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Re: Keeping up with the theory (was is Corum and Corum forbidden topic?)

Original poster: "Paul Nicholson by way of Terry Fritz <twftesla-at-qwest-dot-net>" <paul-at-abelian.demon.co.uk>


I very much appreciated your comments on the history. It does
help to explain the apparent regard for this stuff, despite its
poor quality.  I'm afraid it doesn't say a lot for what went before!

It surprises me that the field of Tesla coiling is so poorly 
developed.  In its journey down history the Tesla coil just doesn't
seem to have acquired a normal body of engineering knowledge behind
it, in the same way that other branches of electrical engineering
have.  Instead it's collected a huge tangle of modern superstitions -
a ragbag assortment of notions that don't make sense and don't work.

Anyway, why is it left to us amateurs to figure out for ourselves
what the currents and voltages are doing in a secondary?  Why haven't
the professionals sorted all this stuff out decades ago?  Is the
pseudoscience keeping the experts away, or have the cranks simply
moved in to fill a vacuum?  Maybe it's just not that important?

> Of course, 90% of Tesla coilers have never heard of the Tesla list.

As many as that?.  Is it because they just don't get onto the Net, or
that they don't think to do a search for Tesla?   How does everybody
else share news and information?  If someone wanted to publish a
technical article about TCs in a reputable place that would reach
some majority of coilers, where would they go?

I suspect that the infrastructure - the peer reviewed journals, 
necessary to support the development of a normal body of engineering
knowledge on TCs just aren't out there.

Jim wrote:

> The other thought was that you could set up some form of peer
> reviewed journal on "tesla coil theory", but, who would would the
> reviewers be?

I just don't know who, or how that would work.  Peer review systems
are normally supported by an established institution of sufficient
quorum to achieve stability, although even that doesn't guarantee
rationality (eg Homeopathy).  We don't have such a foundation. Those
that existed in the past encouraged pseudoscience, eg ITS, TCBA. 
Where is the ARRL or RSGB of coiling?  

>  Maybe one could get peer reviewed publications in other journals
> (Rev Sci Inst type, but even that probably isn't the right venue.)

I'm sure quite a few journals would take stuff, but as you say, it's
not going to reach coilers.

> on the other hand, I recall having seen some papers on TCs in peer
> reviewed journals that had severe problems

Yes, me too.  We must remember that peer review can never be a band-
pass filter for correct info - it can only be a band-stop filter
for things that are obviously wrong, meaningless, poorly presented,
off topic, no science, or for some other reason would only add noise
to the arena.

And remember too, peer review is a necessary but not sufficient
mechanism for sane research.  The other vital ingredient is 
a non-credulous reception to the output of the peer review process.
The best compliment you can pay someone is to take the time and
trouble to check their work and to satisfy yourself that it really
does make sense and work as claimed.  That effort benefits everyone.
Of course, without a peer review front-end for this process, the onus
falls to the author to ensure their work satisfies certain criteria
which make it viable for that kind of critical scrutiny.

>  Presuming to tell someone that their site is defective? 

I agree that except for a few sites that invite comment and
corrections, it's inappropriate to try to canvas sites into 
reevaluating their links.  In any case many sites have an agenda for
promoting pseudoscience so they're hardly likely to respond. Perhaps
all we can do is post up as much good information as possible, in an
attempt to raise the overall signal/noise ratio?

> A lot of web sites ... (append only)

Unfortunately yes.  It's an approach which shifts a lot of work from
the author to the viewer, because the viewer has to sift the search
output to discern the state of the art. Old docs known to contain
errors just sit there injecting noise into every library search,
forming a minefield of erroneous stuff that a newbie must somehow
navigate to get to the real stuff. If someone reports a mistake in 
any of my site docs it gets fixed up pretty quick, and the old faulty
page is overwritten. I think folk keeping web pages should recognise
that its not a one-off vanity buzz but an ongoing responsibility to
keep things accurate and up to date.  After all, you create a site
for other peoples benefit, don't you?
Paul Nicholson