Having reviewed the book twice, I’ll just refer you to those reviews rather than reviewing it again here. Instead, I thought I’d say a few words about my own peripheral involvement in Project Greenglow (which, if you’ve read one or both of my book reviews, you will know was a long-running “blue skies” research initiative led by Ron Evans when he worked for BAE Systems).
Until a month ago, I’d never seen my name mentioned in a book (apart from ones I wrote or contributed to myself). Now it’s happened twice in quick succession! The first was in the introductory note to David Clarke’s How UFOs Conquered the World, which I wrote about last week (I’m one of a long list of people that David thanks “for their input both past and present”). And then I’m mentioned twice in the Greenglow book – first in the introduction, where Ron says I provided “additional backing for the Greenglow venture” (which is true, albeit only in the form of encouragement from the sidelines, rather than active participation) and again in the acknowledgements at the end, where I’m listed as one of half a dozen people who read and commented on an earlier draft of the book.
In May 1996, around the time Project Greenglow got underway, I was seconded to the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall for three years as a scientific adviser (this was the high point of my career – it’s been downhill ever since then). This put me pretty close to the centre of things. If I crossed the corridor to my boss’s office and looked out of the window, I could see the gates of Downing Street (John Major was still Prime Minister when I arrived, replaced by Tony Blair a year later). For some even more impressive name-dropping, a couple of floors higher up the building, almost immediately over my own office, was none other than Nick Pope himself! As I said in a previous post, “by that time Nick had moved on from his stint on the UFO desk, but he had already become a major celebrity within UK ufology”.
As I also mentioned in that earlier post, my own job was concerned with advanced air vehicle research. Like Nick Pope, I was what they called a “desk officer” – which in my case meant monitoring a large number of other people’s research projects without actually (ahem) doing any real work myself. The most futuristic of the projects in my remit was a collaborative effort with BAE Systems (or British Aerospace, as it was called in those days), and that’s how I met Ron Evans. But as “futuristic” as this project was, it still used well-established textbook physics. That wasn’t the case with another of Ron’s interests, Project Greenglow, which deliberately set out to discover brand new physics in the realm of gravity control. Greenglow was purely a BAE initiative (I mean it was funded and directed by them, and carried out in various university departments around the UK), so I didn’t have any active involvement in it myself. However, I made no secret of my interest in the subject, and Ron was good enough to treat me as a kind of honorary member of the Greenglow team.
As I said in the Fortean Times review:
One of the biggest events in the field of “gravity control” during the Greenglow years was the announcement by the Russian scientist Evgeny Podkletnov of a possible gravity shielding effect caused by rotating superconductors. This made mainstream headlines when the news first broke in 1996, and an attempt to duplicate Podkletnov’s experiment was one of the main strands of Project Greenglow itself.I was lucky enough to see the latter at first hand, when Ron invited a couple of colleagues and myself to visit the Greenglow experiment at Sheffield University in May 1998. This is certainly the closest thing to “weird science” I’ve ever seen in a university laboratory! Unfortunately the experiment failed to reproduced Podkletnov’s gravity-defying results – although it was done on a shoestring budget, so it wasn’t able to reproduce the original experiment exactly (for example the superconducting disc used in Sheffield was much smaller).
One of the things Ron was very good at was networking, and he put me in touch with a lot of fascinating characters, including several people involved in NASA’s “Breakthrough Propulsion Physics” program – which was similar in its objectives to Project Greenglow, if higher profile. At one point I got a call on my office phone from the American science fiction author – and science speculator – Robert L. Forward (who sadly died a few years later). Definitely the closest thing to a cold call from a celebrity I’ve ever received!
After I moved back to my old job following the temporary posting to MOD, Ron continued to keep me in touch with the Greenglow “network”. I talked about one of the weirder experiences to come out of this a few years ago in Stranger than Fiction. After Ron’s retirement in 2005, he sent me an early draft of his book to look through. It’s taken a long time, but I’m glad to see he finally got it published.
The book may be a little on the technical side for some people, but it ought to be essential reading for anyone who is seriously interested in the subject of “breakthrough physics”. To get your copy, just click on the appropriate link below!
Get Greenglow and the Search for Gravity Control from Amazon.com (paperback)
Get Greenglow and the Search for Gravity Control from Amazon.com (Kindle)
Get Greenglow and the Search for Gravity Control from Amazon UK (paperback)
Get Greenglow and the Search for Gravity Control from Amazon UK (Kindle)