Index to Ivor Catt’s work on Electromagnetic Theory


Electromagnetic Theory breaks down with Digital Hardware Design

Scandals in Electromagnetic Theory 

The TEM wave; a lost concept.

After 30 years of insisting that Ivor Catt did not exist as a contributor to e-m theory, the IEE finally published a review by the late B Lago lambasting my 1994 book "Electromagnetism 1".

IEE Journal "Electronics & Communication Engineering" oct95, p218.

".... There are many items in this book which give cause for concern, for example the false statement that 'The TEM wave has virtually disappeared from today's electromagnetic theory'."

Ivor 24july01

Recently, I went to the new British Library HQ in St. Pancras London and went through the 20 books on electromagnetism on their shelves - the most recent books, which are the ones they show (except mine has been banished to the dungeons in Yorkshire).

None of the books have a diagram of the TEM wave - the E, H and c all at right angles. There was no discussion of the nature of the TEM wave in any of the books. They are definitely worse than the books published 20, 40 years ago. There is virtually no mention of Displacement Current in these 20 books. At most, two have discussion of Maxwell cutting the Gordian Knot over the capacitor, leading to displacement current. However, I should probably say with more accuracy that this is not mentioned in any of the 20 books.

Yesterday I went to the IEE, Savoy Place, London, library. I went through the 60 books on the shelves in the "electromagnetism" section. They included my book The Catt Anomaly , but my 1994 book Electromagnetism 1 has been condemned to the IEE dungeons. (I recently presented the two books to the IEE Library.)

None of the 60 books contained a diagram showing the TEM wave. (Virtually no discussion of displacement current. What little there is, is as an added term in a formula; no discussion of its origins. Thus, today's young lecturer (let alone the young student) will not have access to Displacement Current, let alone the TEM Wave, which latter is the main thrust of this discourse.)

(Two exceptions:
(Prof. of Electrical Eng., Case Western Reserve Univ.,) R E Collin, "Field Theory of Guided Waves", pub. IEEE Press 1990;

Displacement current is not in its index, which however contains "TEM Waves, definition, p173". This turns out to be 20 pages of fancy maths with no diagram of a TEM wave.

Back cover; "Long considered the most comprehensive account of electromagnetic theory... practical and comprehensive ...."

One book had two sine waves, one at right angles to the other, representing the E and H fields. However, there was no velocity. Another book had two lines, one for E and the other for H, but they were not quite at right angles. Also, no velocity. Apart from those two, (Collin and Wolf), no book had diagrams.)

Prof. of Elect. Eng., Virginia Poly Inst. and State Univ.) David E De Wolf, "Essentials of Electromagnetics for Engineers", pub. Cambridge U.P. 2001.

TEM Waves, p390. No diagram. p409 No proper diagram. It appears that there is no diagram of the TEM wave in the book.


In both the British Library and the IEE Library, old books are relegated to the dungeon. Thus, a lecturer who is assigned the task of lecturing on electromagnetic theory will have no access to information which will give him a grasp of the TEM wave. The TEM wave has been lost to lecturers as well as to students. (The only place in the last 25 years where the TEM wave is described is in my 1994/5 book Electromagnetism 1 (see library dungeon), and in The Catt Anomaly, p3.)

Ivor Catt 26july01


Ivor Catt's letter published in Wireless World, feb84

In his letter, published in Wireless World nov83, W M Dalton hit a nasty land-mine that I first noticed some years ago. Let me first quote the moment when he hits it.

"Let us start from known facts. (1) Light is an electromagnetic phenomenon: demonstrated by Faraday and Kerr. (2) Light is not a static problem: it is oscillatory (Hertz). (3) The electric and magnetic fields are at right angles and always 90 degrees out of phase. Some recent textbooks show these in-phase - an unpardonable error."

I am anxious that Mr Dalton expands on why this error is unpardonable, and what disasters this error might lead us into.

First let me list some non-recent textbooks which show these in-phase.

G. W. Carter, Professor of Electrical Engineering in the University of Leeds, in his book The Electromagnetic Field in its Engineering aspects, (Longman 1954) draws the B and E fields in-phase on page 271. Significantly, although he emphasises that E and B are at right angles (page 274) he never seems to say in the text that B and E are in phase.

F. Kip, Professor of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, in his book Fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism, (McGraw-Hill 1962) draws the H and E fields in-phase on page 322. On that same page the text says that the two fields are perpendicular to each other, but does not state that they are in-phase. Again, significantly, I cannot find mention in the text that they are in-phase.

O Heaviside F.R.S., in his book Electromagnetic Theory Vol 3, 1912, in art. 452, page 4, wrote;

"The General Plane Wave … the slab may be of any depth and any strength, and there may be any number of slabs side by side behaving in the same way, all moving along independently and unchanged. So E = uvH expresses the general solitary wave, where, at a given moment, E may be an arbitrary function of x …" [Replace uv by sq.rt. u/e - I Catt]

Whereas some books (Carter and Kip) vaguely indicate that E and H are in-phase, other books seem to fail to discuss relative phase at all, see for example Cullwick 1959, Bewley 1933. The trap was nicely set for Dalton, and he has my sympathy.

Now let us turn to my article in Wireless World, July 1979, entitled The Heaviside Signal.

"We have shown that the passage of a TEM wave and all the mathematics that has mushroomed around it does not rely on a causality relationship (or interchange) between the electric field and the magnetic field. Rather, they are co-existent, co-substantial, co-eternal."

In that article I compare and contrast two mutually contradictory versions of the transverse electromagnetic wave. I believe that the full realisation that E and H are in-phase deals a death-blow to one of those versions, the rolling wave, and leaves the other, the Heaviside Signal, the victor.

Because the differential of sin is cos and the differential of cos is minus sin, half-witted mathematicians have invaded the physics of the TEM wave and imposed a spurious story that E causes H causes E. Since sin, cos and -sin are 90 degrees out of phase, part of their phoney baggage is to imply that E and H are 90 degrees out of phase. (See my article in Wireless World in March 1980.) Because the sin wave is amenable to mathematical high jinks, another part of their baggage is to imply that a TEM wave is sinusoidal. It's time we cleaned the claptrap out of electromagnetic theory.

Ivor Catt, Wireless World, feb84.

Beware of the Bull



Note by Nigel Cook.

This is very important. The fact is that IEE published B Lago claiming that the TEM wave exists in electromagnetism today, when it does not. I first heard about it from Ivor, it was not on either the syllabus or in the textbooks for GCSE, A-level, and undergraduate (Surrey University and Open University Physics Modules) physics.

Physics is the most pompous, pretentious, and fraudulent discipline (or rather, lack of discipline!) there is. The application of mathematics in physics is used as a front to block understanding which would lead to the exposure of the corruption. The textbooks on electromagnetism which Ivor refers to are the sort of trash which puts off every real scientist. The only people who get through the filters set up are crossword class mathematicians, who plod through the trash, then repeat it in exams, then repeat it again to their students, then repeat the same in their textbooks. It is a closed cycle.

Electromagnetism should be taught as the core of physics, the nature of all matter in the universe, even the vacuum itself being electromagnetic as Ivor says, since it has a specific impedance of 377 ohms, permittivity, and permability. Instead, the charlatans teach electromagnetism as a technical detail concerned with obscure mathematical physics. The problem is to break through the barrier, to discredit the Establishment without stooping to their level in the process. I am glad that Ivor had dug out his 1980s computer disc of visual explanation of the TEM wave. It should hopefully be exactly what is needed.

Nigel Cook 27july01


Ivor Catt. (Faulty material is in red.) Here is an example of the promotion of the false idea that in the TEM wave, E and H are 90 degrees out of phase. Today 1apr02, the first hit on a Google search for "Transverse Electromagnetic Wave" is;

The basic transverse electromagnetic wave, as shown to the left, involves both a varying electric field and a varying magnetic field, appearing at right angles to each other and to the direction of travel of the wave. Note especially that the electric and magnetic fields are not in phase with each other, but are rather 90° out of phase. Most books portray these two components of the total wave as being in phase with each other, but I find myself disagreeing with that interpretation, based on three fundamental laws of physics:

  1. Energy is neither created nor destroyed.

The total energy in the waveform must remain constant at all times. Any deviation from this condition constitutes a violation of this law.

If the two component waves are asssumed to be in phase with each other, then the total energy of the wave varies from some maximum value to zero, and then back up to the maximum value. I invite anyone to tell me where the energy goes when it is not part of the wave, and why it returns to the wave once it is all gone.


"All pages on copyright © 1996, 2000-2002 by Ken Bigelow
Please address queries and suggestions to: "

I sent him my comment on his error (above) today 1apr02, pointing him to this document. See Ivor Catt


Extraordinarily, Bigelow sticks to his guns, continuing to assert that in a TEM wave, E and H are 90 degrees out of phase. He demands that I produce mathematical manipulations to prove that E and H are in phase! This is a beautiful case of the tail (maths) attempting to wag the dog (physical reality, in which E and H are in phase). - Ivor Catt 3may02

"It was once told as a good joke upon a mathematician that the poor man went mad and mistook his symbols for reality; as M for the moon and S for the sun." - Oliver Heaviside, Electromagnetic Theory, vol. 1, p133.

Big's problem is that he is locked into the idea that the amount of energy is constant along the path of a TEM wave. This is equivalent to his thinking that the number of passengers per metre in a train must be constant, so that some passengers have to be in the space between the carriages. He does not have the concept of a series of blocks of energy with a space free of energy between each two blocks of energy, in the same way as there are no passengers in the space between the railway carriages. His confusion results from his commitment to The Rolling Wave ( ). He thinks that in the carriage resides electrical energy, and in the space between the carriages resides magnetic energy. He thinks that the electrical energy metamorphoses into magnetic energy and the magnetic energy into electrical, and this is a necessary repeated transformation in order for the TEM wave to advance through space. These ideas are all very elegant, and amenable to mathematical high jinks. However, the problem is that they do not map onto physical reality. In the real world, E and H are in phase.

From the last paragraph, I quote myself; " He does not have the concept of a series of blocks of energy with a space free of energy between each two [adjacent] blocks of energy". Thus, he does not have the concept of a series of pulses travelling down a transmission line, with (energy free) spaces between the pulses. When confronted by the message S O S, … - - - … he will hide behind Fourier Series. Big needs help. He will get none so long as the gang of shysters who, to cover up for their own lack or grasp of the physics, desperately to pump ever more masses of mathematics into electromagnetism, which is a physical, not a mathematical, subject. These maths pushers continue to control faculty, exam boards and text book editors throughout the world.

Ivor Catt. 3may02


Degenerate Berkeley

D Jackson, University of California at Berkeley, is also Visiting Fellow in my old College in Cambridge. A new edition of his book is still selling.

J D Jackson, "Classical Electrodynamics", pub. Wiley 1962/1975, p341; "… we take note of a degenerate or special type of solution, called the …. TEM wave. …. axial wave number …. ". Then follows some bizarre mathematics.

Thus do these clapped-out radio men, stuffed to the gills with irrelevant mathematics, dismiss the high speed digital electronics of today, also dismissing Heaviside's pioneering work of a century before them.

Ivor Catt  10oct02