers. That time, Congress didnít act.
Our government has the interesting characteristic of holding --- with great determination --- that monopoly is an evil, and, through the Federal Trade Commission, enforcing competitive situations. But, of course, this doesnít apply to them; government bureaus mustnít be subjected to competition!
Of course, congress and the Senate do have competition; the two-party system is the only method that seems to work. Animal life, in the course of the last four billion years, has tried a lot of systems --- but the two-party technique, known as bisexual reproduction, has overwhelmingly won the race. Male and female constitute the Ďloyal oppositioní; they are absolutely forced to cooperate, if they want to continue their genetic existence, and yet are so constituted that they cannot possibly fall into identical viewpoints. A man canít think like a woman, nor a woman like a man, no matter how desperately each wants to; they have to work out a binocular viewpoint that integrates two inherently different understandings.
That is the only known, practical technique for assuring that orthodoxy wonít set in and crystallize.
It doesnít matter, for this point, whether Dean is right or wrong. Itís quite obvious that anyone who did present a true breakthrough concept in terms of a working space drive would be rejected in precisely the manner Dean has been, for precisely the reasons Dean has.
They are precisely the reasons Galileo was rejected.
An Orthodoxy isnít something religious; it Ďs something associated with a True Faith, whether that faith refers to a religious concept, or a True Belief in certain Laws of nature.
Now Mr Dean is an excellent and successful businessman; he has achieved considerable success financially in his own right. Heís got the money it takes to build expensive, carefully machined test models --- and anyone who thinks thatís a small-time hobby has never hired a machine shop to do work for him. Models are expensive; just from looking at the photographs of Deanís ex-models --- the ones that had to be tested to destruction to obtain engineering data, since no modern mathematical technique can handle the problem --- Iíd make a wild guesstimate that they must have cost him in the neighborhood of $100,000.
No, theyíre not big. But a self-lifting job requires six rotor-pairs, with the associated driving gearing, commutators, etc. Try building a little six-cylinder gasoline engine by hand, and see what it costs --- say just duplicate the little Ford Falcon engine in a commercial machine shop. The complete Falcon costs about $2000; think you could hand-tool the engine alone for even twice that?
Dean --- or anyone with a breakthrough idea --- will be stopped by the Orthodoxy effect. But someone like Dean, who is also a darned sight more successful businessman than top-notch physicists --- remember that Einstein had to have help in working out his income tax? --- has economic resources by which he could force a way through to test his ideas. (Iíve heard, since, from four other men who had ideas closely paralleling Deanís but didnít have the money to build and test models). As Dean said, ĎIf they continue to refuse to pay attention, I can, and will, build a full-scale vehicle, and hover over Washington until they doí.
(Side comment on that: heíll probably be forced down, and arrested for violating a restricted air space, while his vehicle is impounded where no one can get at it. If he goes up to an altitude where they canít see him, they wonít mind; whoíll see it 100 miles up?
Now what Dean has, is not anti-gravity; itís a drive.
Anyone here want to make any large-size bets that the secret of anti-gravity hasnít already been cracked by some backwoods unorthodox amateur --- who isnít, as Dean is, a highly competent business man as well? How many individuals can afford $100,000 worth of private test-model building?
There are other fields of science where things are under even Ďbetterí monopoly control; the physical scientists do not very frequently run onto a brilliant amateur with more money than they have. But the medical society has things sewed up even tighter; the brilliant amateur with money can be stopped legally from demonstrating his achievement.
Russia has out-achieved the United States so far in the development of new techniques. Furiously as the intellectual-scientists despise the system whereby politicians can legislate for or against scientific beliefs --- the Lysenko controversy, for example --- the wry fact is that it has produced some results. It took action by Congress to get Admiral Rickover off the hook; the problem of whether or not nuclear propulsion should be used in the navy was a technical-scientific problem --- and it was resolved in favor of the United States only by legislative action.
The probability that ONR or NASA will, at this late date, willingly accept the Dean device for actual test and study, is vanishingly small. If they do so, it will constitute an admission that it merits testing --- and, of course, it is then acknowledged that it should have been tested in the summer of 1956. (NASA is off that hook, of course; they didnít exist in 1956. But they have been around for some time now --- and existed before the patent was publicly issued)
Again, itís going to take a legislative act, not a scientific act, to get the device tested. The scientific groups are forced to maintain ĎTesting is not, and never was, within the limits of our directive; you canít say weíre responsible for trying ití.
Because Russiaís scientific system is new --- effectively only about 20 years old --- it hasnít had time to establish a solid orthodoxy. Therefore it gets nudged --- but good and solidly! --- every so often, and gets things done, however unhappily.
We donít. Our satellite program, for instance, the Vanguard Project, not only turned out to be a ĎMe Tooí project --- it never did succeed in doing what the Navy said they were going to do. Not one full-scale Vanguard satellite was put up in orbit during the International Geophysical year; they never did accomplish what they had loudly and publicly stated they would do.
We got satellites up only after public and legislative --- not scientific! --- howls of anger at Russiaís success.
But this time I think the Orthodox Science system has flopped so egregiously --- pulled so screaming a boner --- that something may be done.
By sheer Orthodoxy refusal to consider the possibility that their theory might be inadequate --- they never found out about the Dean drive.
Our cover shows what could have been done --- and still can be done, for that matter.
A modern nuclear-powered submarine needs only relatively minor adaptations to make an ideal spaceship; it has everything it needs, save for the space drive.
The Dean drive requires a rotary shaft drive; our nuclear submarines turn nuclear energy into heat, produce steam, drive a turbine, and generate electric power. Electric power is perfect for running the Dean drive.
The modern submarines are --- we have learned from past sad experience --- equipped with lifting eyes so that, in event of accidental collision, quick salvage is possible. Pontoons can be towed in place, sunk beside the ship, and hitched to the built-in lifting eyes, and the ship refloated. The eyes are, of course, designed into the ship so that the structure can be lifted by those eyes without structural damage to the hull.
Dean drive units could be attached directly to the existent eyes.
The pressure hull of modern submarines is designed to resist at least 600 feet of water pressure; its actual thickness is a piece of classified data, of course, but we can guesstimate it must be at least 4 inches thick. After the second Bikini bomb test, the old submarine Skate was still in pretty fair condition; the light-metal streamlining hull looked like the remains of an airliner crash, but the pressure hull was perfectly intact. Stout stuff, a subís pressure hull.
And very fine stuff indeed as protection against the average meteor; the light streamlining hull would stop the micrometeors, of course.
Not even 4 feet of steel would stop primary cosmic rays, of courseÖ but those inches of armor steel would have considerable damping effect on the Van Allen radiation belt effects.
The nuclear subs have already been tested with full crews for 30 continuous days out of contact with Earthís atmosphere; their air-recycling equipment is already in place, and functions perfectly. What difference if the Ďout of contactí situation involves submersion in water, instead of out in space?
The modern nuclear submarine is, in fact, a fully competent space-vehicle, lacking only the Dean drive.
With the Dean drive, the ship, if it can lift off the Earth at all, can generate a one-G vertical acceleration. Since that acceleration is being generated by engines capable of continuous operation for months --- if not years --- at a time, the acceleration can simply be maintained for the entire run; there would be no period of free-fall for the ship or crew. Therefore the present ship structure, equipment, and auxiliary designs would be entirely satisfactory. Also, a sub has various plumbing devices with built-in locks so the equipment can be used under conditions where the external pressure is widely different from the internal.
In flight, the ship would simply lift out of the sea, rise vertically, maintaining a constant 1000 cm/sec drive. Halfway to Mars, it would loop its course, and decelerate the rest of the way at the same rate. To the passengers, and to the equipment on board, there would be no free-flight problems.
There is one factor that has to be taken in to account, however; the exhaust steam from the turbine has to be recondensed and returned to the boiler. In the sea, seawater is used to cool the condenser; in space, the cold vacuum would do the job.
The tough part would be the first 100 miles up from the Earth; ice could be used.
As a crash program, this could have been done --- if work started when Dean first applied for his patent --- in 15 months. The application went in in July 1956; 15 months later would have been October 1957.
Under the acceleration conditions described above, a ship can make the trip from Earth to mars, when Mars is closest, in less than three days. And even when Mars is at its farthest possible point, on the far side of the Sun, the trip would only take 5 days.
It would have been nice if, in response to Sputnik I, the US had been able to release full photographic evidence of Mars Base I.
I do not insist that I am incontrovertibly right, but it is my opinion --- based on observational data that the US government has avoided acquiring --- that we actually had everything necessary to do just that. We certainly had the nuclear subs to use --- and I believe the Dean drive can do it.
Even more important, now that weíve given away the Solar System, is the fact that the fundamental principle underlying Deanís device is fundamental. Itís not just the key to a space drive; the principle of simultaneous multiple relationships is enormously broader than that.
The psychologists have complained that there was no mathematical technique for their work. Quite so; they too, obviously need a math capable of expressing multiple simultaneous relationships.
No electronic device can recognize a pattern; thatís why no machine can be made to recognize words spoken by widely varying voices. A pattern exists where there is multiple simultaneous relationship.
It is the inherent nature of any orthodoxy to freeze at the level it has achieved, developing only the ramifications and details of that level. The dinosaurs developed a million variations on the theme dinosaurismÖ but none of those variations was mammalianism.
The question really is: How can orthodoxy in Science be ended? Of course, we can have acts of legislative bodies impose new ideas by fiat --- the system weíve been using recently, and that the Soviets use. It isnít good; itís just better than none.
Life forms solved it quite some megayears ago; they use the two-party system. Weíve found that works in political systems, and in religious systems. (Religion hasnít been harmed by having Catholic and Protestant Christian churches, though it took some bloodshed and Violence to put over the idea)
Perhaps we could make a lot better and faster progress if Science and Engineering were recognized and established as distinct, and --- by legislative fiat at first --- made two separate and distinct parties. Who can better criticize a Scientistís theory, than an Engineer who tries to make the thing work? And who can better criticize an Engineerís efficiency than a Scientist, who analyzes with exact precision what it is the Engineer is really doing --- and not what he thinks heís doing?
The scientists, in Edisonís day, had mathematical proof that the maximum possible efficiency of an electric generator was 50 percent. They still had the mathematics after Edison started manufacturing 98 percent efficient generators.
You know, thereís nothing like a good Republican to spot a Democratic grafter --- or a good Democrat to expose the incompetence of a Republican. And everybody benefits except the incompetent and dishonest individuals.
Look, donít we believe in the fundamental validity of two-party competition? Then whatís wrong with a two-party Science, to permanently terminate the freeze effect of orthodoxy?