Eric Roberts Laithwaite was born in Atherton, Lancashire, the son of a farmer, and was educated at Kirkham Grammar School, the Regent Street Polytechnic and. For this second blog we’re going to look at an inventor, innovator and communicator of science on TV and in the classroom. Eric Laithwaite ( ) came to. Professor Eric Laithwaite, who died on 27 November , was a talented engineering maverick who spent much of his academic life investigating unusual .

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That lecture series was called The Engineer in Wonderland. Ever since Laithwaite had been known as “the father of the linear motor”; however, as he constantly pointed out, he did not invent it, he simply rediscovered it. April 10th, at 6: I was one of eric laithwakte sceintific engineering children in the sixties and i have dedicated my life to the subjects he laothwaite. April 7th, at April 16th, at 3: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

He delighted in the sound of the spoken word, reciting poetry from memory with evident pleasure. He teamed up with Bill Dawson, a fellow electrical engineer and businessman, and spent the last years of his life experimenting with a variety of complex gyroscopic rigs, finally proving to his satisfaction that they could produce “mass transfer” – a brand new thrustless propulsion system.

When I was involved with the RI Christmas lectures I was handed a live cable of one of the volt phases to hold it was of course a shielded cable, but the open end was live! You may recall that there was some controversy over the content of lecture six where Eric Laithwaite demonstrated his theories of gyroscopes and how he thought he may have found that gyroscopes violated the law of conservation of energy. Having pinned his future on magnetic levitation, in his early fifties, he had to turn to other things.


January 8th, at 3: I also have the three books and the New Scientist edition from that December and recall their visit to the lab and photographer taking photos.


February 27th, at Sadly, I have a feeling that no one is left from the era of Eric Laithwaite who would have worked with him, at least not still at Imperial. Newton’s laws can be applied to angular motion in 3-D and an important relationship obtained. His work on the Manchester Mark I computer earned him his master’s degree.

The quality is still amazingly good too. The demonstrations in Laithwaite’s videos have each been repeated and the observed motion explained using Newtonian Mechanics. Imperial College Video Archive Blog.

For Laithwaite it was a crossroads. Will the experiment succeed? Hello, We are still showing electrical students the Circle of Magnetism Tape today.

Eric Laithwaite

Im not an Engineer or a Mathematician. However, he had argued in [8] that there must be two different mechanisms for detecting pheromones: He spent the next few years immersing himself in the specialised world of gyroscopes, gradually convincing himself that they did break known scientific laws, and that they might be a hitherto unrecognised source of preternatural power.

November 25th, at 2: In my previous blog on Eric Laithwaite you will find references to both that lecture series and also the second series he was asked to give in This page was last edited on 27 Decemberat A Gyroscope hangs off the top of a table Video 8: In I presented a student paper on linear motors at the IEE, and was well aware of the trials and tribulations of Eric and Tracked hovercraft through a family connection.

They were looking for a new way of getting spacecraft into earth orbit, thought of linear motors, and headed straight for the world expert.

I was at that last lecture and can confirm that he held back from trying the experiment until the time of the lecture. Here, he demonstrates the principles of a gyro using a rather large and heavy wheel.


He derived an equation for ” goodness ” which parametrically describes the efficiency of a motor in general terms, and showed that it tended to imply that large motors llaithwaite more efficient. Eric persuaded me to take up engineering, rather than business, and laitwaite me to the Christmas lectures as well as the infamous RI lecture on gyroscopes. September Learn how and when to remove this template message. He died within weeks of the contract being awarded. February 28th, at As you may know, he moved his research work to Sussex University just prior to his death, so maybe look there?

He was born on June 14, Is the series still available today? He chose to demonstrate his laithwaiite on gyroscopic force, coming to a series of false conclusions on gyroscopic motion. Precession of a Victorian gyroscope.

IC Reporter, Obituary – Professor Eric Laithwaite

The repeated experiments and explanations of the motion can be found via the links below. February 13th, at He also tried this is the last lecture in with the gyros. It was one of the last great all-British postwar investments in high-tech engineering, but it was abandoned.

August 29th, at April 10th, at 8: Fascinating post Colin, thanks. March 7th, at 2: InLaithwaite was invited by the Royal Institution to give a talk on a subject of his own choosing.

Although Laithwaite is best known for his ideas concerning gyroscopes, he also held an idea concerning moths. The initial stage has been successfully continued by William Dawson and the contract with PRT for this development is still active. Buy the Laithwaife of the film to see what I mean.