Experiment to test whether inertial mass can be artificially altered

Posted May 26, 2011

by Paul LaViolette

The subquantum kinetics physics theory predicts that the inertial mass of a body can be changed by altering either its electric or gravitational potential.  High negative voltage potentials or positive G potentials (gravity hills) are predicted to reduce inertial mass, while high positive voltage potentials or negative G potentials (gravity wells) are predicted to increase inertial mass.  At present, a considerable amount of theoretical work needs to be done to determine how large a voltage potential would be needed to produce the predicted effect.  Nevertheless, even without a specific quantitative prediction, we felt that if an effect was seen, this would provide strong support for the subquantum kinetics paradigm since such mass altering effects are not predicted by standard physics theory.  For some time we have been interested to search for such an effect; for example, see Project No. 16 of the Starburst Projects List.

On Saturday May 21, 2011 Starburst Foundation researcher Paul LaViolette conducted this experiment in the New York laboratory of Alexi Guy Obolensky, with Mr. Obolensky and his assistant John being directly involved in the measurement process.  Two mechanical pocket watches were used to check for any sign of inertial mass variation.  These pocket watches use a torsion pendulum for their timing, that is, a wheel having a mass at its rim and a spring applying torque.  Any change in the mass of the wheel would reflect as a change in the ticking rate of the watch.  Under normal conditions, the two watches were found to deviate in their timing by less than 0.1 seconds over a 15 minute period, hence by less than one part in 104.  One watch was placed within a metallic sphere which was charged to -200 kilovolts for a period of 15 minutes.  The other watch was kept some distance from the sphere and was used as a time reference.  The watches were started simultaneously, the one was placed within its sphere, the sphere energized and after 15 minutes discharged once again, and then the two watches were finally brought together and simultaneously stopped.

The outcome of the experiment was that no time difference was seen between the two watches.  Hence if any inertial mass change was in fact induced during the 15 minute test period, it would have had to be less than one part in 104.  The experiment was run once with the target watch grounded to its metal sphere by a wire inside the sphere and once with the watch electrically isolated from its enclosing sphere.  Also a third trial was performed in which the sphere was repeatedly charged and then completely discharged 15 times per second during the 15 minute test period.  Again, even in this pulsed mode, no evidence of a change of inertial mass.

Erwin Saxl in 1964 claimed to have observed that the period of a torsion pendulum had changed by 0.4 to 0.7% when energized to +5000 V or -5000 V.  Liu et al. (1998) later checked Saxl's results energizing a torsion pendulum to ±2000 volts.  They saw no period change from  the application of the voltage potential indicating that if there had been any change of inertial mass it would have had to be less than one part per billion.  Our findings are consistent with those of Liu et al.  Although our time measurement resolution was far less, we did extend this measurement to voltages 100 fold greater than used by Liu et al.

Mikhailov (1999) measured the oscillation period of an electron plasma confined within an electrically charged sphere and found evidence that the electron's inertial mass had varied by ±0.3% when the sphere was charged respectively to ±3000 volts.  LaViolette had reasoned that if this mass change effect was due to an electrogravitic inertial mass change effect of the sort predicted by subquantum kinetics, then a similar inertial mass change should be observed for neutral matter as well.  Hence the incentive to conduct the stop watch experiment.  The null result of this watch experiment suggests that the phenomenon observed by Mikhailov may be due to another effect.  For example, Assis (1993) attributes the electron inertial mass variation observed by Mikhailov to an effect predicted by Weber's theory of electromagnetism.


E. Saxl Nature 203 (1964):136-139.

Y. Liu, et al. Physics Letters A 244 (1998):1-3.

V. F. Mikhailov Ann. Fonde. Louis de Broglie 24 (1999):161-169.

A. K. T. Assis J. Phys. Soc. Japan 62 (1993):1418-1422.

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