Bibhas De

This essay is based on a duly published scientific paper

Copyright 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 by Bibhas R. De

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Magnetic field may be mankind’s earliest introduction to what is today Modern Physics. It may also be the primal and the ultimate essence of the universe. It seems also to be the one concept we have got altogether wrong. This would place the entirety of Modern Physics at issue. The shocking thing is that today’s physics establishment has proved itself woefully inadequate to even begin to understand the situation, and so to rectify it.


Our entire theoretical conception of magnetic field in empty space was formed, and cast in bronze, in an epoch when our observational knowledge of magnetic field in the universe was but a minute fraction of what it is today. Subsequent observations, such as the spectacular manifestations of cosmic magnetic field, were force-fitted into that 'childhood' conception - without any second thoughts whatsoever.


James Clerk Maxwell and his contemporaries in that epoch gave us a technical description and a working definition of magnetic field. They specifically stated that they had not understood its physical nature. I, for the first time in history, attempt to describe the physical nature of static magnetic field in empty space.
What is it in itself?
What is its nature?


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[Source: wikipedia.com]

Ancient Chinese Emperor Huang Di is said to have discovered magnetism 4700 years ago

The history of magnetism seems to date back to the time of Chinese Emperor Huang Di (c. 2700 BC) who used a magnetic rock as a compass. The modern view of magnetic field dates back to the nineteenth century when scientific and mathematical foundations were laid. Also, our basic understanding of magnetic field is thought to have been complete at this time. Everything that followed since, including modern space research, represents application of that understanding.

But what is it that assures us that a basic scientific concept, long-entrenched perhaps, is the correct concept? Basically, three things:

(1). The understanding correctly explains observations made.
(2). The understanding correctly predicts observations yet to be made.
(3). The understanding offers no difficulties over a long period of application.

Our pre-Einsteinian understanding of gravitation would fit these criteria. Yet we know today that this understanding was flawed or incomplete. Our pre-Quantum Theory understanding of light would fit these criteria. Yet we know today that this understanding was flawed or incomplete.

The point is this. A certain idea may serve well for a long time, until some difficulty – even if subjective difficulty – surfaces. Then it is ready for a new assessment.

I am questioning the present understanding of magnetic field. But one might say: The present understanding of magnetic field works fine – there are no problems with it! This is a good logic if you are arguing against replacing an old automobile with a new one. But not in science. Never in science.



As we set out on this most unusual scientific exploration, we need to hold clear in our mind the distinction between a mathematically defined entity and a real entity. A mathematically defined entity is an imaginary concept. A real entity is something you can directly or indirectly touch or feel or otherwise sense. Consider these examples:

- If I ask you to imagine a circle in space, I am asking you to consider a mathematical entity. If I say I feel a draft, I am telling you about a real entity.

- In a class of 21 students, one can mathematically define a student with average height and a student with median height. Both are mathematical entities. The former has no reality, but may have helpful uses. But the latter is also a physical entity: It is a particular student Fred Smith.

- The equation for a spacecraft trajectory describes an imaginary line (mathematical entity). But the equation for a vibrating string describes a mathematical curve as well as a real thing: the string.

With this orientation in mind, we will study below the definition of a magnetic field. Then we will ask: Is this a mathematical entity or a real entity?

This question sums up the entire thrust of this book.



In present view, magnetic field is first a theoretical concept and second, a mathematical definition. The theoretical concept is this: When a bar magnet exerts a force on a compass needle (say), there appears to be occurring an "action at a distance". It is as though something is conveyed from the magnet to the compass through the intervening empty space. But without asking what this something is, one can say in loose language that there exists around the bar magnet a region of influence, called its magnetic field. A compass needle placed in that region will respond accordingly. In theory, this region of influence extends out to infinite distances in all directions.

The nature of this influence can be visualized as follows: On a plane sheet of paper, place a bar magnet. Then place a tiny compass needle at various locations, and mark a tiny arrow to represent the needle’s position and orientation. When a large number of such arrows have been plotted, one begins to see that there appear to be gently curving lines connecting the North pole of the magnet to the South pole. These are the conceptual magnetic field lines. I have not studied up on the actual history of emergence of this concept, but it seems generally that it dates back to the epoch of James Clerk Maxwell. Certainly, Maxwell made extensive use of them as a thinking aid.

Now to the mathematical definition: Its purpose is to quantify the influence of the magnet at various locations within its region of influence. Through the experience of studies such as described above, one learns that the compass needle always aligns itself to be tangential to the field line. And the lines are more crowded where the force of alignment is stronger. From these observations, the following mathematical definition, verifiable in other ways, has emerged: The magnetic field at any point is tangential to the magnetic field line at that point, and the strength of the field is proportional to the number of field lines per unit cross-sectional area perpendicular to the field lines there.

These are the basic ideas. One can put them in mathematical language, and manipulate them for various purposes. Here we want to stay away from mathematics as much as possible.

With the above recapitulation of the basic concepts, we can gradually build upon it.



A striking visualization of magnetic field is the simple high school experiment already outlined above. Lay out a piece of white paper on the table, place a bar magnet on it and draw the rectangular outline of the magnet (marking the North and the South poles at the two ends, within this rectangle). Then take a compass needle that is much smaller in size than the bar. Place the needle near one pole, mark two dots corresponding to the point and the tail of the compass needle. Then move the needle away from the pole so that your next tail dot will be the current point dot. If you continue this process accurately, the needle will end up at the corresponding location near the other pole. Connect all the dots, and you have a magnetic field line. Draw many such lines, and you have mapped the magnetic field.

Magnetic field visualization [Courtesy: www.school-for-champions.com].

A lazy person’s alternative to the above experiment is this: Take away the compass needle. Sprinkle some iron filings on the paper. Then gently tap the table. You will see that the iron filings will align themselves to visualize the magnetic field map. Although it has the appearance that the field lines are now a real thing (iron filings), an appearance is all it is. Magnetic field lines are still mathematical entities.



With this picture in mind, you can now move to a very grand arena and see almost exactly the same thing in nature. We are speaking of course of the planetary magnetic field. The planets such as the Earth and Jupiter are much like this bar magnet: It is as though they have such magnets at their core. How these magnets come to be there is another subject we are not concerned with here.

Visualization of the magnetic field system for the solar wind-magnetosphere interaction:
Intuitively, does this seem like the work of a mathematical entity?

Now we need to discuss another property of magnetic field lines. (Note that we said earlier that a magnetic field line is only a mathematical definition and not a real thing, but we already start to talk about "property of magnetic field line"! It is like discussing the properties of the Tropic of Cancer.) Charged particles, like electrons and positive ions, cannot readily move across a magnetic field line. They can move fine along the field lines. In the cosmic arena, these charged particles will take the place of the compass needle in helping us visualize magnetic field lines. The point to remember here, for later discussion, is that a charged particle’s motion is constrained by a magnetic field, but a neutral particle’s (an atom or a molecule) is not.

Spectacular display of magnetic field effect on the solar surface:
Intuitively, does this seem like the signature of an abstract entity?

Thus when the solar wind (made up of charged particles) move towards the Earth across the latter’s magnetic field, it reaches a point where the Earth’s magnetic field is strong enough to prevent these particles from coming in any further. These particles then flow around, and along the magnetic field lines towards the Earth’s poles. This, in essence is the physics of the planetary magnetospheres – whose existence is well established by observations. A picture of the magnetosphere is perhaps the most spectacular visualization of magnetic field lines.

Magnetic field line "reconnection": These theories, mostly applied to the natural world (solar atmosphere etc), say that field lines get torn apart and then connect up the "wrong" way. Try and reconcile this picture with the field being only a mathematical definition!

Another remarkable example from nature is the solar magnetic field. However, here we are no longer dealing with a bar magnet-type field, but something more complicated. Actually, this is a good place to clarify something else about magnetic fields at astronomical scales. They generally derive from two sources. Consider, for example, the region where the solar wind impinges on the Earth’s magnetosphere. A part of the magnetic field here is clearly the remote field of the Earth. But there is another part that is resulted from local electric currents flowing in the plasma there. What we see in the visualization is the sum of these two fields. The field in the solar atmosphere is also of the same nature.

To summarize at this point: We have covered two important aspects of the present understanding of magnetic field –

Magnetic field lines: There is no such thing as a magnetic field line. It is only a mathematical definition.

Visualization:The mathematically defined field lines can be visualized in the laboratory. They can also be visualized in a drawing of the observed magnetosphere. They are visualized in certain photographs of solar photosphere, and possibly also distant galaxies.

Such visualizations, and many others involving motion of the visualized field lines, are so dramatic that they convey a sense of reality of the magnetic field lines. It is as though they are real ropes or strings or hammocks strung out in space. Physicists exploit this imagery in the process of forming their ideas. But in the present view, magnetic field lines are completely imaginary mathematical abstraction.

This point is very important. If you try to discuss this with any contemporary researcher in the field, you may not get a straight response. In TV sometimes you see pranksters who have learned to speak in a continued stream of elegant, correct and ornate sentences – in a coherent fashion. Only if you are paying close attention do you realize that they are not actually saying anything meaningful – just complete nonsense. That is what is happening with today’s experts when it comes to the true nature of magnetic field (Cf. Section ). The difference is that, in the latter instance, it is unintended comedy.

There have been no recorded suggestions whatsoever to date that magnetic field is anything other than a mathematical definition.



The idea presented in this essay is not a 'curve ball', but a most logical and most natural outgrowth of the history of physics. The only element of surprise is why this idea was not considered a long time ago. The problem we have when we deal with the concept of instantaneous 'action at a distance' between two points A and B is the problem of time it takes for light to travel between A and B. That is, if we accept that this is the fastest speed at which two objects can influence each other - in whatever mode or manner. As long as we are concerned with small distances AB, as in the case of the force between two compass needles on a table, the travel time does not manifest itself as a problem. But as soon as AB is as large as, say, the radius of Jupiter’s magnetosphere, it is a problem. It is the same problem as that which caused Einstein to formulate his view of gravitation. Therefore, as soon as we discovered that the influence of a magnet existed over such large distances, we needed to reconsider our view of magnetic field. It was really this simple. And needless to say, when you reconsider something, then you have ask: If it is not this, then what is it? It was really this straightforward.

Consider now an electron at a location O in the magnetic field of Jupiter’s outer magnetosphere. The location O is at a distance R from the center of the planet. The electron trajectory is influenced by the planetary magnetic field at O. Now suppose that somehow the magnetic field of Jupiter suddenly (instantaneously) ceases to exist. What then happens to the electron orbit? There are now two conflicting scenarios, both dictated by the laws of physics:

Scenario A: Since the source of the magnetic field is gone, its mathematically defined field at O is also gone instantly. So the electron motion changes instantaneously to one where there is no magnetic field.

Scenario B: There is involved a certain travel time. At the instant the magnetic field disappears, the electron has no knowledge that anything has happened. The "news" of the disappearance has to travel to the electron before it changes its motion. This news can travel only as fast as the velocity of light, c. Thus, a time R/c must pass before the electron trajectory will change. During this period, the electron moves as though nothing has happened.

In the Scenario A, an observer at O can learn about the disappearance of Jupiter’s field at infinite speed. This is unphysical.

In the scenario B, this same observer learns of the disappearance at the speed of light.

Therefore, the Scenario B is correct. However, as soon as we choose B over A, we have to face all the consequences of this choice.

What this means is that something remains at O even after its source (Jupiter’s magnetic dipole) has disappeared. This in turn means at the magnetic field at O was always a real thing, and not a mathematical entity. Something physical had been emplaced at O – and it continues to remain there until the news reaches that its source is gone.

Recall that thinking about a "paradox" much like this caused Einstein to formulate his theory of gravitation. In his case, one was dealing with the gravitation instead of magnetism. In the above example, imagine Jupiter to be the Sun, and the electron to be a planet orbiting around the sun. Then suddenly, the Sun disappears, and the source of gravitational attraction is gone. What happens to the planet? Does it instantly go off the orbit? No, Einstein’s answer is that it stays in the orbit for a time R/c before going off. It is as though gravitation continues to operate on the planet at its location even though the Sun is gone. Something was "emplaced" at the planet’s location. Einstein explained this by proposing that the Sun had modified the space itself around it, and that "distortion" of space at the planet’s location continues to remain until the news of the Sun’s disappearance reaches there. What was emplaced was a local modification of the space around the planet.

Einstein solved the paradox of gravitation (The Sun at the center, Jupiter revolving around it - say) by proposing that the space itself is modified by the Sun’s gravitation. Jupiter’s motion is determined proximately by this modified space, and ultimately by the Sun. The paradox of magnetic field, I propose, is solved by ascribing to the space a matterless mass.

It should now be absolutely clear that there is a serious problem with the present view of magnetic field as just a mathematical definition. . For magnetic field, however, I do not automatically follow Einstein to propose a similar distortion of space. Instead, I explore from first principles what it was that was emplaced.

But, even if the above consideration is important for gravitation, is it important for magnetic field? Actually, it is more important for magnetic field. On a cosmological scale, gravitation and magnetic field are equally important influences. On the scale of atomic and subatomic particle, magnetic field is far more important than gravitation. It is therefore crucial that we get the concept of magnetic field right.

Now, what is a "real thing"? It is either mass or energy. Those are the only real things we know. Those are the only things we can touch, feel or otherwise sense. According to Einstein’s mass-energy relation, energy can be considered a part of mass. So what we need to do now is examine if magnetic field fits the most unambiguous definition of mass that we can apply to it. Remember, we are examining the proposition that magnetic field is a mass, and not that magnetic field has a mass. This distinction may seem tricky at this time, but just make a note of it.

If we are able to demonstrate that magnetic field is a mass, then it would present another conceptual hurdle: It would be an unfamiliar, matterless mass. The term matterless mass has been coined earlier to refer to effect of gravitation on space, for example (empty space acting like a gravitating mass on a cosmological scale). But here we are, for the first time, speaking of a mass of actual, everyday experience that is matterless. (Curiously, there is in existence an independent suggestion by Bo Lehnert that a photon at rest has a non-zero mass. And of course there is the failed idea of Geon (from John Archibald Wheeler) – a particle made of pure light gathered together to a point by means of self-gravitation.)



Mass in physics is a rigorously defined quantity. When this definition is made as unambiguous as possible, whatever fits this definition is mass. The most unambiguous definition of mass is:

Mass = Momentum/Velocity,

expressed as a scalar quantity (the velocity being less than the velocity of light.) Every entity that is mass must fit this definition. By the same token, any entity that does not it is not mass. For electromagnetic wave, which does have momentum, this definition nevertheless does not apply, since the velocity here is the velocity of light. (However, as we noted above, there is new thinking on this issue).

Notice, importantly, that this definition in independent of gravitation. By our experience and orientation, we tend to both consciously and subconsciously link mass to gravitation. We think of weighing. But an absolute definition of mass cannot depend on gravitation.

With this orientation, you are ready to go to my scientific paper, Gravitional Mass of Magnetostatic Field, Astrophysics and Space Science,,vol. 239, pp. 25-33, 1996. It was published there after many rejections and rebuffs by the physics establishment. The paper is written in the simplest possible scientific language – about the level of a freshman physics course. You need to know velocity, momentum, elementary integration and differentiation, magnetic force on a current …simple concepts of this type. To this we add a new, experimentally verified concept (also simple) recently introduced by myself and others: Magnetic force on a dielectric polarization current. If a university library is not readily accessible to you, I have provided an online copy of that paper.

The paper provides proof that according to the above definition, magnetic field in empty space is a mass. The paper gives an expression to find out exactly how much the mass is in grams or pounds.



Trying to think of magnetic field as a mass can present several conceptual difficulties. First, this mass is invisible. But so is air. Therefore, visibility is not a requirement to define a mass. Second, magnetic field has an inherent directionality. But so does air in motion (wind). Therefore, directionality is not excluded as a property of mass. Third, measuring this new mass requires that there be a relative motion between the mass and the measuring apparatus. But the same is the case if you try to measure air mass by measuring the momentum and velocity of wind. Fourth, you cannot measure this new mass if the relative velocity is exactly along the field direction. But the same is the case for the wind example.

One can go on in this manner, and at some point there may not be an easy resolution of the conceptual hurdle. Here is an example: If a new view of magnetic field has to be developed, why shouldn’t one consider the field as modifying the space it occupies (in a similar way to gravitation)?

However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that we are dealing with entirely uncharted territories here, and one should not let one’s receptivity be limited by the totality of your knowledge and experience to date. Think like a space pioneer – someone who is completely on his own on a completely unknown planet.

I do not wish to take the wind analogy too far, or for that matter, any distance at all. But the following construct helps me personally to try to get a grasp on this new view of magnetic field.

Imagine an "in-line" electric air pump, whose intake port is S and exhaust port is N. So we have a steady state wind pattern around the NS configuration, where wind wraps around the pump much like magnetic field around a bar magnet NS. One can define wind field lines, and they would look much like the dipolar magnetic field lines of the bar magnet.

Now, if you place a dandelion in this wind field at a great distance from the pump, it will instantly feel the wind. If you shut off the pump, the dandelion will continue to feel the wind for a while yet.

The wind has both mass and energy. But the energy (the velocity of the wind) simply increases the mass of the air by the mass-energy relation. Therefore, the wind is a mass. This helps us understand how a scalar mass can have a vector field character.

However, as I said before, do not take this analogy too seriously.



Now we will go into discussions that are a little more complex.

The Critical Velocity phenomenon was conceived intuitively by Swedish physicist (and Nobel Laureate) Hannes Alfvén in connection with his attempts to address certain astrophysical problems. It was later experimentally verified in the laboratory. The theory of this phenomenon has been extensively studied by many. However, it remains an open issue. For a general discussion of all of the above, please click here.

The idea says that when a body of neutral gas moves across a static magnetic field in a presence of a plasma, and when the kinetic energy of this motion equals the ionization energy of the neutral gas atoms, the neutral gas can undergo substantial ionization. Since there appears to be no known mechanism for conversion of the kinetic energy of the atoms to the energy of the electron orbit in the atom, this phenomenon is not straightforward to understand. And in fact today, after many experiments and many theories, no one can say that a simple explanation exists. One has contented oneself by saying that the overall theory is actually a pastiche of all the theories proposed. It is like a theory designed by a committee! However, there is no doubt today that the phenomenon is real.

But suppose that we take the new view of magnetic field that it is not a mathematical definition of an "action-at-distance" force due to a source elsewhere, but that there is present something real corresponding to the magnetic field at the location in question, which may be very far from the source. Suppose further that this "something real" is able to contribute energy to the physical process of ionization in a manner reported earlier. These two recent developments may lend an entirely new context in the foundation of physics for constructing any theories.

Stated differently, if these two suggestions were true, then this would be the most reasonable venue for attempting to construct any theories.

Given that the Critical Velocity phenomenon is real and that its theory remains murky after many years of attempting to understand it, one might wonder if this phenomenon is not a clue to the idea that magnetic field is something real, namely, a mass.

[Source: http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/1970/alfven.gif]

Swedish physicist Hannes Alfvén: A rare meditative quality of ideation
"An impression is developed that you understand a situation even if in reality you have misunderstood it."

But with Hannes Alfvén, there is a far more profound point to note – a point which has never been noted. He was the first physicist to make studies that seemed to raise issues about the physical nature of magnetic field – although he did not describe his ideas in these terms. He evolved the concept of frozen-in magnetic field lines (field lines in a conducting fluid appear to move along with the fluid – much like kelp stems undulating in ocean wave). It appeared for a while that the field lines were something actual. On that, swarms of ‘experts’ moved in like buzzing flies to pot of honey – and made a mess of the budding concept. Therefore, Alfvén was later to caution people against seeing magnetic field lines as material lines. On the whole, this whole business became much too murky to lead to any great insights. So, as far as I can see, there is a pending question as to whether Alfvén’s ideas clued us in on the reality of magnetic field lines. Alfvén faced so much opposition at each visionary step that he cannot be faulted for not taking his inquiries to the ultimate conclusion – if there were to be such a conclusion. He certainly possessed the capacity to do so.

[Source: http://www.seafriends.org.nz/new/f016803l.jpg]



It is known that electromagnetic (EM) wave propagating through empty space is a real thing: It is energy. Recent development of the crossed-field antenna by a team of much-maligned electrical engineers shows that an EM wave can be synthesized in empty space from time-varying, but non-propagating, electric and magnetic fields. Therefore, this magnetic field is also a real thing. We can take the limit of very slow time-variation, and conclude that static magnetic field is also a real thing.

Another line of thinking developed by Bo Lehnert – a protege of Hannes Alfven – proposes that photon has a small, but nonzero, rest mass. Lehnert’s work, however, has not received much attention in the mainstream physics community. Now, what is a photon at rest? We do not know, but we can say that it is a puff of electromagnetic energy, and nothing else. Therefore, if this puff is a mass, magnetic field is a mass.



It is not a good idea to look to history for support of a revisionist scientific idea. But, having fully developed the idea, one can certainly look to history for any perspectives there.

There is no indication that James Clerk Maxwell, or his contemporaries, or even those that followed them up until the advent of Quantum Theory held that the nature of electromagnetic fields had been completely understood. In fact, sporadic debates continued on this subject. It is the advent of Quantum Theory that forcibly closed an open subject to gain its own foothold. When Quantum Electrodynamics began to be formulated, the final seal had to be, and was, placed. And ever since then, this seal has been guarded by physics academics by means of haughty, authoritative pronouncements from their Bible – the electromagnetic theory textbooks. And who wrote these textbooks? The physics academics.

Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
"I cannot conceive curved lines of force without the conditions of a physical existence in that intermediate space."

James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)
"…we cannot help thinking that in every place where we find these lines of force, some physical state or action must exist in sufficient energy to produce the actual phenomena."

Physics professors and electrical engineering professors write Electromagnetic Theory textbooks. Textbook begets textbook. The lore proliferates. Thus, over the last several decades, our entire source of primary knowledge has come to consists entirely of derivative and imitative textbooks published in recent times. No one stops to think if something of fundamental value has been lost in this 'begat' process. No one (myself included) goes back to Maxwell’s Dover book to study the roots of EM Theory. It is so archaic! So today we do not know and are not being told what the view on magnetic field was of the founding fathers. We are just given the politically correct view that magnetic field lines are a mathematical concept, by pedantic pedagogues who do not have the faintest idea how they are helping erase the great original thoughts. Worse yet, these textbooks are now used to keep out that which should already have been there from 'the beginning'.

Make no mistake about this: With regard to the nature of magnetic field, a dropped ball is being passed off as a played ball by today's establishment.

It is with great surprise and greater satisfaction that I recently learned that the founders of the concept of magnetic field lines had felt in their gut the same thing as I today prove. What is more, a new voice has now been added. In June 2006 I received from Romanian physicist Ionel Dinu a manuscript that opens with the above two quotes from Faraday and Maxwell (This is the first time I learned about these quotes). Dinu explains that magnetic field lines cannot be just fictitious geometric lines, but that something real exists where the lines are. In his view, the field lines are a manifestation of the flow of the pervasive ether. Dinu faced rejection from the physics establishment, but fortunately for him and for science, his paper is being published (Ionel Dinu, "What’s behind Faraday’s Magnetic Lines of Force", Electric Spacecraft Journal, Issue No. 41, August 2006, pages 24-30.)

Ionel Dinu
Young Ionel Dinu (b. 1972) from Romania is a most remarkable thinker. He holds a Master's degree in physics. But his work already has the maturity of a deep, seasoned original thinker. About his work he says:
" Aether is that missing chapter in our book of natural philosophy which can lead us to understanding physical phenomena to a degree of completeness and consistency never dreamt of by human civilization."
Right or wrong, his process of thinking alone makes his work worthy of attention.

The basic scientific formulation of magnetic field was completed long before the view of magnetic field as distended, large-scale, essential component of the universe emerged. This early formulation was based largely on our experience with permanent magnets and electric currents in conductors. Therefore, that formulation was based on information that was largely incomplete. There is no evidence that it was reexamined in view of the emergent picture of the magnetic universe.

The paradoxes of gravitation and cosmic magnetic field

Imagine formulating gravitation solely on the basis of the falling apple, without any knowledge of planetary orbits. You would probably have the acceleration due to gravity g, but no gravitational constant G and no inverse square law. You would have no inkling about spacetime, gravitational waves etc. Imagine not reexamining that formulation in view of the knowledge of universal gravitation!

Another related historical perspective: Einstein revised the Newtonian view of gravitation, largely because he took into greater account cosmic gravitation. We might ask, who might likewise have revised the ‘Maxwellian view’ of magnetic field, taking into account cosmic magnetic field? Here’s the interesting thing: Albert Einstein himself made forays into Electromagnetic Theory, and started asking questions about momentum and such! These were the right questions. However, the contemporary ‘experts’ raised such a holy hell (an acrimonious debate), that Einstein gave up on this - perhaps out of exasperation.

In the early days when physics academics were more open to admitting their puzzlements and the limitations of their understanding, a seminal Electromagnetic Theory textbook was written by J. A. Stratton. In this book, he writes this sentence: There appears to be an inertial character associated with electromagnetic fields.

And he leaves it at that!

The new view of magnetic field: Matterless mass




The great physicist Albert Einstein and the great poet Rabindranath Tagore
The highest gathering of imagination in human history

If you have read my paper, then we can take that discussion somewhat further as follows:

First, consider the traditional Mass-Energy relation. It says that when you add an amount of energy Delta_E to a mass M, this mass increases by an amount Delta_M, where

Delta_M = Delta_E/c**2

c being the velocity of light. Examples are heating a cup of water, compressing a spring, charging a battery etc. But mass and energy are two distinct entities of physics: Pure energy – an electromagnetic (EM) wave traveling in empty space – has no mass.

Now let us turn to magnetic field in the conventional view. A static magnetic field B in empty space at a point O is assigned an energy:

U = B**2 /2 Mu_0

per unit volume, where Mu_0 is the magnetic permeability of free space. As we said before, according to the current view, B is only a mathematical definition. This view defines nothing physical existing at the location O. Therefore, the above energy is also a mathematical definition. There is actually NO energy at O. A test electron placed at O will acquire no energy. (What we call "magnetic energy" in the current view physically clearly resides in the material source of the field B – a bar magnet, an inductance solenoid etc as stored mechanical energy).

On the other hand, we know that an EM wave traveling through a point O is pure energy present at O. A test electron placed at O will acquire this energy and move. Thus, the wave magnetic field component b represents an actual energy – given also by the above expression.

To summarize: A static magnetic field in empty space has no co-located energy, but an EM wave magnetic field is pure energy.

So, static magnetic field in empty space at O is pure mass, and an EM wave in empty space at O is pure energy. (The arbitrary word "pure" is introduced ad hoc to allow for cases where something can be part mass and part energy.) This suggests that the connection between mass and energy has something to do with time variation (change of something with time):

Mass + time variation     Energy


Energy – time variation     Mass

Between static magnetic field and EM wave magnetic field, there are a continuum of states where the field is part mass and part energy.

The above connection is the first suggested TransEinsteinian consideration of the mass-energy relation. Whether or not this view is expressible in mathematical language remains to be seen.

The second one is that the newly proposed mass of magnetostatic field and the conventional energy of magnetostatic field, both in empty space, do not satisfy Einstein’s Mass-Energy relation. There is a discrepancy of a factor of 2. This discrepancy remains to be resolved.



If you wish to wax philosophical about this, you could consider this: The ultimate nature of the universe is contained in just two symbols. One is a thing – the magnetic field; the other is a process - time variation (NOT time):



That's it. That's all. The Theory of Everything!

Think about this! If you have pondered deeply the ultimate makeup of the Universe, you probably came to the conclusion that it had to be one single entity. But you probably also felt that “time” also was somehow an important attribute, somehow. Now you have got both!



What we want to verify experimentally is this: At a point P in the empty space near a magnet, there is an invisible mass. It is necessary to clearly distinguish this idea from the mass-energy relation. Both ideas say that when a piece of metal is magnetized, its mass increases. However, the mass-energy relation states that the mass of the metal increases: the extra mass is in the metal. The present idea says that there is also a mass in the empty space surrounding the metal.

Consider an example. A solenoid of inductance L is carrying a steady current I. Then it has an inductive energy LI**2/2, which can be precisely calculated. There is a corresponding increase in the mass of the solenoid, by the conventional mass-energy relation. Now, where is this extra mass? It is in the mechanical stresses in the solenoid. It is “seated” in the material of the solenoid.

What is newly being said is that there is also a mass in the empty space around the solenoid. That is what we want to verify.

The first consideration in planning the experiment is that the density of the proposed mass at P is extremely small: 8.85x10**(-12)xB**2 kg/m**3, where B is the magnetic field in Tesla. Therefore, any attempt to measure this mass directly in the laboratory would have to be a very elaborate project.

In Section 10 of my paper, I describe an experiment involving weighing a solenoid of known inductance L when a current I is passing through it, and when there is no current passing through it. The former weight should be larger by a well-known amount given by the mass-energy relation in terms of L and I. However, if my theory is correct, the mass increase will be twice as much.

However, magnetic field itself is more easily detectable. Therefore, if one could identify an effect whereby a measurement of this field would be the evidence of mass, one might be looking at a far simpler experiment.



Building on the suggestion made to me by Robert Bielik of Sweden, I outline here an experiment that may be able to indirectly detect any mass of magnetic field.

BASIC NEEDS: Here are the resources needed for the experiment.

(1) A few strong permanent magnets of different shapes, sizes, strengths;
(2) A sensitive, fast-response magnetometer with a voltage output signal;
(3) A variable speed motor capable of spinning the above magnets;
(4) A compact, battery-powered laser light source (a laser pointer pen, e.g.);
(5) A fast-response laser light detector with a voltage output signal;
(6) A suitable oscilloscope with at least two simultaneous, real-time display channels;

Mount the motor on a rigid base with its shaft vertical, and pointing up. Extend this shaft so that the magnetic field of the motor is not a factor in the experiment. Shield the motor if necessary. On this shaft, mount rigidly a permanent magnet. Call the plane of rotation of the magnet the reference plane. The orientation of the magnet should be such that when viewed with the magnetometer located at a distance in the reference plane and hooked up to the bottom channel of the oscilloscope, the magnetic field shows the maximum variation during one cycle of rotation. In other words, the periodic curve seen on the oscilloscope should have as much “feature” as possible. The magnetometer should be placed as far away from the motor as possible without losing the signal, but not so far that feature loses its “sharpness”.

On top of this magnet, mount rigidly the compact laser source such that the beam sweeps a plane parallel to the reference plane. The angle between the laser beam and the magnet in the reference plane should be made adjustable. Near the location of the magnetometer, set up the laser detector such that the laser beam sweeps across its aperture. On the top channel of the oscilloscope, the output of this detector should appear as evenly spaced spikes when the motor is in uniform motion, with this spacing expanding or contracting when the motor decelerates or accelerates. (If the motor puts out voltage spikes corresponding to its angular positions, then these spikes could replace the laser arrangement spikes. Other arrangements are conceivable in case a laser detector is not readily available).

My theory is applied here to the magnetic field in the empty space surrounding the magnet. If the field has a mass, then there is an inertia associated with the rotating magnetic field structure, no matter how small. There is also an inertia associated with the rotating shaft-magnet combination.

Consider the motor speeding up from rest. As soon as a torque is applied to the motor, it is instantaneously transmitted to the magnetic field mass in empty space. The latter, having nearly zero inertia, will respond immediately. However, the shaft-magnet assembly will respond according to its own mass. Thus, one expects a lag between the magnetic field structure and the magnet.

Therefore, when the magnet is speeding up or slowing down, one expects to see a lateral shift between the top and the bottom traces on the oscilloscope screen. One hopes to detect this inertia differential, rather than detect the very small mass of the magnetic field.

Since, according to the conventional theory, magnetic field is only a mathematical definition of the force due to the magnet, no such shift is predicted.

The reference state for the measurement is obtained when the motor is in uniform motion. In this state, examine the bottom trace from the magnetometer, and identify a fiduciary mark such as a discernible peak or trough or a zero-crossing. Then go back and adjust the orientation of the laser source so that when the motor is back in uniform motion, the spike from the laser source in the top trace lines up exactly with the identified feature. Overlap the two traces.

Now, if the magnetic field has an inertia, then, during slowing down or speeding up of the rotation, the spike and the feature will separate laterally.

Some difficulties are foreseeable even before doing the experiment. The transient time shift between the top and the bottom traces may not be discernible with naked eyes. If the time base is greatly expanded, definition of the bottom trace may be lost. If it is greatly compressed, the shift will not be visible. One has to think ahead how to address this situation. One might be able to increase the rate of deceleration by braking the motor, for example. The experiment should be repeated with different magnets, different uniform motor speeds, and different shaft-to-magnetometer distances, and different masses of the rotating shaft-magnet assembly.



Let us now engage in a little whimsy and try to think of some nteresting consequences of the new view of magnetic field. .


Could the Earth’sxmagneticxfield reversals be the result of rotational dynamics? .

A theory of origin of the Earth'sxmagneticxfield?

Elsewhere, the theory of free-standing source-free magnetic field structures has been described. If magnetic field is a mass, then these are magnetic "particles" permeating the universe. Thus a fanciful possibility of the origin of the Earth’s (or planetary) magnetic field arises – initially as an alternative to the dynamo theory.

The Earth’s atmosphere is made from molecules that gathered in the planet’s gravitational field. Since the planet is solid, the atmosphere cannot penetrate into the planet, but extends from the surface up. Likewise, if the above particles gathered under the planet’s gravitation, they would sink to the center of the planet. There they would coalesce to form increasingly larger particles, and further coalesce to one large magnetic structure. The presence of this magnetic field would give rise to currents in the molten core, causing the source-free structure to assume a "sourced" dipole structure that we observe today. Thus the molten core may be necessity even in this picture. The eventual stage may be indistinguishable from the dynamo theory.

Or could the Earth’s magnetic field be a huge source-free structure, fixed to the Earth by gravitation?


Could the particles described above be used for jet propulsion?


Could magnetic field account for dark matter and dark energy in cosmology? .


Since magnetic field has no "anti" counterpart, could magnetic mass be a bridge between matter and antimatter?

A point I am attempting to rather vaguely suggest through the above examples, great stretches though they may be, is that a revision of the concept of magnetic field may have far more profound and sweeping effect on modern physics than the revision of gravitation. Einstein’s expounding on gravitation has benefited cosmology. It has had little impact anywhere else. This may not be the case with magnetic field.

Finally, ponder this picture a bit:

The structure and the mass of the photon as described by Bibhas De



I give you here some samples of how the Physics Establishment tried to keep from seeing the light of day the straightforward development I have presented above.

13 September 1994:

"I think that theoretical physicists have long accepted that … (magnetic field in empty space is a gravitational mass)"

(referee for) Professor J. P. Vigier, Editor, Physics Letters A(Ms. No. Vi3709)
Laboratoire de Physique Theoretique
Univ. Pierre et Marie Curie

24 January 1995:

"Unsuitable to publish"

Editor (John Maddox), Nature


    John Maddox:        Leslie Sage:
    A man with a plan?        Ruthless with cranks

Maddox is the author of a book called What remains to be discovered. So it stands to reason that he would dismiss out-of-hand whatever discovery is not on his list.

The response I received from Nature’s US office was actually just a printed postcard. Later, I read somewhere the US Physical Sciences editor Leslie Sage give this advice to his fellow editors: When it comes to cranks, don’t give them any reason for rejection. Just send a postcard. "Cranks can be time-consuming. Be ruthless!", he said. My fellow cranks, Be afraid!

3 May 1995:

"These are good topics for coffee table discussions rather than for publication, in my view."

Referee, Journal of Physics A (Ms. No. A/62489/LET)

Upon appeal:

"The referee is right."

Editor, Journal of Physics A
British Institute of Physics
Bristol, UK

Potent potable in Bristol



The Tomb

The Physics Establishment says here in private correspondence with an author that they have long known that magnetic field in empty space is a gravitational mass!

Just pause and think! They have known all along that in the empty space near a magnet, there is an invisible mass! For that is exactly what they are saying.

Have you ever heard this one of the most fundamental, and most fascinating results in all of physics?

Has your physics professor ever told you this about magnetic field?

Does your textbook on magnetic field tell you this?

Have you ever read or heard about this anywhere?

Have you seen the expression for the mass of magnetic field in empty space written down anywhere?

If they already know this, then why are they celebrating in the mass media this profound cosmic mystery about dark matter and dark energy, without examining the effect of this most obvious component of the universe, which is clearly invisible and therefore "dark matter", and which may clearly have a repulsive effect and therefore "dark energy"?

If if it is so well known for such a long time that magnetic field is a matterless mass of everyday experience, then why does one of their hottest numbers, MIT Superphysicist Frank Wilczek not mention it a single time while profusely opining and philosophising and pontificating about matterlerss mass - as though he were bringing you news of an undiscovered land?

MIT Superphysicist Frank Wilczek

Do you now begin to see the drift of what I am saying here?

I have heard that there is an exclusive society called The Tomb which brokers power and influence, and keeps secrets. That sounds to me to be a pretty good description of what I have just encountered.

Whether the Establishment tried to avoid publishing this discovery by dishonorably minimizing it or by disingenuously making it sound obvious, they seemed to indirectly confirm that:

The Idea cannot be scientifically refuted!

That is why the Establishment had to refute it with sarcasm, false assertions and summary dismissals.

More importantly, however, the quality of the scientific community as revealed in the above exemplars suggest two important points:

(1). Today’s Physics Establishment cannot help you resolve the issues I have raised. The experiments of the type I have suggested are the best way to proceed.

(2). The above exemplars clearly illustrate how something of profound importance in the foundation of physics may have escaped notice for over a hundred years, and to this day.

Therefore, if you turn away from my ideas, examine why you do so. You will surely find that it is because of an implicit assurance you feel you have from the Physics Establishment that everything is shipshape. Now I ask you: Are they in any position to give you that assurance? Why have they not addressed my scientifically documented ideas in scientific publications?

So, unless you believe in this long-standing secret Brotherhood of the Bell of theoretical physicists harboring secret knowledge and issuing secret verdicts from some kind of Star Chamber, you have to accept my idea for what it is:

A properly posed, properly documented proposal of a foundational discovery of physics.

It is now nearly a decade since I conceived this idea - a decade of studied silence from this learned community, the Physics Establishment.

Sad, isn't it?



Sometime ago I received an email from an engineer. He works all the time with strong magnets, and has to move them around in his laboratory. He said that, long before he read about my theory, he had a strange feeling that he was moving something more than just the visible physical object!

I found this comment most remarkable. In fact I myself had similar feelings in my gut when working similarly. In particular, when I had to reach inside the bore of a 4.7 Tesla NMR magnet to place certain samples, I had such a feeling. So I could at least relate to what the engineer was saying. Of course the extra mass of the magnetic field around a magnet is nothing compared to the mass of the magnet itself. So there’s nothing here, mass-wise speaking. Is there anything else to this?

First, there is psychology. Both of us had foreknowledge that what we dealing with powerful magnets. This consciousness must weigh on the mind. Think of the difference in feeling when carrying a briefcase full of money, knowingly and unknowingly.

Second, there is the real biological effect. Whenever you move your hand near a magnet, electric fields are induced, and currents flow in your blood and your muscles and nerves. Thus it is conceivable that some signal is delivered to your brain.

Neither of these two effects says anything about the idea at hand. One thought occurs to me though: If magnetic field were a mass, this would be the first time ever that we know of an instance where our body occupies the same space with another mass! This being an entirely new consideration, one might keep it in mind as well.

Do we have another case for Sherlock Holmes?

At any rate, I do not make anything of this except to note that the engineer to my mind had said something most remarkable. I wonder if others have not had a similar sensation, but did not think much of it to verbalize.



In my paper, one way I proposed measuring the mass of magnetic field in empty space can be compared to measuring the mass of air as follows: Take a flat surface such that you can measure the pressure of wind on it. Take a device that measures the velocity of wind (like a weather vane.) Go to a place where wind is blowing. Place the flat surface at a 90-degree angle with respect to the wind direction. Now the pressure you measure can be converted to the momentum of the wind. When you divide that by the velocity you have measured, you get the mass of air (i.e. the mass per unit volume).

You can also do this experiment if the angle were different from 90 degrees. You just have to make a trigonometric correction for the angle. However, when the angle is exactly 0 or 180 degrees, the experiment fails. It is not an asymptotic or gradual failure as you approach these angles, but a catastrophic failure exactly at these angles.

This problem can be couched in terms of a "surveyor’s paradox". In a field, there are two posts A and B a distance d apart. The surveyor can stand anywhere in the field (at any point O), and measure his distance to these posts, and the angles his line of sight makes with reference to North, say. From these observations, he can calculate the distance d. The point O can be anywhere at all, as long as it is not smack on the line passing through A and B. There, his technique fails catastrophically.


The Physics Establishment's profound philosophical angst: What is a surveyor to do?
My profound philosophical solution: Move!

What do you make of these paradoxes? Does the fact that the measurement fails in a specific case mean that all other measurements are meaningless (i.e. air has no mass, and there is no distance between A and B)? The answer is obvious. Yet, for the referees and the editors of the British Institute of Physics, the answer was YES, and on this "surveyor’s paradox" (plus the sarcasm I have already mentioned above), they rejected my paper.



This may not be entirely pertinent, but an amusing thought came to my mind. If one cut short a budding idea or investigation because one found oneself reduced to the debilitating “straightline paradox”, much of the modern civilization would not exist. Consider the piston – whether in an old-fashioned steam locomotive or a modern internal combustion engine. When the piston was first invented, one could have dismissed it by saying: It only moves along a straightline; so we cannot get any useable rotary motion out of it. Where would the civilization be today? Alternatively, one could “move”: Get off one’s rear end and do something to advance beyond this paradox. Because somebody or some people did this way back then in the case of the steam engine, the civilization is where it is today.

The above story of the surveyor’s paradox is important in this light as well. It illustrates the very basic (or rudimentary) nature of the idea that we are dealing with here. In the last analysis, if magnetic field were a mass and if we missed this foundation of physics because of a logical flaw in our thinking, the flaw has to be this simple. As you have noted, my proof that magnetic field is a mass is simplicity itself.

A hundred years ago and before then, physics was natural philosophy. Our leaders then thought deeply and broadly in the manner of savants. Then they used the simplest of mathematics to lay down the lasting foundation of physics. They had quiet wisdom. What they did has stood the test of time – like the pyramids. Nothing of that magnitude has occurred in the past several decades. Over those decades we have seen the rise of the new breed of leaders, the mathematical technicians. They have loud expertise. They are fabricating high-rise apartment buildings and shopping malls and multi-story parking structures. What I have described above is in the realm of natural philosophy. The mathematics here is minimal. In this sense, the response to my work from today’s leaders is not surprising. Indeed, any physicist today who is truly a natural philosopher would spontaneously come to apply the most basic premise of an inquiry, as enunciated by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD), to distended and pervasive static magnetic field in the empty space of the universe:

What is it in itself?
What is its nature?




Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann
WHAT THEY DID: Got carried away with a fantastic discovery that turned out to be wrong
WHAT WAS DONE TO THEM: Their lives were destroyed
WHO DID THIS: The physics establishment
WHAT THE WORLD MEDIA DID: Intensely ridiculed the two

Victor Ninov and Jan Hendrik Schoen
WHAT THEY DID: Cooked data
WHAT WAS DONE TO THEM: Their lives were destroyed
WHO DID THIS: The physics establishment
WHAT THE WORLD MEDIA DID: Tore the two up like a hungry wolf-pack

John C. Mather
WHAT HE DID: Spinned a miserably failed satellite experiment as the most precision measurement in the history of physics
WHO DID THIS: The physics establishment
WHAT THE WORLD MEDIA DID: Danced with him on their shoulder
WHAT HIS EMPLOYER DID: Appointed him America's top space scientist


Bob Dylan asks:

When you gonna wake up ...?

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