Physics riddle: anti-scientists claims Big Bang breakthrough

I amused by the latest great scientific announcement of successfully trapping the first “anti-atom”. “but until recently none could be trapped for long enough to study them”. Well would it be too foolish to suggest that the reason they have not been able to “trap” antimatter because it is a theoretical particle that does not exist in nature. If antimatter did exist it would be immediately annihilated by matter. Gerald Gabrielse, after a 20 year hunt for anti-matter should begin to realise this. If I create a swirl in a river that dissipates almost immediately have I created an anti-river? Or have I just been given a vital clue to the nature of the river?


NO. In the early days of electrical science, researchers believed that there were two kinds of electricity: “vitreous” and “resinous.” Benjamin Franklin renamed these ‘Positive‘ and ‘negative’ electricity after the well established study of magnetism. It was recognised that electricty could be created by rubbing different surfaces together.  It is now more widely accepted that this is the result of charge separation.

In a simple experiment where I induced a “charge separation” I was able to measure the apparent negative and positive charges on the separated items using a coulomb meter. What was unacceptable to conventional theory is that each charged object when studied more thoroughly actually contained BOTH negative AND positive charges that were held in place by reciprocal magnetic fields which was established using a simple compass. It was my belief that only type of electricity was created. The coulomb metre simply measured the flow of electrical pressure. Why the electricity was created in the first place is a different area for discussion.

My blog

It’s starting to take shape. I’m happy with the periodic table page. Will add a few links later today. The electrostatic theory page is a mess. Need to highlight the various experiments and detail my theories on the results. My 8-year-old son was just accepted into private school next year. There goes the lab! Would welcome any feedback from any more experienced bloggers ou there.


Instead, ‘static electricity’ is a collection of different electrical phenomena; phenomena where…
The amounts of positive and negative electric charge within a material are not perfectly equal.
Where voltage is high and current is low.
Where electrical forces (attraction and repulsion) are seen to reach across space. Widely spaced objects may attract or repel each other. Hair might stand on end!
Where electric fields (as opposed to magnetic fields) become very important. (Electric fields are also called “electrostatic fields” or “e-fields.”
Electrostatics is about “charge,” and about the attract/repel forces which electric charge creates. The motion or “staticness” of the charge is irrelevant. After all, the forces are still there even when the charges start flowing. And charges which are separated or imbalanced can sometimes flow along, yet the “static” effects are undiminished when the current begins. In other words, it’s perfectly possible to create flows of so-called “static” electricity.
It’s very misleading to concentrate on the “staticness” of the charges. It derails our explanations, and hides many important concepts such as charge separation, the density of imbalanced pos/neg charge, and the presence of voltage fields surrounding the imbalanced charges. These things are important even when the “static electricity” begins moving along as a current.

Electrostatics is not about “staticness,” instead it’s about charge and forces.

Imagine if water was explained just as badly as “static electricity.” In that case, most people would believe in two special kinds of water called “static water” and “current water.” We’d wrongly insist that “hydrostatics” was the study of static water. In that case, only the hydraulics expert would realize there’s no such thing as “static water.” Only the experts would realize that the so-called “static” water is really just pressurized water. The experts would also know that “static water” can even flow along, since pressurized water need not remain still or “static.” Hydrostatics still applies to water when it begins to flow. In a similar way, “static electricity” has everything to do with pressurized charge, and nothing to do with “electricity at rest.”

Here’s another problem with the usual “static electricity” concept. First, think about everyday matter. Down inside its atoms, everyday matter contains equal numbers of positive and negative charges (Protons and Electrons) which are very close together. Are these charges the “static electricity?” After all, they’re static and unmoving, right? They sit there inside each atom. And each individual electron and proton carries a charge of “static electricity.” Shouldn’t we say that physical matter is partly MADE out of “static electricity?”

But if we say that matter is made out of “static,” then where are the sparks, where are the rising hair and crackling noises? There aren’t any, and this shows that the “staticness” is not an important factor. Instead, the most important factor is the balance of opposite charges. Inside matter, the positive and negative charges are close together, and so their effects cancel out. Even though matter is full of charges which are “static” and unmoving, there is normally no “static electricity” to be seen. It’s about IMBALANCE between opposite charges, not about staticness. Also, the presence of charged particles is not such an important factor, since matter is full of them, even when no “static electricity” appears. We need separated, imbalanced particle populations before interesting things start to happen. Just having charged particles is not enough.

How can we fix the confusion? Easy. Don’t call it “static,” instead call it “charge imbalance.” It’s the net electric charge which is important. Or put more simply: it is the separation between positive and negative particles which is the basis for “static electricity.” When quantities of protons are separated from electrons across a large distance, then we’ll get sparks and rising hair. Call this “electric charge”, not “static charge,” since the imbalance remains the same even when the charges flow along very non-statically.

Whenever these opposite charges in matter are sorted out and separated into groups of positive and negative, then we say that “static electricity” has been generated. What does this have to do with the charges remaining still or static? Nothing! In fact, if the charge imbalance can be made to flow along, it will still retain all of its unusual characteristics. It will still attract hair and lint, and cause sparks, etc., even while it is flowing. This puts us into the ridiculous situation of talking about “Static Electricity” …which moves! It’s unfortunate that the term “static electricity” has become so widely adopted as the name for the phenomena. If it had been called something else, “imbalanced electricity” for example, it wouldn’t be nearly as misleading. It’s easy to think about an imbalance which moves or stays still. But it’s impossible to visualize an unmoving substance which flows. And it’s even more unfortunate that textbooks have widely adopted the misleading practice of stating that “static electricity is electricity which is static and unmoving.” This is a lie, and is no less a lie when many textbooks say the same thing. Reality is not determined by majority vote. No matter how many people agree otherwise, the Emperor’s Clothes remain missing.

What we call “Static electricity” also has another name: “high voltage.” All of the familiar electrostatic phenomena which we encounter in everyday situations always involve voltages above 1,000V, and ranging up to around 50,000 volts at the most. If it attracts lint or raises hair, it’s definitely over 1,000 Volts. Rub a balloon on your head, and you generate tens of thousands of volts! This is voltage without a current. Here’s a way to think about it: pure electric current involves a current with zero voltage, while pure “electrostatic” phenomena involve electrical voltages with zero current. Scuff your feet on a carpet and you create a voltage difference of many thousands of volts between your body and the carpet. Study “static electricity” and you study voltage itself.

It would be wonderful if the term “Static electricity” could be removed from the English language and replaced by “High Voltage Electricity.” Or possibly by “Separated Charge,” or “Charge Imbalance,” or “The Science Called Electrostatics.” This won’t happen anytime soon, since the mistake is too deeply ingrained in books and teachers, and in the minds of the public. The best solution is to have everyone stay aware of this issue. Try to avoid using the terms “Static Electricity” and “Static Charge.” And very definitely do not TEACH that “Static” and “Current” are opposite kinds of electricity. After all, charge imbalances still are “imbalances” even when they stop being static and they flow during an electric current.

Also, charge-flow and charge-imbalance can happen in the same wire at the same time. Therefore, anyone who believes that “static” and “current” are two types of opposite, mutually-exclusive electricity, those people will forever remain hopelessly confused about the true nature of any electrical phenomena.


Wrong. Electricity is energy, atoms are energy, electrons are energy, matter is energy. Electricity is a our experience of charge imbalance and dissipation of charge. Describing electricity as the movement of electrons is wrong in that electricity or charge imbalance is often generated through a magnetic field. A magnetic field is simply flow and is not usually described in terms of electrons.

We experience electricity through charge imbalance which seeks to dissipate through conductive material over the widest possible surface.

Charge dissipation is one of the most important concepts in understanding electricity. Charge can only exist in one of two states, balanced or imbalanced.

When dissipating, charge radiates outward in every direction behaving much like a burst balloon would dissipate air pressure. The difference is that certain substances (conductors) offer less resistance to the dissipating electrical pressure assisting or acting as a conduit for balancing the charge quicker. A charge carried along a conducting path acts in the same way, dissipating charge radially, always spreading to the greatest surface area, unless it is carried by the conductor to a distant point of dissipation. The simple laws of dispersion dictate the radial forces. This radial dissipation also illustrates how a charge will always be carried along the outermost surface of a conductor. Thus it can be stated that electricity tends to be a surface phenomena.


Never happened! Many people believe that Ben Franklin’s kite was hit by a lightning bolt, and this was how he proved that lightning was electrical. A number of books and even some encyclopedias say the same thing. They are wrong. When lightning strikes a kite, the spreading electric currents in the ground can kill anyone standing nearby, to say nothing of the person holding the string! So what did Franklin actually do? He showed that a kite would collect a tiny bit of electric charge out of the sky during a thunderstorm. Electric leakage through the air caused his kite and string to become electrified and so the hairs on the twine stood outwards. Twine is slightly conductive, so the imbalanced charge spread to all parts of the kite string. Franklin used the twine to electrify a metal key, and tiny sparks could then be drawn from the key. (He used a metal object because sparks cannot be directly drawn from the twine, it’s not conductive enough.) This suggested that some stormclouds carry strong electrical net-charge. It IMPLIED that lightning was just a large electric spark. The common belief that Franklin easily survived a lightning strike is not just wrong, it is dangerous: it may convince kids that it’s OK to duplicate the kite experiment as long as they “protect” themselves by holding a silk ribbon. Make no mistake, Franklin’s experiment was extremely dangerous, and if lightning had actually hit his kite, he certainly would have been killed.


No. I remember being taught at school that fast moving clouds gather electrical charges and exchange charges as they rub against each other. This is entirely untrue as the moist air contained in clouds actually helps dissipate charge and by no stretch of the imagination be responsible for the apparent build up of charge. The real explanation for thunderstorms is surprisingly still unknown to science. Here is my explanation. There are two pressure gradients in our atmosphere. The air pressure gradient where the pressure increases the closer you get to sea level, and the earth’s electrostatic gradient which decreases the closer you get to sea level. Both of these are mutually exclusive. Before a thunderstorm there is normally a sudden and dramatic drop in air pressure. This causes a sudden corresponding rise in electrostatic pressure (voltage). This electrostatic pressure is held in place by the very cold DRY insulating air high in the atmosphere, until the moist clouds rush into the low air pressure zone and create a conduit for the dissipation of charge. Note that often you will see horizontal lightening at the beginning of the storm. When the rain begins to fall you will see dramatic bolts of lightening to the ground. No rubbing, no charge separation.

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