The Discovery of the B(3) Field

Subject: Reminiscences: The Discovery of the B(3) Field
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 13:16:26 EDT

We returned from Zurich in the fall (autumn) of 1990 by air to Logan Airport Boston and Ithaca Airport. We were both keen to see our house again at 77 Lois Lane, Commonlands, Ithaca, a really nice community not far from the Cornell Campus. On arrival however we were shocked to find that the IBM Unit at Cornell Theory Center had decided to reduce its personnel. That was really bad luck. Both of us liked Ithaca and Cornell. Laura was given an extension and I was taken on again in an unpaid capacity at Cornell Theory Center. So I started to apply for jobs again. At our little house in Port Ewen near Kingston I had applied for many jobs, and was frequently met with expressions of disbelief that with my publication record and awards etc I still had to apply for jobs. I resumed simulations on the IBM 3090-6S computer at the Theory Center and also by remote link to ETH Zurich to finish off the work there. We had fixed up a really good office at 77 Lois Lane, a house which we both liked, and I had decorated it with landscape photographs of my own, using high contrast bromide. So we were really sad at the prospect of having to move yet again. In November 1990 it had started to snow and temperatures started to fall to the 15’s to 20’s F, typical of NY State near the finger lakes. Lake Cayuga freezes in winter at the edges. We liked the atmosphere of Ithaca, the farmers’ market, and so on. Some parts of the Ithaca community had a barter system going, where no money was used. we would have happily stayed at Commonlands.

I worked in the office at 77 Lois Lane in the afternoons, and trained over three miles inside the Community road every day. I was super fit at that time, and worked at the Theory Center in the mornings. I ahd learned quite a lot of theory at Zurich, and while there I corresponded with Kielich about volume 85 of Advances in Chemical Physics. There was an overhwelming international response to my suggestion for an issue on non-linear optics, and so volume 85 came out in three parts. Back at the Theory Center I was preparing it and writing my own articles for it (see the Omnia Opera, 1992). The B(3) field emerged one day while I was working on the inverse Faraday effect. I was not satisfied with the fact that the conjugate product A(1) x A(2) existed in a plane in 2-D in a 3-D space. Surely this vector cross product must have a component perpendicular to it, like any vector cross product. So I wrote it down one day in terms of a longitudinal axial vector. Gradually I realized that this must be a magnetic flux density, giving rise to the observed permanent magnetism of the inverse Faraday effect. I had no idea at the time that this would lead to a unified field theory, or even that it would lead to a new gauge theory of electrodynamics. I eventually wrote up two papers on the subject and they were published in Physica B, volume 182, in 1992. They are reproduced on the Omnia Opera. The peacefulness of the office in 77 Losi LAne was a great help. It looked out on the Six Mile Gorge and over towards Ithaca College in the distance.

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