This post is for math geeks, serious open-minded ones, to refute or argue. The topic may flummox and outwit too many practicing technologists, particularly mainstream electrical engineers and physicists. [I’m an amateur mathematician interested in big-picture applied mathematics, educated in the sciences, but unencumbered by the training of everyday practice. ;-)
James Clerk Maxwell is the modern father of the commonly understood science of electro-magnetics. A mathematical savant, Maxwell contributed far more than he’s given credit for. He died relatively young leaving his greatest works slightly unfinished and soon grossly misinterpreted and tossed aside. Much of his work appeared mystical and esoteric. It’s that cliche of any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Too many scientists of his day couldn’t understand and couldn’t replicate Maxwell’s magic. That’s the damned shame that keeps our everyday electrical energy production mired in 19th century methods and its needlessly high costs.
Years ago as a student in engineering I always intuitively felt there was something really big missing from the the way physics, the calculus, and partial differential equations were presented in universities. My sincere questioning of foundational science was tolerated by professors with short discussions ending in dismissive disgust (on both our parts). I did, however, have five instructors, four mechanical and one electrical, who did at one time or another acknowledge there probably were significantly better ways of engineering electrical power generation — but that for now what they taught was the best way practical. I questioned whether that meant constraints due to politics and finance, legalities and patents, or mere technological problems.
If we could widely apply Maxwell’s lost equations and immediately implement the new technology then we’d encounter these bumps in the road:
- Profits of every energy producing industry on earth would be disrupted, but seemingly overnight everyone, especially in the third-world, would experience lower costs of living and continually increasing prosperity and abundance. Consider what happens when the marginal cost of energy falls to near zero, the famous line of “too cheap to bother to meter.”
- Military advantages would vanish.
- Obedience to religious controls would fall away, yet charity among laymen would increase.
The mathematics of Maxwell’s lost work is somewhat difficult to visualize (requires thinking in 4 or more dimensions, not just 3) and only seems to violate existing laws of physics (reality is not all we perceive; we are living in The Matrix)!
Maxwell’s work ties to Tesla, Einstein, Euler, string theorists, and others to unify all the universal energy/forces: heat, light, motion, gravity, magnetism, electricity, nuclear. It includes the esoteric spiritual realm, too. Too woo-woo for those who say nothing exists until they can replicate and measure it.
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