EmDrive is a possible propulsion system granting no apparent expulsion of propellent. It has been reason of hot debate with strong criticisms from the scientific community championed by Sean Carroll and John Baez. Notwithstanding this, NASA went ahead performing in-depth experiments to test this technology. It was announced that, on December this year, a paper will appear in a reputable journal reporting on the last measurement campaign. But to today the paper leaked out on reddit. The results, at a first sight, appear to be striking confirming the effect, with all the possible mundane disturbing causes excluded. You can also find other material there as a small video.
I hope this will go properly evaluated by the scientific community moving to a more serious addressing of this effect.
Update: The links were removed from the subreddit’s moderator. I have copies of these files but I do not mean to publish them in any form.
Update: Here is the published paper.
There is some excitement in the net about some news of Harold White’s experiment at NASA. I have uncovered it by chance at a forum. This is a well-frequented site with people at NASA posting on it and regularly updating about the work that they are carrying out. You can also have noticed some activity in the Wikipedia’s pages about it (see here at the section on EmDrive and here). Wikipedia’s section on EmDrive explains in a few lines what is going on. Running a laser inside the RF cavity of the device they observed an unusual effect. They do not know yet if this could be better explained by more mundane reasons like air heating inside the cavity itself. They will repeat the measurements in a vacuum chamber to exclude such a possibility. I present here some of the slides used by White to recount about this This is the current take by Dr. White as reported by one of his colleagues too prone to leak on nasaspaceflight forum:
…to be more careful in declaring we’ve observed the first lab based space-time warp signal and rather say we have observed another non-negative results in regards to the current still in-air WFI tests, even though they are the best signals we’ve seen to date. It appears that whenever we talk about warp-drives in our work in a positive way, the general populace and the press reads way too much into our technical disclosures and progress.
I would like to remember that White is not using exotic matter at all. Rather, he is working with strong RF fields to try to develop a warp bubble. This was stated here even if implicitly. Finally, an EmDrive device has been properly described here. Using strong external fields to modify locally a space-time has been described here. If this will be confirmed in the next few months, it will represent a major breakthrough in experimental general relativity since Eddington confirmed the bending of light near the sun. Applications would follow if this idea will appear scalable but it will be a shocking result anyway. We look forward to hear from White very soon.
Marco Frasca (2005). Strong coupling expansion for general relativity Int.J.Mod.Phys.D15:1373-1386,2006 arXiv: hep-th/0508246v3
After a significant delay, Cambridge University made known the name of Michael Green‘s successor at the Lucasian chair. The 19th Lucasian Professor is Michael Cates, Professor at University of Edinburgh and Fellow of the Royal Society. Professor Cates is worldwide known for his researches in the field of soft condensed matter. It is a well deserved recognition and one of the best choice ever for this prestigious chair. So, we present our best wishes to Professor Cates of an excellent job in this new role.
Michael Green, the current Lucasian Professor, is now 67 and Cambridge University is looking for his substitute (see here). It is interesting that Wikipedia is now reporting rumours from researchers at DAMPT (see here)
As of 3rd April 2014, the University of Cambridge is recruiting the 19th Lucasian Professor. Rumour amongst DAMPT researchers is that the process is a required formality, but that unless there’s a last minute surprise the Lucasian Professorship will be held for the first time by a woman. It may also be the first time that the chair is not held by somebody born in the British Isles.
Wikipedia is generally not doing gossip so I report this here because I think this will not last too long. Anyhow, the procedure will be brief. The candidates should send their CV for 15 April and the chosen one should take up the appointment on 1 September this year. I would like to remember that this is a really prestigious chair held by Newton, Dirac and Hawking to name just a few. Surely, Cambridge University will choose for the best once again.
On 22 May, Professor Michael Green, the incumbent Lucasian Professor at Cambridge University, will be 67 and must retire. He succeeded Stephen Hawking that left this chair for the same reason on 2009. Well before Hawking’s retirement, Cambridge University issued an announcement asking for possible candidates and, after the selection ended, Professor Green come out as the chosen one. This time, no announcement is out from Cambridge and so, it is possible that the successor of Professor Green should be already known. I think the news will be released in the next few months. Till now, no rumors spread.
Yesterday, at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, NASA announced first results from soil analysis performed by Curiosity. Indeed, initially there was an eager expectation about this announcement as some rumors leaked out and somebody told about historical results. Then, all this was teased by NASA but what they announced yesterday was all but disappointing. I followed a real-time chronicle on twitter by Emily Lakdawalla (@elakdawalla and check her blog) that was there in San Francisco and it was really exciting. The main point is that Curiosity indeed has found organics but that people at NASA cannot be sure yet that carbon was not from Earth. Anyhow, the analysis of the soil displayed a rich content and this is indeed a riverbed. Some further analysis are required before to give definitive conclusions about the presence of organics. If you need a short summary you can read this article on The Guardian but Emily should provide a complete account shortly.
I would like to spend a few words here to let my readers know what is at stake here. On 1975, NASA launched the Viking probes on Mars. One of the aims of this mission was to perform some experiments that should give evidence of life on Mars. A pair of these experiments turned out to give favorable results giving such an evidence but the probes failed at finding any organic molecules and so these results were interpreted as due to some other chemical process at work. Indeed, the question is open yet. Should Curiosity find any evidence of organic molecular, the original findings of Viking probes would be vindicated but, more important, one should have a first evidence of life, even if bacterial, on another planet. This is for historical book indeed!
This year Nobel prize went to quantum optics for experiments that could be useful on the road to quantum computation. The awarded are Serge Haroche of the College de France and David Wineland from NIST (US). They performed groundbreaking studies working with cavities and ion traps on single atoms and photons. I have had the luck to meet and hear from them at several conferences. Their work was also instrumental in moving environmental decoherence from a theoretical concept to an everyday fact of life. There have been some rumors about the possibility that this year’s prize could go to this area of investigation. I would like to remember that for the recent finding at CERN is somehow too early for a prize both for the way procedures go at the Royal Swedish Academy and also because the very nature of the just discovered particle is yet to be ascertained.