The three Zero Point Energy books progressed to a stack in the hall – ready to go down to one of the bars in Makrigialos that keep books to loan out to customers – but then I decided to bite the bullet and have another go with them. There’s certainly some interesting real science in them, like the Casimir effect, Casimir batteries, the possibility of solid-state rectification of ZPE and the Alcubierre warp drive. The problem I have is sorting the nuggets of gold from the crap-heap. The book that first detailed the stuff above included a piece by one Richard Boylan Ph.D suggesting that declassifying ZPE technology would be a good thing – that would be the ZPE tech the Americans obtained from ‘Star Visitors’, which included antigravity tech. Oh dear. It all read very coherently, but it was like a post I once read on the Asimov’s message board – a perfectly coherent explanation by a guy of why he believes the Earth is only 6,000 years old.
This sort of stuff puts me in mind of the state of play a few centuries back as real scientists researched electricity, magnetism and electric fields, and as new technology began to result from them. Whilst the real scientists worked with real problems and conducted real research, a whole crop of pseudo-scientists grabbed these new shiny toys and attributed to them the kind of properties previously attributed to holy relics, bathing at Lourdes or rubbing yourself down with damp celery to cure leprosy. Newspapers of the time were full of adverts for electrical or magnetic treatments to deal with every ailment from gout to cholera. Of course out of that crap-storm came some real stuff, like X-rays, ultraviolet light skin treatments (I choose those because we’ve been watching Casualty 1900s).
Here, according to the book I’m reading now, are the paradigm camps regarding ZPE:
1. Quantum physics is wrong. Quantum events can be explained classically using self-fields. ZPE does not exist.
2. Relativity is wrong. A material-like ether exists.
3. Quantum physics is correct, but ZPE is a theoretical artefact; it is not real.
4. The ZPE physically exists, but its magnitude is too small to be an appreciable energy source.
5. The ZPE physically manifests large fluctuations, but they cannot be tapped because of entropy; they are random and ubiquitous like a uniform heat bath.
6. The ZPE is a manifestation of chaos in an open nonlinear system. Under certain conditions it can exhibit self-organisation and therefore become available as a source.
7. The ZPE is a 3-space manifestation of electric flux from a physically real, fourth dimension of space. It can be twisted into our 3-space yielding alterations in the space-time metric. It can be tapped as a source, and doing so locally alters gravity, inertia and the pace of time.
I think I can live with number 7, just so long as the tech doesn’t come from greys from Alpha Centauri or secret Nazi projects, just so long as there are no homeopathic, acupuncture or crystal healing miracles involved, just so long as the Zero Point Field isn’t God and our souls don’t transmit to the fourth dimension when we die etc etc etc.