The Conquest of Gravity: ‘We Have Had This Technology for a Very Long Time’

New York Herald Tribune Articles


Published in the NEW YORK HERALD-TRIBUNE: Sunday, November 20, 1955, pp. 1 & 36 – Source

“ANTI-GRAVITY RESEARCH – Dr. Charles T. Dozier, left, senior research engineer and guided missile expert of the Convair Division of General Dynamics Corp., conducting a research experiment towards control of gravity with Martin Kaplan, Convair senior electronics engineer.”


“IN CHARGE – George S. Trimble jr., vice-president in charge of advanced design planning of Martin Aircraft Corp., is organizing a new research institute for advanced study to push a program of theoretical research on gravity effects.”


Revolution in Power, Air, Transit is Seen

This is the first of a series on new pure and applied research into the mysteries of gravity and efforts to devise ways to counteract it. Written by Ansel E. Talbert, military and aviation editor, N.Y.H.T.

The initial steps of an almost incredible program to solve the secret of gravity and universal gravitation are being taken today in many of America’s top scientific laboratories and research centres.

A number of major, long-established companies in the United States aircrafts and electronics industries are also involved in gravity research. Scientists, in general, bracket gravity with life itself as the greatest unsolved mystery in the Universe.

But there are increasing numbers who feel that there must be a physical mechanism for its propagation which can be discovered and controlled.

Should this mystery be solved it would bring about a greater revolution in power, transportation and many other fields than even the discovery of atomic power. The influence of such a discovery would be of tremendous import in the field of aircraft design – where the problem of fighting gravity’s effects have always been basic.

An Almost Fantastic Possibility

One almost fantastic possibility is that if gravity can be understood scientifically and negated or neutralized in some relatively inexpensive manner, it will be possible to build aircraft, earth satellites, and even space ships that will move swiftly into outer space, without strain, beyond the pull of earth’s gravity field.

They would not have to wrench themselves away through the brute force of powerful rockets and through expenditure of expensive chemical fuels.

Centres where pure research on gravity now is in progress in some form include the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, N.J., and also at Princeton University: the University of Indiana’s School of Advanced Mathematical Studies and the Purdue University Research Foundation.

A scientific group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which encourages original research in pure and applied science, recently attended a seminar at the Roger Babson Gravity Research of New Boston, N.H., at which Clarence Birdseye, inventor and industrialist, also was present.

Mr. Birdseye gave the world its first packaged quick-frozen foods and laid the foundation for today’s frozen food industry; more recently he has become interested in gravitational studies.

A proposal to establish at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C., an ‘Institute of Pure Physics’ primarily to carry on theoretical research on gravity was approved earlier this month by the University’s board of trustees.

This had the approval of Dr. Gordon Gray who has since retired as president of the University. Dr. Gray has been Secretary of the Army, Assistant Secretary of Defence, and special assistant to the President of the United States.


Funds to make the institute possible were collected by Agnew H. Bahnson jr., an industrialist of Winston Salem, N.C. The new University of North Carolina administration is now deciding on the institute’s scope and personnel.

The directorship has been offered to Dr. Bryce S. DeWitt of the Radiation Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley, who is the author of a Roger Babson prize-winning scientific study entitled ‘New Directions for Research in the Theory of Gravity’.

The same type of scientific disagreement which occurred in connection with the first proposals to build the hydrogen bomb and an artificial earth satellite – now under construction – is in progress over anti-gravity research. Many scientists of repute are sure that gravity can be overcome in comparatively few years if sufficient resources are put behind the project. Other believe it may take a quarter century or more.


Some pure physicists, while backing the general program to try to discover how gravity is propagated, refused to make predictions of any kind.

Aircraft industry firms now participating or actively interested in gravity include the Glenn L. Martin Co. of Baltimore, builders of the nation’s first jet-powered flying boat; Convair of San Diego, designers and builders of the giant B-36 intercontinental bomber and the world’s first successful vertical take-off fighter; Bell Aircraft of Buffalo, builders of the first piloted airplane to fly faster than sound and a current jet ‘vertical takeoff and landing’ airplane, and Sikorsky division of United Aircraft, pioneer helicopter builders.

Lear Inc., of Santa Monica, one of the world’s largest builders of automatic pilots for airplanes; Clarke Electronics, of Palm Springs, California, a pioneer in its field, and the Sperry Gyroscope Division of Sperry-Rand Corp., of Great Neck, L.I., which is doing important work on guided missiles and earth satellites, also have scientists investigating the gravity problem.


Martin Aircraft has just put under contract two of Europe’s leading theoretical authorities on gravity and electromagnetic fields – Dr. Burkhard Heim of Goettingen University where some of the outstanding discoveries of the century in aerodynamics and physics have been made, and Dr. Pascual Jordan of Hamburg University, Max Plank medal winner whose recent work called ‘Gravity and the Universe’ has excited scientific circles throughout the world.

Dr. Heim, now professor of theoretical physics at Goettingen, who was a member of Germany’s Bureau of Standards during World War II, is certain that gravity can be overcome. Dr. Heim lost his eyesight and hearing, and had both arms blown off at the elbow in a World War II rocket explosion. He dictates his theories and mathematical calculations to his wife.

Martin Aircraft, at the suggestion of George S. Trimble, its vice-president in charge of advanced design planning, is building between Washington and Baltimore a new laboratory for the Research Institute for Advanced Study… A Theoretical investigation of the implications for future gravity research in the ‘Unified field theory’ of the late Dr. Albert Einstein is now underway there.

Although financed by Martin, the Institute will have no connection with the day-to-day business of building airplanes. Its general manager is Welcome Bender.

Up to now no scientist or engineer – so far as is know in the scientific circles – has produced the slightest alteration in the magnitude or direction of gravitational ‘force’ although many cranks and crackpots have claimed to be able to do this with ‘perpetual motion machines’.


There is no scientific knowledge or generally accepted theory about the speed with which it travels across interplanetary space, making any two material particles or bodies – if free to move – accelerate towards each other.

But the current efforts to understand gravity and universal gravitation both at sub-atomic level and at the level of the Universe have the positive backing today of many of America’s outstanding physicists.

These include Dr. Edward Teller of the University of California, who received prime credit for developing the hydrogen bomb; Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton; Dr. Freeman J. Dyson, theoretical physicist at the Institute, and Dr. John A. Wheeler, professor of physics at Princeton University, who made important contributions to America’s first nuclear fission project.


It must be stressed that scientists in this group approach the problem only from the standpoint of pure research. They refuse to predict exactly in what directions the search will lead or whether it will be successful beyond broadening human knowledge generally.

Other top-ranking scientific minds being brought to bear today on the gravity problem are those of Dr. Vaclav Hlavaty, of the University of Indiana, who served with Dr. Einstein on the faculty of Charles University in Prague and later taught advanced mathematics at the Sorbonne in Paris; and of Dr. Stanley Deser and Dr. Richard Arnowitt of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study.

Dr. Hlavaty believes that gravity simply is one aspect of electro-magnetism – the basis of all cosmic forces – and eventually may be controlled like light and radio waves.


Dr. Deser and Dr. Arnowitt are of the opinion that very recently discovered nuclear and sub-nuclear particles of high energy, which are difficult to explain by any present-day theory, may prove to be the key that eventually unlocks the mystery.

It is their suggestion that the new particles may prove to be basic gravitational energy which is being converted continually and automatically in an expanding Universe ‘directly into the most useful nuclear and electromagnetic forms’. In a recent scientific paper they point out:

‘One of the most hopeful aspects of the problem is that until recently gravitation could be observed but not experimented on in any controlled fashion, while now with the advent in the past two years of the new high-energy accelerators (the Cosmotron and the even more recent Berkeley Bevatron) the new particles which have been linked with the gravitational field can be examined and worked with at will.’

An important job of encouraging both pure and applied gravity research in the United States through annual prizes and seminars, as well as, the summarizing of new research for engineers and scientists in industry looking forward to a real ‘hardware solution’ to the gravity problem is being performed by the Gravity Research Foundation of New Boston, N.H.

This was founded and endowed by Dr. Roger Babson, economist, who is an alumnus of M.I.T. and a lifelong student of the works of Sir Isaac Newton, discoverer of gravity. Its president is Dr. George Rideout of Boston.

“BLACKBOARD MATH – Dr. Vaclav Hlavaty, of the University of Indiana’s graduate Institute of Advanced Mathematics, who has stimulated research on gravity control, working on a problem.”

“ANTI-GRAVITY AND AVIATION – George S. Tromble jr., vice-president in charge of advanced design planning of Martin Aircraft Corp., left, discussing the application of anti-gravitational research to aviation with two Martin scientists, J.D. Pierson, center, and William B. Yates.”


Published in the NEW YORK HERALD-TRIBUNE: Monday, November 21, 1955, pp. 1 & 6

“FLYING SAUCER OF THE FUTURE? – A reproduction of an oil pointing by Eugene M. Gluhareff, president of Gluhareff Helicopter & Airplane Corp. of Manhattan Beach, Calif., showing a ‘saucer-shaped’ aircraft or space ship for exploring far beyond the earth’s atmosphere and gravity field.

Mr Gluhareff portrays it operating at ‘moderate speed’ over the New York – New England area and notes that in the painting ‘a propulsive blast of the electron beams from the rear of the saucer is visible, giving the saucer a translational force'”.


This is the second or a series on new pure and applied research into the mysteries of gravity and efforts to devise ways to counteract it. Written by Ansel E. Talbert, Military and Aviation Editor, N.Y.H.T.

Scientists today regard the earth as a giant magnet. Many in America’s aircraft and electronics industries are excited over the possibility of using its magnetic and gravitational fields as a medium of support for amazing ‘flying vehicles’ which will not depend on the air for lift.

Space ships capable of accelerating in a few seconds to speeds many thousands of miles per hour and making sudden changes of course at these speeds without subjecting their passengers to the so-called ‘G-forces’ caused by gravity’s pull also are envisioned.

These concepts are part of a new program to solve the secret of gravity and universal gravitation already in progress in many top scientific laboratories and long-established industrial firms of the nation.


Although scientists still know little about gravity and its exact relationship to electromagnetism, recent nuclear research and experiments with ‘high energy machines’ such as the Brookhaven Cosmotron are providing a flood of new evidence believed to have a bearing on this.

William P. Lear, inventor and chairman of the board of Lear, Inc., one of the nation’s largest electronics firms specializing in aviation, for months has been going over new developments and theories relating to gravity with his chief scientists and engineers.

Mr. Lear in 1950 received the Collier Trophy from the President of the United States ‘for the greatest achievement in aviation in America’ through developing a light-weight automatic pilot and approach control system for jet fighter planes. He is convinced that it will be possible to create artificial ‘electro-gravitational fields whose polarity can be controlled to cancel out gravity.’

He told this correspondent: ‘All the (mass) materials and human beings within these fields will be part of them. They will be adjustable so as to increase or decrease the weight of any object in its surroundings. They won’t be affected by the earth’s gravity or that of any celestial body.

‘This means that if any person was in an anti-gravitational airplane or space ship that carried along its own gravitational field… – no matter how fast you accelerated or changed course – your body wouldn’t any more feel it than it now feels the speed of the earth.’

Scientists and laymen for centuries have been familiar with the phenomena that ‘like’ poles of two magnets – the north and the north pole for example – repel each other while ‘unlike’ poles exert an attraction. In ancient times ‘lodestones’ possessing natural magnetism were thought to possess magical powers.


But the nineteenth century discoveries of England’s great scientist, Michael Faraday, paved the way for construction of artificial ‘electro-magnets’ – in which magnetism is produced by means of electric currents. They retain it only so long as the current is flowing.

An electromagnet can be made by winding around a soft iron ‘core’ a coil of insulated wire carrying electric current. Its strength depends primarily on the number of turns in the coil rather than the strength of the current.

Even today, America’s rapidly expanding electronics industry is constantly finding new uses of electromagnets. For example, Jack Fletcher, a young electronics and aeronautical engineer of Covina, Calif., has just built a ‘Twenty-First Century Home’ containing an electronic stove functioning by magnetic repulsion.


In it seven coils of wire on laminated iron cores are contained inside a plywood cabinet of blond mahogany. The magnetic field from these coils induces ‘eddy currents’ in an aluminium cooking pan nineteen inches in diameter, which interact and lift the pan into space like a miniature ‘flying saucer.’

The cooking pan floats about two inches in the air above the stove in a stabilized condition; ‘eddy currents’ generate the heat that warms it while the stove top remains cold.

The aluminium pan will hold additional pots and it can be used as a griddle. It is, of course, a variation of several other more familiar magnetic repulsion gadgets including the ‘mysterious floating metal ball’ of science hall exhibits.

No type of electromagnet known to science or industry would have any application to the building of a real aircraft or ‘flying vehicle’.

But one of America’s most brilliant young experimental designers, Eugene M. Gluhareff, president of Gluhareff Helicopter and Airplane Corp. of Manhattan Beach, Calif., has made several theoretical design studies of round or saucer-shaped ‘vehicles’ for travel into outer space, having atomic generators as their basic ‘engines’.


Mr. Gluhareff is the son of Michael E. Gluhareff, chief designer for Dr. Igor I. Sikorsky, helicopter and multi-engined aircraft pioneer. Dr. Sikorsky and the elder Mr. Gluhareff, who has won the Alexander Klemin award, one of aviation’s highest honours, are themselves deeply concerned in the problem of overcoming gravitation.

The younger Mr. Gluhareff already has been responsible for several successful advanced designs of less amazing ‘terrestrial’ aircraft.

He envisions the power obtained from the atomic generators operating electronic reactors – ‘that is, obtaining propulsion by the acceleration of electrons to a very high velocity and expelling them into space in the same manner that hot gases are expelled from jet engines.’ Such an arrangement would not pollute the atmosphere with radioactive vapors.


Because of its ‘long-lasting fuel’, an atomic-electronic flying disk would be able to control its acceleration to any speed desired and there would be no need for being ‘shot into space’ according to Mr. Gluhareff. Radial electronic beams around the saucer’s rim would be operating constantly and would sustain flight by ‘acting against gravity’.

Mr. Gluhareff thinks that control can be achieved by a slight differentiation of the deflection of electronic beams in either direction; the beams would act in the same way as an orthodox plane’s ailerons and elevator.


Mr. Gluhareff agrees with Dr. Pascual Jordan of Hamburg University, one of Europe’s outstanding authorities on gravitation who proved many parts of the ‘Quantum Theory’ of Dr. Max Planck, that it will be possible to induce substantial changes in the gravitational fields of rotating masses through electromagnetic research. Dr. Jordan has just signed a contract to do research for Martin Aircraft Corp. of Baltimore.

Norman V. Peterson guided missile engineer of the Sperry-Gyroscope Division of Sperry-Rand Corp. of Great Neck, L.I., who as president of the American Astronautical Society attended the recent ‘earth satellite’ meeting in Copenhagen corroborates the theory that ‘nuclear powered – or solar powered – ion electron beam reactors – will give impetus to the conquest of space’.

“FLOATING COOKING PAN – The ‘electronic stove’ functioning by magnetic repulsion built by Jack Fletcher, a young engineer of West Covina, Calif. The aluminium cooking pan, nineteen inches in diameter, floats two inches above the cabinet like a miniature ‘flying saucer’.

“It is completely stable while ‘hovering’ and can be used as a griddle or as a holder for additional pots and pans. ‘Eddy currents’ from a magnetic field created by an electromagnet inside the cabinet have warmed the pan – although the stove top remains completely cold.”

Published in the NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE: Tuesday, November 27, 1955, pp. 6 & 10

“Lawrence D. Bell, founder and president of Bell Aircraft Corp., of Buffalo, using a Japanese ivory ball to illustrate his view that humans before long will operate planes outside earth’s atmosphere, then outside the gravity field of the earth.

“The pilots with him, three top test piolots of the Air Force, are, left, Lt. Col. Frank J. Everest; centre, in light suit, Maj. Charles Yeager, and, in uniform next to Mr. Bell, Maj. Arthur Murray.”


This is the third is a series of articles on new pure and applied research into the mysteries of gravity and the efforts to devise ways to overcome it.