Heaven's fires shall first fall darken'd from his sphere
Grave Night the light garb of the Day shall wear
Sweet streams shall chase the sea, tough ploughs shall tear
Her fishy bottoms, men in long date dead
Shall rise and live, before Oblivion shed
Those still-green leaves that crown great ALLAIS'S head.

after Chapman


At 94, Professor Maurice Allais is still as indomitable as ever! We maintain that it is still not too late for him to receive the physics Nobel he merits for his groundbreaking pendulum experiments in the 1950's, on top of the Nobel that he has already been awarded for his concurrent work in economics.

Bourgeot, the laboratory chief,
taking a reading
with Allais's paraconical pendulum



"In the hands of Science and indomitable energy, results the most gigantic and absorbing may be wrought out by skilful combinations of acknowledged data and the simplest means." - G.B.Airy


This website is the internet base for an association of researchers, both academic and independent, who are studying and publicizing Professor Allais's mid-century work in mechanics and optics, which he is still actively pursuing on the theoretical level. With our own current researches, we also hope to extend Allais's studies in both depth and breadth.

It should be emphasized that this website is not directly authored by Professor Allais or any agent of his. We are cordial colleagues of Maurice Allais; however, we are working along our own lines, and statements on this website are our responsibility and should not be attributed to him. To access a website maintained by a close associate on a day-to-day basis of Professor Allais, If you wish to contact Prof. Allais, you should email via that site; we ourselves have only irregular communication.


So, what's the "Allais Effect" all about anyway? Wikipedia carries an article which has been produced as the result of a protracted wiki-struggle between anomalists and conventionalists, so that it may be considered as being reasonably balanced; it comes up if you .

Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night,
God said, "Let Newton be!" and all was light.
It did not last; the Devil, howling "Ho!
Let Einstein be!", restored the status quo.

anon




Prior Arts

Over the last fifty years evidence has accumulated from diverse physics experiments that, in some situations, various dynamical systems behave in ways which are not predicted according to current theory. These are experiments related to rotational or accelerated motion, and typically the anomalies correspond to forces of 10-3 to 10-5 of the forces that are causing the main motion. Moreover, some of these anomalous effects have been particularly manifested during solar or lunar eclipses, sometimes quite strongly. Click above or upon the image to get to a page linking to various original documents, all relevant and interesting, many inaccessible elsewhere, and (mostly) describing examples of such puzzling physical phenomena, with a bias towards, but not limited to, pendulum research and eclipse anomalies. You can find several papers by Saxl & Allen, the previously unpublished Latham report which is of the highest importance in the paraconical pendulum field, a summary by Savrov of his experiments with a very short and delicate paraconical pendulum during solar eclipses in Mexico and Brazil in 1990 and 1994, the previously almost impossible to find publication by Jeverdan describing his Effect, and several very interesting previous works not directly relating to physical or eclipse anomalies, such as researches by the pioneers G.B. Airy and Kamerlingh Onnes. Further contributions to this prior art page, and suggestions for documents to be included, would be very welcome. Coming soon: the original documents of Jean de Fonroque, more detail upon the work of Jeverdan and Michaila... and a Rogues' Gallery page!

Translations of Physics Works
by Maurice Allais

Initially, the commencement of my own interest in Professor Allais and his physics researches - an extensive subject - was that I started to translate some of the documentation Allais has written at various times about his work in physics from French into English. This section of the website serves to present these translations and their originals, as well as copies of the few documents that Allais has himself produced in English.

My first such translation was the legendary Allais-to-NASA memoir of 1999, which he wrote shortly after the 11 August 1999 solar eclipse which passed through Europe. David Noever at NASA, having heard some fragmentary details about the anomalous Eclipse Effect which Allais observed in 1954, had organized quite a large collaborative effort between various European institutions for performing various physical experiments and observations during the eclipse. This praiseworthy effort was unfortunately rather misdirected and did not use the most appropriate apparatus, since nobody concerned knew much about the details of Allais's work (which, with one exception, had been published only in French), and since Allais hadn't been consulted because nobody in charge knew that he was still around. When Allais heard about this collaboration (after the fact), fired with the desire to urge NASA to pursue this line of research further, he prepared an 84 page memoir - which constitutes an excellent overall introduction to the subject - and sent it to Noever. In French. The matter seems to have proceeded no further, but refer to a page about the Noever/NASA affair: click here.

And now, due to my volunteer translation efforts, this fascinating document is available in English. Click above or upon the image for the Allais documents page.

Other Web Pages

There are quite a few researchers worldwide, in both the theoretical and the practical arena, who are pursuing work generally related to the subject of this website - i.e. connected to gravitational and optical anomalies. [Alas, in general, these researches are not officially funded.] Click above or upon the image to access some webpages describing such work. These include a page on this site detailing Prof. Vincent Morin's work on the Allais-Esclangon optical deviations; another by Prof. Dimitrie Olenici of Suceava in Romania who probably has more experience than anybody else in the world (except Maurice Allais) in conducting paraconical pendulum experiments; a page by Prof. Jose Almeida of the Physics Department of the University of Minho in Portugal who is setting up a collaboration with us for investigating the Allais effect in northern Portugal during the annular solar eclipse of 3 October 2005; and two extensive websites upon physical and gravitational theory authored and maintained by Prof. Reg Cahill of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. Professor Cahill and his colleague Lance McCarthy are currently setting up a number of paraconical pendulums in order to make observations during the solar eclipse of 8 April 2005, at the western end of the eclipse track.

Our Plans for Research
with Paraconical Pendulums

In the 1950's Maurice Allais constructed his paraconical pendulum, which was the most sensitive and accurate physical pendulum ever made up to that time. (A 'physical pendulum' is a pendulum with a solid rod joining the bob to the suspension, as opposed to a flexible wire or cord.) Allais operated his pendulum over a number of marathon month-long runs, and observed several interesting unexplained periodic effects, as well as serendipitously discovering his famous Eclipse Effect when a solar eclipse passed not far from Paris in 1954. These effects are probably related in some manner, but the details are still mysterious...

Allais's pendulum experiments have never even been repeated, let alone improved upon, although Prof. Latham of Imperial College, London made a valiant effort around 1980. Yet the expense and effort involved would be quite trifling upon the general scale of modern physical research. We think that the main barriers have been informational and institutional. The fact that almost all Prof. Allais's original reports have remained (until now) in the French language has undoubtedly been an impediment. We have realized that, with the general advance of technology, it would be possible to reproduce Allais's experiments with much greater accuracy than he was able to attain, and we intend to do this and to study the Allais periodic deviations in depth. Moreover, we intend to set up sets of suitable pendulums at strategically chosen locations upon the Earth's surface near to the paths (and anti-paths) of upcoming solar eclipses. This effort should confirm or disprove the fifty-year-old question of the existence of the Allais Eclipse Effect definitively, one way or the other (but, if it does exist, understanding its details and its cause may be a much tougher proposition). Click above or upon the image to read more about our plans.

Manufacturing Our
First Twelve
Paraconical Pendulums

Obviously, a necessary preparatory stage was to construct a number of pendulums according to the best possible design that we could come up with. We were lucky to obtain Allais's working drawings for one of the several paraconical pendulums that he used, as a starting point. Although a paraconical pendulum is a very simple device in principle, its details involve many subtleties. We decided to implement paraconical pendulums rather than some other type, because the paraconical configuration (which Allais invented) is still by far the most sensitive and delicate setup available. In a paraconical pendulum, the swivel or suspension consists of a small ball rolling upon a plane, so that only rolling friction is involved, but no sliding friction. This type of pendulum is termed 'paraconical' because the support ball moves a few millimeters to and fro upon the plane as the pendulum swings, so that the envelope in space described by the rod is almost a cone, but not quite; to a close approximation, but not exactly, this envelope is a tight hyperbolic paraboloid. Click above or upon the image to access a set of pages which discuss our "English-type" paraconical pendulum in detail, and to see photos of the manufacturing process and working drawings. We intend to keep details of all our equipment on the internet, in the public domain, and we would welcome other researchers copying our pendulums and improving upon them - and we would like to be told about such improvements, so that we can consider incorporating them in our own apparatus.

Setting up Two English-style
Paraconical Pendulums in Sarawak

Virtually all historical experimentation with sensitive pendulums - such as the work of Airy, Foucault, Kamerlingh Onnes, Allais, and Latham - has been conducted at locations higher than 40o North latitude. The reasons are easy to see: (a) that's where the researchers were based in the first place, and they saw no reason to tear up their roots; (b) a primary subject for investigation being the Foucault effect, the higher the latitude the better (since as is well known the Foucault effect magnitude is proportional to the sine of the latitude), and accordingly the researchers were actually quite pleased to be positioned at the high northern latitudes of Europe. However, this approach is vulnerable to the criticism, that it tends pre-emptively to avoid the possibility of observing anything unusual. In any case, it seemed to us elementary that, during investigation of the small periodic pendulum deviations observed by Allais, the Foucault effect basically constitutes a distraction if not an obstruction, and it would be more appropriate to conduct operations at or very near the Equator where the Foucault effect is negligible.

These considerations were brought into sharper focus when we realized that on 28 October 2004 the "anti-eclipse point" of a lunar eclipse was scheduled to pass very near Kuching, Sarawak (a state of Malaysia, on the north part of the island of Borneo), which is a place where we have some personal contacts. This promised to be a good opportunity to see if any peculiar effects might be manifested during an lunar anti-eclipse. We were lucky to obtain the cooperation and the active support of the Alom Corporation and the Airship Group of Malaysia for setting up a couple of our pendulums at their works in Kuching, at 1o 32' North latitude. The Foucault precession at that location takes nearly 900 hours for a full turn, so at the current primitive stage of development of our sensing equipment it could be ignored. The gritty details of the setting up of these paraconical pendulums, and a plethora of photographs, may be accessed by clicking above or upon the image. The ever-ready assistance of Alom and the Airship Group recall Airy's inimitable encomium:

"Commerce and Trade honor themselves when, in their exciting career, they stop and hold forth a frank and generous hand to that which elevates and ennobles our race."

Operating the Paraconical
Pendulums at the Equator

Having set up these two pendulums in Sarawak, we needed to develop procedures for operating them. Allais's works are not much help as far as the details are concerned, and a great deal of trial and error was required. In the end we succeeded in getting the system to work reliably and to yield consistent and repeatable results. In fact, we had thought beforehand that the experience we gained by this preliminary experimentation would probably constitute its most valuable result. The details of our operational procedures, including the all-important launch mechanism, can be accessed by clicking above or upon the image. There are a large number of clear photographs. It would not be difficult for an independent worker to recreate everything we have done, only by using this documentation. We believe that now, as a result of this work, our two pendulums are the most sensitive physical pendulums in the world. However, the supports certainly still leave a lot to be desired...


Preliminary Results and Conclusions

Of course, setting up these two pendulums, developing procedures for operating them, and actually performing determinations in series, have not proved to be strictly independent and sequential processes; rather, there has been a sort of dialectic development, in which we have repeatedly cycled back to change various features of the apparatus and the operational protocols, based upon ongoing experience. Some of our results garnered during the initial development process are thus suspect for one reason or another, and accordingly should be discounted. (Yes, we know, good old Procrustes is doing his best to intervene here.) For example, unfortunately, we were not able to perform proper determinations during the solar eclipse which took place over Alaska on 14 October 2004 which (as is quite usual) preceded the lunar eclipse of 28 October by a fortnight - but the observations we made are interesting upon the anecdotal level. However, from about the start of November, we were able to conduct a number of twelve-hour runs which showed most interesting systematic disturbances of the pendulums, clearly not due to chance, which we have not as yet been able to explain; but these are still early days. The details of our preliminary results, and our tentative evaluations, can be accessed by clicking above or upon the image.

Publicity in the UK and Malaysia

Recently there have been several articles in the mainstream media in the UK relating to gravitational anomalies - in particular, an article in the Economist, and the cover story of a recent issue of New Scientist (27 November 2004). Clicking upon the button above or upon the image leads to a page with links to copies of these articles. Moreover, during our recent efforts in Sarawak, Malaysia, the local establishment and media showed quite a lot of interest in the fact that we were mounting the first scientific pendulum experiments ever performed in the equatorial zone. Tun Mahathir Mohammed, the former prime minister of Malaysia, honored our laboratory with a visit during which - demonstrating his usual technical acumen - he asked several penetrating questions about the pendulum work. And Alom and the Airship Group - our sponsors who so kindly afforded us every facility - called several press conferences. The page referenced above also carries readable/printable copies of some of the resulting coverage. Most of it is in English; some is in Chinese.


A PowerPoint Presentation

For a good overall introduction to the subject of the Allais Eclipse Effect (although a bit outdated in parts), you can download a zipped version of the presentation I made to the conference of the SSE (Society for Scientific Investigation) in May 2004 by RIGHT-clicking here or upon the image, and storing the file eclipses.zip which is offered in some convenient location; but be warned that this is a large file of 27MB. You will have to unzip it, of course. The best way is then to put all the resulting files onto a CD; this should play flawlessly in any Windows computer with the packaged PowerPoint viewer which is included. Or you could install the files in a convenient location on your hard disk, and run the viewer from there.

Or (which is not the recommended option, but it is available) you can click here and you can see the presentation on-line in your browser. Actually that doesn't really solve the bandwidth problem at all, but the experience of irritating delay is subdivided, because you can see the slides one by one. You have to click upon the movies to start them. And obviously they will take a long time to load, if you are not on broadband. (The slides 28, 29, 48, and 49 are movies.)




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