Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Research Trail of Robert Forward, Titus Pankey Jr., and Arthur Thorpe

While doing research for my recent serial on connections between fringe physics and the Higgs boson, I came across an old article by Robert L. Forward, physicist and science fiction author titled Guidelines to Antigravity.  The article appeared in the American Journal of Physics, and highlights gravitational drag also known as gravitomagnetism, which was the focus of the recent Gravity Probe B experiments.  Interestingly, there were two articles that cited Dr. Forward's work.  One of the articles was written by Titus Pinkey Jr. and detailed an unexpected increase in the magnetic viscosity of ferromagnetic masses in a horizontal suspension balance.  Dr. Pinkey hypothesized that these increases might be due to the gravitational force on the nuclei of the atoms of the suspended material causing an unbalanced torques.  Dr. Pinkey's article led me into a mini research expedition.  Here goes.

Dr. Pinkey was working with the Naval Research Laboratories in 1967 when he published the article on a magnetic suspension balance that the above mentioned magnetic viscosity article utilized.  This article was later cited in work that Dr. Pinkey and Dr. Arthur Thorpe performed regarding a tidal gravimeter.  Dr. Thorpe is the co-author of one of the most referenced articles on YBCO superconductor levitation that I came across in my recent superconductor levitation by oscillating magnetic field work.

In addition to his work on YBCO levitation, Dr. Thorpe also studied the magnetic properties of moon rocks in the 1970's, and worked on an interesting study of Mayan tektites.  This led to the question, "what is a Tektite?", which the study handily answered.  "Tektites are natural glasses quenched from superheated melts produced, and ejected at relatively large velocities, by impacts on the surface of the Earth."  The tektites studied were found in the Mayan ruin of Tikal, Guatemala.  They were from no known strewnfield and were hypothesized to come from an as yet undiscovered impact.

Robert L. Forward:

Titus Pinkey:

Arthur Thorpe:

Hamilton Carter

Picture of the Day:

From 1/9/13

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