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Richard C. Hoagland - Anti-Gravity Program

Art Bell Show Wednesday, September 13-14, 1996

Transcribed by Dorothy Takashina and G. Varano, Part 2 of 8


AB: My guest, Richard C. Hoagland. We're talking about anti-gravity, and he's saying this is something you can experiment with at home. Somehow, I feature by the time this is over and the weekend begins, we're going to have a lot of teenagers floating through the air above the cities of Amearica. Well, maybe not. We'll find out. All right. We're going to get a basic grounding in superconductivity here, and what I offered you, as an example was transmission of power. You know, we transmit power in grids all across America, and in the doing of that on copper lines...that's how we transmit power, generally...there is loss, a tremendous amount of loss, or resistance, in those lines. Superconductivity lowered, it was my understanding, lowered that resistance, and then obviously there is no loss, and you have much, much more power. The problem with superconductivity was that, as I understand it, it required the lowering of the temperature of the materials involved to an unrealistically low temperature, and the drive has been to get room temperature superconductivity. Is that right, Richard?

RH: That's right. The original discovery was made by a Swede. I'm going to taut the Swedes tonight, not the Angstrom people but a Swedish physicists named, ?Kamerlic Olems?. In the last century, he was, basically, measuring the resistance of a rather remarkable metal, mercury, the only metal which at room temperature is liquid, not a solid, and he was interested and fascinated by the properties of why, of all the ordinary metals, this one should be liquid at room temperature, and he was obviously thinking of atomic structure and things like that, and as he began his measurements, what he decided to do...and I don't know the ultimate details of this..but basically he decided he was going to cool the metal down to where it would freeze and become like other metals like copper, silver, gold, or platinum, and he would measure the resistance. And as he lowered the temperature...and of course in those days it was very difficult to lower the temperature because you didn't have electric refrigerators, and you had to, basically, use ?dewers? and shielded devices and a very complex technology, very expensive, to make a little liquid nitrogen or a liquid helium...anyway as he lowered the temperature lower and lower and lower using liquefied gases through ?rast? refrigeration equipment that required, basically, steam power to generate, he found that at a very low temperature, suddenly and magically, the resistance of the mercury, after it had turned into a solid metal, vanished. It literally went to zero. It went to where he could measure it. Like it fell off a cliff. And this was a stunning surprise because the standard atomic theory, basically, the reason you have resistance, according to the conventional theory of that time, was electrons, which are carrying the current, carrying the charge, in trying to get through a metal or any other material which has some kind of conductivity, is basically bumping into things. They're bumping into the crystal lattice, as it's called. And at any temperature above absolute zero, that lattice is vibrating. It's in motion, and it's the vibrations and the motions that, basically, are interfering...Think of a football field full of football players where you have the guy carrying the ball (that's the current), and you have the entire other team running at you up the field opposite the guy carrying the ball, except instead of having eleven players, you've got player upon player upon player upon player, and the field is filled with players. Obviously it would be a very unfair game, right? That's the problem of driving a current through an ordinary conductor. The bumping, the possibility of being tackled is overwhelming, and so the amount of current that gets through, after even going down a small length of wire, is pretty small compared with what you start with, and that's where the losses come from. Now, in superconductivity, suddenly all those other players vanish from the field, or more realistically, they suddenly are frozen immobile in place, in the current theory (pun intended), and the ball carrier can weave effortlessly and magically between the immobilized defenders and get to the goal with zero loss.

AB: Did it really begin at zero?

RH: No, it began a few degrees above zero, but so close to absolute zero, which on the Fahrenheit scale, is -459 degrees, I believe if memory serves me. It's -273 Kelvin.

AB: All right. Well the early hope for superconductivity, obviously, was power transmission. That's where they were going to begin, but it's obviously impractical to cool the nation's power...

RH: Yeah, because the only two materials that could be used to cool a wire of ... and any wire...ultimately they found that every material we know will basically go superconductive if you cool down far enough...but it wasn't according to the standard theory because, instead of having to reach absolute zero, depending upon what the wire was made of, and they began to make exotic combinations of wires, alloys, and niobium tin was a very good one used in the '50s and '60s up until this latest revolution. That would cool down...you didn't have to have liquid helium, which is the coldest material, a few degrees above absolute zero, or 3 or 4 degrees above absolute zero, you could actually get away with liquid hydrogen or things like that, but still they're so damn cold, if you can say that on the radio at night, that you basically would spend an extraordinary amount of electricity in producing the refrigeration, and the shielding, the ?dewers? and the vacuum flasks and the insulation, that in any reasonable commercial activity the cost totally would outweigh the benefits or the gains, so basically superconductivity remained a laboratory curiosity, remained a field of study of the individual atomic structure of materials...

AB: But, impractical commercially.

RH: It was very impractical. Up until 1988-89 when a bunch of guys, two or three, over in Zurich working for IBM, as the story goes, and I'm not going to get into why the story might be more interesting than what I'm going to tell you because we don't have time tonight, but they supposedly were working with different kinds of materials and stumbled across a very different kind of compound, not a metal, but more a ceramic made of a very interesting rare earth called yttrium, and then another one called barium, and then a copper oxide mixed in interesting proportions, which formed a lattice structure, and this is where things are going to get, you're going to have an "ah-ha" experience, which was very tetrahedral.

AB: (Chuckles)

RH: Okay? Are you beginning to see where this is going? And that work was duplicated by people at the University of Texas (actually University of Houston), a Dr. Chu, I believe, and very quickly a revolution spread around the world, and suddenly we found ourselves confronted with a series of materials that would go superconducting at a much higher temperature.

AB: How high?

RH: Well, basically the temperature of liquid nitrogen. Now, this suddenly made impossible economic things, economical because this is not linear. The temperature scale is not linear. You know, you folks who are living in the midwest, you know that when it's ten degrees below zero, it's not like it's zero. It's a lot colder at ten degrees below zero even though it's only ten degrees. It's because temperature is not a linear phenomena. Our reaction, our basic sensitivities to temperature, and we're organic physical beings so we're reacting to the physics. In fact, if you can raise the temperature at which something goes superconductive even a few degrees, you can save thousands of dollars in the ultimate cost of using it commercially.

AB: Well, is it fair to say, really, that temperature differences are non-linear, or is it more reasonable to say that our biological reaction to them is non-linear?

RH: No, they're both, and it's like compound interest. The higher the temperature by a few degrees that you can get a metal or a material or a ceramic or whatever to go superconducting, it really makes a lot of difference in the amount electricity you're going to pay for refrigeration equipment. It's basically that. And the fact is that we've got large scale, industrial level facilities to make liquid nitrogen cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap. So the real breakthrough in the 1980s, late '80s, was when they found this material, or made it actually, composed of yttrium and barium and copper oxide, that will basically go superconducting at liquid nitrogen temperatures, and everybody who's been in high school out there within the sound of my voice tonight, remembers the experiment where the physics professor, your physics teacher, brought you into the lab one day, and he poured out of this large thermos bottle this very, very, very cold substance into a dish, and then he took a rose or a chrysanthemum, and he dipped it, or maybe a hot dog, and he dipped it in this bowl of steaming liquid nitrogen, and then he smashed it on the desk, and it flew into a million pieces. The danger of having kids duplicate what we're going to talk about tonight is we may lose some fingers. And I'm actually being frivolous and flip about something very serious, so we should not be trying this at home, guys, okay. This should be done under supervision with proper appreciation that when you're dealing with cold materials, even like liquid nitrogen, you can get very badly burned, and you can really wind up in the hospital and lose limbs to frostbite or whatever, so this should not be done frivolously, but it is relatively easy, and the most difficult part is dealing with the liquid nitrogen, so that's why it should be done in an authorized laboratory facility. It should not be done in your kitchen. I repeat. This should not be attempted, what we're going to talk about later, in your kitchen.

AB: Okay. What exactly are we going to do? Or is that jumping ahead to far.

RH: We're jumping a little ahead. Let me continue on the superconductivity thing here for a second. When the discovery of the so-called high temperature, and we're talking something that's still 300 below zero, so it isn't exactly balmy Miami, right? But liquid nitrogen is at an industrial prolific democratized level. There are liquid nitrogen places all over the country. You can go to Union Carbide. You can go to down to your local supply store. You can go to your high school physics lab. You can go to your local college, community college. Liquid nitrogen is abundant and cheaply available. So with this material that went superconducting at liquid nitrogen temperatures, suddenly the world became superconducting oyster, and a lot of high school kids suddenly saw, first hand, up close and personal, the rather dramatic effects of superconductivity, which is a material where when you cool it below this magic transition temperature, which is what it's called, loses all, and I mean all, resistance to electricity, and if you put a current into it...let's imaging you have a little disk like a cherry Life Saver, or a little horseshoe...and you put a current into this disk, and then you bring the disk above a magnet, what would happen is that the superconducting disk cooled below liquid nitrogen temperatures, with a current flowing in it, would magically and mysteriously levitate. It would float off the magnet that was placed below it and would hover until, of course, the liquid nitrogen evaporated, and the temperature rose, and the current suddenly was quenched because it was no longer was superconducting, and then the little ringlet of superconducting material would fall down to the lab bench or down to the magnet. The reason it would levitate is a property of superconductors called the Meisner Effect, or the Exclusion Effect, because what was happening is that the superconductor was basically shielding the inside from any magnetic field penetration from the outside. And the shielding produced a magnetic levitation. We're not talking anti-gravity now. We're talking just basic force balancing force. Think of it as...have you ever seen these games where you have a whiffle ball, and it's supposed to float on top of a water sprinkler?

AB: Sure.

RH: It's that kind of effect. The force field of the magnet was basically being deflected by the impenetrability of the superconductor's outer layers to the magnetic field, so the result was that the whole disk, or the cube or whatever the geometry of the superconductor that you put on the field, it would float. And there's lots of videos and lots of experiments that have gone on in high schools all over the country showing this effect. Now the important thing here is that you can buy these superconductors from places like Edmund Scientific, or you can buy the powder, and you can make your own, and lots of high school physics departments, to demonstrate to students how this was done from the ground up, would basically buy the ceramic powder from a scientific supply house, and they would, in the shop with the help of the shop teacher, they would make a mold, and they would basically pour this powder into the mold, and then they would fire it up to roughly a thousand degrees Centigrade and hold it there for several hours and then cool it slowly, and like anything in a mold, it will take the shape of the mold, so you can make rings or cubes or tetrahedra or whatever shape you would want your superconductor to be, and when it came out of the mold it would then have the property that if you cool it below liquid nitrogen temperatures, it would float on a magnetic field, and if you put a current in it, the current would flow forever until you raise the temperature above the level of liquid nitrogen, in which case it would revert back to an ordinary dark gray lump of ceramic.

AB: Point of order here. How much current would be generally required to flow?

RH: Very, very tiny amount.

AB: Really?

RH: The properties of superconductors are, and this was one of the problems of this class of superconductor which was not a metal, it was a ceramic, is that the superconductive properties of the material can be destroyed if the current flowing in it is too high, or the outside field is too high, and one of the problems in the early days of this new material was they were trying to raise the magnetic saturation levels to where a strong field would not destroy the superconductivity, and ultimately they've been able to do that, so the new materials, bulk materials you can buy, or get access to, have very high magnetic field strength before the field destroys the effect. This is all prologue. This is all just to give you the history and the fact that, you can imagine now that if you can bring a material into a high school lab and duplicate what no one on earth could do a hundred years ago, or no one at the biggest labs on earth could do even ten years, you've made some very important progress. And if you can do it at a temperature that's within range of normal democratically accessible liquid nitrogen facilities, as opposed to the very difficult to handle liquid helium, you've also made important progress. That's why this can be done by students, and it's going to be the really important student demonstrations, student experiments, which is carefully documented, written up and sent to us that we will publish, that I think is going to blow the doors off this whole thing because the effect, the anti-gravity effects are a direct product of the ease and availability of the materials, which, again, makes me very, very curious as to why you have a paper published with such an astounding claim, the anti-gravity part that we haven't really gotten to yet, and years go by and nobody in the rest of the world tries to duplicate it in the scientific community.

AB: Well, that's not scientific.

RH: No, and it tells me, and it told me as soon as I got these papers that there was some kind of interference, some kind of political tinkering, some kind of suppression going on, and we now have very clear evidence, in the work of Dr. P. himself, and this latest paper that all is not...well, there's something rotten in Finland, not just Denmark.

AB: As a matter of fact, we're jumping way ahead here, but this paper has been pulled.

RH: This is the new paper, not the original, the '92 paper, this is the '96 paper.

AB: The new one. The one that claimed, that made the anti-gravity claim has been pulled mysteriously, and I received something on that. I think that's up on the Internet, isn't it?

RH: Yes. This is a kind of of a follow up investigative piece by Robert Matthews, who is the science correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph, who published, a couple weeks ago, the first story, and we found it on a bulletin board out of Australia last night, and I pointed Keith to it, and he was able to get it and pull it up and put it in the physics section. It there now on our Website, www.enterprisemission.com, along with the scientific papers, along with the original electronic telegraph blurb from last week, along with the diagram of the latest experiment. Now the paper that Dr. Podkletnov published in 1992 has a very nice diagram showing the schematic of his original experiment. The new paper was an extension of this original work, and basically what made the new paper interesting is that he had gotten the effect up from about 0.3% gravity decrease to a whopping 2% gravity decrease.

AB: All right, Richard, we'll be right back, and when we come back we will talk anti-gravity. Stay right where you are.


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