Faraday and the magnetic nature of space
J - I'm afraid I'm still not clear on all the important differences and connections...
W - Think of it this way. Paramagnetic substances tend to orient their long axis parallel to the magnetic force vector and are attracted to one of the poles of the field, either in parallel or in an anti-parallel orientation, the parallel orientation being the most frequent. This is also called the lower energy state. Their permeability to magnetic fields is slightly greater than unity, so they act like a magnetic lens that makes the lines of force converge. Aluminum, platinum, manganese, chromium are examples of paramagnetic substances.
J - But I thought that iron was also paramagnetic?
W - Yes, but truly so only when it's heated to 786 degrees centigrade! - ferromagnetism is a special instance of paramagnetism for high permeability substances, one that involves a 'cooperative alignment' of molecular magnetic domains. There are only three elemental ferromagnetic substances - iron, nickel, and cobalt. And they all cluster together between atomic numbers 26 to 28. Ferromagnetic substances are magnetized by the geomagnetic field - by magnetic induction. The pole of the compass needle that points north is actually a south pole.
J - Yes, that much I remember. But so, the effect of orgone energy was neither paramagnetic nor ferromagnetic?
W - Quite. The effect appeared to be diamagnetic. And diamagnetic substances have low magnetic permeability - less than unity. They act as divergent magnetic lenses. They avoid the magnetic field lines, as though they're being repelled by the applied magnetic field. Some metals are diamagnetic - like copper, zinc, silver, gold, antimony, bismuth and mercury. Dielectrics employed in friction machines to store electrostatic charge - like glass, sulphur, rubber - are also diamagnetic. The hydrogen atom or free radical is paramagnetic, but hydrogen gas is a diamagnetic substance because, normally, the magnetization of one atom cancels out that of the other. An air flame is diamagnetic and is repelled by either of the poles of a strong magnet.
J - Do diamagnetic substances align their long axis predominantly in antiparallel orientation?
W - No, not quite. They align their long axis perpendicular to either the parallel or antiparallel orientations of paramagnetism. It's true that a rod of iron suspended in a strong magnetic field will line itself up along the lines of the field because, as Faraday first put it, it tends to move from the weaker to the stronger parts of the field. In contrast, in the same arrangement, a rod of bismuth or glass will orient their longitudinal axes perpendicular to the magnetic force vector because it tends to move from the stronger to the weaker parts of the field. This was discovered by Faraday in 1845. Others had observed the phenomenon before, but had discarded it because they didn't understand what it meant. Faraday's studies showed that most substances or materials are diamagnetic - not paramagnetic. In the absence of an applied permanent magnetic field - induced diamagnetic effects can be observed in diamagnetic substances that are subject to a changing magnetic field, like the action of a transformer or an induction coil. The effect only lasts for as along as the changing magnetic field is applied, and the induced diamagnetization is directed transversely to the inducing field. The idea is that, in the absence of an applied magnetic field, there is no spinning motion of the atoms of diamagnetic substances. In other words, diamagnetic atoms don't behave like small magnets - not the way that paramagnetic substances do. And, you know, Faraday's discovery of diamagnetism had cosmic implications...
J - No, aside from his name and the laws of electrolysis, and the charge unit that carries his name, and a little more, I'm actually rather ignorant of his life and work!
W - So are most people nowadays - but what I'm going to tell you next - if you have any patience left, um - is the very beginning of the classical thought of a field theory in physics. You see, in that same year, 1845, Faraday concluded that space, mere space as he used to call it - had to have magnetic properties, in fact, properties intermediate between those of paramagnetics and diamagnetics - this is what Faraday called the magnetic 'zero- point' of the vacuum. Only these physical properties permitted the reality of magnetic lines of force and their persistence in a vacuum, in empty space. Becquerel later suggested, by analogy with Archimedes' principle of buoyancy - and to preserve Ampère's Law, it's true - that diamagnetic repulsion could be understood as a differential form of magnetism, with attraction and repulsion being seen as a matter of the relations between a test body and the medium. Of course, the fundamental problem with this approach is that it failed to explain why, in a vacuum, diamagnetic repulsion persists just as strongly. For as long as one assumed a luminiferous ether medium that had magnetic properties, one could get out of this problem by pointing out that the medium itself drove the repulsion of diamagnetic substances. But this solution brought in turn a whole new batch of problems - if the ether was magnetic, why did one need to invoke the action of matter that was more magnetic than diamagnetic substances? Much later, Maxwell returned to Becquerel's hypothesis; he saw it as the basis for the existence of circular currents in the electromagnetic ether - something that Faraday had anticipated, but said it stretched his own credulity too much. Before Maxwell, however, Oersted and especially Weber vindicated Faraday instead - diamagnetism had to be a new force of nature, because the repulsion was irrespective of magnetic polarity and a consequence of same-pole induction. Same-pole induction generated in diamagnetics molecular currents, otherwise absent, that were opposed to the molecular currents in the inducing magnet. Paramagnetics were subject to opposite-pole induction, diamagnetics to same-pole induction. Weber showed this with an induction apparatus coupled to a falling rod of iron or bismuth, and also showed that the induced currents had opposite polarity. Even so, Faraday later abandoned Weber's notion of diamagnetic polarity, because he concluded instead that diamagnetic substances didn't have magnetic polarity, nor the closed currents required by Ampère's theory.
J - So, how did Faraday resolve the problem of magnetic polarity?
W - Actually, he didn't. He transposed the problem to the physical reality of the magnetic lines of force. In a series of experiments, he refuted Weber's findings - and concluded that polarity is a directional property of the lines of force.
J -As if these lines were part of an infinitely large closed circuit?
W - That's just the problem that Faraday wanted to avoid - and that Maxwell jumped into head first. With his description of paramagnetics as converging lenses and diamagnetics as diverging lenses, Faraday came to the conclusion that magnetic polarity didn't really exist - neither for paramagnetics, nor for diamagnetics. He argued that paramagnetics simply intensified the applied field, and diamagnetics simply weakened it. In media more paramagnetic than themselves, paramagnetics behaved as diamagnetics, and in media more diamagnetic than themselves, diamagnetics behaved as paramagnetics. It all came down to the problem of transmission of the magnetic force. Unlike electricity, magnetism had no poles. Hence, no detachable magnetic monopoles could exist - unlike charges of one polarity that can exist on their own. Magnetic lines of force couldn't be transmitted by 'magnetic particles', not the way electrostatic lines were transmitted by contiguous electric charges. If you cut a magnet in half, you will always get a new set of two poles, not two isolated monopoles, one North and one South.
J - All right. But I still don't see how Faraday resolved it --?
W - For a while he considered whether the fluid ether hypothesis could explain the transmission of magnetic force along the magnetic field lines. He speculated whether this ether might produce vibrations transverse to the direction of electric currents, or whether it would instead have longitudinal vibrations. He wondered whether light could be a longitudinal vibration, and if not, what would constitute such a vibration? Confronted with having to assume a magnetic polarization of the luminiferous ether - an ether tension - he came to a very strange conclusion: that magnetic lines of force were stresses in space, they were a physical property of mere space that was only revealed when space was disturbed by matter.
J - I see - this is the core vision of field theory then --
W - Yes, the core axiom. Space has physical properties - one of these properties is to be strained by matter; and when strained by matter, it reveals the magnetic lines of force caused by that strain.
J - Yes, but don't you have to also add that this matter must be magnetic, or at least paramagnetic with respect to that space?
W - That was just the problem that Faraday thought he had found an answer to. Previously, for him, if diamagnetics had no polarity and did not respond to magnetic fields, it was difficult to see how matter, by itself, provoked that strain. But once diamagnetics became only divergent lenses for the lines of force, matter - whether magnetic or diamagnetic - would always produce a stress in space. Stop and think about this for a minute and you'll see that it's very close to the guiding notion of a unified field. Space has magnetic properties, and so does matter - and matter can only make these strains bend one way or another, like a filter.
J - Yes, - and like Einstein much later, you could conclude there's no luminiferous ether, no need for it - yes, I see.
W - In a magnetic medium, you can only demagnetize substances that are more paramagnetic than the medium is. Diamagnetic substances, less paramagnetic than the medium, would not be susceptible to permanent magnetization. You would have to pick a more diamagnetic medium, to see that happen to those substances - because now they would behave as paramagnetic ones.
J - So, there was no molecular transmission of the magnetic lines of force - they could exist just as well in a vacuum because the transmission wasn't a 'mysterious action-at- a-distance', but a physical stress in the neighboring space itself, is that it?
W - Yes, for Faraday space had physical properties - it transmitted the gravitating, electric and luminiferous forces, as well as the magnetic force. The idea that the magnetic lines of force were physical stresses in the fabric of 'pure space' was further reinforced by the fact that magnetic propagation along the field lines seemingly took no time. So he sought to differentiate space from matter, how the former acts differently from the latter, how the medium of pure space acts differently from material media.
J - How did he do that?
W - To answer you, I need to bring up an important series of facts seldom mentioned today. Our current explanations for diamagnetic behavior still resort to Oersted's and Weber's same-pole induction - yet, the behavior of diamagnetics is far from uniform. Another of Faraday's discoveries sheds some light on this - and also relates to Hulburt's specific interests - it concerned the atmospheric variation in optical propagation and light frequency, and its dependence upon atmospheric heat, magnetism and electricity, in particular, upon the roles of paramagnetic oxygen and so-called diamagnetic nitrogen. I'm going a little quickly here, but I think you'll see where I'm headed. The first crucial observation made by Faraday is that a ray of plane-polarized light that's transmitted through a diamagnetic medium with a high refraction index, like glass, can be made to rotate when acted upon by a magnetic force.
J - So a magnetic field can affect light...
W - Yes, the effect of magnetism upon light depended upon the geometry of the applied magnetic field, the nature of the diamagnetic and the distance travelled by the light ray through it, and the intensity of the magnetic lines of force. At first, it appeared that the direction of rotation of the plane of polarization was positive or right-handed - that is, clockwise, when seen by an observer placed at the end of the diamagnetic where the light exited - and that for ferromagnetic substances the direction was reverse, negative or counterclockwise. Maxwell later used this observation to return to the argument of same and opposite pole inductions that Faraday had abandoned, and concluded that ferromagnetic and diamagnetic substances cannot be simply explained by the lens-argument of 'magnetic permeability', but must, in fact, have real opposite physical properties. But this re-establishment of Faraday's original polar argument had to be framed properly, because some diamagnetics like neutral potassium chromate produced negative rotations, other diamagnetics like quartz could cause rotation in either direction irrespective of the presence of an external magnetic field and dependent only upon the direction of light entry, and still others like turpentine only produced clockwise rotations irrespective of the direction of the light's entry. It's easy to see that if the rotation with respect to the direction of the light ray entry was constant, say counterclockwise, an observer looking at a light pencil reflected back to its point of entry would see no rotation, as the two rotational effects would cancel out. But that's not what happens with turpentine or sugar solutions, and so on, when a magnet is applied. An observer at the point of entry and looking at the reflected ray will see a rotation which is double that observed at the point of reflection opposite the point of entry, and in the same direction. No matter whether it is the emitted or reflected ray, an observer at the point of entry will always see an accelerated counterclockwise rotation, and an observer at the point of exit or reflection, an accelerated clockwise rotation. The ray returns to the point of entry with its rotation increased, not cancelled, as should be the case if it was due to a molecular action, or a molecular transport. According to Faraday, this action of turpentine depended on the diamagnetic nature of the matter, but was not itself a molecular action. It was rather an indication that the magnet had induced stacks of electrical currents on planes transverse to the light ray and running counterclockwise when seen from the point of entry of the light ray.
J - Like a vortex --?
W - Yes, that is exactly what Maxwell later concluded. Maxwell imagined that all materials present two uniform circular vibrations with opposing direction. Two opposing vortices. When they are equal in all respects - periodic time, amplitude, acting on the same plane or the same longitudinal series of juxtaposed planes - they balance out to produce what he called a 'rectilinear vibration' on any plane, anywhere where they meet.
J - I think I follow - in ferromagnetic materials one of the vortices carries over the other - and there's a net negative twist...
W - Yes, that's it. In diamagnetic substances, if a magnet is applied, the other carries over and there's a net positive twist. It suffices to accelerate the phase of one of the vortices, and the plane position of that rectilinear vibration will rotate in the direction of the circular vibration that was accelerated. That's what happens in turpentine.
J - So, some diamagnetic substances only show positive rotation in the presence of a magnetic field, while others show it independently, as if the substance had a natural diamagnetic order or 'polarization' - is that it?
W - Yes, pretty much. You see - Faraday was after the distinction between space and matter, the magnetic field being a property of space that was disturbed by matter. In the same way that there were ferromagnetic substances, such as permanent, saturable paramagnetics, there could also be diamagnetics which retained their structure just as permanently. Faraday wouldn't exclude the possibility that certain matter or material media might have properties identical to those of space - and he thought he'd found the model of space in nitrogen. At first, he thought that nitrogen was diamagnetic. But when he used the torsion balance principle for detecting motion induced by a magnetic field, and mounted on the torsion bar identical volumes of nitrogen at different pressures, they failed to show differential attraction and repulsion in the presence of a magnetic field. So, he concluded that nitrogen was like space itself, neither diamagnetic or paramagnetic.
J - But according to Maxwell, wouldn't that just mean that the vacuum, or pure space, had to be formed by some sort of balanced vortices that magnetics or diamagnetics merely threw out of balance?
W - That's just the problem - pure space cannot be empty, and when a magnetic interacts with it, wouldn't space have to behave like a diamagnetic substance and screw up all the magnetic lines of force? You see the problem - space never appears as a paramagnetic medium for diamagnetics, outside of them, just as it never appears as a diamagnetic medium for magnetics.
J - Somehow, Faraday's progressive scale between magnetics and diamagnetics fails because space is not really at the center?
W - Yes, it is and it isn't. Rather, space complies with the twist that is intrinsic either to permanent paramagnetics or permanent diamagnetics, in the presence of one or of the other. Maxwell went on to think of molecular vortices aligned along the same axis and rotating in the same direction, in analogy to a stack of coins. But he wanted to remove the longitudinal component of the interaction, the very component necessary for establishing direction and time of propagation, and for constructing the mental image of a helix. These molecular fluxes could only embody the net result of those counter-coupled vortices, and not be confused with one or the other vortex. That's why the molecular explanation does not work for empty space. What are the molecules forming the magnetic or gravitational lines of force, if matter is absent? It all comes down to the physical nature of those lines of force - what is it that spins, and what is it that forms counterbalancing spins? That's where Reich comes in. Faraday's lines of force had no other physical reality that one could point to, and neither did Maxwell's counterbalancing vortices. All one was left with were phenomenalistic or mathematical descriptions that would take recourse to these types of abstractions only when necessary, and wouldn't need to suppose any physical reality for those vortices. Reich, on the opposite side of the spectrum, was convinced that orgone energy could explain magnetism - that it acted on the same plane as magnetism but in the opposite direction, and perpendicularly to the electric field.
J - All right, let's see if I get this - orgone energy would have diamagnetic properties, yet in the presence of magnetic fields, it would develop a countervortex, whose excess over the natural diamagnetic vortex would explain the magnetic lines of force.
W - Very good, very good. But you see what this implies --
J - Well, it means that space is not like nitrogen - that it has to have either diamagnetic properties, or some excess of diamagnetism over magnetism.
W - That is one of the thoughts, and perhaps the best one. More profoundly though, it means that space is made up of massfree energy and that everywhere this energy is in states of superimposition, or spin and counterspin -
J - But when Reich gives spiral galaxies as macroscopic examples of what you say, the two streams of massfree energy minimally required for the process spin in the same direction...
W - That indeed happened much later - but I don't think Reich kept much to these ideas on magnetism past 1944.
J - Would the layering of ferromagnetic and dielectric substances in the orgone accumulator create magnetic force vectors that are alternately pointing at right angles to each other, as one goes from layer to layer?
W - If the layers were polarized with respect to their stacking axis then, yes, they could present alternating oppositely-dominant directions of rotation. And what you say isn't entirely foreign to what Reich contended - that the ferromagnetic layer continuously attracted and repelled the orgone flow, concentrating it, focusing it, while orienting its field along local geomagnetic lines, and that the dielectric or insulator only attracted the orgone, and even 'soaked' it in. But I think that these were still very primitive ways of describing the effect of magnetized dielectrics, or what it all means. Here's where the real problem emerges. How is it that certain diamagnetics - even certain plastics! - can be induced to acquire permanent magnetism without changing the medium from a more paramagnetic one, to one that is more diamagnetic? You can see how important it is to determine exactly what physical characteristics of space permit the transmission of magnetic lines of force. Reich's answer was that all fields are orgone energy phenomena. For Faraday terrestrial magnetism was largely a surface phenomenon caused by the paramagnetic properties of oxygen - for Reich, at the time of project RAINBOW, geomagnetism was due neither to oxygen nor to an iron-nickel core in the planet. He thought it was the flux of massfree orgone charges coursing through the Earth that generated geomagnetism, and this was the alternative explanation he gave to Einstein. The Earth's magnetic field was not due to iron-magnetism, he said, but due to a magnetic reaction brought about by the interaction between the rotating mass and the diamagnetic properties of primary massfree charges traversing the earth, concentrating at its core and feeding that rotation. This would equally explain why a magnetic compass in the northern hemisphere does not point horizontally to magnetic North, but points with a dip that reaches the vertical or 90 degrees at the pole.
J - ... and the same geomagnetism would be responsible for the magnetization of ships during their construction?
W - So there's your direct connection.